HC Deb 30 July 1840 vol 55 cc1157-9

Lord Seymour moved the third reading of the Railways Bill.

Lord G. Somerset

seeing the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Trade in his place, begged to recall to the right hon. Gentleman's recollection the conversation that took place on a former evening relative to the class of persons who were to be appointed inspectors under this bill. He had heard that a gentleman much connected with railways was exceedingly anxious to become an inspector under this bill. Now he certainly should not have given his assent to this bill unless he had understood that a rule was to be laid down that no person connected with railways was to be appointed. He hoped that this rule would apply to persons recently connected with railways as he certainly would never have consented to the passing of the bill if he had not a satisfactory assurance of the intention of the right hon. Gentleman upon this point.

Mr. Labouchere

begged, in answer, to assure the noble Lord, that not one Gentleman only was anxious to take office under this bill, but a great number of Gentlemen were extremely anxious to be employed. He must decline to give any specific pledge upon a subject of this kind. With regard to any applications that bad been made to him, he had carefully and studiously avoided committing himself in the way of promises. He must wait until he saw in what shape the bill would pass before he considered and before he consulted others, the Chancellor of the Exchequer especially, with whom it would be his duty to consult with regard to the increase of allowance it would be necessary to have voted. Until the bill should have passed, he could not consult as to the most economical and efficient manner of carrying the bill into effect, and he must therefore decline pledging himself as to the precise mode of carrying out that measure. Whether he should appoint one inspector-general, or whether it was more desirable (an opinion to which he rather inclined) to appoint engineers to inspect by the job, so as not to give to any one person the sole inspection, he was not at present prepared to state. He had, however, no difficulty in saying that he should think it most objectionable to employ any person in any matter, under this bill, if he was at the time actually connected with any railway whatever. So far he did not hesitate to state his opinion; but whether the past connexion of any individual with a railway was to qualify or to disqualify, and whether recent connexion was to be considered, or what limit was to be affixed to that connexion, was a point upon which he thought it was not desirable that he should pledge himself. All he would say was, that he would take care that nobody actually connected with a railway should be employed under this bill, but with regard to any other point he should follow the course which upon consideration should appear most desirable.

Mr. Easthope

thought the measure which affected a very large and important body of persons was very little understood. In no one stage of it had there been a fair discussion of its principle. There had been a hasty consideration of its clauses, and he thought, it would be very easy to convince the House that the haste of that consideration was very manifest in the present state of the bill. He implored the House not to pass a bill of such importance as this—affecting, as it did, great interests, which he contended would be liable under this bill to be greatly deranged, without at least one careful discussion of the principle of the measure.

Third reading, after a division on a point concerning the course of proceeding, postponed.