HC Deb 29 February 1876 vol 227 cc1119-20

Sir, I beg to give Notice that on Monday next I will ask the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Claud John Hamilton), whether he is a Director and Deputy Chairman of the Great Eastern Railway Company; whether the Company was concerned or interested in preventing the second reading of the Bill promoted by the Metropolitan Railway Company for the extension of the line from Aldgate to Whitechapel, and from Hammersmith to Walham Green and Fulham; whether, under the circumstances, he issued to large numbers of Members of this House private circulars asking them to attend the House, and to support the Motion for rejection of the second reading of the Bill; whether in this circular the name of a Member of this House was mentioned as the Mover of the second reading; and whether the names of the Members at the back of the Bill were also given? Should the noble Lord reply in the affirmative, I shall ask the highest authority in this House the following Question:—Whether the practice of rejecting Private Bills on the second reading, by a majority in this House, through the private solicitation of Members, will or will not tend to restore the evils which this House proposed to redress when it abolished Committees of the Whole House and established Select Committees; and further, whether a Deputy Chairman of a Railway Company interested in the question is acting in accordance with the spirit of the Rules and Orders 435, 436, and 437, by privately soliciting Members to refuse a hearing for petitioners for a Private Bill?


I must put it to the hon. Member that the Question proposed to be put to the noble Lord goes far beyond the limits of a Question, and should it be submitted to the House, it should assume the form of a substantive Motion.


Of course, Sir, I bow to your decision; but I beg to give Notice that on Thursday next I shall repeat the Question in another form.