HC Deb 09 June 1856 vol 142 cc1215-8

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


said, he objected to the Bill on a point of form, as it proposed to give certain compensation charged on the Consolidated Fund, and therefore should have been introduced in a Committee of the whole House.


said, that the hon. Member had raised the same objection a few nights before. He had examined the question, and found that the 17 & 18 Viet. c. 94, had removed those charges from the Consolidated Fund to the annual Estimates; and the Bill was therefore correct in point of form.


said, he would ask the Government whether, at that hour —just one o'clock—it was decent to take a Bill with 185 clauses, objected to as it was by all parties in Dublin?


said, he hoped the Bill would be allowed to pass a second reading. He believed it was not objected to on principle. It was only a consolidation Bill.


said, that he was surprised to hear such a statement. The Bill was vehemently objected to by the people of Dublin, and it was very different from a consolidation Bill. It extended the provisions of the Act it professed to consolidate; for example, as to enabling the Lord Lieutenant to include parishes in the police districts of the city within ten miles round it. The whole county might as well at once be included. Then, again, there was an extraordinary provision as to the police magistrates and police "Commissioners," as they were called in this Bill. To all intents the magistrates had hitherto been deemed as superior authorities; but this clause made them subordinate. It was so important, however, that a consolidation Bill, or some good Bill for the regulation of the police in Dublin should be adopted, that he was quite ready to make a compromise with the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland, which was this—that the Bill should be read a second time now and referred to a Select Committee, with power to examine witnesses, and decide on the course to be afterwards pursued. Let the right hon. Gentleman adopt that course, and he (Mr. Grogan) would agree to the second reading now. If not, he should feel it to be his duty to move, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. By taking that course he believed no injury would accrue either to the city of Dublin, or to the parties whom it was proposed to benefit by the Bill; whilst an opportunity would be given for making the measure satisfactory to all classes concerned. On the other hand, if the right hon. Gentleman proceeded with the Bill he was afraid that, in accordance with the wishes of the corporation and inhabitants of Dublin, he should have to give it all the opposition in his power. He begged to move, therefore, that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


said, if he were to accede to the proposal of the hon. Member for Dublin they would be unable to pass the Bill during the present Session. The objections that the hon. Gentleman made were rather objections of detail, which could be more properly discussed in Committee. It was, he maintained, only a consolidation Bill which had been drawn without any intention to alter the existing law, and if any alteration had been made, he was ready to remedy that in Committee.


said, that the citizens of Dublin entertained a general objection to the whole system of the police of that city, which they were anxious should not be sanctioned by the passing of any such Bill as that before the House. He particularly objected to the 149th clause, by which a constable was empowered to arrest a person without a warrant for, among other things, the use of obscene language. The other day, a number of persons were taken before the magistrates, of course by the direction of the Police Commissioners, charged with using such language, and, when questioned as to what that language was, a policeman replied that they had said, "Damn the police!"


said, he thought there was a strong primâ facie case against the Bill, inasmuch as it went directly in the face of the constituted authorities of Dublin.


said, that the objections to details which had been urged were the best reasons for going on with the Bill. They were all objections to the existing law, which if the Bill were not proceeded with, must remain unaltered; but which might, if they went into Committee, be amended. The Bill was substantially a consolidation Bill, reducing into one that which was now scattered over thirteen confused Acts of Parliament. At the same time it reduced the number of magistrates from nine to five, and thus tended to lessen the public burdens.


said, he was of opinion that the Bill should be referred to a Select Committee. He knew nothing more unmerciful, on the part of the Attorney General for Ireland, than to inflict this Bill, containing 185 clauses, on a Committee of the House. No doubt it would be a rich intellectual treat; but he thought, with so many details, the matter should be referred to a Select Committee.

COLONEL TAYLOR moved the adjournment of the debate.


said, he hoped the House would read the Bill a second time now, and leave the question of referring it to a Select Committee for future consideration. Of course the Government were open to receive, and ready to entertain, suggestions on the subject of the proposed change in the law.


said, he must complain that neither the corporation nor the magistracy of Dublin had yet had an opportunity of considering the Bill.


said, that the Bill was conceived in the same spirit as the Counties and Boroughs Police Bill, which English Members had so much opposed. For the sake, then, of consistency, he had a right to call upon English Members to oppose the precipitate second reading of the measure, which was just as much a blow against the principle of local self-government as the objectionable English Bill.


said, it was of importance that the Bill should be got through in the course of the present Session; but that certainly could not be done if it were referred to a Select Committee, except under the assistance and forbearance of the House. No doubt the best tribunal for discussing the details of the Bill would be a Select Committee; but then, if that course were adopted, it must be understood that the House would accept the Bill as it came down from the Committee. However, the Government would rather that the Bill should be read a second time at once, and the question of referring it to a Select Committee reserved for future consideration.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."

The House divided:—Ayes 52; Noes 65; Majority 13.

Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

Whereupon Motion made, and Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."

The House divided:—Ayes 46; Noes 69: Majority 23.

Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

Debate arising; Debate adjourned till Thursday.

The House adjourned at a quarter after Two o'clock.