HC Deb 12 March 1845 vol 78 cc727-9
Mr. Mackinnon

, after presenting petitions in favour of the Smoke Prohibition Bill, moved the second reading; expressing a hope the House would allow the Bill to be read a second time, and take the discussion at a future stage.

Mr. Hawes

wished the Bill to be referred to a Select Committee.

The Earl of Lincoln

did not think that any advantage would be gained by taking the second reading then, and the discussion upon going into Committee. He had made inquiries as to the practicability of abating the nuisance complained of, and within the last few days he had received additional information on the subject; but, nevertheless, he was not then prepared to enter into any particular consideration of the merits of the Bill. There was another reason why he wished the second reading to be adjourned. The House was aware that measures of a similar nature were contemplated by the Government; and the subject of his hon. Friend's Bill might be materially affected by the measures which the Government intended to propose. Under these circumstances, he hoped his hon. Friend would postpone the second reading of his Bill until after Easter.

Mr. Muntz

hoped the hon. Gentleman would take the noble Lord's advice, and also that he would alter his Bill in some important particulars. It was absurd to attempt, by legislation, to put down a nuisance which was so small that it was necessary to have inspectors to find it out.

Mr. Wakley

said, the principle of the Bill was universally approved of. Smoke was every where found to be a great nuisance. It was quite notorious that it might be got rid of, and it was in the power of Parliament to accomplish so desirable an object. He thought the best way of settling the matter satisfactorily was to refer the Bill to a Select Committee.

Sir R. Peel

would suggest that hon. Members should read the Report of the last Committee, and then they would be able to judge if any further evidence was was required. The hon. Member for Finsbury seemed to have spoken under the impression that there had been no Report. He understood there were two or three different modes of abating the nuisance.

Mr. Bright

said, there was a general feeling that the settlement of this question was a very easy matter. He thought that the perusal of the Report showed the extreme difficulty of legislation upon the subject. There was the greatest difference of opinion as to the principle of the Bill, and no lawyer in Wesminster Hall could explain its meaning. He thought the House might employ itself much better than in this peddling legislation, which never could be attended with useful and permanent results. He trusted, therefore, that the hon. Member would withdraw this Bill, and turn his attention to some more useful project of legislation.

Mr. Mackinnon

was surprised to hear the observations that had fallen from the hon. Member who had just sat down; and it was quite evident he was not aware that a local Bill, having the same enactments as this, had been adopted by Manchester and Leeds. He believed there could not be a second opinion that smoke was a nuisance which could very easily be abated. He should accede to the request of his noble Friend, and postpone the second reading of the Bill.

Mr. Cobden

said, the hon. Member, in referring to the remarks made by his hon. Friend the Member for Durham, had stated that similar provisions to those contained in his Bill were in force in Manchester. Now, he believed the Corporation of that town had power to enforce similar provisions, but they had postponed enforcing them until the present month of March. His hon. Friend had formerly suggested to the hon. Member, and he would now repeat the suggestion, whether it might not be advisable to postpone this measure until the result of the experiment about to be made in Manchester had been ascertained. The people of Manchester were strongly in favour of putting down the smoke nuisance, and the hon. Member would therefore find them ready to co-operate with him.

Second reading postponed.

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