HC Deb 07 August 1883 vol 282 cc1852-3

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will give any assurance that the Rivers Conservancy and Floods Prevention Bill will be introduced and pressed forward by the Government at au early period of next Session?


asked whether the Government would not, next Session, consider the propriety of conferring upon County Boards the powers of Sealing with the question, and so postpone the Bill until after the discussion of the scheme of Local Government in the Counties?


Sir, as I have had charge of this Bill in several Sessions, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has asked me to answer the Question. It would be rash to anticipate the demands upon our time which may arise next Session; but those, both in the House and out of it, who are interested in this question, may rest assured that I regret, as deeply as any Member of the House, not being able to proceed with the Bill, and the Government remain as anxious as ever to pass it. If the Bill has not been put forward more this Session, it was only because it has already passed the House of Lords, it has been read more than once a second time in this House, and it has passed through a Select Committee, both in this and in the other House; and, under those circumstances, we did not think it worth while to press its earlier stages, unless we saw our opportunity of obtaining the judgment of the House on the Bill in its final stages. This we have, unfortunately, not had an opportunity of doing this Session. With regard to the Question of my hon. Friend (Mr. Rylands), we are not insensible of the advantages there might be in conferring this power on County Boards; but, at the same time, my hon. Friend will see that rivers by no means fall within the limits of a county—in fact, they often form the boundary between counties; and, therefore, the two matters are not necessarily connected.