HC Deb 03 August 1897 vol 52 cc225-7

Lords Amendments considered.

MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

said that the Lords Amendments to this Bill, which occupied six pages of their Agenda Paper, were an ample justification of the course which he had taken in that House in connection with this Measure on a previous occasion. The position he had taken up in relation to this Bill was that the Southwark and Vauxhall Company should be permitted to take an additional supply of water from the river Thames for a limited period, provided that the status quo should be preserved. His objection to the Bill when it was before the House on the previous occasion, was that it contained no limitation of the character he had indicated, but contained a number of clauses which would have the effect of seriously prejudicing the future situation. The present situation had arisen from the fact that the Committee of that House before whom the Bill was sent had passed the preamble of the Measure and had sent it to the House of Lords without having heard the case of those who opposed the Bill. The Chairman of that Committee, however, had stated that it was the intention of the Committee that the status quo should be preserved, and expressed their willingness to take the Bill back for further consideration, in order to amend it, if it should not in their opinion provide for the maintenance of the status quo. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, however, had intervened and said that he would not permit the Bill to be recommitted, because he hoped and believed that the Bill would be amended by the Committee of the House of Lords. He was glad to say that the Bill as sent back to that House by the House of Lords had been largely amended in the direction that he desired. He desired, however, to point out that in one respect the Bill still remained open to objection, namely, that it required the promoters to bring in a Bill in the next Session of Parliament to render the altered position of the Company permanent, without waiting for the Report of the Royal Commission which the Government themselves had appointed to inquire into the whole subject of the Water Supply of London. It was most objectionable that when the whole subject had been referred to a Royal Commission, one of the London Water Companies should be allowed to deal permanently with one portion of that subject, without waiting for the Report of the Royal Commission. However, as he fully admitted that it was necessary that a temporary Measure of some kind dealing with the power of the Company to take additional water from the Thames for a limited period should be passed, he did not propose to offer any further opposition to the Bill, by moving that the Lords' Amendments to it should be considered that day six months.

SIR FREDK. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)

said that as the hon. Member had not made any Motion with regard to the Bill, it would be sufficient for him to say that he did not admit in any way that the suggestions of the hon. Member, as to the future effect of the Bill were well founded.

Lords Amendments agreed to.