§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That it be an Instruction to the Committee to whom the London United Tramways Bill is referred that the County Council of Middlesex be allowed to appear by counsel, witnesses, and agents in opposition to and to be heard against the Bill."—(Mr. Bigwood.)
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Mr. J. W. LOWTHER,) Cumberland, Penrith
I hope the hon. Member will not go on with this motion, which is of an objectionable character. The effect of it really is to disestablish the Court of Referees which has been specially established by this House for the purpose of considering whether the matter contained in petitions of different petitioners is relevant to the Bills against which the petitions are lodged. In this case the Middlesex County Council have lodged a petition against the London Tramways Bill. I hold it in my hand. There are no doubt certain things which are perfectly relevant to the Bill, but there may be other matters contained in this petition which are not relevant, and upon which the Middlesex County Council have no right to appear before the Committee. The proper tribunal to decide that question is not this House, but the Court of Referees. If the hon. Member's motion is carried to day it will give an absolute right to the Middlesex County Council to appear and be heard, although there may be irrelevant matter in the petition. I hope my hon. friend will leave it to the proper tribunal to decide whether or not the Middlesex County Council are entitled to appear.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.