§ MR. J. W. PEASE
said, he was sorry to have to trouble the House at that late hour with any observations; but he wished to move an Instruction to the Select Committee on Railways, to inquire into the regulations of the Board of Trade as to Railways. He was aware that the Committee already had a tremendous amount of work to do, having to examine into the question of rates and fares on railways and the working of the Railway Commission; and he was sorry to be obliged to propose anything—that would cast more work upon them; but it would be impossible for them to go satisfactorily into the questions referred to them for consideration if they did not also consider the regulations of the Board of Trade as affecting the making, opening, and working of railways. No accident could take place on a railway without the power and influence of the Board of Trade being brought to bear upon the matter. In many cases the action of the Board of Trade prevented the Railway Companies from granting the facilities they would otherwise grant to the public; and though he knew the Department took every means in their power to insure the safety of passengers, he still felt that the Committee would not be aide to discharge the duties it was intended that it should discharge sinless the question of the regulations of the Board of Trade came before it. He would conclude by making the Motion of which he had given Notice.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That it be an Instruction to the Railways Committee, that they do inquire into the existing regulations of the Board of Trade as affecting the making, opening, and working of railways, and into the Acts of Parliament which authorise such regulations, and into the manner in which such regulations are carried out and enforced."—(Mr. J. W. Pease.)
§ MR. CHAMBERLAIN
would appeal to his hon. Friend the Member for South Durham (Mr. J. W. Pease) not to press the Motion on the House. The hon. Member had truly said that the Committee had already tremendous work to perform, and it would only be 1037 by the greatest difficulty that they would be able to conclude their work and report in reasonable time. They had to inquire into the fares and rates of railways, and consider the cases brought before them of special preference given in regard to fares and rates. If they were to open up all the matters the hon. Gentleman suggested, the result would be to choke up the Committee altogether. He really trusted his hon. Friend would rest satisfied with having raised the question, and would not press it to a division.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 9; Noes 26: Majority 17.—(Div. List, No. 159.)
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Select Committee on Railways do consist of Twenty-seven Members:—That Mr. BARNES, Mr. CAINE, Sir BALDWYN LEIGHTON, and Mr. PHIPPS be added to the Select Committee on Railways."—(Mr. Chamberlain.)
§ EARL PERCY
said, he did not wish to detain the House at that late hour for more than a few minutes; but he could not allow the Motion to pass without protesting against the enormous size of the Committee. The original constitution of the Committee was one to which great exception was taken; first of all, on account of its size—23 Members. It was notorious that the only consequence of making Committees so large was that Members did not attend regularly, and they could not get the same attendance day after day. One hon. Member attended one day and another another day; and the result was that, hearing different evidence, they came to different conclusions. Not only was this excessively confusing, but it led to a good deal of repetition in the examination of witnesses. He had no doubt he would be told that the size of the Committee had been increased to meet the views of those who did not like the original composition of it. He did not wish to throw any obstacle in the way of this arrangement, having pointed out the inconvenience, as a general rule, of making Committees too 1038 large. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, in giving his own idea of the composition of the Committee, made a most curious statement—namely, that out of 23 he counted 26, because those Gentlemen who represented two interests were counted twice over. [Cries of "Divide!"] He did not wish the House to divide, because, as he had said, he did not wish to oppose the appointment of the Committee. If the hon. Member opposite wished to divide the House of course he was at liberty to do so. He did not like to see these Committees appointed by the Whips, because the matter was in no way a Party one, and there was no reason why the choice of Members should not be made by the Committee of Selection and the House.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Ordered, That the Select Committee on Railways do consist of Twenty-seven Members.
§ Ordered, That Mr. BARNES, Mr. CAINE, Sir BALDWYN LEIGHTON, and Mr. PHIPPS be added to the Select Committee on Railways.