§ THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS (Mr. COURTNEY,) Cornwall, Bodmin
It may be in the recollection of the House that last year I had to recommend the adoption of a Bill concerning the Taff Vale Railway, in which the question of dividing the ordinary Stock was considered. On that occasion the boon which it was proposed to confer on the stockholders was balanced by their consenting to the limitation of the profit on Stock, and to the insertion of a provision that if the profits on the Stock exceeded the dividend provided, the excess of profit should be devoted to the reduction of fares, or in making provision for better accommodation. I then mentioned that, in the ease of other Bills, coming forward, it might be desirable that they should be considered by a strong Committee of this House, or by a Joint Committee of both Houses. There are three Bills of this kind now before the House; and I intend to propose that they shall be referred to a Hybrid Committee, with power to hear evidence on both sides, and to consider what provision in the public interests ought to be inserted in them. I may mention that one of them is the Caledonian Bill, which, being technically an unopposed Bill, has been referred to me as Chairman of Ways and Means. Under the Standing Order I am empowered to mention the matter to the House, in order that they may decide whether it is one which is fit to be dealt with as an opposed measure—that is to say, that it should be considered by a Hybrid Committee. Considering the vast interests involved, I think it is not too much to ask the House to deal with the question. I beg now to move—That the Caledonian Railway (Conversion of Stock) Bill, the Great Northern Railway (Capital). Bill, and the London and South-Western Railway (Conversion of Stock) Bill, he referred to-a Select Committee consisting of nine Members, five to he nominated by the House and four by the Committee of Selection.1237That, subject to the Rules, Orders, and Proceedings of this House, all Petitions against the said Bills be referred to the Committee, and that such of the Petitioners as pray to be heard by themselves, their Counsel, Agents, or Witnesses, be heard upon their Petitions, if they think fit, and Counsel heard in favour of the said Bills against such Petitions.That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.That Five be the quorum.
§ Question put, and agreed to.