§ Lords Amendments considered; as far as the Amendment in page 11, line 21, agreed to.
§ Clause 21A (Assessment of Railways), the next Amendment, read a second time.
MR. ROWLEY HILL
, in moving that the House do agree with the Lords in the said Amendment, said, he felt that he occupied a somewhat anomalous 661 position, seeing that the promoters of the Bill, the Worcester Corporation, had used every endeavour to secure the rejection of the clause proposed on be-half of the Great Western Railway Company. Before the Committee of the House of Commons the point was argued with the result that the Committee were unanimous in rejecting the clause. The Bill then in duo course vent to the Lords, and the Committee of the Lords inserted the clause. An attempt was made to obtain the re-committal of the Bill for the purpose of having the clause discussed; but that was objected to by the Chairman, of the Committee, the Earl of Limerick, who thought that such a course would imply a reproach to the Committee, and subsequently Earl Beau-champ, on behalf of the promoters, proposed to leave out the clause on third reading. That Motion was opposed and rejected on a division by 37 to 17, and it then became a question whether he, on behalf of the promoters, should ask the House of Commons to disagree with the Lords' Amendment, for his conviction was just as strong as at first that the rating exemption allowed by the clause was an improper Amendment. It was only under stress of the pressure arising from the fear of losing the Bill altogether that he now ventured to ask the House to agree with the Amendment. The promoters had taken counsel with parties interested, and they were told that if the House now disagreed with the Amendment it would be hopeless to think of passing the Bill; it would be lost, and in such a ease a severe penalty would be inflicted upon the City of Worcester. The Lords had introduced a clause which was condemned by many persons, but the Corporation were not responsible for that; they had done their utmost to prevent it, and they now asked the House not to tax the City of Worcester with the still more evil consequences that would arise from the rejection of the Bill. Very important sanitary arrangements partially carried out would be stopped, and the loss would be great. In asking the House to accept a Motion he did not approve, but which, under the circumstances, was expedient, he found a parallel in recent proceedings of the House upon an important public measure. A proposal was introduced in an important Bill to which a majority of 662 the House attached great importance as a matter of principle. That was rejected by the other House of Parliament, and yet the Leaders of the majority in the Commons advised acceptance of the Lords' Amendment, not, as they said, because they approved of it, but because an opposite course would jeopardize the Bill, and so the Lords' Amendment on the subject of medical relief was accepted, merely because time was short, and otherwise the object of the Registration Bill would have been imperilled. For similar reasons, he begged; the House to accept the Amendment to this Bill, and hoped that he would be supported by others who yet, as he did, disapproved of the clause in itself.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with The Lords in the said Amendment."—(Mr. Rowley Hill.)
§ MR. ATKINSON
agreed in many of the remarks just made, but not in the Motion moved by the hon. Member. He said it was an improper clause, which could not be too strongly reprobated, but he asked the House to agree to it, because, he said, it would be prejudicial to the interests of Worcester if the House did not. The answer to that surely was that if it would be prejudicial to the City of Worcester on the one hand, and to the prejudice of all the rating authorities of the country on the other hand, then the City of Worcester ought to give way. He should vote a negative to the Motion.
§ SIR. GABRIEL GOLDNEY
said, he hoped the House would agree with the Lords' Amendment for several reasons. First, because if the House did not do so, it would put an end to those negotiations and courtesies under which Private Bill legislation was conducted. The Great Western Railway Company opposed the Preamble of the Bill before the Committee, and without producing any evidence, they requested to have a clause of this sort inserted in the exact form provided by the Public Health Act of 1875, under which they claimed partial exemption from the local rate. The Corporation of Worcester, for some reason or other, sought to pass this Bill to enable them to extend the boundaries of their borough, and include within those boundaries some 2,000 acres of what was almost all agricultural land, with a 663 sparse population not exceeding three persons to an acre. That was with the view of making promenades, drives, or other purposes having nothing to do with sanitary regulations. The Great Western Railway, who had a line on the estate, and who within the borough paid their share of the rates, objected, and said—"if you want to do this, you should give us—
§ Message to attend the Lords Commissioners;—
§ The House went;—and being returned;—
§ Mr. SPEAKER reported, the Royal Assent to several Bills.