HC Deb 05 July 1878 vol 241 cc944-9

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [19th June], "That the Bill be now taken into Consideration."

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill considered.


proposed to amend an Amendment which had been made at the end of Clause 2, by inserting words intended to protect existing leases of property belonging to the London City Companies.

Amendment proposed, To the Bill, in the words inserted in the Committee, at the end of Clause 2, viz., "the court, in determining the amount of compensation to be paid to any person making any such claim, shall take into consideration of the terms of the lease, the rent at which the premises were held, and any stipulation, proviso, covenant, or agreement therein contained or referred to for the erection of buildings or the making any improvements by the lessee," by leaving out from the word "into," in line 2, to the end of the said words, in order to insert the words "account in reduction of the claim any express stipulation, proviso, covenant, or agreement for the erection of buildings or making any other improvements by the lessee, contained or referred to in the lease, or subject to which the holding shall have been demised,"—(Mr. Isaac,) instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."


complained that no Notice had been given of the Amendment. He was not aware of its character; and in order that he and other Irish Members should have an opportunity of considering it, he moved the adjournment of the debate.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned." —(Mr. Butt.)


said, the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) did not seem aware that an agreement had been made, by which, as he understood, all opposition was to be withdrawn.


knew nothing of any compromise on the subject.


was bound to say there was very considerable force in what had fallen from, the hon. and learned Gentleman. He himself was not oven acquainted with the wording of the Amendment now proposed without Notice. The object of the Amendment introduced in Committee with the full assent of the promoters of the Bill, he understood to be the preservation of vested interests. It did not seem to him to effect that object; but if the promoters of the Bill, and also those who had moved Amendments, were satisfied, he should not oppose it. Perhaps, under the circumstances, his noble Friend who had charge of the Bill would not insist upon going on with it at that late hour, in the absence of any means of ascertaining what were really the intentions of those responsible for the measure, or how far the words proposed would effect their ostensible object.


said, there was no doubt that an Amendment had been accepted in Committee. It was, that where there was any special covenant or agreement in a lease with respect to any buildings or improvements, that should be taken into consideration. That was a perfectly right and fair provision, and in a Bill he introduced some years ago there was a similar Proviso. So many objections to the measure were raised in the North of Ireland, that he gave a pledge not to proceed with it, and it would be inconsistent if such a provision were now agreed to. As the Bill had been so long before the House, he trusted the hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) would not press his Motion, but would allow the debate to proceed.


confessed that although he had read the Amendment twice over, he could not understand it. He might do so after further consideration; and, therefore, he should support the hon. and learned Gentleman in his Motion.


thought the House should proceed with the Bill. With regard to the words proposed to be added, he thought they would constitute a most injurious provision; because a tenant who took a lease for building was not to be entitled to have the buildings taken into consideration in dealing with his tenant-rights. He thought such a provision would endanger the Bill; whereas, if it were allowed to go through the House in the form in which it was introduced, it would settle points upon which a great grievance had arisen in the North of Ireland. He should suggest that the Motion should be withdrawn.


considered that the House should have a further opportunity of discussing the very important Amendment which had been proposed.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 19; Noes 52: Majority 33.—(Div. List, No. 198.)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."— (Sir Joseph M'Kenna.)


thought there had been some misunderstanding with regard to the Bill. He apprehended that when the Bill was in Committee, an Amendment was moved to add to Clause 2, a Proviso— That the Court, in determing the amount of compensation to be awarded to any person claiming under the Bill, should take into consideration in the construction of his lease the rent it which he held, and any stipulation as to erection of buildings or making other improvements. That was felt by those taking the tenant's view of the question to be rather harsh, as it shut out every leaseholder from the benefit of the Bill. He now understood that an agreement had been made in relation to that provision. The Amendment which he held in his hands had never been printed, and was before no Member of the House who had not a manuscript copy. This mitigated Amendment, which was moved in Committee, limited the reduction of claim that should take place to any express stipulation or covenant for the erection of buildings, or for farming improvements. He thought the Amendment should be made clearer in its provisions, and, as it had not been printed, he should suggest that the debate should be adjourned. In the meantime, it would be well for the Amendment to be more clearly and explicitly drawn.


said, after the speech made by the hon. and learned Member opposite, he thought there would be some difficulty in the matter; and, therefore, he thought the best thing to do would be to ask the House to adjourn the discussion until Monday.


wished to say, that, in the course he had taken, he had not had the slightest wish to obstruct the Bill. The last Amendment was perfectly hostile, and would destroy the whole principle of the Bill. The Committee, to whom the Bill had been referred, ought to take the responsibility of that Amendment on themselves; whereas they allowed that Amendment to come from the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Isaac), who knew as much about tenant-right in Ireland as he (Mr. Butt) did of the municipal affairs of Nottingham. The Amendment ought to be printed before it was discussed; and he thought it a suspicious thing that those who brought in the Bill did not take the responsibility of it.


desired to say a few words why the Amendment accepted in Committee was not brought before the House. That Amendment certainly ought to have been printed, and placed in the hands of Members; but he presumed hon. Members were aware of the fact of the Amendment being accepted when the Bill was in Committee. When the Bill was in Committee, the Amendment was moved, not by one of its promoters, but by the same hon. Gentleman who had proposed it that night, and he was persuaded to modify it and again bring it before the House, which he had done.


said, his position in the matter was a very peculiar one. Although he proposed the Amendments, they were really Amendments of owners of large property in Ulster—because if the Bill passed as it was originally brought in, landlords who had let property on long leases and on favourable terms, as the tenants were to do the improvements, would, at the expiration of those leases, have to pay compensation for improvements practically allowed for in the reduced rents paid and the long leases granted. When the Bill was unexpectedly brought before the Committee in the absence of the hon. Baronet the Member for Maidstone, he moved the Amendment, which was accepted by the promoters, after having been modified. On the Report it was proposed to omit the words added in Committee, which, being opposed, the Report was postponed. In consequence of that, the Bill had stood over, and it was somewhat unfortunate that the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Butt) had not been in his place to watch its progress. His Amendment, which had been accepted by the promoters of the Bill, was designed to benefit the owners of large property in the North of Ireland, whose interests the House was bound to protect as well as those of other landlords or tenants.


wished the hon. Member for Nottingham would make himself acquainted with the leases granted by the Landed Companies in the North of Ireland, and then he would not think they would be injured by this Bill. These Companies stood exactly in the same position as other landlords, inasmuch as when a lease expired there was always a re-arrangement of the rent, and if it was considered too low, it was raised. He hoped the hon. and learned Member for Limerick would pursue his intention of opposing the Bill at this stage. It would be impossible to understand the Amendment until it was printed.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.


suggested to the hon. Member for Nottingham, whether the Amendment should not be printed in his name, and not in the name of the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Charles Lewis). The hon. Member for Nottingham had told the House that he represented the Estate Companies in the North of Ireland, and therefore they could only be represented indirectly by the hon. Member for Londonderry.


said, unless the Amendment was printed its effect could not be understood. Before the Report, the Bill, as amended, should be printed.


said, he thought the object of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Limerick would be entirely gained, when he said the Amendment would appear in the Notice Paper every day the Bill appeared.


said, he understood that it was now proposed to strike out the Amendment as accepted by the Committee; but he would remind the House that, having been accepted, it was no longer an Amendment.


said, he proposed to deal with that which originally was an Amendment.

Further Proceeding on Consideration, as amended, deferred till Monday next.