HC Deb 21 July 1857 vol 147 cc133-4

said, he would beg leave to put a question, of which he had given notice, to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham), on the subject of the remarks that fell from him in delivering the decision of the Committee on the Mersey Conservancy Bill. The right hon. Baronet had stated upon that occasion that the Committee had felt relieved of a great difficulty involved in the question which had been referred to their consideration by the fact that the House had, in assenting to the second reading of the Bill, given their sanction to the principle on which it was founded. The question he wished to ask of the right hon. Baronet was, whether he had meant by that statement to express his belief that the House of Commons, by assenting to the second reading of a Private Bill, was to be considered, according to the present practice of the House, to have so far affirmed the principle of the measure as to preclude a Select Committee from inquiring into that subject?


said, he felt bound to ask the House whether the question was one which ought to be addressed by one hon. Member to another. There was the greatest licence allowed to Members in putting questions as to matters of fact; but the present question referred to a mere matter of opinion, and ought not, as he (Sir G. Grey) thought, to be asked.


said, that as a point of considerable importance, as regarded the conduct of their business, was involved in the question, he hoped Mr. Speaker, in that case, would state what was the rule of the House.


said, the hon. Member and the House must be aware that he had not the facts of the case before him in such a way as to enable him to express any opinion upon the point.


said, he would merely ask whether the House, in agreeing to the second reading of a Private Bill, was supposed, according to its present practice, to affirm the principle of the measure.


said, he considered the question raised to be one of great importance, and if his hon. Friend (Mr. J. Tollemache) wished to have the decision of the House on it—and the House might ultimately decide, whatever opinion Mr. Speaker might then express,—he ought to bring it forward on notice, and not trouble Mr. Speaker to express an opinion when the facts were not before him.