HC Deb 26 June 1856 vol 142 cc1993-4

I wish, Sir, to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is now prepared to state to the House what course he intends to adopt respecting the London Corporation Bill?


Sir, when a similar question was asked me a few nights ago, I said that I would state during the week the course I intended to adopt with regard to the London Corporation Bill, which stands for a second reading to-night. I am prepared to do so now, or when the Order of the Day is read. I am very unwilling to give up the hope of passing the Bill during the present Session; but I have not been able, owing to the pressure of other business, to fix an earlier day for the second reading. I had hoped to have done so last week, but in consequence of an alteration in the business of the House other matters of importance had to be postponed, and I was unable to bring the Bill on, and I am in the same condition this week. My hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General long since promised to proceed, on the earliest open day, with the Wills and Administrations Bill, the second reading of which he intends to move this evening; and to-morrow evening is, I believe, fixed for the Committee of Supply. I do not apprehend there will be any difficulty in inducing the House to agree to the second reading of the London Corporation Bill; but what I have now to consider is, whether, if it be read a second time, there is any probability, during the remaining portion of the Session, of securing sufficient time for the consideration in this and the other House of Parliament of the important details of the measure, upon which a difference of opinion must necessarily exist even among those who would agree to the second reading; and I am afraid I cannot hope for that result. I therefore, Sir, think it would be better not to occupy the time of the House by proposing the second reading when there is no reasonable prospect of our being able to pass the Bill during the present Session. I have received various suggestions of importance since the Bill was printed from persons who are friendly to it, and these suggestions are entitled to much consideration. My belief is that the best course will be to ask leave to withdraw the Bill with the intention of introducing it at the earliest period next Session. Though the suggestions which have been made are entitled to consideration, so far as the details are concerned, I cannot hold out any hope that the Bill will be altered in its material features, founded as it is on the reports of two Commissions of Inquiry. I hope when it is introduced next Session that the House will give it their immediate attention, more especially as there will be no pretence for asking for that delay which has been strongly urged upon me during the present Session, because the Bill had not been seen by the authorities of the City, or those interested in its provisions. When the Order of the Day for the second reading of this Bill is read, I shall then move that it be discharged.