§ *MR. CYRIL DODD (Essex, Maldon)
had given notice of the following Motions:—Standing Order 157:—Line 12, after 'highway,' insert—Whether the Board of Trade has brought any special circumstance to the notice of the Committee. Line 12; leave out all after 'highway,' and insert—Whether there is any special circumstances, in regard to the conduct of the company promoting the Bill, in relation to the Conciliation Clause under the Traffic Acts, 1888 and 1894, or to the Regulation of Railways (Servants' Hours) Act, 1893, or any other circumstance which, in the opinion of the Committee, it is desirable that the House should be informed of.The hon. Gentleman said he had been requested by parties concerned to defer the consideration of the Motions, and he therefore asked to be permitted to put the Motions down for Monday next.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
Of course there can be no objection to the Motions standing over for the reasons the hon. Gentleman has given, but the proposed Amendment of the Standing Order cannot be moved at the time of private business. The proposed Amendment is not one which deals with the subject-matter of private Bills. It proposes that the words—whether there is any special circumstance, in regard to the conduct of the company promoting the Bill, in relation to the Conciliation Clause under the Traffic Acts, 1881 and 1894, or to the Regulation of Railways (Servants' Hours) Act, 1893, or any other circumstance which, in the opinion of the Committee, it is desirable that the House should be informed of,should be added to the Standing Order No. 157. I am quite aware there is another Amendment proposed, but that 117 is really consequential upon this one. No doubt it is the practice of the House that the Standing Orders relating to private business may be dealt with at the time of private business. But Amendments to those Standing Orders, if they are to be taken at this time, must relate directly to the subject-matter of private Bills, and not to the general conduct of the companies who promote the Bills. What the hon. and learned Member proposes appears to me to deal simply with general questions relating to the conduct of railway companies, and not to the conduct of railway companies in their character of promoters of any private Bills, and therefore I think it would be contrary to the practice of the House to allow the Amendments to be moved at the time of private business. Whatever alterations may be made in the Standing Orders with reference to these questions cannot, in my opinion, be brought forward at this time.
§ *MR. DODD
asked if he would be in order in moving the first of the two Amendments which was not intended to be consequential upon the second. The words, "Whether the Board of Trade has brought any special circumstance to the notice of the Committee," were almost on all fours with what was now in the Order. The words of Standing Order No. 157 were—Every Committee on a Railway Bill shall report specially to the House whether any report from any public Department, in regard to the Bill or the objects thereof, has been referred by the House to the Committee, and if so in what manner the several recommendations contained in such report have been dealt with by the Committee; whether it be intended that the railway shall cross on a level any railway, tramway, tramroad, or highway, and any other circumstances which, in the opinion of the Committee, it is desirable that the House should be informed of.The common practice was for the Public Department not to make a report, but to make suggestions, and then it was open to the Committee to draw the attention of the House to the matter or not. What he desired to provide was that when the Board of Trade brought special circumstances to the notice of the Committee it should be the duty of the Committee to Report to the House. Unless the first Amendment were ruled out of order he would put it down for Monday.
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I think that would be out of order. The words of the Order are—Whether any Report from any Public Department in regard to the Bill, or the objects thereof, has been referred by the House to the Committee.The Amendment says—Whether the Board of Trade has brought any special circumstance to the notice of the Committee:and that is followed by the suggestion of the special circumstances regarding the matters which I say are public, and general questions, such as should be brought to the notice of the House at the time of public and not of private business That is the reason I say that the two Amendments hang together. If the hon. Member wishes to make an Amendment for the purpose which he says he has in view, his object would be attained by simply adding the words "or communication" after the word "report" in the Standing Order.
§ Motion accordingly postponed.