HC Deb 08 May 1833 vol 17 cc1035-6
Mr. Wilbraham

, in bringing up the Report of the Committee, containing Amendments to the Birkenhead (Cheshire) Improvement Bill, moved that they be read a second time.

Mr. Richard Potter

begged to be permitted to make a few observations before the Report was received. On the Committee meeting to whom this Bill was referred, they were told, that as there was no opposition, the Committee need not be detained. A Petition had been presented against the Bill numerously and respectably signed. It was said, there was no necessity to read it; it was, however, read, The Committee then proceeded with the Bill, and he believed he was justified in saying, that the cases were rare in which a Bill had received so many and such important and necessary alterations as the Amendments in the hands of the Speaker would show. As the Bill stood, the vacancies of Commissioners were to be filled up by the remaining number, so that in a few years they would have been a self-elected body. The Committee had fixed that all future elections should be by the inhabitants rated at 10l. per annum. Rates to a considerable amount were to be levied, but there was to have been no publication of the accounts, and the Committee in consequence fixed that they should be printed and published. No person was to be eligible to be a Commissioner unless he occupied premises of the actual value of 60l., or was possessed of property of the value of 2,000l.; the Committee reduced the amounts to 30l and 1,000l. Tenants were liable to be distrained upon for paving the streets to an unlimited amount. The Committee decided that they should only be liable for the amount due, the landlords being held responsible. The Nuisance Clause actually occupied nearly six pages. The most trifling thing was declared a nuisance; such as boys playing at marbles, &c. &c.; and such offender, were he unknown, might be seized, taken before a Magistrate, and fined 5l. A great deal of this petty legislation was struck out. Loitering in the streets was also declared a nuisance; so that a poor Irishman, just arrived from Ireland, in passing through Birkenhead, and looking at a shop window at articles exposed, as he naturally would, might have been seized and sent to prison. Many other Amendments were also made. He (Mr. Potter) took the liberty of making these observations; and would, with great deference, but most earnestly, entreat hon. Members to whom private Bills were referred, to look through them, whether they were opposed or not. He was a new Member, and hoped he should not be considered presumptuous in giving this advice.

Mr. Wilbraham

said, those remarks did not apply to the Bill as it stood at present, but to the Bill as it was originally framed. Most of the alterations had been made at the suggestion of the hon. Member (Mr. Potter) himself, and therefore he had no ground of complaint.

Amendment read a second time.

Back to