§ LORD G. SOMERSET
, previously to moving the appointment of the Classification Committee on Railways, of which he 750 had given notice, begged leave to move that the Second Report of the Railway Committee be forthwith ordered. Report considered. The following Resolutions were proposed:—
- "1. Resolved—That a Committee of Five Members be appointed, to be called The Classification Committee of Railway Bills, and that Three be the Quorum of such Committee.
- "2. Resolved—That Copies of all Petitions for Railway Bills presented to the House be laid before the said Committee.
- "3. Resolved—That the Committee of Classification shall inquire and report what Railway Bills compete with, or ought to be considered in connexion with, any Railway Bills, the promoters of which shall have proved themselves entitled to the privilege agreed to be granted in certain cases by the Resolutions of this House of the 7th July last.
- "4. Resolved—That the Committee of Classification shall form into Groups all other Railway Bills which, in their opinion, it would be expedient to submit to the same Committee.
- "5. Resolved—That as soon as the Committee of Classification shall have determined what Railway Bills are to be grouped together, they shall report the same to the House; and all Petitions against any of the said Bills shall be presented to the House three clear days before the meeting of the Committee thereon.
- "6. Resolved—That no Railway Bill be read a First Time later than the next day but one after the Report of the Committee on Petitions or of the Standing Order Committee on such Bill, as the case may be, shall have been laid on the Table, except by Special Order of the House.
- "7. Resolved—That there be no more than seven clear days between the First Reading of any Railway Bill and the Second Reading thereof, except by Special Order of the House.
- "8. Resolved — That the Breviate of every Railway Bill shall be laid on the Table of the House, and be printed and delivered one clear day before the Second Reading.
- "9. Resolved—That such Railway Bills as shall have been read a First Time before the House shall agree to these Resolutions, shall be read a Second Time within seven clear days thereafter.
- "10. Resolved—That such of the Standing Orders as relate to the composition of the Committees on Private Bills, and the Orders consequent thereon, be suspended so far as regards Railway Bills pending in the course of the present Session.
- "11. Resolved—That Committees on Railway Bills during the present Session of Parliament shall be composed of a Chairman and Four Members, to be appointed by the Committee of Selection.
- "12. Resolved—That each Member of a Committee on a Railway Bill or Bills, shall, before he be entitled to attend and vote on such Committee, sign a declaration that his constituents have no local interest, and that he himself has no personal interest for or against any Bill referred to him; and no such Committee shall proceed to business until the whole of the Members thereof shall have signed such declaration.
- "13. Resolved—That the promoters of a Railway Bill shall be prepared to go into the Committee on the Bill on such day as the Committee
751 of Selection shall, subject to the Order that there be seven clear days between the Second Reading of every Private Bill and the sitting of the Committee thereupon, think proper to appoint, provided that the Classification Committee shall have reported on such Bill.
- "14. Resolved—That the Committee of Selection shall give each Member not less than fourteen days' notice of the week in which it will be necessary for him to be in attendance, for the purpose of serving, if required, on a Railway Bill Committee.
- "15. Resolved—That the Committee of Selection shall give each Member a sufficient notice of his appointment as a Member of a Committee on a Railway Bill, and shall transmit to him a copy of the twelfth Resolution, and a blank form of the Declaration therein required, with a request that he will forthwith return it to them properly filled up and signed.
- "16. Resolved—That if the Committee of Selection shall not within due time receive from each such Member the aforesaid declaration, or an excuse which they shall deem sufficient, they shall report to the House the name of such defaulting Member.
- "17. Resolved—That the Committee of Selection shall have the power of substituting, at any time before the first meeting of a Committee, another Member for a Member whom they shall deem it proper to excuse from serving on that Committee.
- "18. Resolved—That power be given to the Committee of Selection to send for persons, papers, and records, in the execution of the duties imposed on them by the foregoing Resolutions.
- "19. Resolved—That no Member of a Committee shall absent himself from his duties on such Committee, unless in the case of sickness or by leave of the House.
- "20. Resolved—That all Questions before Committees on Railway Groups or Bills shall be decided by a majority of voices, including the voice of the Chairman; and that whenever the voices shall be equal, the Chairman shall have a second or casting vote.
- "21. Resolved—That if the Chairman shall be absent from the Committee, the Member next in rotation on the List who shall be present shall act as Chairman.
- 22. Resolved—That Committees shall be allowed to proceed so long as three Members shall be present, but not with a less number, unless by special leave of the House.
- "23. Resolved—That if on any day within one hour after the time appointed for the meeting of a Committee three Members shall not be present, the Committee shall be adjourned to the same hour on the next day on which the House shall sit, which had been fixed for that day.
- "24. Resolved—That in the case of a Member not being present within one hour after the time appointed for the meeting of the Committee, or of any Member absenting himself from his duties on such Committee, such Member shall be reported to the House at its next sitting.
- "25. Resolved—That each Committee shall be appointed to meet on each day of its sitting, not later than twelve o'clock, unless by the regular vote of the Committee.
- "26. Resolved—That Committees on Railway Bills have leave to sit in the present Session, notwithstanding any adjournment of the House, if the Committees shall so think fit.
- "27. Resolved—That every Committee on a Railway Bill shall fix the tolls, and shall determine the maximum rates of charge for the conveyance of passengers (with a due amount of luggage) and of goods on such Railway; and such rates of charge shall include the tolls, and the costs of locomotive power, and every other expense connected with the conveyance of passengers (with a due amount of luggage), and of goods upon such Railway; but if the Committee shall not deem it expedient to determine such maximum rates of charge, a Special Report, explanatory of the grounds of their omitting so to do, shall be made to the House, which Special Report shall accompany the Report of the Bill."
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, although the noble Lord had only given notice of his intention to move the appointment of a Classification Committee, it was not his intention to offer any opposition to the Resolutions to which the House were called upon to agree. But it was his intention to call the attention of the House to one particular point, which he conceived of importance; and if his suggestion were acted on in respect of the matter, he believed it would tend very much to spare the time of all Committees on Railway Bills. It was well known to those Gentlemen who sat upon such Committees, how much of the public time was taken up in proving what was called traffic tables. One party went into a deal of evidence to show what they wanted, and another, on the other hand, to show the contrary. The most extravagant calculations were gone into, and the Committees were obliged to sit and listen to all this absurd matter. If it were expedient to make a railway between A and B, he considered that question was enough for the Committee; and they ought not to be obliged to entertain calculations as to the probable amount of traffic between those two points. Now, therefore, he would propose by way of amendment, to add to the Resolutions of the noble Lord one to this effect—That Committees on Railway Bills should not be obliged to consider the question of traffic, but to have power to refuse such evidence, and report such refusal to the House.
§ LORD G. SOMERSET
hoped the hon. Member for Finsbury would not for the present press his Amendment, as that very subject to which he referred was at the present moment occupying the most serious attention of the Railway Committee.
MR. B. DENISON
concurred fully in the utility of the hon. Member for Finsbury's suggestion. As Chairman of many Railway Committees, he could testify to the manner in which this evidence relative to the traffic was got up. In fact, a traffic 753 case could be made out of anything. He was glad the question was undergoing the consideration of the Committee; he trusted his hon. Friend would withdraw his Resolution for the present, but he fully agreed with him in the absolute necessity which existed for laying down some rule by which Railway Committees were in future to be guided in this matter.
§ Mr. DUNCOMBE
consented to withdraw his Motion, and was glad to hear the subject was under the consideration of the Committee.
§ MR. P. M. STEWART
suggested the justice and expediency of having such hon. Members as did not serve on Railway Committees during last Session appointed to that particular business during the present.
§ MR. GISBORNE
had always said last year of those Committees that they were honest but incompetent tribunals; but as many hon. Members had obtained so much experience by their attendance on those Committees, he thought it would be a pity to let the country lose the advantage of it.
§ Resolutions agreed to, and Classification Committee appointed.