§ VISCOUNT EBRINGTON
said, the hon. Member for Montrose had stated in the discussion of the other evening, that two or three companies were ready to enter into competition with the present water companies of the metropolis. He himself had not heard of so many; but he still wished to ask the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary whether, in the event of a new company being formed to execute combined works of water supply, sewerage, and house drainage, for the entire metropolis, in conformity with the principles already recognised by the Legislature and the Government—(the company acting not as an independent proprietary body, but only as contractors, engaging to be subject to the terms, conditions, and control of any competent superintending authority which the Legislature might see fit to constitute for the purpose)—whether in that case the Government would withdraw their present partial measure, applying only to the water supply of the metrolis, and would sanction such an effort on the part of the inhabitants to secure for themselves the benefit of such combined works and consolidated administration?
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, it was impossible for him to give a specific answer to a question of this nature. It assumed that a Bill would be assented to by Parliament of a much more comprehensive nature than that which he had brought in, and that it would accomplish several most important objects to the satisfaction of the metropolis. He could only say, that if his noble Friend could obtain leave to bring in a Bill of which the provisions would include the important objects stated in his question, he should be happy to consider its details, and even to see it passed in preference to the one he had himself brought in. He had not said that two or three companies were ready to contract for the supply of water to the metropolis, but that if the existing companies should re- 593 fuse the terms offered to them on the part of the Government, other parties might be found who would be ready to contract for that purpose.