§ Ordered, That, in the case of the Dublin Corporation Bill, returned by the House of Lords with an Amendment, the Standing Orders be suspended, and that the Lords Amendment to the Commons Amendments be considered forthwith.—(Mr. Arthur Balfour.)
§ Lords Amendment considered.
Question put, after Clause F, inserted by the Commons, insert the following Clause:—
If at any time it appears to the Lord Lieutenant after investigation that the expenses specified in Section 27 of 'The Collection of Rates Act, 1849,' in relation to the rates for the time being collected by the Collector General, regard being had to due and reasonable economy, are such that the limit of two pounds ten shillings in the said section mentioned will not be sufficient to discharge such expenses, the Lord Lieutenant may by order made by and with the consent of the Privy Council direct that the said limit shall, for a period to be named in the order, be such amount greater than two pounds ten shillings as shall under the circumstances be necessary to discharge such expenses, and thereupon the said section shall with respect to such period be read and construed as if the amount specified in the said order were inserted in the said section in relation to the rates in this section before-mentioned, instead of the amount of two pounds ten shillings.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ *(5.2.) MR. HASTINGS (Worcestershire, E.)
Sir, it is within my knowledge that a statement was made in another place which reflects somewhat on the character for efficiency of the Police and Sanitary Committee of this House. That Committee consists of 11 Members, and it was said that not more than six Members as a rule attend, and by implication that no more Members were present when we decided 964 that the Dublin Municipal Corporation were to collect their own rates. It is only this morning that I had the opportunity of referring to the Minutes of the Committee, and I find that on every occasion during which the Police and Sanitary Committee met on the Dublin Corporation Bill, ranging from the 29th April to the 21st May, there were only three occasions on which the numbers came as low as six. On all other occasions the number ranged from eight to ten, and on the particular occasion on which the Committee arrived at a conclusion with regard to the collection of these Municipal Rates, out of the 11 members 10 were present. They were present from the beginning to the end; the whole matter was most thoroughly and exhaustively discussed; and the conclusion was unanimous.
§ (5.6.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I wish to confirm what the Chairman has said. There were present 10 members, representing the four Parties in the House, and they were unanimous.
§ (5.7.) MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
I ought to mention to the House that a question of very great gravity has arisen upon this Amendment. It is the fact that the collection of the rates in Dublin was fixed by a Public Act in 1849, and it is a question whether the Lords can interfere in any way with a Public Act. We have in a Private Bill abandoned the collection of rates under the Public Act, and it becomes a question of considerable difficulty whether the Lords Amendment is an infringement of the limitation laid down by a Public Act, and is an action on the part of the Lords which we ought to disallow. The matter is one of considerable doubt, and I have not had very much time to give it consideration. But those who advise me entertain the very strongest doubt whether it is not an infraction of our privileges. At the same time, there can be no doubt about the propriety of the Amendment. On further consideration, it appears to me that what the Lords have done has been to call attention to certain things omitted by this House, and which are 965 necessary and consequent upon the action taken by this House. Under these circumstances, we must allow the Amedment to be accepted as a necessary consequence of our own acts, and not as something which originated in the Lords. I think it would be well that a note should be entered in the Minutes, to show that we did not admit any infraction of the privileges of this House.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Of any infraction of the privileges of this House I should be the first to take notice. I have considered the subject, and I have given directions that if this Amendment is accepted a special entry shall be made in the Journals of the House, to the effect that this House, while disapproving of any infraction of its privileges or rights by the other House, in this case waives its claim to insist upon its privileges. Under these circumstances, I hope the House will admit that no harm has been done to the privileges of this House, and that this Amendment is a Consequential Amendment on the Amendment of the Commons, and only carries out the full intentions of this House. I hope on those terms, and with that full explanation, that the House will allow the Amendment of the Lords to pass with this note entered in the Journals.