§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. SPEAKER
stated that before the Order of the Day was proceeded with, it was right that he should point out that the Bill contained clauses which imposed a tax upon the people, and ought therefore to have been introduced into this House, and not into the other House of Parliament: but that as the Promoters were not responsible for the introduction of the Bill into the other House, and had signified their intention to withdraw these clauses, he submitted to the House that this course would be sufficient, under the circumstances, to repair the irregularity.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
said, the Speaker had called attention to a Question of Privilege to which it was not his intention to refer; but as he had given Notice that he should oppose the clauses alluded to, he wished to say that his opposition was founded, not merely on the point of Privilege, but on the fact that the promoters of the Bill had proposed to take power to levy a tax which, in his opinion, the House would not allow any private parties to levy, and which could only be sanctioned on the proposal of Her Majesty's Government. It would have been, in fact, a general tax, which 1677 the House of Commons alone was accustomed to impose. He should, however, be satisfied with the withdrawal of the obnoxious clauses, and would also withdraw the opposition of which he had given Notice.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, that as one of the Members for Bradford, his attention had been called to the existence of the taxing clauses after the Bill had passed through the House of Lords, and after the objection against them had been raised. On behalf of the promoters he could only state that they were entirely unaware that the introduction of the Bill in the House of Lords was likely to affect any Privilege of this House. Had they been aware of this they would certainly not have sanctioned its introduction into the other House of Parliament. He undertook, on their behalf that they would do their utmost to have the objectionable clauses withdrawn in Committee, and also any allusion to them which might occur in the Preamble of the Bill. With regard to the opposition raised by his hon. Friend opposite, which affected not only the Question of Privilege but the question of inserting clauses in regard to taxation, it was not the opinion of the promoters that the clauses would have had the effect ascribed to them. He would not enter into the question as to whether it would or would not be desirable that in any public Bill there should be such a provision. He was glad the hon. Gentleman opposite was satisfied with the assurance that the clauses would be withdrawn.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time and committed.