Motion made, and Question proposed—
That this House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill."—(Lord Monkswell.)
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (The Earl of MORLEY)
My Lords, before the House goes into Committee on this Bill, I should like to call your Lordships' attention to what will be the effect of the Bill. If this Bill becomes law you will not be able to alter a single drain, or 756 part of a drain, in your house without sending plans and sections to the sanitary authority of the district. I venture to think that that is carrying local supervision somewhat far, and to an extent which might prove extremely oppressive. In matters concerning the connection of individual drains with the public sewer, I think you are absolutely right in compelling persons to deposit plans and sections with the local authority, but I do not agree that, where only a small alteration to a drain in a house is proposed, it should be necessary to send plans and sections to the local authority. We know very well what local surveyors are. Some may be very complacent, while others may be very difficult to deal with, and under this Bill a very small alteration may involve a great deal of difficulty and unnecessary expense. I think the Bill ought to go before the Standing Committee, where it could be examined more minutely than is possible in this House.
My Lords, all this was said against the Bill last year, and it was sent to the Standing Committee. It was well thrashed out in the Committee, and certain words were introduced which I am going to introduce to-day, and which we considered sufficient to meet the case. But if the noble Earl thinks it necessary that the Bill should go to the Standing Committee, I will not raise any objection. I might mention, however, that these bye-laws are subject to the sanction of a Government Department, and might be modified by that Department in such a way as to meet the objections of the noble Earl.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (Viscount CROSS)
Surely there is no hurry in this matter. I do not see any reason why the Bill should not go to the Standing Committee in the ordinary way.
Last year the Government Departments could not make up their minds upon it, and it took several months for them to give their sanction to the Bill, the result being that the Bill did not, for want of time, pass through the House of Commons. I think it is desirable that it should pass your Lordships' House as soon as possible this Session, but if the noble Earl wishes it to go to the Standing Committee I cannot raise any objection.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (The Earl of HALSBURY)
My Lords, the Bill ought to go to the Standing Committee in the ordinary course of things. It is not for the noble Earl, the Chairman of Committees, to give reasons why it should not go to the Standing Committee, because that is the ordinary procedure. The proper course for the noble Earl to take, if he does not think the Bill ought to go to the Standing Committee, is to show why it should not be so referred. This is an uninteresting subject, and I am afraid that in consequence a good many Bills of this sort have passed with examination. From information which has come to my knowledge, I am a little jealous about this Bill passing your Lordships' House without going to the Standing Committee. I have every confidence in the Government Departments and the county councils, under whose control the great sewers of the metropolis are placed, and I would desire to aid and assist them in every way in my power, but I do not think people who desire to make very small alterations in the drains at their houses should be compelled to send plans and sections to the local authority. I certainly think the Bill ought to go to the Standing Committee.
I do not raise any objection to that course being adopted, but I thought it was unnecessary as the Bill went before the Standing Committee last year, and was thoroughly thrashed out by them.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND (Lord ASHBOURNE)
I understand that the noble Lord has introduced the Bill without the safeguards which were put in it by the Standing Committee last year, but that he proposes now to put in those safeguards by Amendment.
Yes. I wish, with your Lordships' permission, to Move Amendments which will make this Bill precisely the same as the one which passed your Lordships' House last year.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
May I ask the noble Lord why ho introduced the Bill this Session in a different shape to the one which passed this House last Session? Personally, I cannot see the use of the Standing Committee if Bills are not to be referred to it. Moreover, one often hears great exception taken in this House to Bills not being submitted to the Standing Committee.
I do not think the noble Earl quite understood me. This Bill was submitted to the Standing Committee, and fully considered by them last year.
I was under the impression, as the Bill was considered last year, and certain Amendments made, that your Lordships would not desire to take up the time of the Standing Committee on the matter again this year.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
May I remind the noble Lord that we are not in Committee, and that he is not entitled to speak more than once.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resolved itself into Committee.