HC Deb 18 June 1845 vol 81 cc759-61
Mr. Labouchere

begged to ask how long it was proposed to defer the discussion on the Railway Clauses Consolidation (Scotland) Bill?

The Lord Advocate

replied, to that day week.

Mr. Labouchere

saw no ground for postponement. The chief Amendment to be considered was, the Clause which had been introduced by the House of Lords to give compensation to trustees of turnpike roads in Scotland, for any loss they might sustain by reason of any railway running near their roads. If the learned Lord Advocate was opposed to this clause, then there would be no need of discussion, because the House of Commons had already rejected a clause of a similar description, when inserted in the Bill that was first introduced. It was a clause which had been engrafted upon the Government Bill by parties unconnected with the Government, and the principle contained in it was of infinitely greater consequence than the whole of the remaining parts of the Bill.

The Lord Advocate

would bring on the subject the next day.

Sir R. Peel

said, that the only reason he had for postponing it was to give room for the adjourned debate, and thus obviate any complaint that might be made of unfair advantage being taken. He would not then pledge himself to any definite course respecting the further progress of the Bill, until he had heard the discussion.

Mr. E. Ellice

, jun., asked whether Government would state if they meant to adopt the clause?

Sir R. Peel

would not pledge himself to adopt it.

Sir G. Grey

If the hon. and learned Lord Advocate would state that he meant to abandon the clause, all necessity for discussion would be obviated.

Mr. Warburton

said, that the circumstances connected with the progress of this Bill were so peculiar as to call on the House for interference. It was first brought in without the objectionable clause; in its progress through the House the clause was surreptitiously inserted; the irregularity was discovered, the Bill was withdrawn, it was re-introduced without the clause, and sent up to the other House. Subsequently it was returned, the clause having been again inserted by their Lordships. He hoped, therefore, that either the clause would be withdrawn altogether, or another Bill be brought in by the noble and learned Lord.

Mr. Brotherton

doubted whether it was not an infringement of their privileges for the House of Lords to insert a clause which the House of Commons had previously discarded.

Lord J. Russell

said, that one of two courses might have been taken—either the clause might have been introduced into the Bill in that House, when it would have been fully considered, or it might have been entirely omitted, and not been supported by the Government; but here a different course was adopted; and the clause which had been objected to in the Commons, had been re-introduced on the third reading in the House of Lords.

Mr. Rutherfurd

would ask distinctly, did the Lord Advocate mean to adopt the clause or not? If he was not prepared to adopt it, then there was no reason for delay; the Amendments might be disposed of now.

Sir R. Peel

was not aware that the question would come on at that moment, and therefore he had not given it that attention which he otherwise should have done. He must say, he thought the objections made by the House of Commons against the clause on a former occasion appeared to him to be reasonably grounded. He did not consider it was right to establish a rule with respect to Scotland different from what prevailed in England. And, certainly, if it were proposed to make such a rule as this clause contained applicable to England, he should feel it to be open to very great objections. He had not at all changed his opinion on this subject. He did not see why any special exception should be made in favour of Scotland; and his own impression was against the clause. He did not think, however, that his hon. Friend (the Lord Advocate) was at present bound to state his opinion on the clause; but he would, of course, be prepared to do so when the Amendments came to be discussed.

Bill postponed to the next day.