HC Deb 09 May 1895 vol 33 cc780-5

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [25th April]:—"That the London and North Western Railway Bill be now read the third time."

Question again proposed. Debate resumed.

MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint District)

said, the Debate on the Motion had been adjourned for a fortnight in order to enable the directors of the London and North Western Railway Company to reconsider the attitude they had taken up in reference to a certain question which was then alluded to, but into which he was now precluded from entering, as it had been ruled out of order. The hon. Member for Carnarvon had, since the adjournment of the Debate, written a letter to the Railway Company—a copy of which had been sent to every Member of the House—and he had received a reply to that letter from the Company yesterday. He was not going I to enter into the question of policy raised by that letter, and he would only say that the reply of the directors emphasised——


Order, order! The hon. Gentleman is not entitled to go into the correspondence on a subject which has been ruled out of order on the ground that it was not relevant to the question before the House. The hon. Gentleman must confine himself to matters that are relevant.


said, he bowed to the ruling of the Speaker. The object of the Bill was to make certain alterations at Llandudno Junction, in North Wales. He would like to ask the right hon. Member for Dublin University, who was in charge of the Bill, whether alterations in that junction were as likely to be necessary in the future as they appeared to be at present? Was it not the fact that some of the county councils and other public bodies in North Wales had asked competing railway companies to take the place of the London and North Western Railway Company, who had hitherto enjoyed a large and valuable monopoly in North Wales, and was not this action taken because the rates of the Company between Chester and Holyhead were higher than the rates on other parts of the same railway system? He would further ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it tended to the interest of the London and North Western Railway that there should be an estrangement between the Company and people of North Wales, where the Company possessed such valuable privileges? Therefore, in order to give the company a further opportunity of meeting the wishes of the people of North Wales, he begged to move the adjournment of the Debate till Thursday, May 16.

The House divided:—Ayes, 90; Noes, 192.—(Division List No. 65.)

MR. LLOYD-GEORGE rose, when


said, Order, order! The hon. Member has already spoken. The main question is now before the House, and the hon. Member spoke to that on the last occasion that the Bill was before the House.


Upon the point of Order I wish to say, Sir, that I did not speak upon the main question, but upon the question that the Debate; be now adjourned, and the Motion I propose making now is not the main question at all, but a totally different question.


The hon. Member is I think mistaken. When the Bill was called for Third Reading the hon. Member rose and spoke. In the course of his speech, no doubt, he moved the adjournment, but that was speaking on the main question.

MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint District)

On the point of Order may I ask whether the hon. Member would be in Order in moving to re-commit a certain portion of the Bill as regards particular clauses?


No, he would not.

MR. FRANK EDWARDS (Radnorshire)

I beg to move that this Bill be recommitted in respect of the clauses affecting North Wales.


I think I cannot accept the Motion in that form. It would be impossible to know what was committed to the care of the Committee if the words of the Motion were that it should be recommitted in respect of the clauses relating to North Wales. There might be considerable dispute as to what clauses did relate to North Wales. I think, moreover, to be in form the Motion should be to recommit the Bill to the former Committee.


I beg to move that, the Bill be recommitted to the former Committee in respect of Clauses 13 and 14.


seconded the Amendment.

MR. DAVID PLUNKET (Dublin University)

May I ask you, Sir, as a matter of Order, whether it would be possible at this stage of the Bill to consent on behalf of the promoters to these particular clauses being struck out of the Bill with a view of facilitating the progress of the measure, and of allowing the hon. Members who object to these clauses to take the responsibility of their being lost.


It is a matter for the House to decide after recommittal. It is, I understand, the practice of the House, if there is to be any alteration of that kind, to direct that the Bill must be recommitted.


said, he understood that the Bill, by virtue of this Motion, must stand over till to-morrow or Monday, and that it could not be debated now.


What the hon. Member has moved is an Amendment to the Motion for the Third Reading. Being in the nature of an Amendment to the Motion for Third Reading it can be disposed of now.


said, he understood that the right hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Bill was prepared to accede to this Motion.


No, no.


said, then they must press it. They objected to any further powers being given to the London and North Western Railway Company in North Wales to make any extension of any sort or kind. The preamble of the Bill declared that it was expedient to confer further powers upon the company as regarded the whole undertaking, and to extend and enlarge their existing provisions. He did not agree that it was expedient that the powers of the company should be extended as regarded North Wales, and he therefore supported the Amendment.


desired to say one word, not in any respect upon the merits of the question, but simply to explain the reasons of the vote which many of them felt bound to give. The Speaker had ruled that the merits, that was to say, the motive which was behind this Motion, could not be entered into. They had accepted that ruling. They considered, therefore, that in the vote which many of them would give, no expression of opinion whatever was involved upon the merits of the question that led to these proceedings, and they expressed no opinion at all upon that point. The vote he should give entirely related to supporting the practice of the House in not bringing into questions of private business matters which the Speaker had ruled did not properly arise on a Bill.

*SIR G. OSBORNE MORGAN (Denbighshire)

would be the last man to question the Speaker's ruling that it would be out of order to discuss the policy of the company on the Third Reading of this Bill, but he would point out that since this Motion came on a new element had been introduced into the discussion by the company themselves. Yesterday they published a long statement, a copy of which he held in his hand, and he ventured to say a more high-handed statement had never been heard of. [Cries of "Order."] If the words were unparliamentary, he would ask hon. Members to suggest other words, which would mean the same thing. If they were not allowed to discuss that statement, they were left in this ridiculous position—they were asked to vote upon a Bill without being allowed to discuss the reasons which the promoters themselves gave for passing it.


The right hon. Gentleman is really now infringing the ruling of the Chair.


said, he had not the least intention of infringing the ruling of the Chair. As it appeared they could not discuss the question before the House they would have to be silent, but he hoped that by vote they would maintain a not ineffective protest against this Bill.

MR. DAVID THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

thought the House was entitled to some explanation from the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman told them he was prepared to delete the Clauses in question, and yet he was not prepared to accept the recommittal of the Bill, which was the only way in which that could be done.


explained, by way of personal explanation, that he did not desire to omit the two Clauses, but if the Bill could be facilitated—seeing that it contained a good many Clauses besides those objected to—if Welsh Members chose to take the responsibility, he would not be against dropping them out. So far as they went, the Clauses were entirely in the interests of the Welsh people themselves.

MR. A. C. MORTON (Peterborough)

dissented from the explanation given by the President of the Board of Trade, because he said he sympathised with the Welsh people, and yet was going to vote against them.


I said nothing of the kind. I expressly guarded myself from expressing any opinion whatever.

The House divided:—Ayes, 233; Noes, 106.—(Division List No. 66.)

On the question that the Bill be read a third time,

MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)

said, that he must challenge a Division. He and other hon. Members felt bound to protest against this Bill to the very end.

The House divided:—Ayes, 248; Noes, 120.—(Division List No. 67.)