§ (4.54.) THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. WALTER S LONG,) Bristol, S.
In moving the Motion which stands in my name on the Paper, it is not necessary to say more than one or two words. The House will find that the Motion merely carries out what was ordered by the House to be done on a Motion made following the Second Reading of the Bill. There are only one or two questions to which I would refer, viz., the date by which petitions are to be presented, and the number of the Committee. With regard to the number of the Committee, I presume that as no communication has reached me from any quarter, if the Committee is formed in the usual way, it will probably be to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. I will merely point out that the quorum of three applies to the portion of the Joint Committee appointed by each House. It does not mean that three Members shall be a quorum of the Committee, but that three Members shall be the quorum of the portion of the Committee appointed by this House. The quorum of the Committee, therefore, will be six. The only other point is as to the date by which petitions must be presented. In case any hon. Gentleman considers that that date is unduly near, I may say that I put this Motion down on the Paper of the House of Commons on the 14th of this month, and the next day I communicated with all those who are opposed to the Bill or could by any possibility desire to present a petition, informing them that the date would be the 25th of this month. I have received no notice of objection to that proposal from any quarter, while, on the other hand, I have received many expressions of approval, so that think no inconvenience can result. It is a matter of very great importance that the date should be one preceding the Easter recess. These petitions may 731 be not only against the Bill presented by the Government, but they may also be in opposition to some of the opponents. There may be opposition as between opponents as well as opposition on the part of opponents to the principle of the Bill. It is, therefore, of very great importance, if this matter is to be dealt with during this session, that the petitions should be in before the Easter recess, in order that they may be printed and circulated, so that all interested may know the opposition with which they have to deal. I beg to move.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Resolution of the House of the 3rd day of March relative to the London Water Bill which was ordered to be communicated to the Lords, and the message from the Lords of the 13th day of March, signifying their concurrence in the said Resolution, be read.
§ "That all petitions against the Bill already presented in the House or deposited in the Private Bill Office on or before the 25th day of March, 1902, be referred to the Committee; that the petitioners praying to be heard by themselves, their Counsel, Agents, or Witnesses be heard against the Bill, and Counsel heard in support of the Bill.
§ "That the Committee have power to send for persons, Papers, and records.
§ "That three be the quorum.
§ "That a message be sent to the Lords to acquaint their Lordships that the London Water Bill has been committed to five Members of this House, to be joined with a Committee of Lords, pursuant to the Resolution of the House of the 3rd day of March, and to the Message from the Lords of the 13th day of March, signifying their concurrence thereto."—(Mr. Walter Long.)
§ (5.0.) MR. BLAKE (Longford, S.)
said that in consequence of certain proceedings which took place in the Lords he wished to have some understanding as to what the position was. Upon the 732 occasion of the preliminary Motion for a message to the Lords in favour of the expediency of appointing a Joint Committee, a new precedent was introduced which did not appear to him to be a desirable one. He found from the Minutes of Proceedings in the Lords that the circumstances were very much changed. He found by the Lords Minutes of the 10th of March that a Bill was introduced in the House of Lords under the same title, and for the same purpose; in point of fact it was an identical Bill to that introduced in the House of Commons. On the 11th of March, notice was given of the Motion for the Second Reading, and there was a further notice that in the event of the Bill being read a second time, that the Commons message be taken into consideration, and concurring in the Commons Resolution referring the London Water Bill to a Joint Committee of both Houses. On the 13th of March the London Water Bill (House of Lords) was read a second time. It was moved that the Commons message be taken into consideration, it was considered, and a Resolution was passed concurring in that Resolution, and a message was sent. The Commons had read that message.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I do not think it will be in order to discuss upon this Motion the Minutes of the House of Lords. We sent a message to the Lords, and we had a message back, and to discuss the proceedings by which the Lords arrived at that decision will not be in order.
§ MR. BLAKE
said he was not saying anything inconsistent with their message. They would find in May's Parliamentary Practice that it was laid down that while what passed in the debates in the House of Lords was not discussable in the House of Commons, the proceedings of the Lords reported in their Minutes, and issued to hon. Members, might be discussed, and the Minutes of each House were laid upon the Table of the other House for that purpose. He did not desire to debate this question, 733 and his object was simply to ascertain where they stood. It was obvious that the proceeding in which they were engaging was much more complicated than was understood by the House, and it appeared to him that there was no precedent whatever for such a reference, and that a new course of procedure was being adopted. Here was an identical Water Bill before both Houses to carry out this plan of reference to a Joint Committee on a public Bill. That seemed an entirely new state of affairs. The Lords had passed the Second Reading of a Bill identical with this measure before the House, and as a consequence of this new and unprecedented transaction, there was a proposal to refer a public Bill to a Joint Committee. He wished to know if the right hon. Gentleman had considered that there were no precedents for the measure proceeding in this extraordinary way in both Houses, at the same time to be referred to a Joint Committee and presented in that manner. It did seem to him that this matter was not unworthy of attention at the earliest possible moment because a precedent was being created which was productive of the consequences he had mentioned.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington. W.)
said he did not wish to question what the right hon. Gentleman had said, but upon two small points he thought the President of the Local Government Board might be able to meet him. With regard to the date, he had explained that an intimation was received on the 14th of March that this Committee had been appointed, and that was only allowing petitioners eleven clear days. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had treated him rather unfairly in regard to this matter. He said he had spoken to everybody interested in this matter, and he told him (the hon. Member) privately that he had taken an opportunity of communicating with those interested in the Bill.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I did not mean that I had personally communicated with Members of Parliament, but that I had communicated with possible opponents of the Bill.
§ MR. LOUGH
said he thought the date was too early. The right hon. Gentleman said the London County Council were in favour of the day on the Paper and that was what he complained of. He had received an official communication from the council in which they said they hoped he would persevere with his Amendment in regard to the alteration of the date. He thought the importance of giving a little longer time than was usual would be obvious to hon. Members if they reflected what the situation was. It was not only a public Bill, but it was somewhat of the nature of a private Bill, and that was the reason that they had now got this particular Motion. The difference between this and the ordinary procedure was, that instead of having two Committees with a long space of time between, before which petitioners could go, in this case there would only be one. He thought the right hon. Gentleman ought to meet the convenience of those petitioners and give as long a number of days as possible. He had spoken to several hon. members on the subject and they told him they thought the right hon. Gentleman would have no objection to his Amendment. A great many local authorities were interested and he knew that, in some cases, petitions were being prepared. He thought the right hon. Gentleman might consider this point afresh. The Local Government Board could go on dealing with the petitions handed in, but he ought to give the latest date possible considering the great interests affected by the Bill and the large number of local authorities concerned. He begged to move his Amendment.
Line 9, to leave out the words '25th day of March,' and insert the words 8th day of April.' "—(Mr. Lough.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the resolution."
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said he had already pointed out that the petitions against this Bill were from people who were against proposals which affected each other. It was necessary that all these petitions should be in before the Easter recess. From no quarter had he received any notice of opposition, and he was bound to say that as an official communication 735 had been received by an hon. Member, he was surprised that the London County Council had not thought fit to make a similar communication to his Department. He had received no communication from public bodies. In the interests of the Bill, and of all interested in it whether supporters or opponents, he asked the House to assent to this Resolution.
§ *(5.15.) MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)
said he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that the notice he suggested in his Motion was sufficient to cover the local authorities in London, but there were bodies outside of London who really ought to be considered. Many of the district councils outside London only met fortnightly, and some of them not so often. He spoke with certain knowledge of some of the district councils of Middlesex, and his point was that if they only met fortnightly and if they wanted to oppose the Bill, they would not have time to do so, if the right hon. Gentleman adhered to his present proposal. He only wanted the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether he; had given the local authorities sufficient opportunity for petitioning against the Bill. A great many local authorities were reluctant to come to a decision on the matter, as it involved considerable expenditure to the ratepayers. He was once a member of a district council, and their invariable practice was to discuss such matters in committee before putting them on the paper for the public meeting. These were reasons why the right hon. Gentleman should give a little more time.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said that with ordinary private Bills the period for the presentation of petitions was ten days after the Introduction or First Reading of the Bill. This Bill was read a first
§ time seven weeks ago, and to his knowledge the local authorities had had numerous meetings for the purpose of discussing it. He had been at some trouble to find out, and he did not know a single authority concerned in the Bill that had not considered it in detail, and he was convinced that no injustice would be done to any local authority by what he proposed. He must, therefore, adhere to the Motion.
SIR F. DIXON HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)
hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would give a little more time. The Bill deeply concerned his constituency. In most of the Bills that had been introduced in this House hon. Members had the power of moving an instruction, but when, as in this case, the Bill was to be referred to a joint Committee of Lords and Commons that could not be done, and therefore his constituency would have taken away from them the power of having their grievance ventilated in this House and of having an instruction moved in regard to any point they wanted to have brought before the Committee. They did not wish to oppose the Bill in any way. On the contrary they supported the Bill, but the point affecting his constituency was that in regard to reservoirs. He thought they ought to have two or three more days to consider the Bill.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
appealed to the President of the Local Government Board to substitute some day, say the 3rd or 4th of April, which might meet the views of hon. Members who had spoken.
§ (5.23.) Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 188; Noes, 102. (Division List No. 85.)739
|Acland-Hood, Cpt. Sir Alex. F.||Baird, John George Alexander||Bill, Charles|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Balcarres, Lord||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Baltour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Ilornsey)||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Banbury, Frederick George||Bullard, Sir Harry|
|Austin, Sir John||Bane, Major George Edward||Campbell, Rt Hn. J. A. (Glasgow|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy||Beach, Rt Hn Sir Michael Hicks||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Bignold, Arthur||Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bigwood, James||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.||Higginbottom, S. W.||Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Hogg, Lindsay||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wore'r||Hope, J. F. (Shiffield, Brightside||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Chamberlayne, T. (S'thampton||Horner, Frederick William||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Purvis, Robert|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Randles, John S.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hozier, Hon. Jame-Henry Cecil||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Renwick, George|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)||Ridley Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Corbett, T. L (Down, North)||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lawson, John Grant||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Lecky, Rt Hon William Edw. H.||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Round, James|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Russell, T. W.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of W'ght|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Loder, Gerald Waller Erskine||Sharps, William Edward T.|
|Dixon-Hart land, Sir F. Dickson||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Dougla, lit. Hon. A. Akers-||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Smith, Hon. W. F. D). (Strand)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lowe, Francis William||Spear, John Ward|
|Dyke, Rt Hon Sir William Hart||Lowther, Rt. Hn. James (Kent||Stroyan, John|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Lucas, Col. Francas (Lowestoft||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r)||Lucas, Reginald J. (Port-mouth||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Finch, George H.||Macdona, John dimming||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||M 'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Fitz Gerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||M' Killop, James (Stirlingshire||Valentia, Viscount|
|Flower, Ernest||Majendie, James A. 11.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Forster, Henry William||Malcolm, Ian||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S W||Max well, Rt Hn Sir H E (Wigt'n||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Gardner, Ernest||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E (Taunton|
|Garfit, William||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts|
|Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St Albans)||Milvain, Thomas||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Gordon, Hn J. E. (Elgin&Nairn)||Moon, Edward Robert Pacey||Whiteley, H. (Asht'nund. Lyne|
|Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'r H'ml'ts||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Gore, Hn. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc)||Morgan, David J. (Walthamst||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Golliding, Edward Alfred||Morrell, George Herbert||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Wood, James|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Mount, William Arthur||Worsley-Taylor. Henry Wilson|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Wyndham, lit. Hon. George|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lrd G.(Midd'x||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'rry||Myers, William Henry|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon Robert Wm.||Nicol, Donald Ninian||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Anstruther and Mr. Hayes Fisher.|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Heath, Arthur Howard(Hanley||Peel, Hn Wm Robert Wellesley|
|Helder, Augustus||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Craig, Robert Hunter||Gladstone, Rt Hn Herbert John|
|Allen, Charles P (Glouc, Stroud||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Ambrose, Robert||Delany William||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Asquith, Rt Hon Herbert Henry||Dewar, John A. (lnverness-sh.||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D.|
|Bell, Richard||Donelan, Captain A.||Helme, Norval Watson|
|Black, Alexander William||Doogan, P. C.||Jones, David Brynmor (Swans'a|
|Blake, Edward||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)|
|Boland, John||Duncan, J. Hastings||Joyce, Michael|
|Burns, John||Edwards, Frank||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Caine, William Sproston||Emmott, Alfred||Lambert, George|
|Caldwell, James||Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Lloyd-George, David|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Ferguson, R. C. Munro-(Leith)||Lundon, W.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Ffrench, Peter||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Carew, James Laurence||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||M' Govern, T.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Flynn, James Christopher||M' Kenna, Reginald|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||M' Killop, W. (Sligo, North)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Gilhooly, James||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport|
|Moulton, John Fletcher||Power, Patrick Joseph||Thomson, F. W. (York. W. R.)|
|Murphy, John||Priestley, Arthur||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Reddy, M.||Tully, Jasoer|
|Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wallace, Robert|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth. South)||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Rickett, J. Compton||Wason, Eugene (Ciackmannan|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Rigg, Richard||Weir, James Galloway|
|O' Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighsh.||White, Luke (York. E. R.)|
|O' Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, M.||Roche, John||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|O' Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Runciman, Walter||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|O' Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Soares, Ernest J.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth|
|O' Connor, James (Wickl'w, W.||Spencer, Rt Hn C R (Northants||Yoxall, James Henry|
|O' Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|O' Dowd, John||Sullivan, Donal|
|O' Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Tennant, Harold John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Lough and Mr. Corrie Grant.|
|O' Kelly, James (Roscommon, N||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.|
|O' Mara, James||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|O' Shaughnessy, P. J.||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings|
Bill read a second time, and committed for Monday next.
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
said that as his hon. friend had exhausted his right to speak, he would explain briefly the object of his hon. friends second Amendment. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, or the right hon. Gentleman the Chairman of the Committee of Selection would be able to satisfy his hon. friend on the point. The object of the Amendment was to prevent any person having a large private or pecuniary interest in the Bill being placed on the Committee. The Bill was a large money Bill, and affected to a great extent the taxpayers of London, and he was sure it would be the wish of the House that the same rule should be followed as was followed in the case of private Bills, viz., that all members should make the usual declaration that they had no private or pecuniary interest in the Bill. He hoped that either the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill, or the right hon. Gentleman the Chairman of the Committee of Selection would make a statement which would satisfy his hon. friend.
§ MR. HALSEY (Hertfordshire, Watford)
said he had no difficulty whatever in behalf of the Committee of Selection in giving the hon. Gentleman the assurance he had asked for. Although he himself would not be able to take any personal part on the occasion, he could assure the hon. Gentleman that the invariable practice of the Committee of Selection would be followed, and it was 740 that the Committee would be very careful not to nominate any gentleman who had in any way any pecuniary or local interest in the Bill, either as regarded himself or his constituency. He had great pleasure in giving that assurance, without any hesitation, on behalf of the Committee of Selection.
§ Ordered, That a message be sent to the Lords to acquaint their Lordships that the London Water Bill has been committed to five Members of this House, to be joined with a Committee of Lords, pursuant to the resolution of the House of the 3rd day of March, and to the Message from the Lords of the 13th day of March signifying their concurrence thereto.