HC Deb 21 March 1899 vol 68 cc1524-6

Motion made, and Question proposed— That this Bill be read a second time.


I only wish to know what is the attitude of the Local Government Board with respect to this Bill. This Bill only covers the same ground as is covered by the Bill of the right honourable Gentleman, with one exception, as far as I can see. The right honourable Gentleman told us that this Bill gives no additional powers for taking water from the Thames, and this Bill does. It says in clause 4 that they shall have power to use; to supply a larger quantity of water than the said company are now authorised to take, and the right honourable Gentleman said that was not in his Bill, and I should like to know what attitude he takes, and whether this Bill is going to the same Committee as the other Bills which are dealt with to-day.


No, Sir; the Bill will not go to the same Committee as the Government Bill. That is a Committee already appointed. It is practically true that much the same ground is covered by these two Bills, but in some respects the Bill which we are now discussing goes beyond the Government Bill—that is to say, taking additional supplies of water from the Thames. What I propose to do is to agree to this Bill being read a second time and going to a Committee, and I apprehend that when the Government Bill has passed it will be a matter for consideration as to what clauses are necessary.


Do I understand that we have two Bills dealing with the same points, and that the only difference is whether water shall be allowed to be taken from the Thames? Do I understand that the Government are allowing these two Bills dealing with the same question to go to different Committees, and that it is only after the Government Bill has been agreed to that the difference will be discussed? Shortly, it is not putting the House in a proper position that they should have two Committees sitting for the same object—one dealing with a Bill promoted by a London company, and the other with a Bill promoted by the Local Government Board. I do hope the Government will reconsider their position in regard to this Bill, and do what I cannot help thinking has invariably been done—namely, to send Bills dealing with the same subject to the same Committee, who will come to some general conclusion as to what should be done with regard to them.


This is a question which very largely affects the Thames Conservancy. We are bound by the Act of Parliament under which we work to see that we have sufficient water to navigate the Thames, and when this Bill was produced we looked very carefully into the clause which the honourable Member for Poplar has alluded to, and we objected to it, because we thought that in times of drought we might have the river denuded of its water, and its navigation seriously affected. We had a conference with the London company, and the East London Company has consented to a clause being put in by which they will not take water from the Thames when the overflow is less than 200 million gallons over Teddington Weir, which is settled to be a proper amount. Therefore this clause will be inserted, and put an end to the difficulty alluded to.

Bill read a second time, and committed.