HC Deb 25 July 1893 vol 15 cc431-63

Lords' Amendments considered.

Amendment in Preamble, page 1, line 3, to leave out from the word "Council," to the word "and," in line 26, the first Amendment, read a second time.

MR. J. STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

said, that in rising to propose "That this House do disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment," he wished first to express the regret with which the Representatives of London in the House were obliged to ask the House to act in contradiction to the House of Lords on this London question. They had, however, no choice but to do so. Here was a Bill which had been passed with some Amendments, and after mature and exhaustive inquiry and deliberation before a Select Committee, which, after it had come from that Committee, had been adopted without opposition by the House, and which now came down from the Upper House in a form which he was justified in describing as mutilated. The London County Council asked for no unnecessary or unusual powers in the clauses of the Bill which the Lords had struck out. They simply asked for powers which other towns possessed, and in asking for which they had been supported by an overwhelming majority of the House of Commons, and, no doubt, would be so supported again. But with that request of theirs the House of Lords flatly disagreed, and had sent down the Bill with some of its most important clauses struck out. He felt sure that the House generally would agree that the London County Council had unusual circumstances to face. They had a huge unorganised population to deal with, and it was only natural that they should wish to have powers to inquire into what might have a bearing on the welfare of those they represented. To come to the Amendment with which they had first to deal, it was his duty to move that the House disagree with the alteration which the Lords had made in the Preamble. It was convenient that the Division should take place on the Preamble instead of on the clause; and he believed that there was a general disposition, in order that Divisions might not be multiplied, to accept in the matter the decision that might be taken on the Preamble. The part of the Preamble which the Lords had struck out, and which he moved to restore, was that which affected the representation of the County Council of London upon the Thames Conservancy and the Lea Conservancy Boards. The London County Council held that they ought to have some say in the management of the Thames. The Thames Conservancy Board consisted of 23 persons, and not one of them was in any sense directly or indirectly a representative of the 4,500,000 people of London who were so vitally interested in the conservancy of the Thames. That Body, on which the London County Council had not a single voice, had, by its action, the most far-reaching effect on the health, and the trade, and even on the recreation of London. The River Thames had the most varying influence upon this vast population. For instance, the discharge of impurities into the Thames was in a large measure under the supervision of the Thames Conservancy, and that was a matter which affected the health of London. Then, take another point—the water supply of London. The condition of the river depended naturally on the quantity of water in it. They had had evidence before Committee after Committee that upwards of a third of the whole water of the Thames was abstracted unnecessarily for the privy purposes of London. No one could tell what surplus water, if any, was in the Thames, and the whole question of the supply of water to the Water Companies had frequently been the subject of agreement between the Thames Conservancy and the Water Companies, thereby one of the most vital questions with respect to the health of London being decided by a Body upon which the 4,500,000 Londoners had absolutely no representation. The London County Council approached the Thames Conservancy in no hostile spirit. They recognised what that; Body had done and had endeavoured to do. They wished to make it better able to fulfil its functions, and they believed that it would be better able to fulfil its functions if the 4,500,000 people of London had some representation upon it. The arguments in favour of the representation of the County Council on the Lea Conservancy were of a similar character. But on the Lea Conservancy they already had one member, and they were able to acknowledge that that representation, though very limited and inadequate, had a very advantageous effect on the circumstances of the River Lea, which was also of great importance to the population of the more limited district through which it flowed. He understood the London County Council were to be opposed in this matter by the representative of the County of Surrey, and by other riparian counties. He would say at once that the London County Council had signified, in the evidence given before the Select Committee, that they did not oppose the representation of these counties upon the Conservancy of the Thames. They had no desire to injure them, and they did not think they injured them by their proposed representation on the Board. The question of the representation of these counties on the Board might, indeed, be brought forward in the near future by Public Bill or otherwise; and he felt sure that in that event the London County Council would offer no opposition, but would content itself with discussing the amount of the representation. Even the Report of the Select Committee of the House, on which the case of the County Council was most legitimately founded, was based upon the idea that other counties might get representation on the Board, because, in proposing to give the London Country Council four representa- tives on the Board under the present Bill, the Committee indicated that the reason they gave this, as they considered, insufficient representation to the London County Council was that it might not stand in the way, on an early date, of a solution of the question, by which other counties might be represented without increasing the Board to unwieldy proportions. It was evident that the claim of the London County Council for representation was much stronger, more immediate, and more pressing, because out of the 6,250,000 of people who lived in the basin of the Thames from its source to the sea there were in London no less than 4,500,000, or upwards of two-thirds; and, again, of the water supplied from the Thames four-fifths went to the people of London. In fact, the River Thames was vital to the very existence of the people of London. Their trade and health depended upon it as the trade and health of no other Country did, and the close-packed character of the population was one of the most urgent reasons for having representation of the Conservancy of the river which flowed through their midst. Their claim, therefore, they regarded as urgent, immediate, and imperative. And while the London Country Council admitted, and were willing to consider, the claims of other counties, they could not for a moment think of giving way before this—he did not like to call it dog-in-the-manger policy, but it might be described in that way—for though the claims of the London County Council had existed for many years, the claims of other riparian counties had been urged only from a very recent date. Some of these counties were actually represented at present by four members on the Thames Conservancy, and though that representation might not be of as direct a kind as they required, yet it was of as direct a kind as could be given at the time, and they represented a population infinitely smaller and infinitely less important than that which the County Council were seeking representation for. This was no new claim on behalf of the County Council. From the day of its creation the Metropolitan Board of Works had urged this claim for representation on the Thames Conservancy; and in 1867 the Board of Trade, in a most important, letter addressed to the Conservancy Board, urged that four or five members representing London should be placed on the Board, instead of the very quasi-representation then and now existing. It might not be in the knowledge of Members generally that the Metropolitan Board of Works had left to their successors, the London County Council, a document, carefully drawn up, instructing them to continue to urge as strongly as they could the claim of the people of London to representation on the Governing Body of the Thames which they themselves had always so consistently advocated. In sending the Bill back to the House of Lords, he ventured to hope, and even almost to expect, that the House of Lords would not again take such a hostile view of the matter; that they would take some account of the wishes and needs of London citizens; and that they would give way on this small modicum of self-government which was contained in the clauses which had been struck out of the Bill. The House of Lords had struck out these clauses with something like ignominy. But the London County Council would appeal to them again, and ask them to allow London that self-government which every other town possessed in like circumstances. They approached the House of Lords in an humble, but not in any servile spirit, remembering that the opposition to which they were subjected was not such as to cause weakness to their knees. He hoped the House of Lords would be able to receive the clause again, and do something to ease a situation which was injurious to all parties concerned; which was injurious to London; which was injurious, he believed, to the House of Lords itself in bringing it into sharp conflict with the people of London in an unnecessary opposition to the attainment of their legitimate desires.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—(Mr. J. Stuart.)

* SIR F. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)

said, he had listened attentively to the speech of the hon. Member for Hoxton, and he had not heard a single argument urged which could induce the House to disagree with the Lords' Amendments. The only argument brought forward was that, as operations of the Thames Conservancy were inside the field of the County of London, the London County Council had a right to interfere with them. If that argument were good, what about the House of Lords and the House of Commons? The two Houses of Parliament met within the County of London; and the next claim of the London County Council would be that their august delegates should be allowed to sit in both Houses, if, from their point of view, the proper authorities were not doing their duty? The hon. Member for Hoxton appealed to the House in strong terms, and said the present state of things was injurious to London—that the health, trade, and amusement of London entirely depended on the Thames, and that they could only be saved from danger by the London County Council having representation on the Conservancy Board. But what was the fact? They knew the manner in which the Thames Conservancy had for years discharged its duties, and under its present most genial Chairman, Sir Frederick Nicholson, and its able Secretary, Mr. Gough, it had won the admiration of everybody. Great tact had been shown, and now there was no difficulty whatever in the management of the river by the Conservancy Board. He went more over the Thames than probably any Member of the House. Week after week he covered many miles of it; and he believed it was the positive opinion of all parties—riparian owners, the people who had the navigation, and the Water Companies—that the management of the Thames by the present Board was of a most admirable character. He should like to refer to statements made on behalf of the London County Council itself to show that this urgency in the matter of representation did not exist. In 1890, before Sir Joseph Bailey's Committee, the late Mr. Haggis, the Deputy Chairman of the London County Council, stated that he had no charge to make against the Conservators, and he could not lay his finger on a single thing in which the Thames Conservancy were not doing their duty. Again, in 1891, before Sir Matthew White Ridley's Committee on the Metropolitan Water Supply, Sir Thomas Farrer gave the Thames Conservators every credit for taking all the pains in their power, and that from his knowledge of the Thames Conservators he was satisfied that they had done whatever was in their power. Again, Mr. Binnie, the engineer to the Council, stated that, instead of wishing to impeach or say anything against the Conservators, he was often surprised that they had been able to do so much. In addition to this, Mr. Freeman, the counsel for the London County Council, stated before the Duke of Richmond's Committee that he was not there to make any allegations whatever against the Conservators. There was a Royal Commission now sitting to report on the water supply of London. That Commission would report next year, and why not wait until they had reported? In the House of Lords, when Lord Hobhouso moved to reject the Amendment which had been made in the Bill, the Government did not support the Motion; Lord Morley, the Chairman of Committees, spoke against it; and, eventually, it was withdrawn without a Division. Lord Morley said that the London County Council ought to have representation on the Board, but that that ought not to be done by Private Bill, as the constitution of the Thames Conservancy Board had always been altered by Public and not by Private Bills. Speaking on behalf of the Conservators, they had no objection to the subject being inquired into, and proper representation being given, if it did not exist, but they said that should be done by a Public and not by a Private Bill. But if the County Council were to get four members now, who could say that would be the extent of their demand? When they got their member on the Lea Conservancy Board they were not satisfied; but they wanted to got more, because they said that they were not adequately represented. Speaking on Friday night at Battersea, the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets said the object of the County Council was "to have the control of the river." The Conservancy Board objected in toto to any scheme which was only promoted by the London County Council. They wanted a Board that was properly balanced, as the Conservancy Board was at present. It was balanced at present because they had one interest standing out against another, and there had been nothing unfair. Suppose the London County Council should wish to buy up the Water Companies, if they had a majority on the Conservancy Board what was to prevent them from giving notice to the companies that by a particular day they must stop the supply or furnish it from another source, and so when the value of the shares had fallen buy up the property at a ruinous loss to the companies? Then, again, the London County Council was the only Body that had power to pour sewage into the river, and directly they got the majority on the Board they could treat the river as a sewage farm. The Conservancy Board had no objection to the principle that the County Council should be represented; what they did object to was that that should be done piecemeal and by Private Bill. The Board consisted of 23 members, of whom seven were given to the City, because in ancient times the Thames belonged to the City, and it gave up certain tolls and certain rights on condition that these seven members should be put on the Conservancy Board. But at the present moment a Committee was sitting with regard to the amalgamation of the City and the London County Council, and if the amalgamation of the City Corporation and the London County Council was carried out, the joint Body, if four members were now given, would have 11 out of 23, which would be entirely too largo a proportion. Why should other counties interested in the Thames, such as Middlesex, Surrey, Bucks, Berks, Oxfordshire, and Wiltshire, be entirely cut out from the representation? That all the counties interested in the river should be represented could only be carried out by a comprehensive scheme which would give the London County Council their fair share. To that the Conservancy had no objection. In 1890 the late President of the Board of Trade made the following remarks:— As far as I am concerned, I should be glad to see the interests of the London County Council fully represented on the Conservancy Board, but I cannot admit that this question has been fairly considered, if by that term is meant the kind of consideration which Parliament in former years bestowed on it. This was to be done by an ordinary Private Bill by a Committee, before whom only one witness was examined, and not a single word was heard from the rival interests of the Upper Thames, which probably did not even know that the matter was being dealt with by Parliament. … I think the wisest course will be for the House to decline to adopt the proposal contained in this Bill relating to this matter, and next year to appoint a Select Committee to consider the whole question of the Conservancy of the Thames. In that way the House would have all the riparian and other interests fully awake to the necessity of taking care of themselves; complete evidence would be given in regard to the whole subject, and it would be able to arrive at a fair conclusion on a subject which has hitherto been treated as a public matter, and one which ought not to be dealt with by a Private Bill. MR. Ritchie, the late President of the Local Government Board, spoke in a similar strain, and he hoped the House would agree that this matter should be raised by a Public and not by a Private Bill, and that all interests should be considered.

MR. BENN (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

said, the case for the London County Council had been so fully stated by the hem. Member for Shoreditch that he need not detain the House long. The hon. Member for Middlesex had charged the Council with an attempt to destroy the balance of the Board. He would invite the House to look at the balance of the Board as it at present existed. Of the 23 members of the Board, 11 might be said to represent 2,000,000, but outside that representation there were, roughly speaking, 4,000,000; and if they wanted to destroy the balance of the Board, instead of asking for four members, they would ask for 22; in asking for four members they were mainly following a precedent which dated back from the commencement of this Body. The hon. Member for Middlesex seemed to think it necessary, in order that the County Council might establish its position, that it should go about finding fault with the Thames Conservancy Board and saying that it did not do its work properly. He submitted that no such contention was necessary. The Thames Conservancy Board was established in 1857. In 1864 it was found that it did not adequately represent the people of London; and, in consequence of that, in 1864 six members were added, and that addition did not in any way indicate that the 12 members who had preceded them had neglected to do their duly. Again, in 1866, another five members were added, and the House would observe that it, was nearly a quarter of a century since any alteration had been made in the constitution of the Board. During that time London had advanced by leaps and bounds; and he submitted that this proposal, that they should have four members, was ridiculously inadequate to the circumstances of the case. The hon. Member for Middlesex contended that this matter ought to be brought in by a Public Bill rather than by a Private Bill. But he would draw the hon. Member's attention to the fact that the Thames Conservancy was founded by a Private Bill, and in three cases since its formation it had increased powers given it by Private Bills. It was impossible for the London County Council to carry out the work which had been committed to them by the Legislature unless they got this additional representation. The Legislature had thrown upon them certain responsibilities. They had 10 bridges over the river, representing £2,500,000; they had the care of the noble Embankments on both sides of the river and the control of the banks in respect of the prevention of floods; they had ferries over the river, and were making tunnels under, and it was impossible for them to do their work unless they had a proper representation upon the Body which had control of the river. With regard to the question of the purity of the water, he hoped he was not speaking disrespectfully of the persons who resided in the district of the Upper Thames when he said they had attempted to use the river as a drain, and had compelled other people to drink the water. He was grieved to hear the hon. Member for Middlesex attribute to the County Council a desire to dirty the river. That Body and its predecessors had spent £1,000,000 in order to get sewage out of the river, and if the hon. Member would examine the foreshore at Barking he would be delighted to see the cleanliness of the foreshore. Indeed, he hoped in a short time that if they obtained this representation they might be able to offer hon. Members on both sides of the House a little fly fishing from the Terrace. The principal argument which had been made was that other County Councils had an equal right with the London County Council. They had never disputed that; but they desired to see some attempt to join hands with them in this business. Up to the present they had met with nothing but opposition.

MR. BOULNOIS (Marylebone, E.)

said, he desired to say at the outset that his hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch did not represent the whole of the London County Council upon this matter, and that at all events there was a minority which was opposed to the Council approaching Parliament in this manner. He recollected when the matter was mooted in the Council that they were warned not only by the Members of the Moderate Party, but by others of the section to which the hon. Member belonged, that if they attempted to put into a Bill of this kind a clause giving them representation on the Conservancy of the Thames and the Lea they would probably wreck their Bill. It had been repeated in the House that afternoon that this was not a proper way to come to Parliament for an increased representation. The proper manner for them to approach Parliament was, he would not say by a Public Bill, but by a separate Private Bill, and not by an Omnibus Bill of this character. The Bill was called a General Powers Bill. He believed that when the additional power was given by Parliament to the Metropolitan Board of Works it was never contemplated that they should put into their Bill a lot of minor Bills. He undertook to say that in this General Powers Bill there were 16 or 17 clauses which might very properly constitute Private or separate Bills in themselves. There was a clause in the Bill to alter the representation, which they were discussing now, on the Thames Conservancy Board and the Lea Conservancy. There was also a clause, which might well be a Bill, to alter the law as to the building of low-level lines, and to establish a Court of Appeal; a clause to alter, to a great extent, the procedure of the County Court itself, and other important clauses. If the hon. Member would take the trouble to go through the Bill, he would find that, there were a great number of contentious clauses that might constitute separate Bills in themselves. It was, therefore, not very surprising that the House of Lords should think that it was too wide-reaching a Bill, and that some limit should be put upon the powers asked for by the London County Council. They were not so squeezable as the Committee that dealt with the Bill. He did not know whether it would he in Order if he called it a partisan Committee; but it was clearly a Committee of strong bias in one particular direction. He held that it would have been much better to have sent it to an absolutely impartial Committee, such as their Select Committees were. The House of Lords Committee naturally struck out the most contentious clauses of the Bill, feeling that the interests of other Bodies were not in any way considered by the London County Council. The London County Council was an ambitious Body—he had almost said a covetous Body; and it showed a great disposition to meddle with matters with which it had at present no authority from Parliament to deal. The Council desired to obtain the property of the Water Companies at the price of old iron. They wanted all the Tramways, and only the other day they were rather sweet on building a rival palace within a stone's throw of the House of Commons. He thought there were reasons why the County Council should be represented on the Thames Conservancy, but he thought they had not approached Parliament in the proper way in order to attain that object.

* SIR J. LUBBOCK (London University)

said, that, the hon. Member began his speech with an admission which really cut away the ground from his own contention. He expressed his opinion that London ought to be represented on the Thames Conservancy, and his main objection really was that the other counties were not represented. He was not correct as regarded the upper counties, which did have four representatives. As regarded Surrey and Kent, the London I County Council had no power of including I them in this Bill; but if they brought: in one of their own, he should be happy to support it. The hon. Member spoke of the Council turning the river into a sewage farm. There was no fear of that, and he was glad to inform the House that the condition of the lower river was far better than it used to be. The banks were cleaner, vegetation was beginning to grow, and bathing was indulged in where not, long ago it was impossible. Surely the people of London ought to have a voice in the management of the Thames, and he hoped the House would support the moderate proposal now before it.

SIR G. RUSSELL (Berks, Wokingham)

desired to say a few words as representing a constituency greatly interested in this question. Many hon. Members would know that there were instances in which great portions of the population of certain districts were entirely dependent upon the proper conservancy of the Thames. That being so, he should be the last man in that House to take exception to any course which had for its aim and object the real improvement of the conservancy of the Thames. He carefully listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Shoreditch, and it appeared to him that the hon. Gentleman had adopted his tactics from the right hon. Baronet who sat below him (Sir C. Dilke), and who, when he was desirous of altering the mode of appointment of Magistrates, took no exception to the existing Body, but desired to add certain friends of his own. The hon. Member for Shoreditch had not one word to say against the conduct of the present Conservators of the Thames, but he seemed to think that the London County Council had some special right to come in and dominate with regard to the Thames interests, as if the River Thames were the back of a lady at the Aquarium, over which the London County Council desired special jurisdiction. Speaking as one interested in the conservancy of the Thames, he did not stop to inquire whether or not the London County Council should be represented on that Body. What he was going to say was this: that he considered that all the interests should be fairly, adequately, and proportionately represented on that body, and that could only be decided by a Committee of that House taking evidence, or by some method in which the public interests should be fairly and publicly known. Through this Private Bill it was sought to give four seats—originally seven was the number proposed—upon the Thames Conservancy, without any of the other interests involved having an opportunity of being heard with a view to proportionate representation. He should, in the interests of his constituents, and, as he believed, in the interests of the Thames Conservancy at large, oppose the Motion of the hon. Member for Shoreditch, on the ground that fair and proportionate representation was only to be arrived at by a Committee of that House taking evidence on the question.

MR. GROVE (West Ham, N.)

observed that, in voting against the Motion of the hon. Member for Shoreditch, and in favour of the Amendment of the Lords, he should be dividing against his natural allies. But he should do so, because on this occasion it seemed to him that the House of Lords had drifted into an exceptionally just mode of proceeding. His hon. Friends, on the other hand, had drifted into an unequal, unjust, and unexpected mode of proceeding. He based his objection to this Bill on the ground that it denied all outlying districts of London what they on that Bench had been taught during the present Session, with somewhat weary reiteration, to regard as a sacred right—the right of self-government and Home Rule. The London County Council had fulfilled their duties, as a rule, with extraordinary justice, and great wisdom, so far as their Metropolitan duties were concerned; but of late a movement had been noted in their midst, to which the hon. Baronet opposite had called attention. That movement had been in the direction of the octopus—with greedy, restless, nervous fingers to try and snatch the property of other people outside London. He, for one, speaking as a Representative of a great constituency on the borders of the London County Council, felt it his duty to try and cut off those nervous figures when they came and tried to touch his property. His two hon. Friends near him had spoken about the rights of self-government, and his hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch spoke in the most pathetic terms of how it was denied to the London County Council to rule their own affairs. But why did the hon. Member not mete out the same justice to other people he desired to see exercised for himself? Why did he not give West Ham the right to manage its own affairs? Why did the hon. Member and the London County Council a few days ago so bitterly oppose the West Ham Corporation, who wanted to drain their own borough? West Ham was about the fifth largest provincial borough in the Kingdom, numbering some 250,000 souls, and yet the London County Council did not think it big enough to manage its own affairs. On the ground of the right of a great borough like West Ham to manage its own affairs he should most certainly oppose this measure. They were told that the London County Council would be quite ready to concede eventually to West Ham these rights which they were now wanting for themselves. But the London County Council was like other Corporations. It had no body, no soul, and alas! very little conscience; and, in his opinion, if the London County Council once got their feet in this Body, they would take very good care to keep such humble children as West Ham and the neighbouring constituencies out of it. His hon. Friend talked about proportional representation. That was a charming philosophic subject which was very often only applied to illustrate the point of view of himself (Mr. Grove). His hon. Friend spoke about the inadequate way in which the London County Council were represented. He thought he was going to have 220, or was it 22, members eventually upon that Body? But he might point out that, so far as the law was concerned, the outlying districts had only a right to send one member on the Conservancy Board. There were 16 districts embracing such a locality as West Ham, and they had only the right to send one member on to the Conservancy Board, but the modest London County Council wanted to send three. The district of the London County Council contained a population of over 4,000,000, and West Ham a population of over 250,000. Yes, but look at the proportion. They in West Ham ought to have the right to 1–17th of the representation of the Lea Conservancy, but the County Council wished them to be contented with 1–48th of that representation. They thought, under these circumstances, that the members of the London County Council had a right to come down there and talk about just and fair proportional representation! He would point out one fact which very deeply interested his own constituents. Seven miles of the Thames and Lea ran through Stratford and neighbourhood. They were in a low-lying part of the district, and it was of most vital consequence to them that they should be properly represented on the Conservaucy of the Lea. ["Hear, hear!"] Then, why did not the County Council help them instead of saying, "Help us, and when we have got on ourselves we will help you." These were the grounds on which he ventured to oppose this measure, and he thought he was not wrong in supposing he should have the majority of the Members of the House with him. He should have the support of hon. Members opposite, because, of course, they must approve of anything that such an immaculate Body as the House of Lords recommended, and he should have the support of the wise on his own Benches, because they knew the London County Council was getting a little beyond itself. He thought the Radical Members would also oppose this measure; and as for the Irish Members, the advocates of Home Rule, he had no fear regarding them. They would be acting directly contrary to all the principles they had so eloquently supported during the present Session if they were now to allow London, through the hands of its County Council, to oppress the poor little island of West Ham.

MR. BONSOR (Surrey, Wimbledon),

as the only Representative of the Surrey County Council in that House, wished to say one or two words in the Debate. With reference to the remarks of the hon. Member for Tower Hamlets as to the position which the Surrey County Council took up in opposition to the present Bill, if the hon. Gentleman had read the report of the deputation of the Surrey County Council, he would observe that their only reason for opposing the representation of London on the Thames Conservancy was that they considered if London were represented Surrey should also be represented. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of London had been good enough to give to the House a picture of what the Thames was to-day. He did not think the right hon. Gentleman could have given a stronger proof that this question did not re-quire urgent or immediate settlement. If the Thames was improving so rapidly under the present Conservancy, why should they not have a proper Representative Body to look after the whole of the Thames instead of proceeding by patchwork? It appeared to him they were all agreed on two points. In the first instance, he thought it was absolutely agreed that there ought to be an inquiry. In the evidence before the Committee which considered this subject the members of the London County Council admitted that some inquiry was necessary. Again, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade on the 17th June, 1893, in answer to a question by the hon. Member for Cirencester, said— Yes, I think there ought to be an inquiry by a Select Committee; but it is a question whether at this period of the Session a Committee could be invited to enter on such an inquiry, but I will confer with my hon. Friend on the subject. Nearly all the Members of the House were, therefore, impressed with the idea that some inquiry should be held as to the formation of the future Thames Conservancy. The second point on which there seemed to be agreement was that every county having an interest in the River Thames should be represented on that Body. There being a practical agreement upon these two points he really could hardly understand why the House of Commons could not in a businesslike way come to a decision on the matter. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board whether, as the guardian of Local Government in that House, he could not suggest some arrangement by which the House could at once proceed to that inquiry and allow next year a proper Bill to be brought in giving London its full and fair representation, which no county denied them, and giving to the counties and all the interests concerned their fair and proper representation?

MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)

thought the House had got a little way from the real position of this question. In reply to the observations of the Member for North West Ham, he might say that he was on the Committee which sat to consider this subject; he was one of those responsible for the Report; he had gone carefully through the whole of the evidence, and he thought it would have been of great advantage if the hon. Member had quoted the Report so far as it affected West Ham. The Committee was not a partisan Committee in its consideration of this question. The members of it conducted an inquiry extending over several days; they had witnesses before them on behalf of the different interests affected, which were represented by the ablest Parliamentary counsel, and what was the result? Not that a partisan vote carried this question as to giving the London County Council representation on the Thames Conservancy, but that the whole Committee, irrespective of political opinion, arrived at the decision after several days' consideration, that London had made out its case and was entitled to representation on the Thames Conservancy. The only point of difference was as to the amount of that representation. The County Council, it was true, asked for seven members on the Conservancy Board, the same number as was now allotted to the Corporation of the City of London. When the Committee came to consider the question of the number, some members were in favour of five, but by the casting vote of the Chairman four was fixed. A case was made out so clear on behalf of the County Council that the unanimous vote of the Committee, with the hon. Member for Sheffield in the chair, conceded their claims.


said, that in a document which at that time was issued by the London County Council it was asked— What reason can there be for the representation of the London County Council on the Conservancy Board, which does not equally extend to the Councils of other counties on the Thames?


was much obliged for the interposition, by which the hon. Member had completely given himself away. The Members of the Committee were so impressed with the case made out by the County Councils for Middlesex and Essex and for the representation of West Ham that the whole Committee requested the Chairman to draw up a special Report, in which they not only guarded themselves against condemning the contention of these Bodies that they should have representation, but clearly expressed the opinion that they had a right to representation, but stating that, owing to the position they were in as a Committee, they had no power to give them that which they should have asked for instead of wasting the money in fighting the County Council. The Committee had only one point put before them, which was that these various counties objected to the County Council having this representation because they had not got it themselves. The policy adopted by these Bodies was a dog-in the-manger policy, and nothing else. Mr. Wrorsley Taylor, the counsel representing the County Council for Middlesex, asked the following question of Mr. Binnie, the engineer for the London County Council:— Is not that question of the relative user of the river and well-water within Middlesex one of the greatest interest in Middlesex?—Undoubtedly What had the County Council of London Middlesex done in order to secure direct representation upon the Thames Conservancy? They had done nothing, because they were satisfied with the state of things which existed now. He (Mr. Rowlands) was so impressed with this that he put the question (reading from evidence)— MR. Rowlands: Your argument is that you are entitled to representation; could you tell me whether the Middlesex County Council have taken any action in approaching this County Council in any way since the last inquiry to obtain representation on this Board? MR. Worsley Taylor: You mean with regard to the water? MR. Rowlands: Representation on the Conservancy Board in the General Powers Bill; have you approached the County Council of London for joint action, or taken any action on your own part? MR. Worsley Taylor: No; I understand our case is as it was on the last—leave things as they are; do not disturb them. MR. Rowlands: But have that Body taken any action to get an inquiry as you suggest to take place for entire legislation on the subject and the re-construction of the Lea Conservancy Board? MR. Worsley Taylor: No; we are not the people who want to move; we say if the London County Council is desirous to move, let them move in the right way. The Chairman: You are satisfied for things to remain as they are? Mr. Worsley Taylor: Yes. Mr. H. C. Richards: The position of the County of Essex is very similar in opposition to the Bill. If the House threw out the recommendation of the Select Committee what would be the result? There was no promise from the Government that they were prepared to institute an inquiry for the re-constitution of the Board. He admitted that there was a re-constitution required of both the Thames and the Lea Conservancy Boards, especially in the case of the Lea Conservancy Board. While the Corporation of the City of London had one member and the London County Council had also one to represent the ratepayers and the consumers, two Water Companies had four representatives on that Board to see how much water they could get out of the Lea. In conclusion, lie would appeal to the House to uphold the unanimous decision of the Committee.

LORD G. HAMILTON (Middlesex, Ealing)

I wish, Sir, to say a few words, and at the outset I would point out that the opinions which I represent are those held by the County of Middlesex. The great objection to the proposition before the House is that an attempt is being made to make an improper use of a Private Bill in order to alter the composition of a Public Body. Not long since, when advocating the Second Reading of a Bill of great interest to the County of Middlesex, it was my fate to have the doctrine laid down by the President of the Local Government Board (MR. H. H. Fowler) that, he could not assent to the public law of the land being altered by Private Bill. That is the situation here to-day. I fully recognise the responsible work which the London County Council has to perform, and I should be the last to stand in the way of a due performance of its duties; but not one piece of evidence has been produced to show that this change would in any degree assist the County Council. No complaint has been made of the work done by the Conservancy Board, though the County Council wish to have a certain representation upon it. I agree that, in the abstract, the County Council, as well as other Local Bodies, ought to have representation on the Board; but the Select Committee had no power to make a representation in favour of Middlesex, Surrey, and other Local Bodies. Therefore, it is clear to me that the London County Council have made a somewhat unfair use of their right to promote Private Bills by embodying this proposal for representation. It is of the greatest importance that the London County Council should be on good terms with the neighbouring Local Bodies; but there is a bitter feeling being caused in Essex, Surrey, Middlesex, and West Ham as to the particular manner in which this proposal has been submitted. While the Loudon County Council say that if the proposal had been made by them in the form of a Public Bill it would be dilatory and costly, they at the same time suggest that the other Local Bodies should have recourse to that expensive process. I venture to say that, in these circumstances, the House of Lords has arrived at the right conclusion. These other Bodies being entitled to representation, I would ask the members of the London County Council what is the use of passing this Bill if in a short time we are to have a proposal of a wide and of a permanent character before us—a proposal which will, I hope, be satisfactory to all parties? I think the House will see that it is a matter that should be left to the Government to take in hand, and that the best course for the House is not to disagree with the Amendments. So far as I am concerned, I can assure the Loudon County Council that if they bring their proposal in a Public Bill, dealing with all interests, they will not find any opposition from me.


I do not want to delay the House from the Division, but there are one or two words to say on behalf of the Government with regard to the course to be taken to-day. The question before the House is not one affecting the past history of the London Comity Council or as to the manner in which it has discharged its duties. Neither has the House to consider the aims and ambitions of the County Council nor the disputes between that Body and the adjacent Corporation of West Ham and other Bodies. A Committee of the House has unanimously passed a clause in a Bill which has been passed by the House, and by virtue of which power is proposed to be given to the largest representative authority on the banks of the Thames, the authority which has by far the largest interest in the Conservancy of the Thames, to have a small representation on the Thames Conservancy, the ruling authority on the river. The House of Lords has seen fit, however, to reject that clause, and the House has now to decide whether it will agree or disagree with the attitude taken up by the Lords. This perpetual warfare which is being waged against the London County Council—too frequently, I regret to say, by members of that Body—is never seen in any other Municipality of the country. We do not hear of the members of the Corporations of Liverpool, Leeds, or Birmingham coming to this House to speak in such terms of the Bodies with which they are connected. But, of course, that is not the question before us. The noble Lord (Lord G. Hamilton) said that he did not object to representation in the abstract; but the House is not dealing with the representation of the County Council in the abstract, but as a practical proposal. What is the history of this matter? In 1890 the question was raised by a Private Bill, which was fully discussed on the Second Reading, and was then referred to a Select Committee. I quite agree with what has been said about Hybrid Committees, and I think that what has occurred to-day will put a stop to such Committees. Bills of this kind should be referred to an ordinary Select Committee, on which no Member should sit who either had himself or whose constituents had any interest in the Bills. In 1890 the Committee was a Private Bill Committee, presided over by a typical Chairman of Committees—one whose loss to the House and politics I most deeply deplore—I mean SIR Joseph Bailey. Every consideration was then; given to this subject, and the recommendation of the Committee was challenged in much the same way, and by very much the same gentlemen who have challenged it this afternoon; and the Chairman of Committees expressed the opinion that, as most of the drinking water of London was derived from the Thames and Lea, the Body which had the right to look after the health of the Metropolis, ought to be represented on the Thames Conservancy Board. The late President of the Board of Trade said most distinctly that he was in favour of the London Comity Council being represented on the Board, but he raised the same point that has been raised this afternoon, and submitted that the other representative Bodies should be fully considered—that there ought to be an inquiry before the proposal contained in the Bill was adopted, and that a Committee should be appointed the following year to consider the whole question of the Conservancy of the Thames. But no Committee was appointed; and now, three years later, when the Loudon County Council asks for some representation, they are met with precisely the same arguments, which would have the effect of postponing the matter until the Greek Kalends. I think the County Councils of Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, Essex, and Berks should be represented, and possibly other Bodies in the upper reaches of the Thames might have some claim. How is the representation to be carried out? If the Lords' Amendments are accepted, the whole question will be postponed for another year. There is no reasonable prospect in the present state of the Public Business of the House that any Public Bill brought in by the London County Council could be carried through the House next year or during the next two or three Sessions. I submit to the House that we should accept my hon. Friend's Amendment and disagree with the Lords' Amendments. The Bill will then go back to the Lords, and there will be an opportunity of reconsidering the matter possibly in con- fereuce with the Representatives of this House; and I think that, with the assistance of impartial and cool-headed men, we will be able this year to come to a satisfactory settlement of the proper representation on the Board of all the Bodies interested. I should be sorry to see a Bill of this class lost because of the particular provision to which objection is taken; and I think the House is not disposed to take that course.


How do you propose the others should get representation?


I am not an authority on the Standing Orders of the House of Lords; but if there is a desire to do it, there should be no practical difficulty in carrying out that desire.

* MR. STUART-WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

said, there would be very great practical difficulties in the way of the course proposed by the President of the Local Government Board. The question was not whether the London County Council was entitled to representation, but whether it was entitled to an excessive and unduly preponderating representation. The House of Lords had done no more than this House had done in 1890, and they were justified in their action by the extremely unfortunate attitude taken up towards the other Riparian Authorities by the Loudon County Council, which had been treated by this House on this occasion with great indulgence. The present constitution of the Thames Conservancy was not of an ideal character, and seemed to have been conceived in the interest rather of the navigation than of water drinkers, but he denied that the representation of London upon it was so inadequate that it should be extended to the exclusion of the other Bodies. It had virtually 11 members out of 27. In 1867, when the Conservancy was last re-considered, representation was given to the upper Riparian Authorities, who were interested in the navigation of the river rather than in the purity of the water, for the sole purpose of counteracting the undue representation of London. This was a case in which the principle of population failed as a test. If, by excluding the interests of navigation, representation were given to the London householders, the question of the quality and quantity of the drinking water would appear to them to be the much more important question. He was not going to take any course which would wreck this useful Bill, but he would ask the House to resist a course that would have no practical effect except to very seriously prejudice the settlement of the just claims of the other Riparian Authorities.

* SIR A. ROLLIT (Islington, S.)

said, it was a satisfactory feature of the Debate that there had been no criticism of the way in which the Thames Conservancy had discharged their duties. Occasions of that kind were often taken advantage of for remarks upon the manner in which the duties of the Public Bodies concerned were fulfilled; but there seemed to be no complaint in the case of this Board. But the question before the House was not so much one of practice as of principle—of the application or otherwise of the representative principle in local government, and, for his part, he did not see how the House could refuse to apply that principle in dealing with the Thames Conservancy. The second question involved was the principle of responsibility; and whatever criticism was directed to the London County Council—and certainly it had not been beyond or above criticism—it could not be denied that the responsibility for that Body's action rested to a great extent with the London electors. It was for those who for the most part criticised it to improve it. They must remember that they owed the County Council to the late Government, and they must also bear in mind that though they might mend the Count, Council, and though they might mar a great deal that it did, or attempted to do, they could not unmake that Body. Therefore, when he heard these criticisms, he was led to hope that what was at times open to objection would be counteracted by greater public interest being taken in these matters and closer identification with its operations by joining its ranks on the part of those who were able to contribute to its usefulness. Conservancy Bodies were essentially representative, for they had to deal with matters of the very greatest public interest. There was no duty which Municipalities had to perform greater or more important than that of securing a supply in all their purity and plenty of the prime necessities of life, and in that sense the regulation of a great river, apart altogether from the question of navigation, was a duty attaching to the Conservancy of primary importance. Then there was the question of public health, which, as had been remarked, was dependent to a large extent upon that river, and he reached the remarks of the right hon. Baronet the Member for the University of London (Sir J. Lubbock) when he said that in relation to that matter the London County Council had done excellently good work in the Lower Thames. He said this impartially, because he had at one time opposed that policy on the part of the County Council, and had headed a deputation sent to protest. On the Conservancy Board there was the representation of trade by the trading members, and the representation of navigation by the Trinity House and otherwise, and they were now asked to give a representation to the great Municipality which presided over London. When he sought for an example of what ought to be the constitution of that Body, he looked to his own Conservancy in Hull, on which he had long been the representative of the Board of Trade. The Humber Conservancy included representatives of the Hull Municipality, and the absence of those representatives would be distinctly disadvantageous. An old member of the Party to which he belonged, Lord Maghera-morne, as Chairman of the Metropolitan Board of Works, more than once asked for the representation on the Thames Conservancy that the County Council, as the successor of the Board, now sought for. The claims of the Metropolitan Board were well urged by its Chairman, and he (Sir A. Rollit) thought that those claims existed equally, if not to a greater extent, by the Body that succeeded the Board. Then a Committee of the House of Commons had carefully examined the matter and approved the claim, and as a rule it was a mistake to depart from the decisions of such Committees, which hoard the evidence and went into the details. The objection to proceeding in this matter by means of a Private Bill had been answered in the course of the Debate. They owed the right of the Loudon County Council to proceed by Private Bill legislation to the Act of 1888, and the right was one which, so far as he could judge, had been properly exercised, and which he did not think could be reasonably taken exception to. It was suggested that in the present instance it would be well to proceed by Public Bill, and that, as a preliminary, there should be another Com- mittee of Inquiry. Well, Committees or Inquiries were chiefly valuable on account of the facts they elicited; but it seemed to him from the flood of literature that had been showered on the House that the facts were already thoroughly well known, and that little more could be elicited. A Committee of Inquiry was suggested from the Conservative Benches in 1890; but no action was taken by the Conservative Government then in power, nor did he find in the mass of literature which had reached him that the Surrey County Council or the Board of Conservators were anxious for the appointment of a Committee. For these reasons he could not see his way to agree with the Lords' Amendment, and therefore he should support the Motion.


desired, as a London Member, to state why he could not vote against the Motion to disagree with the Lords' Amendment. This item of London reform was one which was admitted to be correct in principle. They could well understand that the London County Council did not consider itself justly treated when the Corporation of the City of London had seven representatives on the Conservancy Board, whilst the County Council had none. If they were represented on the Lea Conservancy Board they justly contended that they ought to have some representation on the Thames Conservancy Board. Those two considerations ought to induce hon. Members to vote for giving the London County Council a representation on the Conservancy Board. It was said that the London County Council was entitled to representation, but that other County Councils were entitled to it as well, and that one should not have it without the others. Well, if the representation were now given to the London County Council, the case for the other Public Bodies who claimed similar representation would be greatly strengthened. For these reasons he thought his hon. Friends who supported the Lords' Amendment would be placing themselves in a false position with regard to Loudon reform, as their votes would be misconstrued.

CAPTAIN BOWLES (Middlesex, Enfield)

said, that a great deal had been said as to the River Thames, but he wished to say something in regard to the River Lea. Those who had spoken on behalf of the London County Council and the President of the Local Government Board himself had entirely omitted any argument in regard to the Conservancy of the Lea. The composition of that Conservancy at present was this— Five members were elected by the riparian owners, one by the owners of barges, one by the heads of certain Local Authorities, two by the New River Company, two by the East London Water Works Company, one by the Corporation of the City of Loudon, and one by the Metropolitan Board of Works— now the London County Council. Therefore, all the arguments used with respect to the case of the Thames Conservancy would not apply to the Lea Conservancy. On the latter Body the London County Council already had a representative. What would be the state of things if the Loudon County Council were to buy up the Water Companies some day? There were the riparian owners, and there were already on the Lea Conservancy Board four members representing London Water Companies which took water from the river; and, naturally, they would do all they could to insure the purity of the water supply of the Metropolis. There was also one representative of the London County Council on the Board, Therefore, at the present time, there were I six members out of 13 who represented London on the Lea Conservancy, and yet the County Council wanted to add two members to their representation. He could not help feeling that those who were interested, like himself and his constituents, in the banks of the Lea should have a fair and proper representation on the Conservancy Board; and though London might be a large body as regarded its population, perhaps its interest in the Lea might not be so great as that of some of the authorities on the banks of the river. The Lea was a river which overflowed in heavy rains and caused enormous loss to people having land on its banks, and for years they had been trying to better the principle on which the water was carried along the river. Only in the last Parliament a Bill was brought forward for that purpose. He trusted, therefore, that whether or not the House assented to add to the representation of the Loudon County Council on the Lea Conservancy Board, it would recognise that the case of the Lea differed materially from that of the Thames. When the hon. Member for Shoreditch opened the Debate he suggested that they should divide on the Preamble and take the Division as a whole; but he (Captain Bowles) would submit that the legitimate place to put the case as a whole before the House would be on Clause 5.


said, it was to be distinctly understood that the Government pledged themselves that if the House did not divide on the question they (the Government) would do their best to introduce in some way in the House of Lords a clause by which the other districts should have representation on the Thames Conservancy Board if the London County Council obtained their four seats on it. On that understanding a Division would not be insisted on.


said, the Government could give no pledge in the matter, seeing that the Bill was not their own. He had thrown out a suggestion as amicus curiœ between all the parties. He would do his best to bring about the result referred to; but he could neither pledge the Government nor the London County Council. It seemed to him that there were modes of securing legislation which would suggest themselves to gentlemen hereafter. The result desired could be secured, if not in one way, at any rate in another.


Do we understand that this object will be carried into effect this year?


That will depend on the way in which the House of Lords deal with the matter—how they take the suggestion.



MR. BONSOR (Surrey, Wimbledon)

asked if the London County Council would put a Proviso into the Bill to the effect that this particular part of the measure should not come into force until the other County Councils had representation?


said, the London County Council wished the other counties to be represented, and they would do all they could to secure that object.


said that, as an Essex Member, I he could not understand how the Essex County Council was to be safeguarded. The right hon. Gentleman opposite meant to do his best to secure the representation of the other authorities; but he could give no pledge. It seemed, therefore, to him (Colonel Lockwood) that he would hardly be doing his duty to his constituents if he did not challenge a Division. A representation signed by the Chairman of the Essex County Council and the Chairman of the Borough of West Ham had been presented, declaring that they would not object to the representation of the London County Council, but insisted that if the rights of that Council were recognised theirs also should be recognised. It was impossible for the Essex County Council to bring forward Bills in the same manner as the London County Council; and as the matter now stood, without a definite promise, he did not see how they could avoid going to a Division.

MR. BYRNE (Essex, Walthamstow)

said that, as an Essex Member, he wished to state how the matter presented itself to his mind. In the first place, the London County Council was the only County Council that could proceed by means of legislation; secondly, they all agreed that the London County Council should be represented; and, next, they were all agreed that the other County Councils and the other persons having an interest should be represented as well on the Conservancy Boards of the Thames and Lea; and, lastly, there was no complaint at present of what the Thames and Lea Conservators had done, and, therefore, there could be no harm in a certain amount of delay. If there could be an assurance given that in some way elauses would be introduced to secure that all the Bodies interested should be represented it would not be necessary to go to a Division; but it did seem to him that without that they were in a difficulty. The London County Council should be represented; but he held that the various other Bodies — the Essex County Council, for instance—had, to a certain extent, rival interests which should be represented. He did not mean in the sense that they did not all want pure water and proper navigation, but that the Upper and Lower Thames and the Upper and Lower Lea should both be properly represented. If they were going to destroy the present constitution of the two Boards, which had worked well in the past, and were going to give a preponderating influence to one County Body only, it would not be fair to the other counties. That was the effect of the Essex Petition. For his own part, he should not feel justified in withholding his vote from support of the Lords' Amendment if the House divided.

* MR. MACDONA (Southwark, Rotherhithe)

, as representing a constituency interested in three-and-a-half miles of the South shore of the River Thames, in which resided thousands of Thames watermen and lightermen, who worked morning, noon, and night upon the River Thames, thought it was necessary that their interest should be represented on the Conservancy.

* MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)

trusted that in the interest of the reputation of the London County Council, of which he had the honour to be a member, the House would not divide. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board could not give an assurance that the interests of the other Local Authorities would be safeguarded; but the right hon. Gentleman had said that he was firmly convinced that the arrangement he sketched out which would satisfy hon. Members was possible of attainment, provided there were a mutual desire and effort to accomplish it. If the House did not go to a Division they would be giving the London County Council an opportunity of first filling its engagement, and of showing that it would do its best to carry out the arrangement which it declared itself desirous of carrying out. Speaking as a member of that Body, he should be sorry to see the House take a step which would deprive them of that opportunity.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment.—(Mr. J. Stuart.)

Amendment in Preamble, page 3, leave out lines 10 to 23, inclusive, the next Amendment, read a second time.

SIR J. LUBBOCK moved, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment." The Motion would restore that part of the Bill which would enable the London County Council to hold certain inquiries. He did not object to the small sum of 31,000 being provided for this purpose, instead of the £10,000 originally proposed; but he attached importance to there being some power to hold inquiries. He did not think it would be desirable to hold large inquiries under the powers of this Bill; but there were small subjects on which it might be very desirable to exercise this power, and in connection with such matters it would be bad policy to risk wrecking a ship for the sake of a half-pennyworth of tar. In this matter the London County Council were only asking for the power that every other Municipal Body in the country possessed. If his proposal were accepted, and at any time a larger sum than that provided for in the Bill were required, the London County Council would with confidence submit the matter to the judgment of the House; but for the present all they asked was that power should be given to spend the limited sum of £1,000 with the assent of the Government.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."— (Sir J. Lubbock.)

MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)

hoped the House would consent to the course suggested.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment.—(Sir J. Lubbock.)

Words so restored to the Bill amended, by leaving out, in line 20, the words "that the said sections should be repealed and."

Several Amendments agreed to.

Amendment to leave out Clause 15, the next Amendment, disagreed to.

Words so restored to the Bill amended, in page 11, line 2, by leaving out from the beginning of the Clause, to the word "from," in line 5.

Amendment proposed, to the words so restored to the Bill, in line 10, after the word "Council," to insert the words "unless with the consent of the Treasury."—(Sir J. Lubbock.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."


I must ask the right lion. Gentleman to insert "the Local Government Board," and not "the Treasury."


said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not press the alteration. They were in agreement on all other matters, and the London County Council were in the habit of communicating with the Treasury. The Treasury themselves had no objection to the Amendment.


said, the Treasury might not object, but the matter was not one in which the Treasury had the requisite machinery for making the necessary investigations. The Local Government Board controlled all these matters, and he was not prepared to take the London County Council out of the jurisdiction of the Local Government Board. He would move to amend the proposed Amendment by striking out the word "Treasury," in order to insert "Local Government Board."

Amendment proposed to the proposed Amendment, to leave out "Treasury," and insert "Local Government Board."—(Mr. H. H. Fowler.)

Question proposed, "That the word 'Treasury' stand part of the proposed Amendment."


said, he differed with the right hon. Gentleman as to facts. The London County Council were under the Treasury in all other matters, and the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman would involve a new departure. It would, however, he impossible for him to oppose the Government successfully.


said, he did not wish to appear pertinacious, but his point was that the Local Government Board, and not the Treasury, had the necessary machinery —the Inspectors, and so forth. The Local Government Board must have the exercise of discretionary powers in regard to this expenditure.


thought the Local Government Board would be the proper authority to have control in this matter.

Question put, and agreed to.

Words, as amended, inserted.

Words restored to the Bill further amended by leaving out, in line 11, the word "ten," and inserting the word "one."

Several Amendments agreed to.

Two Amendments disagreed to.

Committee appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to certain of the Amendments made by the Lords to the Bill:— Mr. Henry H. Fowler, Mr. Mundella, Sir Walter Foster, Sir John Lubbock, Mr. James Stuart, Mr. Benn, and Mr. Marjoribanks:—To withdraw immediately.

Ordered, That three be the quorum.

Reasons for disagreeing with the Lords' Amendments reported, and agreed to:—To be communicated to the Lords.