§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ MR. BRYCE
said, he had placed a Notice on the Paper of his intention to move the rejection of this Bill, on the ground that it interfered with a very valuable and important common—namely, the town moor of Newcastle-on-Tyne, a large portion of which it proposed to take. The promoters of the Bill, he was glad to say, had recognized the objections raised to the Bill, and had agreed to run through the moor in a tunnel, and to restore to the moor as much common land as they proposed to take from it. Under those circumstances, the objections which many hon. Members felt to this Bill had been fairly met, and he had no further opposition to make to it.
§ LIEUTENANT-COLONEL MILNE HOME
said, that after so protracted a debate as that which they had just had, he would not weary the House by trespassing long upon its time. But after what had transpired on Thursday, when the Bill was last before the House, he thought it his duty not to let the second reading pass without saying a very few words. On that occasion neither of his hon. Friends whose names were on the back of the Bill were present to explain its provisions, and the second reading was moved by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Stockton (Mr. Dodds), who subsequently stated that something had been done with the provisions of the Bill, and that he believed all opposition was withdrawn. He (Lieutenant-Colonel Milne Home), therefore, took the opportunity of stating that his constituents were opposed to the passing of this Bill; and he felt it his duty to come and support the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Bryce) in his opposition. The hon. Member himself was not in his place on Thursday; and he thought it was due to him, as well as due to his hon. Friends the promoters of the Bill, to allow the discussion to be postponed until this day. He now found that the opposition of the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets (Mr. Bryce) was withdrawn, and the House had heard from him that his objections had been met by the promoters of the Bill. He only trusted that the objections he (Lieutenant-Colonel Milne Home) had to take would be equally met. Without going into the nature of the objections raised by the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets, it was enough to observe that they arose at the Southern end of the proposed railway; whereas his (Lieutenant-Colonel Milne Home's) objections were entirely with regard to the Northern portion of the line, and they might be very shortly stated. They were, it was true, only of a local nature; but he contended that they involved a principle which it was fair to bring before the House of Commons. The principle was simply this—that if the Bill were passed in its entirety, he believed it would unwarrantably interfere with the existing commercial interests of the borough of Berwick-upon-Tweed, which was at the Northern section of the line. He need not go into any detail upon that subject, because he had presented 351 two Petitions to the House from the Town Council of Berwick and the Harbour Commissioners; and he might say that on two points it appeared that the commercial interests of Berwick would be interfered with. First, as to the direction of the line—the Northern portion of it. If it were carried out as proposed, it would divert the traffic from the existing route, and the traffic would have to go by a circuitous route and would be taken away from the present channel at Berwick, which was the out-port of that part of Northumberland and the principal market towns connected with that district. He could not help contending that it was wrong in principle to interfere, without some sort of compensation, with those existing interests. More than that, a Bill had already passed a second reading in the House, which was promoted by the North Eastern Railway Company, which already possessed the Northern part of Northumberland. The line laid down in that Bill went through almost identically the same district of country, although he was free to admit that it did not confer such special advantages on two or three landed proprietors as the Central Northumberland Line did. But they ought to preserve the rights of the community rather than improve the personal interests of two or three landed proprietors. He did not mean to take upon himself at this stage the sole responsibility of so strong an action as moving that the Bill be read a second time six months hence; but he did hope that his hon. Friends who had charge of the Bill would give effect to the views which he had ventured to express. All that he had further to say was this—that if the Bill came downstairs unaltered in the direction he had ventured to point out, he should reserve to himself the right of moving the rejection of the Bill when it reached the House again.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed.