§ Order of the day for the Third Reading read.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Earl of Morley.)
§ THE EARL OF NORTHBROOK
My Lords, before this Bill is read a third time, I desire to call attention to the fact that the Committee by whom the Bill was considered refused a locus standi to the Rivers Board of the West Riding of Yorkshire, which represents all the county councils and the councils of the county boroughs in the West Riding. Your Lordships' Standing Order No. 105D provides that when any Bill relating to the water supply of any town or district is before Parliament, the council of any administrative county, relating in their petition that the administrative county or any part thereof may be injuriously affected, has a locus standi upon the Bill; and it appears to me that it is only in accordance with common sense that the Rivers Board should have a locus standi on this Bill. It may be said that the councils of the West Riding should have petitioned against the Bill, and in that way obtained, by the Standing Order, a locus standi; but they were induced not to do so from the fact that a Committee of your Lordships' House allowed a locus standi under similar conditions in the case of a Halifax Bill in 1898. The matter is one of considerable importance. I received a letter yesterday from my noble friend Lord Elgin (Chairman of the Salmon Fisheries Commission), in which he points out the great importance of allowing this Board a locus standi in respect of water Bills affecting districts in their jurisdiction; and it seems to me only reasonable that a body like this, representing as it does the public interests, and not the interests of any private individuals, should be given a locus standi. I should like to ask my noble friend the Chairman of Committees whether he has considered the subject, what his opinion, if he is at liberty to express it, is on the matter, and whether he contemplates any alteration of the 1023 Standing Order so as to allow of a locus standi being given in such cases in the future.
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (The Earl of MORLEY)
My noble friend mentioned this matter to me some time ago, as also did Lord Crewe, who informed me that he proposed to call attention to the question on the Leeds Bill, which comes before the House on Monday. I was not aware that the noble Earl was going to raise the question on the Harrogate Bill, and I propose, with his Lordship's permission, to defer any remarks I may have to make till Monday. I do not know at present what the exact circumstances were under which the Chairman of the Committee refused to the West Riding Rivers Board the locus standi which the noble Earl thinks they ought to have had. I scarcely like, therefore, to give a distinct answer to my noble friend to-day, but I hope to be prepared to speak more definitely on the subject on Monday next. I quite agree with my noble friend that the West Riding Rivers Board is a very important body; but probably it was left out because it stands in an almost unique position, there being, I think, only one other such board in the United Kingdom.
§ On Question, agreed to; Bill read 3a accordingly, and passed, and sent to the Commons.