Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Committee of Selection do appoint a Committee, not exceeding nine Members, to whom shall be committed all Private Bills promoted by Municipal and other Local Authorities, by which it is proposed to create powers relating to Police and Sanitary Regulations which deviate from, or are in extension of, or are repugnant to, the general law; that the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records; that five be the quorum."—(Mr. Stuart Wortley.)
§ (12.3.2.) DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)
It is well that the appointment of this Committee should not be delayed, having regard to the extremely important character of its labours. I also wish to ask the hon. Gentleman if it is intended to move the Instruction to the Committee; and, if so, when? Also, I should like to ask whether we can begin any work before receiving the Instruction? It seems to me rather a curious proceeding to appoint a Committee and to delay the definition of the conditions under which the Committee are to work. Some of this Instruction is of a nature to limit, confine—hamper, I might say—the Committee in the work they have to do, and it is extremely inconvenient to begin proceedings which might bring us into direct collision with an Order subsequently made by the House. I would also ask what penalty will fall upon Members of the Committee if we take any step or pass any clause which we may be afterwards told by an Instruction from the House we are not to pass? It would be well to give us some information as to this Instruction, and 374 meantime, while waiting the pleasure of the Home Office, we shall be allowed to begin work?
§ (12.33.) MR. F. S. POWELL (Wigan)
I can bear testimony to the important and laborious nature of the work. In 1890 the Sittings of the Committee were very numerous, and the work was of such a character that certainly one Member of the Committee must have spent many hours on the work when the Committee was not sitting. Last year the work was reduced to manageable proportions, but the labour was as much as ought to be exacted from any Committee, and we did not finish our labours until nearly July. I do not ask for an Instruction in precisely the same terms as before—some elasticity may be required—but I hope the Instruction will be moved without delay.
§ (12.34.) THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. STUART WORTLEY,) Sheffield, Hallam
It is desirable that the Committee should be appointed as soon as possible. I understand the Committee of Selection will meet on Friday; therefore, if we agree to this Motion to-day, the selection of names may then be settled. As regards the Instruction, it is clear that it will only apply to the Bills before the Committee at the later stage of the Committee's proceedings, and it is obvious the Committee can begin work on the Bills without the Instruction. The hon. Member opposite asks, if the Committee pass a clause which is afterwards made subject to the Instruction and is found to be contrary to the Order of the House, what penalty attaches to the Committee; and to that I have to say that no Instruction could possibly be made retrospective in its action. We shall put down notice of the Instruction in good time to secure that the Committee shall be fully possessed of the intention of the House before the Committee come to the consideration of the clauses that may be affected.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
I beg to give notice that if the Instruction appears in the same form as that communicated to us the other day I shall oppose it.
§ Motion agreed to.