§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ *MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
I beg to move the Second Reading of this Bill. It is a private Bill, but, in consequence of the magnitude of the issues involved and the large area to which it applies, as well as the public interest which for many years—for generations I may say—has attached to this subject, it is not a private Bill in the ordinary sense, but it is a public measure of great and universal interest to London. It is a Bill, too, which, notwithstanding the magnitude of the issues involved, would, had it applied to any other city than London, have been unanimously read a second time and sent upstairs to be dealt with by the ordinary tribunal appointed by this House. It ought not to be made a Government measure. It ought not to be subjected to either Parliamentary prejudices or political tests. It is a Bill that is complicated by many issues which, in the past have prevented London getting what, under similar circumstances, other municipalities have secured and enjoyed. But, being a London Bill, this measure has to pass exceptional ordeals. There are many reasons for this, but I need not go into them this afternoon. They are patent to everybody, but I believe that some day public opinion will make up its mind in such an overwhelming and decisive manner that even Parliament will no longer ignore the claims of London.
This Bill has an exceedingly good object. It deals with a matter of public health, and involves the elements of life and death in a great community. It deals with a subject which vitally affects this great metropolis. It has to do with cleanliness and with public safety. It seeks to give to London that coequality of treatment which is enjoyed by other cities—cities which have been afforded the opportunity of converting the private owner- 1292 ship of the public water supply into a municipal ownership, and which have, consequently, been enabled to improve the public health, and to reduce the cost of the water supply. What other cities and towns have been permitted to do this Bill proposes to enable London to do. It will, if carried, convert a supervisory body in regard to water—and that is what the London County Council now is—into an owning and controlling body, with full powers and the widest responsibilities. I contend, on behalf of the London County Council, that as that body is the fire authority, the drainage authority, and the flood prevention authority for fire millions of people, the additional power that this Bill seeks to impose upon it is the logical complement of its public health duties. Recent events have induced the London County Council to repeat this session the policy of purchase which has characterised that body ever since it was created. At the last election London gave to the County Council a clear, decisive, and overwhelming mandate in favour of the purchase of the London water companies' undertakings. [Cries of "No. no."] Hon. Members say, "No, no." I have the honour of being elected on the County Council with a majority of 4,100 votes. That decisive majority could not have been given to me on account either of my views on the war or on pure beer. It was the largest majority I ever secured, and I believe it was given in favour of the policy I have always advocated of securing a pure water supply under the management of the London County Council. I believe it will not be generally disputed that that mandate was given because the view is growing up in London that the County Council is the only body which can be definitely charged with the purposes of this Bill. It is the only authority that has, or could have, power to deal with the question effectually. It is the only body which could be expected to raise the money necessary for the purchase of these gigantic undertakings. I will only quote one authority in support of my opinion of the nature of the mandate, and that is that of Mr. Harris, the able and courteous leader of the Moderate party on the London County Council. He says that the election was fought on the question of the expropriation of the water companies as soon 1293 as possible. That is clear and unmistakable, He also says: "Personally I have no doubt whatever as to the mandate of the Council to get the question settled."
I now come very briefly to the history of this question. Since 1880 we have had commissions galore and committees innumerable, and all of them have ended in favour of purchase, while many of them have trended to control. I am glad to say there has been absolute unanimity as to what should be the authority purchasing these gigantic undertakings. The Report of the Water Committee in 1880 said it would be desirable to have some public authority to regulate the water companies. Now we know all that the regulation of the water by a public company is impossible, for these companies have been unable to regulate themselves. The 1880 Committee also said that it would be possible to have an independent supply, and upon that I have just one word to say. I believe to obtain an independent supply would be difficult and costly, and that it is altogether unnecessary, but these Commissions are all agreed that the purchase of the water supply should be accomplished. That is the object of this Rill. This Bill varies very slightly from the one that was introduced in 1890, seeking power to acquire and administer the water companies, which was rejected. In 1895 a similar Bill for the purchase of the companies was carried by a majority. That Bill went to a Select Committee, over which Mr. Plunkett presided. A practical settlement was imminent and possible, but after the Committee had sat for twenty days the dissolution of Parliament prevented that settlement taking place. Since 1895 the Bill had been reintroduced several times, but since then Lord James has added to the difficulty by introducing a Water Board and Trust Bill, which was not proceeded with for a reason which. I believe, will always apply to any such measure if ever it is introduced. In 1897 we had another Bill rejected because a Royal Commission had been appointed to consider the whole question, and it was not considered desirable to legislate while that Commission was sitting. Now I believe in Royal Commissions upon this subject just as much 1294 and just as little as Lord Salisbury, and for the reasons he gave. In that we are in strict accord. In 1900 the Commission reported, and in 1901 we find the London County Council still persisting in the policy of purchase, that persistence endorsed by water consumers, the proceedings of the Royal Commission strengthening, rather than otherwise, our intention to carry out this undertaking.
Those are the short and simple annals of the London County Council in respect to water purchase, but it is just as well that we should know what has happened between the appointment of the Royal Commission and the introduction of this Bill. We have had two water famines, a great addition to the capital of the water undertakings, huge reservoirs constructed and storage tanks erected, and we have had Parliament recognising the difficulty and gravity of the problem by insisting that the exceptional nature of the problem demanded that all the companies should be linked up together, and that they should assist each other in times of emergency when there was a shortage of water. I say that the very fact of the Government having been compelled to interfere with private companies in that way indicates, first of all, how short the water supply of London really is, to what straits that supply is reduced, and also what may some day be imminent, unless the London County Council policy of purchase and a new supply is undertaken. The crowning injustice of the present situation was brought before us in January this year. The water company, seeing difficulties and troubles ahead of them in the matter of water supply, have attempted to impress upon their customers the necessity of storing water, which practically brings back the old cistern system, at the same time making an extravagant charge, and the effect of that has been that the London County Council has received a mandate for the purchase, administration, and management by a public authority of the, water supply of London, the like of which London has never before experienced, and which the Council through this Bill demands.
Now the gravity of this problem is indicated by the very sensible words of Lord Onslow, made use of in a speech 1295 when he was a member of the London County Council in 1895. These were his words—He thought that since the events of this summer, knowing that they had narrowly escaped a very serious calamity in the East End, there were not many in the council hut would agree with him that the time had come when they could not any longer allow the water supply of London to remain in private hands. He believed they were now almost unanimously agreed that the water companies must he purchased.What was said in 1895 by Lord Onslow, London has said since by elections, and both the opinion of London and Lord Onslow have been confirmed by the Report of the Royal Commission of 1899, which shortly said—
I contend upon those six points that the Report of the Royal Commission is in favour of the London County Council rather than against it, but the Report of the Royal Commission unfortunately stultified these excellent recommendations by others which are not so good. One of those recommendations was that there should be a water trust—well, Trust is dead, the last election killed him. The problem of acquisition was further complicated by the Lands Clauses Act, conditions of purchase being imposed upon London by the Royal Commission of 1899. It is convenient that the House should know what has been the result of all these inquiries. The Committee of 1880 recommended purchase, the Bill of 1891 advocated a single water authority, the Royal Commission of 1896 protested against the present company system, the Bill of 1898 linked all the companies up together, the Report of the Commission of 1899 recommended purchase, and the London County Council on Tuesday last, by a majority of ninety-one to seven, decided 1296 in favour of this Bill. We may take it for granted therefore that the London County Council is nearly unanimously of opinion that purchase is desirable in the interest of the river, the trade of London, the health, the pleasure, and the fire safety of London generally. In a word, all inquiries end in purchase, all experience leads to amalgamation, and all failures of water supply make for the water supply of London to be, as in Glasgow, Bradford, and Birmingham, in the hands of the rate-paying authority. All these resolutions are in favour of the administration of water being in the hands of a public body, and except for an unreasonable minority all are agreed the County Council is that body. I believe the people who raise the money ought to purchase. The people will have to pay the money, and their trusted representatives ought to be the people to purchase, and that was the mandate of the last election. Now why should the London County Council purchase? Because the London County Council is the only body that can raise the £30,000,000 or £40,000,000 which are necessary for that purpose. No trust could do it. A Parliament should not give power to any irresponsible trust to raise such a sum as that from the public; and, moreover, I believe, I if Parliament did give power to a Trust to levy a rate for that purpose, the whole of London would revolt against it, and the scheme would be an absolute failure, if not at its inception, in its subsequent mismanagement. The London County Council is directly elected, and is susceptible, as all such institutions are in England, to popular and proper influence; its financial credit is good, the commercial capacity of the officers of the finance Committee is undoubted, its officers are qualified to carry out the administration of this undertaking, and as London will have to provide four-fifths of the purchase money, I see no reason why Parliament should not give it this power. If the London County Council is allowed to purchase, it is asked what will it do? I think it will display its characteristic zeal and energy, and a typical regard to the outside local authorities with which it has to deal. It will boldly and, at the same time, economically administer a better water supply, and in the administration will serve its constituencies well, 1297 and in so doing, I believe, will economically pursue the line of least resistance. It will seek the co-operation of many local bodies now supposed to be its enemies; it will make terms with the outside authorities, as it now effectively does over its outside drainage areas into its system; it will supply to them in bulk any supply which may be required, and generally speaking the County Council and the outside authorities can be left to make reciprocal terms under the Bill.
- (a) "That the work of rendering potable by scientific treatment the river-derived water supply of London should he in the hands of a public authority."
- (b)"That, if a public authority became the purchaser, water would be supplied at constant pressure to the highest houses."
- (c)"That unification of the water undertakings would bring in its train facilities of intercommunication and simplification of extension and enlargement of the water supply."
- (d)" That it would tend to the prevention of waste."
- (e)"That it would afford greater facility for raising the large sums necessary for the future supply."
- (f)"In view of the prospective requirements of water supply in London."
Some may say, given the Council as authority, what are to be the conditions as to price? I believe that the only bono of contention between the London County Council and the water companies is the conditions of price; and given that the price could be settled, I do not think you would find that the companies would stand up or care for the outside authorities. They give the outside authorities no power of control now; they appropriate their water and charge them whatever they like. Worse conditions than those the outside areas could not get from the London County Council, and 'they stand to gain more than they can lose. The companies want the highest price possible, the London County Council desires a fair and reasonable price determined by arbitration, which shall take all the circumstances of the case into consideration. This is objected to as being hard upon the companies; submit that to a tribunal such as the Council demands. Before the Land Clauses Act was passed, and water companies bothered, and London County Council promoted Bills, my illustrious namesake made a very true remark. Robert Burns wrote—When self the wavering balance shakesIt's rarely right adjusted.That applies to the companies as forcibly as to the London County Council. I want neither the London County Council nor the water companies to strike the wavering balance. The Land Clauses Act cannot apply, and I want an arbitration to investigate the case with a neutral umpire between the water companies on the one side and the London County Council on the other.
I shall be told, perhaps, that Parliament has never done what the London County Council seeks and asks power to do. Parliament has, and has not, done it. 1298 It has partially done it. Parliament sanctioned special terms of arbitration under the Housing of the Working Classes Act in 1890, and I am quite prepared to leave this matter to such a tribunal as they sanctioned under that Act. Hon. Members opposite who object to this particular form of arbitration tribunal in the Council Bill must remember that Lord Plunket's clause, and several of the recommendations of subsequent Committees and Commissions, have been at variance upon the rigid automatic operation of the Lands Clauses Act. The London County Council say that the Lands Clauses Act may mean eight different arbitrations, sixteen different arbiters, and eight umpires. The County Council want to simplify and unify the process of arbitration under this Water Bill, and they want a strong tribunal for the acquisition of the eight companies, so that this matter shall be settled by a competent and strong tribunal with full knowledge of all the facts and circumstances relating to our London Water Supply. What is more, it is not fair to take the Lands Clauses Act, which was not passed for a special undertaking like the water scheme of London. The arbiter ought to take into consideration the question of plant, buildings, pipes, and machinery. All these are fit subjects for special valuation and for independent arbitration. Paragraphs 54 and 56 of the report of the Commission confirm the need for special arbitration by declaring no solatium for compulsory sale. Paragraph 128 of the report of the Commission of 1899 says that the large expenditure established the necessity for some form of special arbitration. Parliament also, by the Sterilisation clauses passed in recent years inregard to new capital, has shown how the water companies differ from those engaged in other matters. What is more, the new expenditure which the companies have undertaken, and the restrictions Parliament has imposed, are all eloquent in favour of the special form of arbitration I have indicated. Whether that be so or not, it is not on the Second Reading that these details ought to be threshed out. The proper tribunal to discuss them is the Committee upstairs first, and then the special tribunal to which I have alluded, and it is because I believe that a trust, if brought in, will 1299 have to undergo a similar test that I ask I Parliament to give the trust to the County Council, which has received so many mandates for dealing with this subject. I wish this subject to go to the tribunal upstairs to be settled in a proper way.
On this point some hon. Members may say, what about severance? Well, the Council has been, I think, put in the worst light with regard to severance. I believe it has been exaggerated rather by certain opponents of the Council and by suspicious friends of the outside areas, who, in my opinion, do not care two pence for the outside areas except as a means of playing them off against the Council, to the detriment of both, and for the betterment of the water companies. But I might say this, as a matter of fact: Birmingham, with a population of 500,000, supplies 180,000 outside; Bolton, with a population of 120,000, supplies 130,000 outside. I could give instance after instance in which it is possible for a central municipal body to get over the difficulties severance implies, and where, generally speaking, it works harmoniously with its neighbours. What the provincial cities have done London will undoubtedly do. But some may say, what experience have we that that harmonious action will take place? I can only give the nearest parallel instance I can find. The Council in spending £200,000 on technical education works with outside bodies most harmoniously, it co-opts outsiders and strangers, and they have done great work between them. It sends six members to the Thames Conservancy, and no one will deny that these six have done some good work. It works with the City Corporation on many public questions, and notably for gas, and on some occasions for municipal water supply. Whilst on drainage, it has solved the question of severance with many outside authorities already. It works with the local authorities of London on such subjects as gas regulation and water control; it is the harmonious convener of the local authorities of London, and is slowly but surely winning its way as the champion of London, and as the buttress against those municipalities which too long have threatened London's existence. It is on the ground 1300 that purchase is desirable that I ask that the Council should have power to purchase; it is because I think a public authority is desirable for this that I think the Council is the best authority, and it is because I think I have proved that the Council will not override the outside areas that I ask that this Bill be passed.
What is the alternative to the Council's Bill? The alternative is the Water Board, and what is the Water Board? It is to consist of thirty members, and there is to be little of the London County Council on it—no direct representative of the water consumers are to be preponderant. London in this respect is to be muzzled by the creation of this Water Board. The Report of the-Royal Commission says that a trust of thirty nominated members will be representative. I deny it. It will not be more capable than the Council. I believe it will be less capable than any statutory committee of the London County Council. It will be more costly, because this trust of thirty members will require salaries, I presume, of from £3,000 a year for the chairman down to £1,800 for some of the other members. It will be more extravagant and less-susceptible to public influence and control. The trust will be above criticism, it will be beyond removal if it does wrong. It will represent nobody but themselves. It will be without mandate and without representation. Now I put to hon. Members opposite, who do not agree with me, How much longer should London be subjected to these nominated bodies? Past experience proves that they are less efficient, more costly, and more difficult to deal with than the popularly elected Borough Council or County Council. But see how this metropolis is being; treated in this matter. How in a descending scale London has been, treated over a number of years. Lord Cross's Bill elected a trust of twenty-one. and 76 per cent, were from London; the City Bill in 1891 gave 53 per cent; the Vestries Bill in 1891 gave 74 per cent. to London; Lord James's Bill of 1896 gave 60 per cent., to London; but the Report of the Royal Commission of 1899 gives London only 33 per cent, of the representation on this trust. That is 33 per cent, of the representation on a body that represents; 80 per cent, of the con- 1301 sumers and will provide 87 per cent, of the money necessary to purchase these undertakings. There are no equal lights for all white men in that. I say it is a slur upon the municipal representation. It is a reproach upon the admitted zeal and capacity of the London County Council, and it is a kind of stigma which would not be attached to any other body but that which for the moment has the honour and pride of the burdensome duty of representing the people against the vested interests of this vast city. But some will say that this trust will probably select a better type of men to manage the water supply of London than the County Council could elect or select. Is that the fact? We have had water directors on the London County Council. I venture to say, from the point of view of ability and capacity and disinterested service to London, they were the least conspicuously able and capable on the London County Council. From the point of view of capacity, they were less commendable than any of the other County Councillors I had the honour of working with. What are the facts? The average water director is not an engineer. If he were an engineer, he would have put the water companies waterworks into better order than they have been on many past occasions. If the water directors were chemists, they would have urged upon the Water Board the necessity of getting a supply of some water better than that from a sewage-polluted watershed. If they had been men of business they would have made their dividends and yet placed London consumers in a better position than had been the casein the past. I believe that if the Council Bill is passed and we have a Statutory Committee or an ordinary Committee of the London County Council, we shall have a competent and capable body of men to manage our water supply. I venture to pit Mr. Dickinson against any director connected with the water companies. I venture to pit Mr. McKinnon Wood against any hon. Member representing water in this House. I venture to say that the chemists, engineers, retired business men, and capable civil servants whom London has harnessed to the 1302 chariot of its municipal work, are in every sense better qualified than the average water director, who is elected for other and frequently not such exalted reasons. Is there any reason to suspect the Council of inefficiency for the management of water affairs? Is there any reason to suspect the efficiency of the management of its fire brigade? Sometimes, however, we do not get enough water at our fires. Our drainage and flood prevention is exceedingly well done, while the purification of the river, which has been undertaken by the London County Council under difficult circumstances, is the admiration of every Member of this House. I hold that for efficiency, capacity, and disinterestedness there is no reason for a trust, and there is no reason for mistrust of the Council.
My last point is this. Suppoisng the Council is the body to purchase, supposing that purchase is decided upon as it must be, and supposing a Committee of this House and the arbitration tribunal take all the circumstances of the case into consideration, is there any reason to suppose that the London County Council will not be equal to the work, while the provincial corporations which have managed the water supplies had done so in a magnificent yet practical manner? Why should London be the Cinderella of all municipalities? Why should it do all the drudgery of municipal work and have none of the remunerative duties to perform? The million a year which the water companies now earn for their shareholders might better go in reduction of rates, extension and improvement of the water supply, the cleaning of streets, and in removing slums and in carrying out other beneficent municipal objects, which other cities to their credit had done. The Empire city is alone to be snubbed in this way. The metropolis alone is to suffer this contemptuous disqualification. London does not lack the engineering skill. Londoners can bridge the Indus, we can ford the Ganges, and we can dam the Nile. We can irrigate the dry places of the earth, and we can make two blades of wheat or grass grow where one formerly could only be produced. All but London is to feel the impulse 1303 of engineering talent, of civic zeal, and social reorganisation. This ought not to be. On the contrary, if this Bill is passed, Loudon will be able to attract to the management of her water supply some of the ablest men, some of her most devoted citizens. In moving the Second Reading I appeal to provincial Members, who in their own cities enjoy to-day what London lacks, to help the metropolis, whose hospitality they enjoy, in the struggle against the water monopolist, the water director, and water shareholder, and to give London the means of reducing its death-rate and increasing its health and happiness by securing a cheap, pure, regular, and sufficient water supply.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ *SIR F. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)
In rising to move the rejection of the Second Reading of this Bill. I must compliment the hon. Member for Battersea, who moved the Second Reading, upon the very moderate way in which he has stated his case, and I think the London County Council have done the very best thing they could in placing the Bill in his hands. I am very sorry that the London County Council have introduced this Bill now, because practically the same measure was brought in last year, and I think this is an unnecessary wasting of the time of this House. I consider also that it is very hard upon the taxpayers of this Metropolis that money should be wasted upon a Bill which the promoters know very well has no chance of passing. After the Report of the Royal Commission, and after the undertaking given by the Government to bring in a Bill next year dealing with this question they could have no hope of seeing this Bill pass. The hon. Member for Battersea stated that in the case of any other city or town but London, the Second Reading of such a Bill would have been passed at once. The hon. Member for Battersea spoke of this measure as a London Bill, but it is because it is not a London Bill that it is opposed at the present moment. The hon. Member for Battersea has spoken about the 1304 mandate received at the last election by the London County Council in regard to the water supply of London. I have no hesitation in contradicting that assertion, and I say that they had no mandate of that sort from the electors at the recent elections. What caused the defeat of the Moderate party was the regulations brought in just before the election by the water companies, which I think were obnoxious to almost everybody in the Metropolis. Both sides on the London County Council were, equally opposed to those water regulations, and it was a most suicidal policy. The report went out that it was only the Progressives who were opposed to these water regulations, but that was not the fact, it is well known that if you give a lie twenty-four hours start, it is difficult to catch it up again. Therefore, this mandate spoken of as being in favour of this Bill does not exist. The hon. Member for Battersea has used arguments which have been answered over and over again in this House, and he has not approached the real question when he says that it is a London question. He says that the London County Council is the proper body to have charge of the whole transactions of the water companies, but what did the Royal Commission say upon this point. They reported that—Inasmuch, therefore, as all the metropolitan counties, except Hertfordshire, are bent on demanding what the London County Council are pledged to concede, we think that a purchase by the London County Council of the water undertakings must necessarily be followed by that severance and division of the works of supply and distribution into five distinct portions, which appears to us open to so much objection as to be practically inadmissible. On this ground, among others, we have come to the conclusion that the London County Council should not be the purchaser.''I wish to bring before the House the fact that the limits of supply of the water companies extend over 620 square miles, of which only 122 square miles are within the jurisdiction of the London County Council. That leaves nearly 500 square miles outside these limits, which include part of the counties of Middlesex, Surrey, Essex, Hertford, and Kent, and in such parts there are four boroughs and fifty-six urban and rural district councils, a total of sixty local authorities. The area and population 1305 supplied by the companies in 1898 were as follows: Inside Metropolitan area, 120 square miles, population 4,478,396. Outside Metropolitan area, 230 square miles, population 1,341,187. These figures, relating to all the companies, bear out the conclusion above stated, that almost the whole future increase of population and water supply will take place outside the area of the London County Council. If the London County Council are permitted to purchase the undertakings of the water companies, they must either supply the other counties and local authorities with water in bulk, or divide the sources of supply and works of distribution between the five metropolitan counties.
What has taken place in regard to these companies only last year? I will take the case of three companies. The Lambeth Water Company during the last four years increased its inside area to the extent of 6,431, while the outside area increased by 6,857. Therefore it will be seen that the consumption of water is growing faster in the outside area of this company than in the inside. The outside area of this company includes the borough of Croydon and Kingston-on-Thames. and other rural and urban districts which do not want to come under the London County Council. The Grand Junction Water Company as late as February last were actually supplying more water in the county of Middlesex than in London. In the case of the East London Water Company the increase of the supply in the outside area amounted to between 30,000 and 40,000 gallons more each year, whilst the supply in their inside area was diminishing. The population supplied by the East London Company is only 6,360 inside the London area, while the population supplied outside is 648,936. Therefore if the London County Council are permitted to purchase these undertakings they must supply water in bulk to these places outside their own area. Sir Alexander Binnie, the engineer of the London County Council, in his evidence before the Royal Commission stated—that, as a water engineer, he would not advocate such a severance from the point of view of economy in the administration and construction of the works; and that in his opinion the objections to severance and its cost would lead the outside counties to take water 1306 in bulk from the county of London, contenting themselves with taking over the distribution of that water in their own district.With regard to these two modes of supply the Royal Commission report—The system of supply in bulk is not only inconvenient and expensive, but it shuts out the supplying authority from prospective increase of income arising in the district supplied. The price in bulk would no doubt be so fixed as to leave a small margin of profit to the supplying authority; hut that would not cover the prospective increase of income it might expect to receive if it dealt directly with the water consumer. If London had to supply water in bulk at a fixed price for the present and future wants of so much of the live adjoining counties as lies within water London, the ratepayers of London would find themselves in a very different financial position from that of the eight companies or from that of a purchaser who took over the whole present system.The conclusion we arrive at on this subject is that although severance of the works and sources of supply of the several companies and the division thereof between the Councils of the six counties within the limits of supply are not actually impracticable, they would be very difficult and highly undesirable. They will involve needless waste and expense and can only be carried out with constant friction in working details and at a greatly increased cost of management. All the advantages and economies of concentration and amalgamation will be sacrificed; it will become increasingly difficult to deal with future wants; and no compensating advantage will be secured.The outside counties strongly object to the London County Council acquiring any rights of supply within their area, either by supplying the customers directly or by supplying in bulk, and that Council are pledged to effect a severance of the undertakings, if they are allowed to purchase them, between themselves and the five Metropolitan counties. No words can be stronger than those of the Royal Commission on these points, namely—To the objections of these county authorities to being placed by purchase under the control of the London County Council we attach great weight, in consequence of the large proportion of the water-consuming population which is under their jurisdiction, and not under that of the London County Council. At the present time it is between one-fifth and one-fourth of the whole population supplied by the water companies. It is increasing at a very much more rapid rate than that of the population of London proper, and when the population of Water London reaches the large figure of 12,000,000, which we have mentioned, it is very possible that the population of this outer ring, for which the additional quantities of water are wanted, may fully equal that of the administrative County of London.1307 There is no doubt that London, inside and outside, is filling up very rapidly. But I think there is very little chance of an increase in the water supply being required for a long time in the inside London area, whilst, on the other hand, the outside area is growing very rapidly by leaps and bounds, and it will very shortly be quite equal to the area of the county of London.
It is all very well to speak about Bradford. Liverpool, and Birmingham, but those are not similar cases. I have no hesitation in saying that the feeling of the counties is so strong that they will oppose in every possible way any intention to place them under the London County Council. I am speaking in this matter with the authority of the various counties I have consulted. Why should the London County Council interfere with these other counties who consider that they are just as able to manage their own affairs as the London County Council? I think we have as good men on our county councils as are found on the London County Council. Any Minister who tries to put these districts under the London County Council will find himself very strongly opposed by the whole of them and the councils representing them. The question is not whether the London County Council perform their work well, or whether they manage their own affairs well or not; but the issue is that the London County Council are trying to increase their borders and are trying to obtain control of that which does not belong to them. The hon. Member for Battersea spoke about the Royal Commission's reference to the Water Trust, but that was only a suggestion. I think London ratepayers may fairly object to the rates of London alone being pledged as ultimate security for purchasing, managing, and developing undertakings in an area five times the size of the county of London. The Bill gives no power to outside local authorities to purchase water in bulk unless the London County Council assent, and if the outside bodies are not represented they are likely to be treated worse than they are at present by the water companies. I believe that if the Bill promised by the Government is brought in next year and a proper Water Trust is created, in a very short time 1308 everybody will be glad that this Bill has not been read a second time. I beg to move the rejection of this Bill.
To leave out the word 'now,' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—(Sir Frederick Dixon-Hartland.)
§ Question proposed. "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)
said the hon. Member for Uxbridge had gone into the reasons which actuated outside bodies in opposing this Bill. With regard to the particular proposals of the Bill the opposition of the outside areas might be pressed into a very small compass. Those who had the honour of being members of the London County Council must welcome the speech made by the hon. Member for Battersea. That speech was well reasoned and was considerate beyond doubt. He felt sure that every Member on the Ministerial side of the House recognised that this was a large question which ought to be approached without any display of petty party feeling or personalities. At the same time he was bound to say that a great part of the speech of the hon. Member for Battersea was in favour of purchase generally, but he submitted that that was not the real issue. The issue which the House had to consider was whether or not it should promote the settlement of this protracted controversy by reading the Bill a second time. This Bill was substantially the same measure as was presented last year, when it was rejected by a good majority. The main feature of the Bill was to enable the County Council to become the purchaser of the undertakings of the water companies. This proposal was condemned by the Royal Commission. It should be noted that if purchase by the County Council was sanctioned severance must subsequently ensue. The outside authorities would insist upon this, and severance meant that instead of one authority there would be five separate authorities. Therefore one of the great-financial and administrative benefits which ought to be derived from purchase would at once be taken away. Severance was, moreover, explicitly condemned by 1309 the Royal Commission. Every one of the main proposals of this Bill had been emphatically condemned by a very powerful Commission. They were part of the Bill brought forward in this House last year which was then opposed by the President of the Local Government Board and rejected by a substantial majority. Why should the House read this Bill a second time, when they rejected it last year?
§ MR. WHITMORE
said those were the main reasons why they were opposing the Bill. He could quite understand that hon. Members on both sides, wishing to bring this unfortunate controversy to an end, were rather tempted to let the Bill be read a second time, in the hope that it might be improved before a Select Committee. Was that the proper spirit in which to enter upon a matter of this kind? How could they have any assurance that all these things would be remedied in Committee? He did not know whether any hon. Gentlemen had tried to draw up the Instructions they would like to move in order to convert this Bill into one which they would like to see passed into law. It was impossible to draw up an Instruction which would compel the Select Committee to transform the Bill. Moreover, the scheme would be presented before the Committee by experienced officials in the most admirable way; and how in the world could outside authorities or others who did not approve of the Bill formulate a scheme which would have a chance of securing equal treatment with the scheme of the County Council? The fact was. this question had become too large to be settled by any Select Committee, however careful; and influential. It must be dealt with by the Government, and the Government alone. He hoped that in opposing the Second Reading of this measure no one was doing it with a dilatory or obstructive motive. [Opposition cries of "Oh, oh."] He was glad to hear that note of dissent, but he was going to give his vote against the Second Reading, firstly because he did not think it was a proper Scheme to settle this great question; 1310 and in the second place because he wished to get rid of this system of the London County Council introducing into this House year after year impossible measures. What he wanted was that next year the Government should deal finally and effectually with this great problem.
This was a matter of such magnitude and perplexity that it should be dealt with by the Government. That fact was more or less recognised by the Government of 1880, but unfortunately that Government was not allowed to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion. Had the question been dealt with then, all of them on both sides of the House, and the ratepayers as well, would have been happier to-day. Ever since that date successive Unionist Governments had recognised that the responsibility for the ultimate settlement of the water question in London rested with them and not with the municipal authorities. In the year 1892 the Royal Commission presided over by Lord Balfour of Burleigh made a very valuable Report, and the Commission presided over by Lord Llandaff also presented an admirable Report. Last year the London County Council introduced a Bill and the President of the Local Government Board on behalf of the Government opposed it, and it was rejected by a considerable majority. It was not, however, enough for them and the Government to go on opposing in that way. The question was now ripe for settlement, and in his judgment the history which he had briefly detailed showed that successive Governments had recognised that they had a responsibility and an obligation in the matter. They were not giving an absolutely negative vote, but they were waiting for a practical measure dealing with the question which would be introduced by the Government next year. He did not think that the treatment of the question by the Government presented insuperable difficulties. After all, there had been a great approximation of opinion on the matter. Personally, he had for years struggled against the idea of purchase— [Opposition cheers]—yes, he candidly admitted it—but his view had been shattered partly by the conclusions of the Royal Commission and partly by the general tendency of events. Now he was 1311 anxious to see the question settled on the general lines of the Report of the Royal Commission. Who could doubt that even the water companies must now be anxious to have such a settlement? Recent events had shown that they had not the moral power to enable them to carry on their business satisfactorily. Public opinon was unfair to the water companies, and they could not get the powers they required. In the interests of the water companies and their shareholders it was most desirable that this trouble should cease. There need be no great difficulty in the constitution of the new Water Board, and even the Progressive party on the London County Council had in many ways shown a sweet reasonableness, and he did not doubt that when once the Government showed itself in earnest the end of the long controversy would soon be at hand. He hoped he had not been detaining the House too long. In conclusion, he wished to say-that he gave his vote unhesitatingly against the Second Reading of this Bill, and he did so not with any obstructive motive, but in the hope that next session the question would be settled permanently and satisfactorily by a measure introduced by the Government.
§ *SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmouthshire, W.)
Everything depends upon what the Government are doing, and, indeed, something more than that— upon what they will do, because the two things, as the House knows on many important social questions, are not identical. If the arrangement as to the London water supply is going to remain in its present position, like old-age pensions, it will not be satisfactory. We would like to hear from the President of the Local Government Board what they are going to do, and form our own judgment as to what the Government are likely to do. I therefore at this stage, until we have heard what the Government are going to do, do not propose to go at any length into this matter. The hon. Member for Chelsea thought it worth while to incidentally attack the Government of 1880. [Cries of "No" and "The Opposition."] There were two Governments in 1880; there was one in which I was interested, and one of my earliest, duties as Home 1312 Secretary was to preside over a Committee on this question. There has been a good deal of misrepresentation on this subject, and I will in a few sentences state what occurred on that occasion. I was chairman of that Committee, and received most valuable assistance in its conduct from the present Colonial Secretary—in; fact, we together drew up the Report. Among the other members of the Committee were the present Lord Cross, the author of the proposal of the former Government of 1880, and the present Secretary of State for India. Well, that Committee had before it certain agreements upon which the early Government of 1880 had proposed to purchase the water companies, and there attended, by counsel, the Corporation of London and the Metropolitan Board of Works, who represented upon that occasion and for that purpose the consumers of London. Counsel implored the Committee not to sanction the agreements on the ground, so the Report showed—that those two bodies have declared to your Committee their opinion that the terms contained in those agreements do not furnish a satisfactory or admissible basis of purchase, and in that opinion your Committee concur.I do not think that that Committee or any other Committee could reject the opinion of the London Corporation and. the Metropolitan Board of Works. The next paragraph of the Report, the author of which was the present Colonial Secretary, was as follows—It is obvious, therefore, that the judgment of the public, as evidenced by the market price, coincided with the opinion of the Corporation of Loudon and the Metropolitan Board of Works—namely, that the price stated in the agreements is greatly beyond the estimated value of the property.The charge made against us was that, being urged by the representatives of the consumers of London not to purchase the water companies upon those terms, we agreed with the Corporation of London and the Metropolitan Board of Works, and we did not attempt to force the consumers of London to purchase their water at a price far beyond the market price of the commodity. That is the position which has been misrepresented ever since, and the remarkable part of it is that the very author of the proposal in the Conservative Govern- 1313 ment of 1880 was a member of the Committee. The present Secretary of State for India and Lord Cross never attempted to challenge that verdict of the Committee; they never pretended, after the examination of Mr. Smith, that it was possible to purchase the water companies upon the terms proposed. There was some suggestion that there should be some other terms and some other negotiations, but as to defending the proposal of the preceding Government there was no definite attempt whatever on the part of its author. To the general principle laid down by the Committee I adhere. The principle then laid down was that the water supply of London ought to be in the hands of some public body representing the consumers; and we suggested a body that might be constituted for that purpose, solely upon the ground that there was no municipal authority at that time in existence which adequately represented the community of the metropolis. There is such a body now. The principle of the Report was that as soon as such a body was constituted it should have control of the water supply, and to that principle I adhere. It was then discussed whether the best process was by purchase or by some independent supply. That question was left open; but it will be found in the Report that purchase for certain purposes was regarded as necessary. That is the simple history of the Committee of 1880. I believe that every one of the Committee's conclusions has been justified, and that to blame the Committee of 1880 for having refused to purchase the water of London at a price which was absolutely beyond its value at the time is entirely unwarrantable. I contend that the Committee of 1880 and the Government which acted upon its recommendations were wholly justified in the course they took on that occasion.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. WALTER LONG,) Bristol, S.
Nobody will be inclined to blame the right hon. Gentleman for defending himself as one of those who took part in the deliberations which led to the conclusion arrived at in 1880. At the same time I may be forgiven for pointing out that, valuable as the right hon. Gentleman's observations are, they do not throw any particularly new light 1314 on the question we are now debating, in the first place, the contention put-forward by my hon. friends behind me is not in any sense disposed of by the criticism of the right hon. Gentleman. What the hon. Member for Chelsea pointed out with irresistible force and unanswerable effect was that, had the suggestion which Mr. Cross, now Lord Cross, made in 1880 been adopted, enormous benefit would have accrued to the ratepayers of London. To tell us now that the representative bodies in London supported the right hon. Gentleman and his friends in their objections to the proposals of the water companies is not to dispose of our contention that if the scheme had been adopted great good would have followed, and we should not have been discussing the Loudon water question to-day.
The moderate speech of the hon. Member for Battersea deserves all that has been said of it. But the hon. Member looked at the question from the point of view of the London County Council, and from the point of view of that part of London controlled by the London County Council only. I have read the Report of the Committee to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred. Of course I do not pretend to speak of it with the same knowledge as he possesses, who served on the Committee, but I confess it is difficult to realise that in the recommendation about the appointment of a municipal authority the Committee contemplated that that representative authority was to be representative of only a portion and not the whole of London. The hon. Member for Battersea and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth are a little to apt to talk of London as if it were necessarily limited in these matters to the area of the London County Council. The hon. Gentleman made the mistake of following too closely the suggestions of the Royal Commission. The recommendations of the Royal Commission in the main are those which my hon. friend supported, but it does not follow that the part of the Report to which he refers or other parts will be so closely followed as to do injustice to those parts of London to which he alluded as he seems to imagine.
Now it is my duty to say a few words in advising the House- 1315 what course they should take upon the Rill which is under consideration. The hon. Member for Chelsea assured the House that he had no desire to delay or obstruct the progress of this important question. That is the last thing that any member of the Government, and especially the President of the Local Government Board, would be likely to desire to do if he could see his way fairly and honestly to take any other course. Various Committees and Commissions have sat upon the question, and they have made recommendations which varied in some degree. The last recommendation is to the effect that the controlling body dealing with the London water supply should be representative of the area which is to be controlled, and that the terms upon which the companies are to be acquired should be fair and reasonable terms, just alike to the shareholders of the companies and to those who will have to pay the cost of buying the undertakings. In what way does the Bill of the County Council meet the first of these recommendations—that of a representative body for the whole of the area concerned? Clause 44 of the London County Council Bill is a clause which proposes that the authority shall be a committee of the London County Council, and the Bill also gives the County Council a power to co-opt members of other representative bodies. Can it possibly be said that this is adopting the principle laid down in the Report of the Royal Commission? The Royal Commission make it perfectly plain. In Clause 140 of their Report they refer to the possible effect of the London County Council becoming the owners of the water supply upon the outside areas, and they say, among other things, we have come to the conclusion that the London County Council should not be the purchaser, and they give their reasons why; but those are not the only reasons they give, for in another clause there are other reasons which point to the same conclusion, and they go on to give those reasons. Is there any comparison between a, representative authority appointed to represent the whole of what we may call Water London and a Committee of the London County Council with power, if they see fit to do so, to appoint outside representatives—a 1316 Committee which will be, after these outside Members have been co-opted, subject to the control of the Council itself? Can it be contended that there is any comparison whatever between the body proposed to be set up by this Bill and the body proposed by the Royal Commission? The hon. Member for Batter-sea may say quite frankly that there is no comparison, but that he agrees with the policy of the Bill, and does not agree with the recommendation of the Royal Commission; but that is a reason why we find it difficult to justify the suggestion that this Bill should now be read a second time. The differences are not mere differences of detail. The hon. Member for Battersea said that there was no precedent for a Trust, but I am not quite sure that the hon. Member and the hon. Gentleman who supported him are quite right in their views. What has been the most recent action of Parliament? Not so very long ago a very important water trust was formed in the Midlands in order to deal with the questions arising between different municipalities for the supply of water, and therefore I do not think the hon. Gentleman is justified in drawing the comparison in favour of London which he has.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
Moreover, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Battersea is not only trying to deal with what is apparent, but is also dipping into the future. He might be contented to deal with that part of the subject with which he is thoroughly acquainted, and he will allow me to suggest that in attempting to deal with any future body he is dealing with a matter the conditions of which must to a large extent be imaginary.
Now a great deal has been made in the course of this debate of the demands of London, but in dealing with this most difficult question it seems to me that the London County Council have almost wilfully ignored the evidence brought out before the two Commissions with regard to the population of London within and London without. As closely as they can be arrived at, the figures are 1317 these: the population of the administrative county of London in 1899 was 4,568,689, and if you add to that the increase in population since then to the present day you bring up the total to 4,658,000. The estimated number of persons supplied by the water companies throughout what we may call "Water London" is 6,172,320, showing that there are no less than 1,513,000 odd people outside the administrative county of London who are closely concerned with the water supply; so it is not quite fair to compare this question with those municipal instances given by the hon. Gentleman, which refer to entirely different circumstances; which refer to cases where municipalities having the control of their own water supply have, because it was advantageous to outside populations in their vicinity, entered into arrangements undertaking to supply them. This is an entirely different question, this is a case of supplying inside London and outside London; and we are asked to supplant the companies by an administrative body. If we are going to do this we must realise these figures, which are very remarkable, but there is an estimate made by the Royal Commission which is very striking as to the future population to be supplied in 1931. The Royal Commission estimates that the population to be supplied in 1931 will be 11,192,000, or an increase of 5,000,000 on the present number, of which nine-tenths will be outside the administrative county of London. It is absurd to suggest that in setting up a great body to control this most difficult question of the water supply of this great area that we are to ignore altogether not only the million and a half who already form part of "Water London," but who are outside the administrative county; but the evidence which shows that the growth in the future will be almost exclusively the outer parts of London, and that in a comparatively short time we shall have as great a population outside the administrative county but within "Water London" as we have in London. Yet we are asked deliberately to give the whole control to a body representative of a portion only of the area, and to exclude from control and administrative power and authority in connection with the treatment of this important question 1318 a probable population as great as the figures which I have just given to the House indicate.
I might also quote if the House has still any doubt as to the constitution of the authority one further paragraph from the Report of the Royal Commission. It is said that the suggestions of the Royal Commission are worthless suggestions, and that they cannot be given effect to in some respects; but nobody will ever deny or ever has denied that the Commission was composed of men well fitted for the work which they had to perform, and which they did perform with great credit to themselves, and I think we are bound to give very great weight to their recommendations. In regard to the question of the authority they say that in their opinion the Board should be a permanent and not a fluctuating one, consisting of not more than thirty members, selected on account of their business capacity and their knowledge of matters connected with water supply. The hon. Member for Battersea, I am sure, did not intend by his reference to the water directors to draw any invidious distinction as to the manner in which they discharged their duties, and the suggestion of the Royal Commission is one that ought to have met with his entire approval. The meaning of that suggestion was that the men in charge, as they will be, of these responsible and difficult duties, should be appointed in such a manner that they are not liable to be changed from time to time, and that they should be selected for the experience which they have had or ought to have had of a training fitting them for this difficult and peculiar work. I think that is a part of the Report which ought to meet with general approval, whatever may be thought of the claims of the London County Council. The Report then goes on to say that this Board should be so constituted as not to give any preponderance to any of the conflicting interests. Is that borne out by Clause 24 of the London County Council Bill? It is not a question of preponderating influence here, because if the proposals of the County Council were to pass into law the whole control over the water supply of both inner and outer London would be handed over to the power of the County Council. It is not only in connection with the administra- 1319 tive part of the proposal that it is obligatory upon us to criticise this measure; the purchase clause of the Bill is, I frankly admit, an improvement upon anything that has ever appeared in previous Bills, but it is certainly unfortunate when the London County Council made up their minds to improve this clause in the way they had done that they could not frankly adopt the language of the Report of the Royal Commission, because the recommendations of the Report with regard to the purchase question are very plain, and it is difficult for anybody to disagree with them. The hon. Member for Battersea quoted from the Housing of the Working Classes Act, but that has no analogy to the case, because the suggestion that was adopted in that case was in order to deal with owners of property who had abused their rights by not dealing with their property in the manner in which they ought to have done. The gentlemen who are to take the place of the water companies are to take the place of men who have done their business under very difficult conditions, and even supposing that it could he shown that they had made mistakes, it would not be just to treat them in the same way as owners who had deliberately allowed their property to fall into decay to the injury of the community. The Commissioners in their Report say—The companies have upon the whole performed their duties to the public satisfactorily, and most of them have gone through periods of struggle and difficulty during which the shareholders ran considerable risks and received inadequate returns for their money. Some have now reached and others are approaching a more prosperous condition, by the help no doubt of great privileges which Parliament has given them. We see nothing which leads us to suppose that if these undertakings are compulsorily purchased for the public advantage, Parliament will sanction any exceptional provisions or depart from the terms of arbitration usual where the property of private persons is taken from them. We shall, therefore, assume that if the policy of purchase is adopted the price of the undertakings will be determined by an arbitration conducted on the lines of the Lands Clauses Act; although possibly, in view of the magnitude of the undertakings a different, constitution of the tribunal may be adopted.From the drawing of the Bill it is obvious that the County Council is to be the sole authority which in future is to control all these matters, and the question which 1320 we have to ask ourselves is whether under all these circumstances it is possible to allow the Second Reading and let the Bill go to a Committee. Are we not to consider, in the absence of any declaration on the part of the promoters of their intentions, that when the Bill reaches Committee we shall lay ourselves open to the inevitable conclusion that the Mouse has approved the principle.
There are other grounds upon which this Bill is recommended to the House. The hon. Member for Battersea said that the recent County Council Election had settled this question altogether, and that there is no doubt that the opinion of London had been in favour of the London County Council's proposal. I have had to follow very closely some of the elections of the London County Council, and I certainly do not agree with the hon. Member. Among other things there was a speech of Lord Rosebery's, a speech made on the 28th February last, in which he says—What has been the result of the policy of the Moderate party? I am not denouncing them. But the policy of that party in support of the Government on this question of water— you have at last heard the crowning of it—you know the result, the splendid result, of an omnipotent Government—omnipotent in both Houses of Parliament, with its mandate loyally and generously renewed by the whole country—you know the result of their policy with regard to water. It is this. The companies have enjoined on every householder to put down expensive cisterns at his own expense; and at the outcry of universal indignation have had to withdraw it.It is perfectly true that those recommendations were denounced, although they were made at the instigation of the Royal Commission, but that does not look as if Lord Rosebery was so satisfied with the policy of the Water Committee of the London County Council. If it were not unduly trespassing upon the patience of the House I might quote to them speeches made by hon. Gentlemen with reference to the action of the Local Government Board, but it is not worth while to go back to that, and while I do not seek to deny the importance of the County Council election, I submit the clear issue of whether the water companies should be bought by the County Council or by the municipalities of the whole of the area was obscured by the matter of regulations to such a 1321 large extent that it cannot be correctly stated as having been decided. The hon. Member for Battersea relies on the position of the London County Council as compared with other municipal authorities, but that point has already been dealt with by another hon. Member. In the earlier portion of his speech he frankly admitted that the question of the control of the water supply for London had been taken out of the level of the ordinary subjects; that the magnitude of the interests involved, and the amount of the capital required, had removed it from the position of an ordinary municipal question, and, therefore, it would be unfair to say more about that than this one word, that if the London County Council had seen their way to adopt, not every line and word, but the general tone, of the recommendations of the Royal Commission upon this subject this Bill would have been received as other municipal measures had been, and opposition would have disappeared, and because the London County Council had not seen fit to adopt that course they must not cast blame or responsibility on this House for opposing it. The House must have regard for the outside areas and therefore we adhere to the recommendations of the Royal Commission, and not to those of the London Comity Council.
What is the position to which we are brought? My hon. friend behind me, who seconded the rejection of this Bill, referred to the future area, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Monmouth said the whole of my hon. friend's speech consisted of references to the Government. That was not a fair description of his argument. He expressed the conviction that this matter would be dealt with by the Government. I quite agree that a complete change has come over public? opinion in regard to this question, and anyone who has studied this question as I have will be struck by the fact that, whereas there was a great disagreement in the past as to purchase, there is now a general agreement as to the necessity for purchase, and, roughly speaking, as to the scheme or method by which the purchase should be carried out; there is also a general agreement that there ought not, if it could be avoided, be any further 1322 delay in dealing with it. I entirely agree with what has fallen from more than one hon. Gentleman in this debate, when they said it would be impossible for us to go on year after year advising the House to reject Bills of this description, and take no step ourselves. [Cries of "Six years ago."] Hon. Members who talk so glibly of "six years ago" forget that the Government appointed six years ago a Royal Commission, and they are not to be blamed for not legislating while the Commission was sitting. Or perhaps they think it would be better to legislate first and investigate afterwards. Nobody who has taken the trouble to look into the Report of the Royal Commission will deny that it contains a great deal of new matter, and therefore I say it is not quite reasonable to blame us for not having legislated before; but as the Government is now situated, it is absolutely impossible to bring in a Bill this session, because if we had intended to legislate we must have given notice last November.
I do not underrate the difficulty for a moment of dealing with this problem in a satisfactory manner. I have already informed a deputation that, being unable to recommend this Bill, I am engaged upon a measure based upon the recommendations of the Royal Commission, with an administrative body representative of the whole area of Water London, with full and proper representation to London itself. I shall spare no effort to make the measure a success, and to deal in a final and reasonable way with the water question of London. If I am able to secure the approval of my colleagues, which I do not doubt I shall be able to do, it will be my object and hope to bring in the Bill next session. That is the hope I entertain, and I may say that I confidently believe that we shall be able to settle the question, which has been before the inhabitants of London too long.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)
I think all of us welcome the right hon. Gentleman's acknowledgment that a great and complete change has come over this question. I am glad that he did not associate himself with the complaint which was made by one hon. Gentleman behind him in respect that the County 1323 Council having promoted a similar measure to this, which was defeated last year, had the presumption again to submit that proposal to the House of Commons. A great deal has happened since this time last year. We have now a new Parliament and a new Government—a Government so new that the formal notices in connection with purchase could not be sent to the water companies in November —and, lastly, a new County Council. I have listened with interest and amusement to the speculations and hypotheses put forward from the opposite side of the House as to the true inward meaning of the recent County Council elections. Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen appear to be agreed that the election turned, not upon the question of purchase, but upon certain ill-advised regulations of the water companies put forward at the eleventh hour. I have in my hand here a leaflet. Sometimes leaflets are very useful things to refer to. This was issued for the purpose of the election by the London Municipal Society, and it is a manifesto, or at any rate a summary of arguments why the electors should vote for Moderate candidates. It says—The new regulations proposed by the water companies would, if allowed, inflict an unjust expense upon the householder, and must be strenuously resisted.How are they to be defeated?By returning a Conservative majority to the London County Council.Then as an illustration of how evil communications corrupt good manners, I find at the end of the leaflet this pregnant sentence—Every vote given to the Progressives is a vote given to the water companies.I confess that I am in a state of mental difficulty in this matter. This election turned upon the water regulations, but the Moderates, as they called themselves, if this leaflet is to be believed, were the most strenuous opponents of the water regulations. So also did the Progressives profess their opposition. Then what was the issue of the elections? The issue was not the water regulations, on which both sides professed to be in agreement, but whether the water companies should or should not be purchased by the London County Council. [Cries of "No."] I dare say that there are some hon. Members opposite 1324 who did not put that issue so plainly and candidly as I have stated to the electors; for while the Progressives were talking about water supply, hon. Members were talking about the war in South Africa. But the electors of London, who made so striking a demonstration less than a month ago as to their views of what municipal Government should be, were not thinking of South Africa; they were thinking primarily and mainly of the water supply. And that I believe is the only true and sufficient explanation of the enormous majority the Progressives received.
What is the question now before the House? The real question is— shall this matter, which has been delayed year after year, be again indefinitely hung up? It is exactly six years since the House of Commons, as then constituted, passed a Bill similar to the present Bill, promoted by the London County Council, for the purchase of the water companies. That Bill was closely investigated by Mr. Plunkett's Committee, and was passed, these two leading principles being expressly affirmed. First, that the companies ought to be purchased, and by the London County Council; and secondly that, in estimating the terms on which the purchase should be carried out, the ordinary system prevailing under the Lands Clauses Valuation Act, which gives, as everybody knows, an excessive bonus for compulsory purchase, ought not to be adopted. But for the accident of the dissolution of Parliament that Bill would have been passed into law, and we should already have entered upon the municipal administration of the water supply of London. What has happened in the interval? The right hon. Gentleman tells us by way of excuse for the delay that this Government, or rather the Government before this, appointed a Royal Commission, and he asks us in terms of indignation how the Government could be expected to legislate until they had inquired. In the opinion of many of us no inquiry was needed at all. The subject had; been inquired into again and again, and all the materials for legislation were already in the possession of any Government which chose to make use of them. I am rather interested by the attitude the right hon. Gentleman has taken 1325 up towards Royal Commissions. I wonderif the right hon. Gentleman remembers how the Government of which he was a member passed an Agricultural Rating Act which vitally tampered with the whole of our system of rating, and then appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into the subject of local taxation? The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the Report of Lord Llandaff's Commission as if it were an inspired and sacrosanct document. We should be very glad if the Government would treat with anything like the same amount of respect the Reports of some other Commissions appointed by themselves. Less than a week ago the Under Secretary for the Home Department, whether in his private or official capacity was never explained, stated to the House—
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. JESSE COLLINGS,) Birmingham. Bordesley
I said distinctly that I spoke in my private capacity.
§ MR. ASQUITH
We know that one member of the Government, in his private capacity then, treated with very scant respect the Report of a Commission appointed by his colleagues, none of whom had the courage to defend it. If the course which the County Council propose to take had been sanctioned six years ago, how much would have been saved! In the, interval the companies have been coming to Parliament to obtain fresh capital powers; and the Sterilisation clauses, as they are called, to prevent for a term of years any increase in the amount to be paid for purchase by a public undertaking, have been running out. There have been in the interval two periods also, if not of panic, of a serious shortage in the London water supply, causing great inconvenience. I mention these facts to show that when we say this is a question which should no longer be hung up we are not speaking without some experience of the evil effects of delay in the past.
As to the terms of purchase, I do not think there is any difference of principle whatever. Both Mr. Plunkett's Committee and Lord Llandaff's Commission agreed that the ordinary 1326 bonus given in an arbitration under the Lands Clauses Act ought not to be applied in this case. The right hon. Gentleman did not tell us that when he quoted one passage in this Report on this very matter. He quoted the authority of the Commission that arbitration should take place under the Lands Clauses Act and not by the special form of arbitration proposed in the Bill. I think it would have been relevant to have added the passage which I am now going to quote to the House, and which evidently bears out what I have said. I will just quote one sentence—In the present case it is improper for the-arbitrator to give any compensation.This statement thoroughly justifies that which is the essence of the clause, namely, that the arbitrator, in order to ascertain the purchase money, is to inquire into and consider all the circumstances of the case, and that no allowance is to be made in respect of compulsory purchase. I think J am justified in saying, therefore, that there is no substantial difference of principle on both these points—the urgency of purchase or the terms of purchase.
I come now to what is really the outstanding principle, the one which the right hon. Gentleman and those who supported him think is the question—that of the authority. In reference to that let me say at the outset, that there is, to my mind, a broad distinction between the purchasing authority and the management authority. It is not in the least degree necessary that the authority which carries out the process of purchase, and in whom in I the first instance the estate of the undertakings of the water companies is vested, should either immediately or for all time to come be the authority which should exclusively or without extraneous infusion manage the undertakings transferred. I do not commit myself at this stage of the question to a determination of that matter. I will consider in a moment the objections which have been raised. But let me point out first of all that the County Council is undoubtedly at this moment not only the natural but the only possible-purchasing authority. [Cries of "No."] 1327 I should like to know of any other authority now in existence capable of carrying out the transaction. The County Council contains within the area which it represents 75 per cent, of the population which consumes the water supplied by the companies, and somewhere between 80 and 85 per cent, of the rateable value, and this is a most material element, because the companies derive their revenues upon the rateable value of the houses in which the consumers live. It cannot be suggested that there is any other authority in existence, or which could be called into existence, which could possibly be put in competition with the County Council as the purchasing authority for these undertakings. The right hon. Gentleman gave the House some speculative figures as to what is likely to be the increase of the population in 1931. I am not in a position to check the figures. They may be perfectly correct. We are not legislating at this moment for 1931. We are legislating for 1901. ["No, no."] I am sure that hon. Gentlemen will not misunderstand my meaning. Of course we have to look to the future as well as to the present; but the question is how best, most promptly, and most economically, to transfer these undertakings, which everyone says ought to be transferred, to a public authority. What is the authority to whom they ought to be transferred? What is to be their subsequent management? Above all, what are the provisions to be made for the distribution of water in the metropolitan and the extra-metropolitan area thirty years hence, is not a matter of urgency, and may be left to the future. The question of purchase, however, is urgent and ought to be settled at once. In making the County Council the purchasing authority, admitting at the same time that water will have to be supplied to the outlying areas, we are acting strictly according to Parliamentary precedent. Over and over again in the great municipalities of the country, like Manchester, Birmingham, and Glasgow, where the purchasing authority is the supplying authority, those outlying areas which come within the natural district of distribution obtain from the central body, either by purchase or in bulk or by special arrangement, so 1328 much supply as is necessary for their local purposes. If that has been done in the great provincial towns why should it not be done in London also? Can the Government not trust the body which represents the enormous preponderance of interest which has been specified to carry out by proper arrangements the distribution of the outlying supply to those other districts? ["No."] Why not, unless as the hon. Member for Batter-sea has said, there is a dose of original sin in the composition of the County Council which prevents this House from entrusting to it powers which it entrusts, without reserve or suspicion, to all the other municipal bodies?
What does the Royal Commission propose? It proposes to constitute a water board of thirty members, in which the County Council should only be represented by ten members—in other words, the body which has three-fourths of the population and four-fifths of the rateable value is to have one-third of the representation on the authority to manage the water supply. I do not like to use hard language about the recommendations of a Royal Commission, but I think that is a grotesque proposal, and, as my hon. friend has already pointed out, it flies in the face of every proposal hitherto made, and in particular of the proposal, I will not say of the late Government, but of the Government which was in office before the right hon. Gentleman came to the Local Government Board, and that is the dividing line in this matter. It is entirely contrary to the proposal of the late Government, which was put forward by Lord James in 1896, who proposed that out of a water board of thirty the County Council should have eighteen members, on the express ground that London had a predominant interest and a predominant claim to representation. The Royal Commission has told us it would not trust those matters to a fluctuating body. Why not? All our municipal corporations are fluctuating the House of Commons is a fluctuating body, and every representative institution in the country which is recruited from time to time by election is fluctuating. The whole advantage which has been found by experience in the past from the result of transferring large undertakings like 1329 gas or water from private or corporate management to municipal management has consisted in the fact that you have a fluctuating body, a body of managers responsive to the wishes and appreciative of the interests of those whom they represent, and who, if they disregard those wishes and interests, can be replaced by others. I therefore entirely demur to the notion that you are going to take away from the directors, for whom we have the highest respect, and many of whom are most excellent business men, the management of those companies to hand it over to what apparently is to be a body of experts responsible to the Local Government Board. I do not hesitate to say that I would rather see the water supply of London left in its present position than see a solution of it like that; and I cannot express my condemnation of the suggestion in stronger language than that.
I think I have satisfactorily shown to the House, first of all, that there is universal agreement as to the necessity of the prompt transfer of the companies to a public authority; secondly, that there is no substantial difference of principle as to the terms on which the transfer should take place; thirdly, that both in the nature of the particular case, and on the precedents which have been cited to us in the Parliamentary procedure of the past, the County Council is the natural body, and indeed the necessary body, to whom the transfer should be made; fourthly, that the arrangements for the management and distribution among the various subordinate localities and interests is a matter of detail which can be arranged; and. lastly, that it is all-important in a matter of this kind that the ultimate authority, whether for purchase or management, should be exactly what the Commission said it should not be—that is, a fluctuating and responsible body. If all these propositions are true, what is the reason for rejecting the Bill? Why is the Bill not to go before a Committee upstairs? I say in the most direct and explicit terms possible that, if this Bill is rejected, and if its details are not to be examined by a Committee, the responsibility will rest entirely on the shoulders of the Government, The Government appear to be prepared to accept that responsibility. It is through their action that this question, which ought to have been settled six years ago, has been hung 1330 up until to-day. They have bad in their hands the Report of this very Commission, which has been the pretext for delay for fifteen months, and up to this moment we have only vague assurances that twelve months hence the House may be in possession of their proposals. In the meantime London is to wait; and a question on the solution of which the health and comfort of six millions of people depend, and which is one of the most vital of social and economic wants, is to remain in its present highly unsatisfactory state. If hon. Members opposite oppose the motion they will associate themselves in a responsibility which at present rests on the shoulders of the Government.
§ *MR. HARRY SAMUEL (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)
said he had the honour of representing a constituency which had had a great deal of experience upon this water question. He ventured to say that the ideas put forward by the hon. Member for Battersea in regard to the defeat of the Moderates at the last County Council Election were somewhat erroneous. If it were true that London suffered so much from this want of water, in what part would it have been felt more than in the East End and in the Tower Hamlets? What was their answer to this question? Why, it was the only part of London where the Conservatives won two seats at the County Council Election. They had been told that if this matter was not settled to-day the onus would fall upon His Majesty's Government, He had never expressed or felt any affection for the water companies, and he did not think they had carried out their duties as well as they might have done, for they had inflicted considerable hardship upon the water consumers of London. The people of London had been forced by the Radical party to wait twenty-one years for a solution of this question, and he thought they would be walling to wait one year more in order to have it carried out on a sound and proper basis. He did not think East London had much trust in the London County Council upon this water question. The East London Water Company came down to this House and asked for additional storage powers, and they told the House that unless they got those powers they could not be relied 1331 upon to give a proper water supply. What was the result? At the initiative of the Radical members of the London County Council that Bill was thrown out and that action ultimately resulted in the serious water famine in the East End of London. He welcomed the declaration which had been made by the President of the Local Government Board, for he recognised in it the absolute determination of the Government to pass a Bill next session which would once and for all settle this question upon a sound commercial basis. If the London County Council had really cared to settle this question they could have done it in this Parliament by bringing in a perfectly straightforward and honest Bill carrying out the wishes of the Royal Commission, and constituting a water authority which would be representative not only of London but of all the outside areas concerned. It was now twenty-one years since Mr. Cross's Bill was brought in, and the ratepayers of London were entitled to say that whatever extra amount beyond £33,000,000 had to be paid for these undertakings the Radical party were responsible for. In supporting the Government upon this question he contended that he was carrying out the wishes of his constituents.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said that when he looked into the history of this and the last Government he had the greatest possible difficulty in believing that anything was intended in regard to this question but delay. On the 22nd of February, 1895, a Bill to purchase the London water companies passed its Second Reading. In 1896, after the General Election, that suspended Bill was reintroduced, but the House threw it out because the Government promised to bring in a Bill the next year. He thought Lord James's Bill was a measure which was never intended to pass. It was a pure abortion, and the history of this question suggested to him that it would be in the same position next year. The Duke of Richmond's Commission in 1869 unanimously recommended that the control of the water supply should be under public authorities.
The hon. Member for Uxbridge had stated that there was no mandate at the last County Council Election for the 1332 purchase of the water companies. He quoted from a leaflet issued by a joint committee of the London Municipal Society and the metropolitan division of the National Union of Conservative Associations. This leaflet set forth that "the Conservative policy is purchase and management of the supply by a single public authority," and called upon the members to vote for the Conservative candidate. There was nothing in that about the water regulations, for it was a specific request to vote for the Conservative candidates in order to secure purchase and management of the water supply by a single public authority. But why should they wait until 1902 for the settlement? He believed that, the intention of the opponents of this-measure was to secure delay which would make matters worse for the ratepayers and better for the water company shareholders. The County Council had substantially modified its purchase clause, and the only outstanding question was, who should buy the water companies out and control the future supply. The Government, he understood, had committed itself in general terms to the proposal of the Royal Commission—namely, that there should be a composite trust of thirty persons, ten from the London County Council, twelve from neighbouring county councils, four from the Thames Conservancy, two from the Lee Conservancy, and two from the Local: Government Board. From the point of view of population London ought to have twenty-one representatives, and from the point of view of rateable value London was entitled to twenty-three members of that Board, or at least three-fourths. He, emphatically asserted that that was not a scheme for the representation of the ratepayers, and he could, not understand, how anyone could seriously propose to give rating powers to a body so constituted.
In regard to the outside towns, he sympathised with the desire to give them some representation. He had, however, written to many large provincial corporations; and he found that in no single case where they sold water to an urban or rural district did they permit them to have- any representation on the water authority. Cardiff and Glasgow sold, water to outside municipal areas, and 1333 permitted no representation. The Bradford Corporation supplied water to 231,000 inside its area and 205,000 outside, and those outside had no representation. In Bolton they had 120,000 persons inside the area and 130,000 outside, and yet those people outside were not permitted to have any representation. What they did there was to charge them a higher rate instead of giving them representation. He was rather glad to see this tender solicitude for the recommendations of the Royal Commissions. The problem was one of extreme urgency, and the Bill before the House would give them at least twelve months start. The Government policy was one of delay, and as a London Member he emphatically protested against that policy, because it meant more East End water famines and heavier financial burdens upon the ratepayers. Every five years delay meant that the ratepayers would have to pay £2,000,000 more, and they could scarcely expect the promised Government measure to come into operation before the 1906 valuation. If the Bill of 1895 had passed, London ratepayers would have been saved £2,000,000. Last Wednesday the Under Secretary for the Home Department volunteered the statement that he had but a poor opinion of the Londoner. He did not know whether that arose from the fact that out of the sixty-two hon. Members representing London fifty of them sat on the Ministerial side. If the Government assisted to wreck the Second Reading of this Bill he felt sure that Londoners would give the right hon. Gentleman good reason to alter his opinion of them at the next election. As a mere Radical partisan he might view with equanimity the throwing out of this Bill if the issues were not so serious. The issues involved were the health and the comfort of millions of people, and he appealed to the House and to the Government to give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ MR. PEEL (Manchester, S.)
said that as one of the two Members of the London County Council who sat on the Ministerial Benches, and as one of the few remnants of the Moderate party which was left on the shore at the last election, he thought he was entitled to say something in regard to the mandate which 1334 had been spoken of, and in reference to the causes of the great Progressive majority. Before this election came on the party opposite were very melancholy, but at the last moment those water regulations came upon them and wrecked the Moderate chances entirely. It was very easy to put various interpretations on that mandate. So far as the ordinary ratepayers of London were concerned, all they wanted was plenty of water at as cheap a rate as possible, and if they got this they did not care two pence what the authority was. The electors had been persuaded by a number of ingenious persons that the only way to achieve this was to purchase the water companies, and that the purchasing body should be the London County Council. He wished to be perfectly fair to the water companies, but anything more inept, more fatuous than their bringing out their regulations within a fortnight of the County Council election the tongue of man could hardly describe.
§ MR. PEEL
said he would accept the statement of his hon. and gallant friend, but he hoped the engineering of the water companies would turn out better than their electioneering. In regard to Manchester, it was true that they supplied water in bulk to twenty-four townships outside their area, but the difference between the case of Manchester and London was that the districts outside London did not want to be supplied in that way, and they wanted representation on the Water Board. If the persons to be supplied lived within the area, then the London County Council ought to control that supply. The outside district around London desired representation, and that being so, they were compelled to ask for an authority which was somewhat wider than the London County Council. He hoped the offer of the President of the Local Government Board in regard to this matter was not a 1335 hypothetical one, but that it was one which he would be able to carry out next session. In regard to the suggestion made by the Royal Commission, he was of the opinion that London must have a far larger representation than ten. As one engaged in administrative work in the County of London, for many reasons he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would bring in legislation next year which would solve this problem.
§ SIR JAMES KITSON (Yorkshire, W.R., Colne Valley)
said he was a Member of the Committee which considered the County Council Bill in 1885, and he wished to say a word or two upon this measure. He wished to express his sorrow for London having now to bear the excessive charge caused by the delay since 1895, and the argument of delay now put forward was intended to secure for the companies an additional value. From the point of view of the local authority owning its own water supply, the whole of the points which had been raised by the President of the Local Government Board were dealt with in the city of Leeds. The City Corporation of Leeds supplied outside authorities with water in bulk, and they had no representation on the Water Committee. Polities did not enter into the question of water supply in Leeds, for there both Liberals and Conservatives joined in promoting any legislation or expenditure which, would secure a pure and ample water supply. Leeds was in the first instance supplied by a private water company, but it was bought by the City Corporation, and they had since spent over £2,000,000 in securing a water supply from the moorlands around Harrogate. The result of that expenditure was that the city of Leeds now had a revenue of £128,000 a year from its water supply; the expenditure was £28,000, interest £60,000 on the two millions, which left a profit of £40,000 a year, which was devoted to the repayment of the capital. The consequence was that this great local authority, which now owned its own water supply, was enabled to come to Parliament to ask for powers which a company could not acquire. A company for private gain would not be permitted to do what Leeds had done, for it obtained two sessions ago power to buy the whole of the lands 1336 within its water areas. The consequence was that it was able to protect the health of the inhabitants of the city by having a proper system of drainage. He supported the Second Reading of this Bill, because he believed it was in the interests of a great population which was now placed in a very inferior position to the great cities of the north of England.
§ MR. GRAY (West Ham, N.)
said it had been stated that the London ratepayers were strongly in favour of this Bill. He would have been very much surprised to hear that they were not in favour of it, because it would be an admirable bargain for London at the cost of the inhabitants of Greater London. In West Ham they looked upon it as a measure to destroy eight monopolies and to set up one greater monopoly. Under this Bill 320,000 people in West Ham, without any voice in the management of this great concern, would be compelled to I take their water upon whatever terms the London County Council cared to dictate. London was to reap a large profit out of this undertaking, but at whose cost? It was to be accomplished at the cost of those consumers in the outside areas. He welcomed the assurance that had been given by the President of the Local Government Board, and he should vote against the Bill on the clear understanding that next session the Government would pass through Parliament a measure for dealing with the water supply of greater London. He should vote against the Bill under the clear belief that next session they would have a measure dealing with this question and providing a water board upon which the outer districts would have equal representation.
§ MR. HOLLAND (Yorkshire, W.R. Rotherham)
remarked that this was a measure which he should have the greatest pleasure in voting for. He was surprised at the attitude taken up by the Member for South Manchester, for if he consulted his own constituents in the city of Manchester he would find that there the principle of this Bill had been carried out with great success. In the great city of Manchester, under the management of the council, the water supply was better in quality and quantity and cheaper than it had ever been 1337 before. To those familiar with the working of provincial councils it did seem strange that the London County Council, which was the greatest council of them all, should be kept in apron strings to a degree which was unknown in any other part of the country.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington. W.)
said that before the debate closed he wished to point out that upon this question they were having one of the most shocking examples of the mismanagement of public business that they had ever experienced. Instead of allowing the question to be dealt with by this Bill the Government had given a clumsy promise that they would take the question up next year. There could be no serious intention on the part of the Government of fulfilling that promise, and no doubt the farce of 1896 would be reacted. It had been stated that by introducing this Bill the promoters were wasting the time of the House, but they had just got a promise from the Government that they would do all they could to waste more time in connection with this subject next year. The hon. Member for Chelsea had made a most candid speech, and he had stated that he and those who acted with him were in favour more of private enterprise than public control. There seemed to be a sort of conspiracy amongst those in favour of private enterprise to defeat this great public Bill. The water directors would no doubt defeat this Bill, as they defeated the Bill of 1895. One party would be shepherded into one lobby by the directors and shareholders of these companies, while the other party would bring their friends and supporters into the other lobby, where their votes would be given in the public interest rather than in that of private
§ enterprise. This was a gigantic question. They, in London, did not enjoy one of the franchises which were the possession of the people in the majority of the other towns and cities in the kingdom—water, gas, telephones, means of communication, etc. Everything in London was in the hands of the private monopolists. There was no subject on which there was such keen feeling on the part of the people of London; and it was these old companies that made London life almost intolerable. [Cries of "Divide" and laughter.] Hon. Members might smile at his attempts to interest the House on this question, but if the House would not be interested, the people of London outside were extremely interested, and thought the time had come when the reign of the monopolists should be put an end to. He had read a most interesting note in The Times the day before. It was a little quotation from the proceedings of the House of Commons on 25th March. 1801, and was as follows—"If any more Jobs are attempted to be forced through the House of Commons an hon. Gentleman intends to move that they be referred to the Committee on the Scarcity. "He could not but think that when the editor of The Times saw the Water Bill on the Order-book for that day, he had inserted that note as a hint in regard to their proceedings. [Cries of "Divide."] In conclusion, he did not think he asked too much when he expressed a hope that no director or shareholder, or any one who had got a personal interest in these water companies, would take any part in the division.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 176; Noes. 253. (Division List No. 106.)1341
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Brigg, John||Cogan, Denis J.|
|Allen, C. P. (Glouc, Stroud)||Broadhurst, Henry||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Ambrose, Robert||Brown, Geo. M. (Edinburgh)||Crean, Eugene|
|Asher, Alexander||Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Cremer, William Randal|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Crombie, John William|
|Austin, Sir John||Burt, Thomas||Cullinan, J.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Caine, William Sproston||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)|
|Bell, Richard||Caldwell, James||Delany, William|
|Black, Alexander William||Cameron, Robert||Dewar, J. A. (Inverness-sh.)|
|Blake, Edward||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Boland, John||Carew, James Laurence||Dillon, John|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Causton, Richard Knight||Donelan, Capt. A.|
|Boyle, James||Cawley, Frederick||Doogan, P. C.|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Clancy, John Joseph||Douglas, Chas. M. (Lanark)|
|Duffy, William J.||Levy, Maurice||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Lewis, John Herbert||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Edwards, Frank||Lough, Thomas||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Elibank, Master of||Lundon, W.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Ellis, John Edward||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Fenwick, Charles||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Dermott, Patrick||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Field, William||M'Fadden, Edward||Scott Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mansfield, Horece Rendall||Sinclair, Capt John (Forfarshire)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Mooney, John J.||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Morgan, J. L, (Carmarthen)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Morgan, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R (North'nts|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Moulton, John Fletcher||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Gilhooly, James||Murphy, J.||Strachey, Edward|
|Gladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert John||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Grant, Corrie||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merth'r|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan,N|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Tomkinson, James|
|Harwood, George||O'Doherty, William||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Ure, Alexander|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Dowd, John||Wallace, Robert|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol. E.)||O'Malley, William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.)||O'Mara, James||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Joicey, Sir James||Partington, Oswald||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||Pemberton, John S. G.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Philipps, John Wynford||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Pickard, Benjamin||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid|
|Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilson. Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Kitson, Sir James||Price, Robert John||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Labouchere, Henry||Priestley, Arthur||Wodehouse, Hn. Armine (Essex|
|Lambert, George||Rea, Russell||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Langley, Batty||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Reddy, M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Leamy, Edmund||Redmond, JohnE. (Waterford)||Mr. John Burns and Mr. Holland.|
|Leng, Sir John||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Blundell, Col. Henry||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bond, Edward||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Aird, Sir John||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Boulnois, Edmund||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bousfield, William Robert||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Midd'x)||Oust, Henry John O.|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Brassey, Albert||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Davies, Sir Horatio D (Chatham|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Brown, Alex. H. (Shropshire)||Dewar, T. R. (T'rH'mets, S. Geo|
|Arrol, Sir William||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Dickinson, Robert Edmond|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Cautley, Henry Strother||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Atkinson, lit. Hon. John||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Dorington, Sir John Edward|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Balcarres, Lord||Chamberlain, J Austen (Worc'r||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r)||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon G. W. (Leeds)||Chapman, Edward||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Charrington, Spencer||Faber, George Denison|
|Barry, Sir F. T. (Windsor)||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B.||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed ward|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. W. W. B. (Hants)||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Finch, George H.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry O.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Firbank, Joseph Thomas|
|Bignold, Arthur||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bigwood, James||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Rankin, Sir James|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Leveson-Gower, Fred'k. N. S.||Raseh, Major Frederic Carne|
|Garfit, William||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. C. H. (City of Lond||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Gibbs, Hon. Vicary (St. Albans)||Long, Rt. Hn Walter (Bristol, S.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Gordon, Maj Evans-(TrH'mlets||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Renwick, George|
|Gore, Hon. F. S. Osmsby-||Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. (Kent)||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Staly bridge|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lowther, Rt Hn J W (Cum. Penr.||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thornson|
|Greene, Sir E W (B'rySEdm'nds||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Robertson, H. (Hackney)|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Macdona, John Cumming||Round, James|
|Gretton, John||Maclver, David (Liverpool||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Maconochie, A. W.||Rutherford, John|
|Groves, James Grimble||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alex.|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Majendie, James A. H.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Hain, Edward||Malcolm. Ian||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G. (Mid'x||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn W. F.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||Max well, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Smith, H C (Nortb'mb, Tyneside|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)|
|Harris F. Leverton (Tynemo'th||Middlemore, Jno. Throgmorton||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Milton, Viscount||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.)||Milward, Colonel Victor||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Stroyan, John|
|Henderson, Alexander||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxford U.|
|Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampste'd||Morgan, David J. (Walthamstw||Tborburn, Sir Walter|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Morrell, George Herbert||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Hope, J. F (Sheffield, Brightside||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Morrison, James Archibald||Valentia, Viscount|
|Horner, Frederick William||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)||Vincent, Col. Sir. C. E. H (Shef'ld|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Mount, William Arthur||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Howard, CaptJ (Kent, Faversh.||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham||Muntz, Philip A.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Welby, Lt.-Col. ACE (Taunton|
|Button, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John L.|
|Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Myers, William Henry||Wilson, A. S. (Yorks, E. R.)|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Nicholson, William Graham||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wilson Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir JohnH.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh||Parker, Gilbert||Wolff, Gustay Wilhelm|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Keswick, William||Penn, John||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Kimber, Henry||Percy, Earl||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Knowles, Lees||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Young, Commander (Berks, E.|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Law, Andrew Bonar||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Lawrence, William F.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Sir Frederick Dixon-Hartland and Mr. Whitmore.|
|Lawson, John Grant||Purvis, Robert|
|Lee, Arthur H (Hants., Fareham||Pym, C. Guy|
First Three Resolutions agreed to.
§ Words added:—
§ Second Reading put off for six months.