HC Deb 07 March 1872 vol 209 cc1523-4

asked the Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works, If he can explain to the House how the charge on the Metropolitan rates of the pavilions erected in Hyde Park and elsewhere on the occasion of the National Thanksgiving, for the vestrymen of the Metropolis and their wives, could be lawfully incurred in pursuance of the provisions of the Metropolis Local Management Act, 1855, which especially restricts the powers of rating conferred on the Board to the following purposes—viz., Drainage, Paving, Cleansing, Lighting, and making improvements; if the proposed charge is not justified by the Act of 1855, it is proposed to justify it by any subsequent Act; and, if so, by what Act; and, if the advice of the legal advisers of the Metropolitan Board of Works has been taken on the legality of the proposed charge; and, if so, what their reply was; and, if not, if the honourable Member will undertake to have that advice taken, and state the result to the House on the earliest opportunity?


In answer to the Question of the noble Lord, I may remind him that there is no definition in the Metropolis Local Management Act of 1855, as to the meaning of the word "expenses." The Board are to levy the sums which, in their judgment, ought to be charged for defraying their expenses in the execution of the Act. Those expenses necessarily embrace everything connected with the duties of the Board, and are not restricted to the objects referred to in the Question. On the contrary, they include many other objects. The advice of the legal officer of the Board was not taken as to the charge, and I am not aware that the Board intend to ask that officer any question upon the subject. On the contrary, I assume that as the Board, in connection with their general functions, had previously provided public accommodation in the metropolis, they considered that they were fully justified, on an occasion of such extraordinary and deep interest to the nation, in affording an opportunity to the vestries and district boards to join with them in showing their loyalty and devotion to the Queen, and their joy at the recovery of the Prince of Wales from his dangerous illness. I may add, in conclusion, I believe that no corporation or municipal authority in the whole of Great Britain would have hesitated, under similar circumstances, to adopt a course so loyal and so justified by precedent.