§ SIR JOSEPH PEASE (Durham, Barnard Castle)
asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether, on the expiration of the London Coal Dues in July, 1889, it would be within the power of the Corporation or other City authority to exercise an alleged obsolete right of measuring or weighing all coals coming within the Port of London under certain Charters of James I. and James II., or other alleged title, and to levy, therefore, a due of 8d. or some other sum per ton; and, if so, whether Her Majesty's Government propose to take any steps to repeal such a power?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER) (Isle of Wight)
In reply to the hon. Baronet, I cannot express any opinion upon an abstract and very difficult question of law, and one which depends on the exact nature of any claim which might be made by the Corporation. As regards the latter part of the Question, I am authorized to state that in the event of any such claim being made, Her Majesty's Government will carefully consider the whole subject.
§ MR. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
asked, whether, having regard to the great importance of the question, not only to the coal-owners but to the inhabitants of the Metropolis, the hon. and learned Gentleman would undertake to inquire into the matter, and, if he found the Corporation had such intention, whether he would advise the Government to bring in a Bill on the matter before the close of the Session?
§ SIR RICHARD WEBSTER
said, it was impossible for him to give such an undertaking, because he did not, in any way, represent the Corporation, and did not know what claim they were going to make.