HC Deb 03 March 1882 vol 267 cc6-8

Order for Second Reading read.

SIR CHARLES FORSTER moved that the Bill be now read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Charles Forster.)


said, that he had placed a Notice on the Paper of his intention to move the rejection of this Bill; and he wished to call the attention of the House to one of the provisions contained in it. It was a Bill brought in by the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway Company for the purpose of conferring additional powers upon that Company and upon the Cheshire Lines Railway Company, and for other purposes. Among those purposes he found a clause—No. 15 in the Bill— which altogether altered the law in regard to grouping. It allowed the Companies to group certain collieries or coal pits on their line, within a radius of 20 miles, and permitted them to charge exactly the same amount for the conveyance of coal from all the collieries, although some were 20 miles further away from the common destination than other pits. Now, the law with regard to grouping had been laid down in the Denaby Main Case by the decision of the Railway Commissioners. The Commissioners said— The reasons given in this case do not justify the exceptional way in which the rates are charged. The pits are grouped because they all work the same bed of coal; but the grouping seems to us to be carried too far when it is applied compulsorily to a coal field extending 20 miles, and covering an area in which the pits may be that distance apart. He would only read from the decision of the Commissioners one more sentence, in which they said— We come, on the whole, to the conclusion that the grouping system, as it affects the applicant, does subject him to undue and unreasonable prejudice. The Commissioners ruled accordingly. The Bill now before the House proposed to alter the law in regard to that case. When he discovered that it did so he gave Notice last Monday that he would move the rejection of the second reading of the Bill. Since that time he had seen the parties who were responsible for the Bill, and they had given an undertaking that Clause 15 should be withdrawn entirely. Under these circumstances, he should not have considered it necessary to do more than state the reasons which had induced him to place a Notice of Opposition against the Bill, if it were not for a circumstance which had since come to his knowledge—namely, that some colliery owners intended in Committee to move the re-insertion of the very clause which had been agreed to be struck out by the promoters of the Bill. He had only to add that if the clause was re-inserted by the Committee the Bill would have his most determined opposition when it came down for a third reading. As the matter now stood, he did not intend to move the rejection of the second reading.


said, that the promoters of the Bill would meet the objections of his hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Monk) by striking out Clause 15 and altering the Preamble accordingly.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed.