§ PRIVATE BILLS.
§ Standing Orders for the Suspension of Private Bills, or Bids to confirm any Provisional Order or Certificate.
§ (3.10.) THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS (Mr. COURTNEY,) Cornwall, Bodmin
It is proper that I should say a word or two upon the Resolutions I have the honour of moving. Their object is understood by the House—namely, to enable the promoters of Private Bills who have not succeeded in getting their Bills passed into law this Session to suspend further proceedings at the stage they may have reached when this Session comes to an end, and to resume those proceedings in a new Session of Parliament, so that promoters may not be forced to go through again the work transacted in respect to such Bills in the present Session, and be put to the expense of fees in relation to those 1550 stages which have been passed. These Resolutions have been agreed to on similar occasions more than ones in recent times, and their operation is perfectly well understood; but the condition of affairs this Session materially differs from the conditions on previous occasions. In 1880 and again in 1886 there were interruptions of the work of the Session, consequent upon the Dissolution of Parliament, and Private Business was suspended and resumed when Parliament met again. But it will be remembered that in 1880 the Dissolution happened before Easter, when the work of the Session was not one-third through, when there was a considerable amount of Public Business left over for the beginning of the new Session. Again in 1886, although the amount of legislation left for the House when it re-assembled was small, a great amount of administrative work—a large number of Votes in Supply—had to be disposed of; and under the circumstances there was no difficulty in calling together the necessary Committees to carry the Private Business to completion. But in the present Session, with all the Public Business transacted and no Votes remaining in Supply, it must be obvious to everybody that the prospect of obtaining Committees to sit and consider Private Bills after a Con era! Election and in the month of August is small; therefore, unless the stages which remain are purely formal, not calling for the action of Members in Committee,. or unless the Bills have reached a stage only calling for assent to Amendments made in the other House, all practical work being completed; unless such a stage is reached when Parliament adjourns and is dissolved, it would be hopeless to attempt to carry them through in the autumn; they must, in fact, be suspended until February; and so long a suspension, with possibly considerable changes in the circumstances under which the Bills were promoted, might involve greater hardships to promoters than was involved in the years I have referred to, 1880 and 1886. The circumstances of the present year are altogether novel, and the assistance which the House has been able 1551 to give to promoters on former occasions, enabling them to resume proceedings after a short interruption, cannot practically now be offered until many months have gone by. Under these circumstances we who have been engaged in the conduct of Private Business have endeavoured to get as many Bills as possible through their stages, so that as small a number as possible may be left over; and I am glad to think that of the Bills promoted, so far as this House is concerned, only about ten or a dozen will be left over, among them toeing two very important Bills—the Leeds Corporation Bill and the Blackpool Improvement Bill. These must be left, and be carried through in another year. The other Bills are of comparatively minor importance, though still of importance; but altogether I do not think there are more than ten or twelve. I am bound to say the list is actually longer, but we hope with the concurrence of the other House to dispose of several this week. The time has not elapsed within which parties may lodge Petitions against some seven or eight Bills, and until the time has elapsed we have no security that parties will not appear, though in the majority of cases the Bills will be unopposed. In the course of the week the required time will expire, and the House sitting for another week, these seven or eight Bills may pass both Houses and be ripe for the assent of the Crown. I feel bound to express the opinion that there are grave reasons why this Private Bill legislation should be dissociated from the chances and fortunes of Parliamentary life so long as we retain control of Private Business, and that we are bound to do all we can to alleviate the pressure the exigencies of the situation throw upon the promoters of these very useful measures. I am glad that we are able to do so much, and that the remnant that must stand over will be so small, although included in the number are two very important Bills in which large Corporations are interested.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed,
- "1. That the Promoters of every Private Bill which shall have been introduced into this House, or brought from the House of Lords in
1552 the present Session of Parliament, shall have leave to suspend any further proceeding thereupon, in order to proceed with the same Bill in the next Session of Parliament.
- 2. That the Promoters of every such Bill shall give notice in the Private Bill Office, not later than the day prior to the close of the present Session, of their intention to suspend any further proceedings thereon; or, in the case of Bills which shall have been suspended on the Report of a Committee, or which, having passed this House, shall then be pending in the House of Lords, of their intention to proceed with the same Bill in this House in the next Session.
- 3. That an Alphabetical List of all such Bills, with a statement of the stage at which the same were suspended, shall be prepared by the Private Bill Office, and printed."
§ "4. That, not later than three clear days after the next meeting of Parliament, every Bill which has been introduced into this House shall be deposited in the Private Bill Office, in the form required by Standing Order No. 201, with a declaration signed by the Agent annexed thereto, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill with respect to which proceedings have been so suspended, at the last stage of its proceeding in the House in the present Session; and, where any sum of money has been deposited, that such deposit has not been withdrawn, together with a certificate of that fact from the proper officer of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice in England or Ireland, or the Court of Exchequer in Scotland, as the case may be.
§ 5. That such Bills, indorsed by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office, as having been duly deposited with such declarations and certificates annexed, be laid by one of the Clerks of that Office upon the Table of the House, in the next Session of Parliament, in the order in which they shall stand upon such List.
§ 6. That in respect of every Bill so laid upon the Table, the Petition for the Bill and the Order for leave to bring in the same in the present Session shall be read, and thereupon such Bill shall be read a first time; and a second time (if the Bill shall have been read a second time previously to its being suspended); and if such Bill shall have been reported by any Committee in the present Session, the Order for referring the Bill to a Committee shall be dispensed with, and the Bill ordered to lie upon the Table or to be read a third time, as the case may be.
§ 7. That in case any Bill brought from the House of Lords in the present Session, upon which the proceedings shall have been suspended in this House, shall be brought from the House of Lords in the next Session of Parliament, the Agent for such Bill shall deposit in the Private Bill Office, prior to the first reading thereof, a declaration stating that the 1553 Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill which was brought from the House of Lords in the present Session; and where any sum of money has been deposited, that such deposit has not been withdrawn, together with a certificate of that fact from the proper officer: and so soon as one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office has certified that such deposit has been duly made, the Bill shall be read a first time, and be further proceeded with in the same manner as Bills introduced into this House during the present Session.
§ 8. That all Petitions presented in the present Session against Private Bills, or against any Bill to confirm any Provisional Order or Certificate, and which stood referred to the Committees on such Bills, shall stand referred to the Committees on the same Bills, in the next Session of Parliament; and that all Notices and grounds of objection to the right of Petitioners to be heard given in the present Session within the time prescribed by the Rules of the Referees relating to such Notices shall be held applicable in the next Session of Parliament.
§ 9. That no Petitioners shall be heard before the Committee on such Bills, unless their Petition shall have been presented within the time limited in the present Session.
§ 10. That, in case the time limited for presenting Petitions against any such Bills shall not have expired at the close of the present Session, Petitioners may be heard before the Committee on such Bill, provided their Petition be presented previous to, or not later than, seven clear days after the next meeting of Parliament.
§ 11. That all Instructions to Committees on Private Bills in the present Session which shall be suspended previously to their being reported by any Committee be Instructions to the Committees on the same Bills in the next Session.
§ 12. That no new Fees be charged in respect of any stage of a Bill upon which Fees have already been incurred during the present Session.
§ 13. That all Standing Orders complied with in respect of any Public Bill introduced, or intended to be introduced, during the present Session, shall be held applicable to any Bill for the same objects introduced in the next Session, and where the Examiner has already reported upon the compliance with the Standing Orders in respect of any such Bill, he shall only report in the next Session whether any further Standing Orders are applicable.
§ 14. That Bills to confirm any Provisional Order or Certificate introduced into this House, or brought from the House of Lords in the present Session, shall be suspended from the close of the present Session, in order to be proceeded with in the next Session of Parliament.
§ 15. That with regard to any such Bills the Order of Leave in the present Session shall be read, and thereupon the Bill shall be read a first time and a second time (if the Bill shall have been read a second time during the present Session); and if such Bill shall have been reported by any Committee in the present Session, the Order for referring the Bill 1554 to a Committee shall be dispensed with, and the Bill ordered to be upon the Table, or to be read a third time, as the case may be.
§ 16. That all applications made, and Certificates given, and all other proceedings taken with reference to any Bill introduced, or intended to be introduced in the present Session for confirming any Provisional Order in respect to the Inclosure of Commons, under 'The Commons Act, 1876,' shall be deemed to apply to any Bill introduced for the same object in the next Session.
§ 17. That the said Orders be Standing Orders of this House, and be printed."—(The Chairman of Ways and Means.)
§ Motion agreed to.
§ MR. COURTNEY
My next proposal is to facilitate the more rapid consideration of Lords' Amendments that may be returned to us this Session.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Standing Orders 220 and 246, relating to Private Bills, be suspended for the remainder of the Session.
That, as regards Private Bills already returned by the House of Lords, with Amendments, such Amendments be now considered.
That, as regards Private Bills to be returned by the House of Lords, with Amendments, such Amendments be considered forthwith.
That, when it is intended to propose any Amendments thereto, a Copy of such Amendments shall be deposited in the Private Bill Office, and notice given on the day on which the Bill shall have been returned from the Lords, and such Amendments may be considered forthwith."—(The Chairman of Ways and Means.)
§ Motion agreed to.