MR. G. C. T. BARTLEY (Islington, N.) moved:—
That it be an Instruction to the Committee to whom this Bill is referred to take the evidence of the police upon the advisability of constructing tramways over the proponed new bridge, and the probable effect the working of such tramways would have upon the traffic.
That the Committee have power to send for persons, Papers, and Records.
He said he was not in any way opposed to this Bill, but the position was a somewhat peculiar one. Tramways, when they were once made, could not, without great difficulty, be removed, and it was somewhat of an anomaly that the promoters of a Bill had no power to compel the attendance of the police to give evidence as to the effect these tramways would have. In the scheme for tramways across Westminster Bridge, the promoters endeavoured to get the police to give evidence, but they refused to give evidence against a scheme advocated by a public body. The result was that the scheme went before a Committee of this House and was passed, the Chairman declining to receive any evidence from the police. It then went to the House of Lords. The Lords took the evidence of the police, and the result was that they decided that the tramways ought not to come over that particular bridge. It was to the interest of the ratepayers, at whose expense the Bill was promoted, and also to that of the promoters of the Bill, that the first Committee of this House should have the power, by the Order of this House, to take the evidence of the police. That would save a great deal of time, trouble, and expense to both parties; and he hoped, therefore, the Instruction would be agreed to.
MR. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith)
did not think there was any technical objection to the Instruction which the hon. Member had moved, 1459 although he doubted very much whether it was necessary. If, in the opinion of the Committee, it was advisable at any time to take the evidence of the police, even though it might not be submitted to them by the promoters or by the petitioners against the Bill, the Committee always had the power to obtain an order of that House to examine any particular individual. He, therefore, should not oppose the first portion of the Motion; but he hoped the hon. Member would not move the second portion, which was really quite superfluous.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)
thought the right hon. Gentleman had overlooked the argument of his hon. Friend that the Committee could not take the evidence of the police, because the police refused to give any evidence as against the promoters of the Bill; and it was for that reason he moved the Instruction, so that the Committee might overrule any objection the police might still have by giving power to send for persons, papers, and records. If the right hon. Gentleman took that into account, he would see that the first part of the Instruction was practically useless unless the second part was passed.
That it be an Instruction to the Committee to whom this Bill is referred to take the evidence of the police upon the advisability of constructing tramways over the proposed new bridge, and the probable effect the working of such tramways would have on the traffic.
§ MR. L. R. HOLLAND (Tower Hamlets, Bow and Bromley)
desired to say that the County Council and the Westminster Vestry not only had no objection to the proposal of the hon. Member for Islington, but they cordially accepted the suggestion there made.
§ Instruction agreed to.
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.
§ MR. BARTLEY
, whilst he could see no objection to the acceptance of his proposal, did not desire to oppose the 1460 Government in the matter. Individuals had no power to obtain the police, and could not compel such attendance without the sanction of the Committee, therefore this proposal seemed reasonable.
MR. J. W. LOWTHER
observed that the hon. Gentleman seemed to have misunderstood him. The reason why he objected to this part of the proposal was because the Committee already had the power there indicated. It was unnecessary, very undesirable, and quite contrary to the practice of the House, to give, by special wording, power to a Committee which that Committee already possessed.
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records."—(Mr. Bartley.)
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.