HC Deb 08 August 1894 vol 28 cc369-70

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Standing Order 213 be suspended, and that the Bill be now read the third time."—(Dr. Farquharson.)

(Queen's Consent on behalf of the Crown to be signified.)

* SIR A. ROLLIT (Islington, S.)

said, he did not propose to oppose the Third Reading of this Bill; but on behalf of his right hon. Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean, the cause of whose absence would be regretted by the House, he was desired by him to make the strongest protest against the course which had been adopted in reference to the Bill. The Bill effected a combination of three powerful Railway Companies; it enacted rates in excess of those of the existing Company; and it did not accept even the rates of the Midland Railway, which, in the circumstances, might be taken to be reasonable; while, according to the view of a large body of traders, it was calculated to embarrass the trade of the district. These powerful Companies were in combination, he was afraid, to some extent with the large coalowners, to the great prejudice of small traders. On the Second Reading stage the President of the Board of Trade stated, as he understood, that unless some satisfactory arrangement was made in Committee he might feel it his duty to protect the trade of the district by opposing the Bill on the Third Reading, which it was now almost impossible for himself to do alone. He had himself gone carefully over the papers, and could find no trace of compromise or concession on the part of the promoters to the small traders of the district, nor any indication in the Bill of those other arrangements which he understood were conceded by way of compromise on behalf of the promoters. The only thing he saw was a concession of facilities to the London and North Western Railway, which, he feared, would itself be an operation disadvantageous to the trade generally. However, he did not see the President of the Board of Trade in his place, and without the support of the Department at this stage it would be useless to do otherwise than make a protest. At the same time, on behalf of the traders of the district and of his right hon. Friend as its Representative, he expressly reserved the right, should the arrangements now made not work satisfactorily, to take the sense of the House upon the subject at the earliest opportunity, and to make this railway combination agreement not inconsistent with the prosperity of the trade of the district.


said, he concurred in the remarks of his hon. Friend opposite. He did not know what course was open to them now except to make a protest; but he imagined, in the absence of the President of the Board of Trade, it would be useless to discuss the question at any length now.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the third time, and passed, with Amendments.

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