§ (12.10.) Order for Committee read.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
had the following Instruction on the Paper on going into Committee on this Bill:— "That, as the Joint Committee to whom the Bill was referred first rejected the proposal of the Bill in reference to the constitution of the authority to be created for the purchase and management of the water supply of the Metropolis, and were then evenly divided as to its constitution, it be an Instruction to the Committee that they have power to provide for the purchase of the undertakings by an existing authority, pending the further consideration by a Select Committee or otherwise of the authority to be created to hold and to manage the undertakings after they shall have been purchased."
§ MR. SPEAKER
The Instruction of the hon. Member is not in order. The Bill proposes that a Water Board shall be created to purchase certain undertakings, and there are subsequent provisions for the transfer and carrying on of the undertakings by the Board. The Instruction proposes that the Board shall be struck out of the Bill, that the purchaser shall be some unnamed existing authority, and that the Committee, instead of dealing with the rest of the Bill, shall postpone its consideration for an indefinite time. That is not in the nature of an Instruction, but rather of a destructive Second Reading Amendment to the whole Bill, and it would raise a Second Reading debate on the whole principle of the Bill. For these reasons I think the Instruction is out of order, and I leave the Chair.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee)
§ [Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1:—
§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
asked the permission of the Committee to state the strong reasons which impelled him to move to report progress. He submitted that this was a very exceptional case. In the first place, the Bill was one of great magnitude. It came before the House after a series of Bills dealing with the same great question had been brought before Parliament under different Ministries. In no previous instance had a great public Bill, certainly not a Bill of this nature, been referred to a Joint-Committee of both Houses of Parliament. He would not dwell on the magnitude of the question, but he did wish to remind the Committee that never before had a Bill of that nature been sent to a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament, and never before had a Committee of the character which had dealt with this Bill dealt with it in the manner in which this Committee had dealt with it. In the special Report of the Committee reference was made to the third schedule, which was vital to the measure, because it raised the point as to whether the authority should be practically a Water Board or not. The Committee went through this schedule and made various Amendments in it; but on arriving at a decision the Chairman refrained from putting the question that the schedule stand part of the Bill, adopting the course of putting the question in the form that the schedule be disagreed with. That surely was an abnormal course to take.
This Committee is not a Court of Appeal from the decision of another Committee. In fact, we have no right to review the proceedings of another Committee, even of this House, still less of a Joint Committee upon the Motion to report progress.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
My object in bringing this to the notice of the Committee was to show strong reasons for this Motion to report progress, one of 11 those strong reasons being that the Committee whose proceedings we are about to review dealt with the Bill in a manner in which no previous Committee has ever acted.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is asking this Committee to review the proceedings of another Committee. It cannot do that on this Motion.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
said his object was not to review the decisions of the Joint Committee, but to show the strong reasons which existed for reporting progress. Within the last hour they had had circulated a volume containing 636 pages of evidence, which had been taken by the Joint Committee on the London Water Bill. Had this been an ordinary Bill sent to an ordinary Committee and dealt with in the ordinary way, the cause of complaint might not have been so great. But this was a most unusual case, and yet a vast volume of evidence was only placed in their hands just as they were called upon to discuss a measure of great magnitude. Was it fair to the House of Commons? Was it not, indeed, an insult to the Committee to ask them to deal with a great measure of that nature, at a moment when they could only have seen the outside of the book of evidence? Of course, it was possible for the Committee to enter on an academic discussion, but they ought to deal with the Bill from a common sense point of view. It had been gone into by a Committee of experts, who had examined a large number of witnesses; and how could the House properly consider the question before it had digested the evidence given before the Committee? What would be thought of a judge who gave judgment on a case while in total ignorance of the evidence that had been adduced? This was a question which involved numerous sums of money and large business concerns; and, in view of the facts he had stated, he could not think it possible to make out a stronger case for a Motion to report progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report progress; and ask leave to sit again."—(Captain Norton.)
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
It appears to me that the claim of my hon. and gallant 12 friend is one that can hardly be resisted by the Government. I do not say this I would not have been a convenient day for considering this Bill in Committee had Members had time to consider the evidence, but we have not even had time to look at this bulky book. When the unusual course was taken of referring this Bill to the Joint Committee, it was done in the first place for the information of this House when it came to consider the Bill. Yet we are not to be allowed even to glance over the evidence before we are called upon to go into the Clauses. I do not see how the Government can resist the Motion. It is not a question of forms of procedure; it is one of common sense, and of respect for the dignity of the Committee, as well as the proper consideration of a great Bill. I challenge the Government to produce a single instance of a great Bill having been brought before the House for consideration before—
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Of plenty of time being given? Certainly. It is done in every case. There has been a considerable amount of tergiversation in the proceedings of this Committee—queer things have been done, and that makes it more necessary to allow time.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
The right hon. Gentleman alleges that queer things have been done by this Committee. He either goes too far or not far enough. If he says they have been done, I ask by whom.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
The proceedings of the Committee certainly require some explanation. There must have been some evidence given before the Committee to lead them to change their minds as they did, and I submit we are entitled to an opportunity to consider this bulky evidence before we are invited to go into the details of this Bill.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I regret that the right hon. Gentleman should take 13 so serious a view of the action of the Government in asking the House to proceed with this Bill today. It is impossible for the Government to alter their decision, as to the correctness of which they have no doubt. The right hon. Gentleman takes an altogether wrong view of the procedure by which Bills of this character are sent to Committees upstairs. It is a matter of common knowledge that the procedure of the Government in respect of this particular Bill is based on the fact that it involves private rights.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I did not say it was not. The usual procedure, as laid down by Sir Erskine May, has been followed, and the Bill was sent upstairs because it affected private rights. If it appears, after the First Reading of a public Bill, that it affects private rights, notice is sent to the Bill Office, and it is sent to a Committee upstairs. And as to the contention that it is impossible for this Committee to judge of the facts until they have considered the evidence, I am surprised at such a statement coming from the right hon. Gentleman. The inquiry was held in the most public manner, the proceedings were published in the newspapers, the facts are notorious, and I will undertake to say that when the present Motion is disposed of, hon. Gentlemen opposite will have no difficulty whatever in making I long speeches and showing that their knowledge of the facts is absolutely complete. It is not necessary, then, that we should wait until these 600 pages of evidence have been examined. The volume was ready for hon. Members yesterday.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
A certain number of copies may have been in the Bill Office, but it is not every Member who was aware of the fact.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
200 copies were there, and could have been obtained by anybody who desired to study the evidence. The facts connected with the London water question are perfectly well known to Gentlemen both inside 14 and outside this House. They have been frequently debated, and the London County Council, which has recently issued a report on the subject, evidently did not find any difficulty in reviewing what passed in the Committee. I hope this Committee will support the Government, and will not continue this fruitless debate.
§ (12.30.) MR. ASQUITH (Fife, E.)
The question at issue is one not of precedent, but of common sense, and I doubt whether there is any precedent for the course adopted by the Government with regard to a Bill of this importance and magnitude. Why did the right hon. Gentleman quote Sir Erskine May?
§ MR. ASQUITH
But this is an unprecedented measure. It is perfectly true that when a public Bill affects private interests it is right and customary to send it to a Select Committee in order that those private interests may be adequately safeguarded. That is the reason the London Water Bill was sent to a Joint Committee of both Houses. But the question of private rights is not the only question which occupied the attention of the Joint Committee. It is well known that the Joint Committee spent a considerable amount of time over a question which had nothing to do with private right, and displayed an enormous vacillation and fluctuation of opinion with respect to it—namely, the constitution of the new Water Board; and it is necessary that the House should know the evidence which so influenced the Joint Committee before it proceeds to the investigation of the Bill. I think the Government would be well advised, with a view to facilitate the future proceedings of the Bill, to agree to the Motion, which is neither obstructive nor unreasonable.
§ MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)
said he would be the last man in the House to impute motives of obstruction to the Leader of the Opposition, but when the right hon Gentleman spoke of the reasonableness of the Motion they surely were entitled to examine the ground on 15 which it was pressed. No doubt a plausible ground had been advanced for reporting progress. He had not even received the Blue-book containing the evidence of the Joint Committee, and, looking at it from a distance across the floor of the House, he was rather alarmed at its bulky appearance. But that was no reason for postponing the consideration of the Bill. And why? The Leader of the Opposition had complained of what he called the queer conduct of the Committee upstairs, and the right hon Gentleman the Member for East Fife had said it had exhibited much vacillation by changing its mind. He admitted all that, but, after all, the question on which the vacillation of the Committee had nothing whatever to do, was the first Clause of the Bill, which was that a Water Board be established, and the matter it did relate to would not be reached, probably, for a week or a fortnight. The evidence was not in any way relevant to the questions which would be discussed that afternoon.
§ *MR. MELLOR (Yorkshire, W.R, Sowerby)
said he certainly could not see anything unreasonable in the Motion, and he thought the House had been treated with regard to this Bill in a very unreasonable way. How could they be expected to discuss this important Bill without first having time to consider the evidence? What had been the course pursued with regard to that question? The Government first appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into the London water supply, which, having sat for two years, issued a unanimous Report. As he had sat upon that Commission, he could say that the eight members, who began by differing from one another, were brought to a common agreement by the force of the evidence that had been laid before them. But the Report of that Royal Commission was thrown into the waste-paper basket by the Government, and its recommendations were disregarded in the Bill, which was referred to a Joint Committee of both Houses, who, by two to one, agreed with the recommendations of the Commission. He wanted this Bill to pass, but in a reasonable shape. He thought they were entitled to know what the evidence was which induced the Committee, in the first place, to confirm the recommendations of the Royal Commission, and then to change their minds. 16 Did or did not the evidence confirm the findings of the Royal Commission—a body which sat for two years, while the Joint Committee's inquiry only lasted about six weeks? Was it reasonable to ask the House to confirm the Report of the Committee without reading the evidence on which the Report was based? He protested against being asked to proceed with the consideration of the Bill until he had the opportunity of considering the evidence which had induced the Joint Committee to come to their last conclusion. He would remind the Committee that this matter had been fought out at the cost of the ratepayers of London, and that great expense had been incurred in the two inquiries. Could anything be more unreasonable, then, than the attitude of the Government?
§ *SIR J. DICKSON-POYNDER (Wiltshire, Chippenham)
said that if the proceedings of the Joint Committee had been limited to matters which came within private Bill procedure, the proposal of the Government to proceed with the Bill that day would have been reasonable; but they were by no means so limited. The Committee had to consider a great question of policy, and the results of their deliberations were somewhat obscure. Some hon. Members on his side of the House desired to see the much-vexed London water question settled once for all, and on a reasonable basis; and, while they approved many of the provisions of the Bill, there were others on which they desired to make their voices heard with a view to securing some alteration. He could not with reason support the Government in their decision to proceed with the Bill that day in face of the fact that the Blue-book—one of the most voluminous he had ever seen—contained some most valuable evidence, which might influence hon. Members as to the view they took of the proper constitution of the water Board. It was with great reluctance that he found himself compelled to support the Motion made on the other side of the House, but he felt bound to do so in the interest of the Bill.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
thought that after what had fallen from their own supporters the Government should 17 have no hesitation in accepting this Motion to report progress. The hon. Member for East Islington had admitted that he had not seen the evidence at all, and in his own case he had only had possession of it for two hours. He was sorry he missed the statement of the First Lord on the previous day that it would be shortly circulated, and he submitted that by the hurried circulation of the Blue-book the Government had admitted that a study of it was essential to the deliberations of the Committee. Why, if it were not necessary, had the Government taken so much trouble to place the evidence in the hands of hon. Members?
§ MR. WALTER LONG
It does not rest with the Government to decide how the evidence shall be produced.
§ MR. LOUGH
said the Government had certainly taken care that the evidence was circulated before hon. Members were called upon to consider the Bill in Committee, but at the same time had not given them time to read it. He believed the evidence was not even indexed. The Government would lose no time by giving way on this question. There was plenty of other business on the Paper which could be proceeded with with advantage, and if they took the reasonable course now proposed they would make much better progress with the Bill on future occasions.
§ MR. PEEL (Manchester, S.)
joined in the protest against the way in which the House was being treated. He himself was placed in a position of the greatest possible inconvenience by being suddenly supplied with a Blue-book so heavy that he could hardly carry it into the House. Hon. Members who took an interest in the water question might perhaps be familiar with the main facts of the case, but in addition to the main facts there was an immense mass of important detail which required the exercise of nice judgment, seeing that millions of money were involved. He had carefully studied the Report of the Royal Commission, and he had formed an opinion adverse to the composition of the Board as proposed by the Government, but if he had an opportunity of studying the Blue-book he might be induced to 18 change his mind on the matter. There was a great deal of evidence dealing with that paint which was raised by the first Clause, and unless he was afforded an opportunity of examining it he would find great difficulty in pronouncing a fair judgment.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill was one of the most extraordinary he had ever listened to, for he said it was quite unnecessary for hon. Members to have an opportunity of looking at the Blue-book which had been placed in their hands.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said that, at any rate, was the impression left on his mind. Had the right hon. Gentleman himself read it?
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
Really, it gets worse and worse. This particular Committee was appointed to consider the whole question of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman opposite said the Bill was referred to the Committee upstairs for the consideration of certain private rights. The House did not send the Bill to an ordinary Private Bill Committee, in order that the whole Bill might be thoroughly threshed out by a Joint Committee. The Government had in the Committee a majority of seven to three, but the evidence convinced the Committee that some of the proposals of the Government were unworkable. Surely, therefore, the House ought to be made acquainted with that evidence before it considered the Bill. It was not in a position to discuss the first Clause without having the full evidence before it. The right hon. Gentleman, with some heat, complained when the Leader of the Opposition said queer things had been done by the Joint Committee.
Order, order! The hon. Gentleman is not entitled to cast reflections on the Chairman of the Committee.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said he had no desire to cast any reflections on anyone. What they wanted to do was to contest the Report of the Committee, and he therefore submitted that they ought not to be expected to go on with the Bill at this stage until they had had an opportunity of digesting the evidence.
§ (1.0.) MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)
said the hon. Member for East Islington had said that they were not likely to reach a part of the Bill that day which involved consideration of the evidence in the Blue-book. Had he seen the Amendments?
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT
said the hon. Member must, then, have known that a most essential question—the constitution of the Water Board—was raised on the first Clause, and that on page 13 of the Amendment.
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT
That is a matter of prophesy. Amendments may be ruled out of order. The President of the Local Government Board had informed the Committee that he read the evidence as it went on. But had hon. Members generally the same opportunities that he had for doing so?
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT
How could it be so? Let the Committee consider whether that was so. The evidence was printed at the expense of the parties concerned, and was in the possession of the Parliamentary agents, and they 20 would not furnish a copy unless the applicant paid his share of the shorthand notes. This meant that hon. Members must pay five or ten guineas a day to get the evidence as it went on. That disposed altogether of the contention that all of them had the same opportunity of seeing the evidence as the right hon. Gentleman, and the position was this, that he, having read the evidence as it went on, could be citing passages against them from that overwhelming volume, which they had had no opportunity of reading, and which was without any index. He only got his copy of the evidence in the Vote Office a few minutes before, and then there were only three copies there. That was the right hon. Gentleman's idea of fairness in debate. He said the Government did not concern themselves about getting the evidence distributed; but they ought to have concerned themselves. The Blue-book was put into the hands of the printers on June 17th. Any of the great London printers could easily have got the book into the hands of anybody willing to pay for it within one week from the time of receiving it. Not one of the grounds urged by the right hon. Gentleman for resisting the Motion was a good ground, and on the other hand the right hon. Gentleman could not adopt a more suicidal policy—so far as his Bill was concerned—than one of insisting on now going on with the debate. He would find that the best and easiest course was to give hon. Members an opportunity of studying the evidence before going on with the debate.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
thought that the Government would be well advised to accept the Motion. There had hitherto been a general agreement on the part of Members to make the best possible measure out of the very worst possible Bill, and if that temper was to continue to prevail, as he hoped it might, they ought only to conduct their final discussions with knowledge of the Blue-book, and some regard to the evidence. If the right hon. Gentleman wanted to get the Bill through within something of a week, he should adjourn the discussion now and go on with the Butterine Bill, which would add to smoothness and harmony, or take 21 some other small and uncontentious measure. Injustice would otherwise be done to the interests concerned. He was specially favoured as a member of the Parliamentary Committee of the County Council in having read the evidence, but it had not been distributed to members of the County Council generally, or to Members of that House, as was proved by the innocent ignorance of the hon. Member for East Islington. On the ground that Members had not sufficient knowledge of the evidence upon which the Committee arrived at their decision, he hoped the Motion would be agreed to. It was but fair to the representatives of the eight water companies that they should have before them a summary of the proceedings, and still more important was it that the local bodies who found themselves suddenly incorporated into the proposed water authority should have time to consider the position and express their opinions. The County Council, the City Corporation, the Thames Conservancy, and the seventy-seven authorities with which the Bill dealt, were suddenly called upon to give a decision on insufficient knowledge, and he was himself very desirous to fathom the reasons which had induced a sudden change of opinion on the Committee in reference to the inclusion of Borough Councils on the Water Board. He wanted to get at the reasons which caused that wonderful and startling change. He did not wish to be unfair to the Joint Committee, and he was not disposed to prejudge the reasons which induced an hon. Gentlemanlike the Member for North-West Manchester to change attitude on this important question. Hence he wanted to read the evidence. Then again, they ought to have the views of the Borough Councils as to whether they willingly consented to form part of the authority under the Bill. The Council of the borough of Limehouse had as good a right to express their views as any other body, and he said that despite the uninformed smile of the hon. Member for that division. He had never been in favour of factious opposition on any Bill, but if ever there was justification for obstructing a policy recommended by the Government, it was the present, when they were asked to proceed with the consideration of a Bill involving £40,000,000 or 22 £50,000,000, affecting some 474 miles of territory and seventy-seven authorities, without being allowed first to read the evidence relating to the subject. If the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill persisted in this attitude he would lay himself open to the charge of having been driven to do so by the water companies. It would be far better for him to let the Bill go over for three or four days, so that some of them, instead of wasting time at golf, might spend the week end in digesting the evidence and in ascertaining what was responsible for the chameleon like attitude of the Joint Committee.
MR. HARRYSAMUEL (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)
said he had been accused of possessing an uninformed smile, but he rose for the purpose of making a practical suggestion. Those Members who knew the pertinacity of the London County Council fully expected that there would once more be a long discussion of the question whether the Council should be the water authority, a question that was ruled out of order in the Committee on the ground that the point had been settled by the Second Heading debate. Any one who followed the proceedings in Committee would know that at first it declined to take evidence on that point, but when the Members reopened the consideration of it and took evidence they changed their minds.
§ MR. EMMOTT (Oldham)
thought the contention of the last speaker constituted a good reason in favour of the present Motion. Members desired to become acquainted with the evidence which induced the Joint Committee to change its mind. The suggestion to report progress to enable them to master the reasons which influenced the Committee was a most reasonable one. Were they, or were they not, a deliberative assembly? If they were to deliberate that Bill, they could only do so properly on the strength of the evidence presented to the Committee. He, for one, had not seen that evidence, and consequently, in the interest of fair play and of the honour and dignity of the House, he asked the Government to accede to the Motion to report progress.
§ DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)
added his appeal in favour of adjourning 23 proceedings, and reminded the President of the Local Government Board that an assurance had been given that the House should have full and deliberate opportunity for considering the Report of the Joint Committee. It should be remembered that on the occasion of the Second Reading a notice was made from the Front Opposition Bench to refer the Bill to a Select Committee of the House. He then asked if hon. Members would sacrifice their right to go into details if they assented to the Government proposal to send the Bill to a Joint Committee, and he was assured by both the President and the Secretary of the Local Government Board that they would have the fullest opportunity of considering the Bill in all its details. On the strength of the above assurance he, almost alone on those Benches, voted for the Joint Committee, and the reward he got for supporting was that he was asked to consider the Bill at a time when he had not seen the Blue-book, and did not therefore know what the evidence was like. It was impossible to judge of what took place on the Committee from the reports in the Press. They were, no doubt, admirable descriptions, but they were too brief, and might be entirely distorted versions. So far as he could gather, the Cabinet, being furious at the decision of the Committee, hustled the Committee, and now wanted to hustle the House of Commons.
§ *Sir WILLIAM TOMLINSON (Preston)
said that the Committee was in danger of losing sight of the important consideration involved in the reference of this Bill to the Joint Committee, namely, whether it was referred to the Committee principally as a private Bill or as a public Bill. It seemed clear that although evidence was given incidentally on some leading points of policy, it was chiefly in the nature of a reference of a private Bill, and was by no means an uncommon occurrence in connection with an important measure. It was clear, however, that the evidence was under the control of the Parliamentary Agents, and it would be setting a most dangerous precedent to decide not to proceed with the Bill owing to the fact that the evidence under the control of the Parliamentary Agents had been delayed in publication. It appeared to him that what they ought to consider in regard to this Bill was not so much the evidence given before the Committee as the evidence given before the Royal Commission. He considered that to delay the progress of the Bill because during the discussion useful facts might be brought out from the evidence laid before the Committee, though it might not be actual obstruction, would have the effect of obstruction.
§ (1.30.) Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—-Ayes, 86; Noes, 123. (Division List No. 285.) (1.40.)25
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Elibank, Master of||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead||Emmott, Alfred||Mooney, John J.|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Gloue., Stroud||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Evans, Samuel T.||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herb't Henry||Fenwick, Charles||Nolan, Col. Jno. P. (Galway, N.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. b||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Brown, Geo. M. (Edinburgh)||Grant, Corrie||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipp'rary Mid|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Burns, John||Horniman, Frederick John||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Caldwell, James||Jones, Dav. Brynmor (Swansea||O'Malley, William|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Joyce, Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Kennedy, Patrick James||Partington, Oswald|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Leamy, Edmund||Percy, Earl|
|Cremer, William Randal||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Rea, Russell|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Leng, Sir John||Reddy, M.|
|Delany, William||Lloyd-George, David||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Lough, Thomas||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfr.|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lundon, W.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Govern, T.||Russell, T. W.|
|Edwards, Frank||Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Thomas, J. A. (Glamor. Gower||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Hud'ersf'd|
|Spencer, Rt. Hn. C.R. (N'thants||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)||Young, Samuel|
|Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Strachey, Sir Edward||Tully, Jasper||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Sullivan, Donal||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)||Mr. Herbert Gladstone|
|Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan., E.||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth||and Mr. Causton.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Gordon, Hn. J E. (Elgin&Nairn)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Allhusen, Aug'tus H'nry Eden||Graham, Henry Robert||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed.||Purvis, Robert|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Grenfell, William Henry||Pym, C. Guy|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Gretton, John||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Baird, John Geo. Alexander||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Gunter, Sir Robert||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.J. (Manch'r)||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Mid'x.||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Batburst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Hatch, Ernest Fred'k George||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.)||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Brodrick, Rt Hon. St. John||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Horner, Frederick William||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hoult, Joseph||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Cavendish, V.C. W.(Derb'shire||Howard, J.(Midd., Tottenham)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wore'r||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Smith, H C (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Chapman, Edward||Knowles, Lees||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Lawrence. Sir Jos'ph (Monm'th||Stroyan, John|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Lawson, John Grant||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lee, Arthur H (Hants., Fareham||Thompson, DrEC (Monagh'n, N|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Denny, Colonel||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Dorington, Rt. Hn. Sir John E.||Long, Rt Hn. Walter (Bristol, S)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Doughty, George||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon A. Akers-||Macdona, John Cumming||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||M'Killop, James(Stirlingshire)||Williams, Rt Hn. J. Powell-(Bir.|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Manners, Lord Cecil||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Maxwell, WJH (Dumfriesshire||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Fellowes Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Younger, William|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Muntz, Sir Philip A.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Murray, Rt Hn A Graham (Bute|
|Fison, Frederick William||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Flower, Ernest||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Sir William Walrond and|
|Garfit, William||Nicholson, William Graham||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fred'k||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
§ (2.10.) MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said he wished to draw the attention of the President of the Local Government Board to the question of postponing this Clause. Clause 1 raised the question of the number of this Board, and until the Committee was in possession of the evidence, as given before the Joint-Committee, they were not in a position to discuss this Clause. Upon the Second Reading of this Bill, the President of the Local Government Board stated that in regard to the question of the constitution of the Board he had obtained the advice of an expert among experts who agreed with him that seventy-three should be the number. He wanted to know the 26 name of the expert by whom the right hon. Gentleman was guided in adopting the particular constitution laid down in the Bill. He would also like to know if this export among experts gave evidence before the Joint Committee, and, if so, would the right hon. Gentleman kindly give his name, because he was very anxious to see what was the nature of the evidence upon which this recommendation was founded.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
Yes, he did give evidence. His name is Mr. Perrin, the Water Examiner to the Local Government Board.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said he they thought were entitled to postpone this Clause in order to see upon what basis this proposal was founded. He was aware that there was evidence upon the other aide from experts in Glasgow, Liverpool, and Edinburgh, from witnesses occupied in the carrying out of those great municipal water undertakings, but he did not now wish to detain the Committee with the evidence given by those gentlemen. Substantially, these gentlemen, who were well known experts, possessing a minute knowledge of this question, had declared unanimously and emphatically against the size of the proposed authority. His point was that they were not in a position to deal with this Clause at the present moment. Even with regard to the Amendments on the Paper, they were not in a position to discuss the matter properly. He should also like to urge, as another reason—if it were in order—the action of the Chairman of the Joint Committee, and the way in which the Report of that Committee had, as a consequence, come down to the House. He did not wish to infringe the ruling of the Chair, and he did not know whether he would be in order in discussing the mode in which the procedure on that Committee had been carried out.
If it will assist the hon. Member, I may point out that the general principle is this: if the hon. Member is going to suggest that the question was not put in a proper way by the Chairman of that Committee, I may say that I do not think this is a court of appeal from that Committee. No discussion will be permitted with regard to the conduct of the Chairman of that Committee upon a Motion to postpone a clause.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said he did not wish to attack the Chairman of the Joint Committee as such. He would like to draw attention to an incident which occurred in this House the other day. There was brought before the House a Railway Bill, which appeared to him to include issues which were practically on all fours with this Bill.
That was upon a definite Instruction, instructing the Committee to take a particular course, and therefore it was relevant to say 28 that on a former occasion the Committee had not taken the desirable course. We are now upon a motion to postpone Clause 1, and the objections which I understand the hon. Member takes to the decision of the Committee refer to the schedule. Obviously, when we are discussing a Motion to postpone the first clause, I do not see how the matter which the hon. Member desires to discuss can be relevant. The hon. Member, by his Motion to postpone this clause, prevents the Committee discussing the very matter which he wishes to discuss.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said that in consequence of that ruling he should not discuss the action of the Chairman of the Joint Committee, which he considered a matter of great importance as affecting the procedure of Committees; but he urged again the postponement of the clause, on the ground that, until the Committee were acquainted with the evidence laid before the Joint Committee, they could not properly discuss the Amendments to the clause.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Clause 1 be postponed."—(Mr. Sydney Buxton.)
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I desire to say that it is impossible for the Government to assent to the Motion moved by my hon. friend the Member for Poplar, and I am rather surprised at the grounds upon which he has made this Motion. The hon. Member asks me upon what evidence I base the proposal which I ventured to put before the House when I introduced this Bill. The number inserted in the Bill was considered necessary to perform the work which had to be done. But the hon. Member has carried my argument a great deal further than that, for he has endeavoured to show the Committee that upon this one witness, Mr. Perrin, I have based and founded the whole Bill. The reference which the hon. Member opposite made to my speech deals solely with the question of Boards and the work that is to be done by the new Board. Upon that occasion I quoted Mr. Perrin, the Water Examiner to the Local Government Board, as the one man who has greater and more 29 detailed knowledge of the water area and the needs of Water London, and the difficulties likely to arise, than any other man of my acquaintance. He is an expert, and was rightly described by me as an expert among experts. His opinion was very strong upon the point that it would be impossible for the work of Water London to be done properly unless the Board was big enough to provide six, seven, or eight Committees. The hon. Gentleman opposite and the hon. Member for North West Wiltshire had both placed Amendments on the Paper proposing alternative bodies for the control of the London water supply, but I cannot see how it is possible for them to make themselves responsible for proposals of this kind, which would altogether change this Bill, unless they are prepared to produce some very strong arguments in support of that course. If hon. Members really believe that they cannot go on with this Bill until they have all this evidence before them, why have they put Amendments on the Paper? Why have they made proposals to alter the constitution of this Board? Is it that they have made themselves responsible for proposals which they were not prepared to defend until they had read the evidence? I must now turn to the main contention of the hon. Member opposite. I am aware that this Bill deals with more millions of money than many private Bills which come before Parliament, but, after all, the Bill which brought into existence the Manchester Ship Canal involved more money. But I do not think that it lies with hon. Gentlemen opposite to suggest that this Bill is to be judged by the amount of money which is affected by it. I listened to the speech of the late Home Secretary upon this question with profound amazement. The right hon. Gentleman, after all his experience of Parliament, stated that the sole reason why this Bill was sent to a Committee upstairs was because it was an important Bill. That description of our procedure is absolutely incorrect, because the sole reason was that it was compulsory that it should go to a Committee under the Rule governing Bills which affect private interests. If it had not been for the 30 private interests affected by this Bill, it would never have gone to a Committee upstairs, and it would have been considered by a Committee of the Whole House or a Standing Committee, and the Select Committee would not have been necessary and would not have been availed of by the Government had not the Rules of Parliament made it obligatory. As a public Bill for which the Government is responsible, which partakes of the private Bill in some respects, it had to be sent to this Committee.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
Surely the hon. Member knows that that would be contrary to our practice, for we never limit the consideration of Bills to private interests. A Bill is sent to a Select Committee in order that the private interests affected may be defended by counsel, and through the medium of evidence given by witnesses. I speak with more certainty on this matter because I have sat as a member of one of those large Committees. The hon. Gentleman opposite disagrees with the action of the Joint Committee, and I have my own view about their action. Nevertheless, I accept their verdict, and I do not attempt to cavil with any of the decisions they have arrived at. There is no doubt that the whole Bill is before the Committee when once it is referred to them. If the House declines to proceed with a measure until the evidence taken upon it is before it, it will create an absolutely new precedent with regard to private Bill procedure. I have been at some pains to examine this question very carefully, and. so far as I know, there is no precedent in which the further stages of a measure have been postponed until the evidence has been produced. Hon. Members say they want the evidence, but I submit that all that it is necessary to know in connection with this measure is in the possession of those interested in the London Water question. The hon. Member for Battersea wants more than this, for he desired that this Bill, in its amended form, should be referred to the 31 County Councils, the Borough Councils, and the Urban District Councils concerned, in order that the Committee may know their opinions upon the change. If we are to wait until all this evidence has been digested and referred to the local authorities, there will he no prospect of this Bill being carried into law this session. I am assured that not only can any outsider obtain a copy of the evidence taken before a Committee every day at a trifling cost, but that any Member of Parliament can got it for nothing. ["No, no!"] That, at any rate, is the information which reaches me from a trustworthy source.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
That is not so. The hon. Gentleman was dealing with the unsatisfactory way in which evidence was given before this Committee, and he said that evidence ought to be available for Members of this House. I entirely concur with hon. Members' strictures on both sides of the House in regard to the system of producing evidence. The hon. Member said the evidence was difficult to obtain, and that it ought to be circulated with the Votes in the same way as information connected with any other measure. The people interested in the Water question can obtain all this evidence without any cost to themselves at all, and with very little trouble, and, therefore, I cannot see that it would be right or just to postpone this clause until the evidence is in the hands of Members, because that would involve a great deal of delay. Therefore, I must ask the Committee to proceed with the consideration of this clause as it stands.
§ (2.40.) MR. LOUGH
said he did not wish to submit any of those larger arguments which had been dealt with by the hon. Member who moved the Amendment. Anyone who looked impartially at the Bill would see that it would be greatly to the convenience of the Committee if Clause 1 were postponed. The Bill was divided into nine parts, and Clause 1 was in itself a complete part. 32 The other eight parts defined the work that was to be done, and he contended that the Committee should be thoroughly aware of the work that was to be done before it fixed the constitution of the body by which that work was to be performed. If the Clause merely provided that a Board should be established, and allowed the number to be fixed later on then it might be admitted, but it did not do this, for it defined exactly the number of the Board. How was the Committee to decide this question without having clearly before it the nature of the work which the Board had to perform. The hon. Member for Poplar quoted the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill with reference to the work which this new Board would have to do. The right hon. Gentleman said it would have to do the work of eight Boards of directors composed of some ninety members. How did the Committee know whether this work might not be done as well with the same number of gentlemen as at present managed one company. It was very probable that the increase in the size of the work would not make it necessary to have a larger Board at all, and the House ought to know exactly the details of the work to be done before the constitution of the Board was decided upon. To deal with this question before they had full information would be one of the most risky proceedings the Committee ever undertook. He put it to the right hon. Gentleman that it would be a convenient thing to take up at once Section 2 or Section 3 and some of the other Clauses, because then the Committee would be in a better position to decide as to the constitution of the Board. They were now proposing to settle in Clause 1 the constitution of this body without knowing anything of these great questions.
§ *MR. MELLOR
pointed out, as a proof that the request for postponement of the Clause was not unreasonable, that both the Commission and the Committee which had considered the subject matter of this Bill at great length had reserved the consideration of the composition of the governing body till the last. He thought the course suggested by the Amendment was the most reasonable and business-like way 33 of dealing with this question, and if the right hon. Gentleman would fairly consider the reasons that were influencing the Opposition upon this point he would find the passage of this Bill a great deal easier, and his difficulties far less, as the Bill proceeded. He was not hostile at all to the right hon. Gentleman's desire, for his object was the same. He wished to see this important matter settled and this great question got out of the way, but he also wanted to see justice done to the ratepayers of London. That that was a very important matter must be obvious to every hon. Member. Upon the Commission they had to consider, amongst other things, what would be the probable growth of London in the near future, and they came to the conclusion that Water London would increase to something like 12,000,000 people. The interests of these people ought to be their first consideration. At all events, they ought to ascertain what the duties of this new body would be first of all, because until they knew exactly what duties they were going to entrust to this Board it was idle to attempt to settle what its composition should be; the duties imposed upon it would determine whether that body should be of a certain size and what powers it should have. He thought the President of the Local Government Board had rather misunderstood the argument of his right hon. friend the Member for East Fife. Although this was a public Bill it was also a quasi-private Bill, for it was a public Bill which affected certain private rights. Therefore the ordinary course would be, according to the practice of the House, to send the Bill to a Committee upstairs. What the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife complained, of was that this Bill was sent upstairs in order to have those private rights considered, but when the Committee got the Bill before them they inquired into the whole subject at large and did more to ascertain the public rights than the private rights.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
What I dealt with was the definite statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife that the sole reason why this Bill was sent to the Committee upstairs was because of its importance.
§ *MR. MELLOR
thought the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife ought to be taken as a whole. He understood the President of the Local Government Board to state that hon. Members wished to Wait for the evidence in order to find arguments to support the Amendment which they had put down, and go on a sort of roving Commission in order to find something to support their views. That was not what his hon. friends and himself were doing, for they had long ago arrived at certain conclusions with regard to this matter. The reason why they desired time to study the evidence was that they were in favour of a much smaller governing body, and it was their belief that when the evidence was read and compared with what had been given before the Royal Commission the weight of opinion would be found to be conclusively against the Government proposal. Therefore, he thought it was his duty to support the Motion of his hon. friend.
§ *SIR J. DICKSON-POYNDER
said he should not support the postponement of this Clause, because he had offered his protest upon the former Motion to report progress, and he did not wish to take up a captious attitude upon the Bill. There was a great deal in Clause 1 with which he was in thorough agreement, and it was only upon certain points that he joined issue. But, as he had been challenged for putting down an Amendment, he wished to explain that his reasons for putting it down without tying himself absolutely to its terms were to show his disagreement with the Government as to the number of the governing body, which he considered excessive, and as to the mode of selection. He had reason to believe that the evidence, which he had not had an opportunity of reading, would fortify him in his views. He did not think this proposal would produce a good governing body for the management of the London water supply. He was not prepared to support the postponement of the Clause, because the House had already decided by a majority that they should not report progress now.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
said that, like the hon. Member for North West Wiltshire, he did not approach the consideration 35 of this question in any sort of captious attitude. He thought, however, that the Committee ought to be afforded an opportunity of considering the evidence upon which the Joint Committee made this recommendation. Clause 1 proposed that the Water Board should consist of seventy-three members, but he would remind the Committee that when the Bill came first before the House the general opinion was that a governing body of sixty-seven Members was too large. The President and the Secretary of the Local Government Board were, he thought, the only members who did not think the governing body should be smaller. The Bill, as it now stood, proposed a larger body of seventy-three members. The Committee ought to have an opportunity of discussing what evidence there was to justify this change. He had just secured the Blue-book, and, hastily searching for any evidence on this subject, the first thing he found was the declaration of Mr. George Frederick Deacon, who said of the proposed Water Board of sixty-seven members—I think it is a great deal too large, and that it would be unwieldy in practice.Being asked whether he would prefer a Committee of moderate size, he further said that the number should be thirty members at the outside. There was no evidence in favour of a body of seventy-three members, but there was an evident desire to arrive at a reasonable compromise of a smaller body of representatives on a county basis. The scheme of the hon. Member for North West Wiltshire was the scheme which they must ultimately come to.
§ DR. MACNAMARA
suggested that a working compromise of the representation on a county basis would be the only satisfactory solution of the difficulty, and if the Government would consult those who knew most about these matters he felt sure that they would come to that conclusion. For these reasons he was bound to support the postponement of this Clause.
§ MR. BARTLEY (Islington, N.)
said he was one of those unfortunate persons who happened to be a water 36 company director. He looked upon this question from two points of view. In the first place, London had made up its mind to buy these water undertakings, and he was anxious that they should do so; and in the second place, he was extremely anxious as a director that this Bill, or some other Bill with this object, should go through as soon as possible. With a director's experience he looked at the proposed Board as unmanageably large, and believed it would prove unwieldy and very expensive to ratepayers, and he should be very glad to see its size reduced. He wished to point out, however, that they would do no good by postponing it, and perhaps they would be able to amend it. They might begin with the present proposal and get this Bill through. He should be very sorry to be a party to supporting the postponement of this Clause, although he reserved to himself the right to criticise the enormous size of the Board, because he was quite sure that the most efficient management would be by a small paid Board doing the work as directors did it; otherwise there was fear that the management would fall into the hands of permanent officials.
§ (3.5.) MR. JOHN BURNS
said the hon. Member who had just spoken had unconsciously given good reason for postponement. If the Board was likely to prove unwieldy, extravagant, and disadvantageous to the ratepayers, then Members should have full opportunity of access to evidence before they undertook the responsibility of a decision that might entail such consequences. By reading the evidence and getting at the facts, hon. Members might persuade the Government at a later stage to reduce the size of this body from the unwieldy and unbusiness like number of seventy-three down to thirty or forty, as had been suggested by some hon. Members who had already spoken. If hon. Members had had this evidence a week ago, it would have been unnecessary to waste the time of the Committee discussing the postponement, and this delay had arisen in consequence of the inefficient manner in which this Bill had been put before the House. He would appeal even now to the President of the Local Government Board to postpone Clause 1, 37 and allow them to proceed with less contentious Clauses. The hon. Member for Exeter, whom he had always regarded as a very clear-headed man, was a Member of the-Joint Committee which decided that the number of this body should be forty, by a majority of two to one, and another Committee, by an equality of votes, had decided in favour of seventy-three. He did not know what evidence had produced this change, but he supposed that the reasons must be contained in this voluminous Blue-book. They must have been very strong and cogent reasons, urged in the interests of the water companies and the ratepayers; and therefore he wished to have an opportunity of knowing what those reasons were. If they were not found to be in the interests of the ratepayers, then they had no right to allow them. A grave injustice might be inflicted upon the water companies by this heterogeneous body, with no knowledge of London's water supply, and who could not even hope to manage the water concerns of London as well as the eight Boards had hitherto done. Where was the definite demand from the Corporation of London to be included in the heterogeneous mob collected from the great area of Water London? The City Corporation had never yet given an expression of opinion in favour of being included, and, disagreeing as they did on the London County Council with the City Corporation upon some subjects, he admitted that they had done great service upon the Water question, and he would like to know whether the City Corporation were satisfied that this body should consist of seventy-three members. He wished the City Corporation to have time to consider this question. The vast sum of money required to purchase those undertakings would have to be provided by the London County Council, and therefore they ought to know what was going to be the character of the body to which they were going to entrust the spending of the money. He hoped the Government would be wise enough not to depart from the original suggestion to make the number forty. Then there were those blessed Borough Councils. Where, outside a drawing-room meeting of metropolitan Mayors, was there any mandate from the Borough Councils for 38 representation? The proposal in this Clause was to have seventy-three men gathered from all ends of an area of 440 square miles. The Government had got no mandate whatever from the Borough Councils for representation on this body; on the contrary, his own Borough Council specifically declined to have anything to do with it. [An HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!] He ventured to say that his Borough Council knew as much about the subject as the City of Westminster Council, which painted its lamp posts khaki colour and left its streets in such a bad condition. He asked the President of the Local Government Board where was the mandate of the Borough Councils? Some of the Borough Councils liked the Bill and some did not, but none of them had expressed a definite wish to be part of a body of seventy-three. For these reasons he supported the Motion for the postponement of Clause 1. He wanted this to be the last time the House of Commons would have to consider a London Water Bill, but it would not be the last time if the President of the Local Government Board, who had experience enough to know better and to act more intelligently, allowed this body to be imposed on London without sufficient consideration of the evidence, to which at present they had not had access. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to accept the proposal to postpone the Clause. The Committee could proceed to discuss the less controversial parts of the Bill.
§ SIR. WILLIAM HOULDSWORTH (Manchester, N.W.)
said it appeared to him that the hon. Member for Battersea had rather gone beyond the matter now before the Committee, which was simply that the Clause be postponed. If he were in order, he should like to deal with some matters which had been referred to in regard to the action of the Joint Committee, and more especially in regard to the reasons which ultimately prevailed with the Committee in recommending a Board of seventy-three rather than a Board of sixty-seven. He presumed he should not be in order in pursuing that question. No doubt it would have to come up at a later stage; and, as a member of the Joint 39 Committee, he should then have an opportunity of showing exactly what had taken place in that Committee. He presumed that they would not be held responsible for the ruling of the Chairman in the Joint Committee; but, with regard to any action that took place in reference to the various propositions put before them, he hoped they would have an opportunity of explaining exactly what had influenced them in coming to the conclusion they did. He was, he thought, entitled to claim the special indulgence of the Committee in this matter, because he rather thought it was on his vote in the Joint Committee that the vacillations which had been commented on had occurred. When the proper time came, he thought he should be able to make a good case for the change of his opinion; but at the moment he would only say that, in his opinion, every member of a Committee upstairs was bound to consider from time to time the decision he would come to on the evidence that was put before him. If evidence was not put before him, he was not in a position, probably, to give as wise, good, and right a decision as he would give if evidence was put before him. He merely indicated that as a defence, if he might say so, of his change of opinion, although he did not think there was any reason why a man honestly should not change his opinion, if there were considerations for doing so, even independently of the evidence, which occurred to him afterwards. At the same time, he did not believe that this Motion was one that ought to be entertained by the Committee. He did not see any reason whatever why this Clause should be postponed. No doubt the Joint Committee adopted the course which they thought best for shortening the inquiry, and dealing with the various points fairly, and they did not follow absolutely the seriatim form of the Bill as it stood; but he did not think that question arose here today. The point which had been raised today more than any other was as to the constitution of the Board; but it appeared to him that that would come up in the natural course if they now proceeded with the Clauses as they stood. No doubt there was in the Clause a reference 40 to the constitution of the Board, but the discussion of that would come more properly under the guidance of the Chairman when the Committee came to consider that part of the Clause. He was bound to admit that a good deal had been said which had impressed him as to the desirability of the Committee's having an opportunity of going through the evidence he did not say absolutely before entering upon the small portion of the Bill, that they would be able to deal with today. As a member of the Joint Committee, he was exceedingly anxious that the Members of the Committee should have the opportunity of reading the evidence and of seeing the basis upon which they came to their conclusions. He was sure it would be recognised that it was a very complicated and difficult inquiry, involving many considerations—not only considerations of what would be a suitable, practical, and business-like Board, but considerations with respect to representation, and even sentiment, which had to be kept in view. All he had to say at present was, that he had heard no argument to induce him to support the Motion for the postponement of the Clause.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT (Monmonthshire, W.)
The hon. Baronet has said that he has heard no argument in favour of the postponement of the Clause, but I think the Committee cannot say that, having heard what the hon. Baronet has said. A more conclusive speech in favour of the postponement of this Clause would be impossible to conceive. He has stated the principles by which he himself has been governed, and I am sure anyone who knows the hon. Baronet will admit that these are sound principles and adopted from the highest motives. What does he say? He says, in effect, that you cannot properly form an opinion on the matter without hearing the evidence. That is exactly the position the Committee is placed in. A more extraordinary proceeding than the present one I have never heard of during the whole of my long experience of the House of Commons. Here is a very important Joint Committee dealing with enormous pecuniary interests which are to affect the population of London in perpetuity, on account of the sum of money to be 41 raised; and all we know about it is that that Joint Committee, by a majority of nearly two to one, came to one conclusion, and that afterwards, for reasons which the hon. Baronet says he will at some time or other explain, but which he is unable to explain to-day—
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I know; but that does not make any difference to us. It is the very fact that because we cannot, on account of the ruling in respect of order, arrive at the thing which is really essential to the question now before the House, that we wish to take a course which seems so clear and obvious, and the denial of which is so irrational, that it hardly wanted the speech of the hon. Baronet to convince us of that. It is a situation, I venture to say, unprecedented in the House of Commons, that a Bill of this enormous consequence should come down from a Joint Committee which, in regard to a critical point, arrived at a conclusion by a majority of two to one, and afterwards came to another conclusion, and that we should be asked to proceed to consider the point without explanation. I suppose the hon. Baronet, being part of that majority, considered that he had then before him all that was necessary in order to form that judgment.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
Yes, it would be a difficult fraction to calculate, perhaps, but that member who was absent then is present today I expect. Here we are in the position of having two Members of this House—Members of the highest authority on this matter—who are precluded by the ruling of the Chair from telling us that which is essential. We all know that that is a position in which the House ought not to be placed by the Government. The Government have power to relieve us from this situation. If they assent to the Motion, then they will allow the 42 House of Commons to have that information which it is essential we should possess for dealing with this matter. The hon. Baronet who has just spoken will make a clean breast of it to us, and tell us exactly what were the motives which induced him to change his opinion. The hon. Member who was absent then will tell us what are his opinions now upon that question. Having two living witnesses before us, we are now in the position of their being muzzled and not allowed to speak. Is it possible to reduce the House of Commons to a more absolute and contemptible impotence? It is an exhibition of what can happen in the House of Commons when dealing with matters of the greatest importance. There is a Blue-book with the whole evidence—and that is delivered at a moment when it is impossible for the House of Commons to make itself acquainted with the contents. It is ridiculous mismanagement that we should be placed in a position in which we are not able to form a judgment on the matter—a judgment which can alone be properly formed after we have the evidence before us. How can we go on this afternoon with this clause? We cannot discuss the clause without considering the constitution of the Board. It is the very essence of the whole thing. If it was not the essence of this matter, why was there such an extraordinary desire on the part of the Government to alter the first decision? That shows how vital this question is to the whole of this Clause. I am bound to say therefore that, in refusing this Motion, they are endeavouring to snatch a judgment upon that which is the essential matter in this Clause. That, in my opinion, is to destroy the whole functions of bodies like the Joint Committee, and to treat the House of Commons in a way that it ought not to be treated.
§ (3.32.) MR. WALTER LONG
The right hon. Gentleman says he is consumed with anxiety to hear the evidence of two living witnesses who are present, but that the action of the Government has rendered; this impossible. He tells the Committee, also that, by the adoption of the Amendment, those hon. Members would become unmuzzled. The adoption of the Amendment would have the certain effect of making it impossible for my two hon. 43 friends to give the desired information to the House unless at some distant period of time. There are great interests involved in this matter. The water companies do not ask for the championship of hon. Members opposite in postponing the consideration of the Clause. They support the Government in the course we are pursuing. The vast majority of London Members—55 out of 62—are supporting the Government in the course we have adopted; and the local authorities, the majority of the metropolitan boroughs, and the urban and rural districts, are also supporting the Government. It is only those hon. Members who have been opposed to the Government from the beginning who are not prepared to go on with the Clause, because they say they want further information before continuing their attack. I submit that there is nothing extraordinary or improper in the course which the Government has adopted in asking the House to proceed with the consideration of the Clause.
SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
said he wished to say a word on this matter from a somewhat different point of view. The argument which the President of the Local Government Board advanced was that the opinion of the London Members on the Opposition side ought not to have any weight whatever in this House, because the great majority of London Members supported the Government. He was not aware that they were elected on this question. They were elected on the question of the war, and on that they had a right to be quoted as evidence of the opinion of London. They were not elected on the question of this Bill on the water supply.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I said that the vast majority of hon. Members representing London are supporters of the policy of the Government in this matter, and they are prepared to take the consequences of their action.
SIR WALTER FOSTER
said he was equally entitled to say that the last London County Council election was specifically fought on this question, and that a great majority of the Members then elected took a different view from the right hon. Gentleman. If the one argument was good, the other was good. His argument 44 was that the County Council was elected specifically on the Water question, while the Gentlemen elected to Parliament were elected on the war cry. He approached this question not from the point of view of a London Member, but as one who had had large experience in connection with such matters in other large centres. It was one of the greatest questions connected with public health which they could consider. There was no question of more urgent and vital importance than that of the water supply, and he quite agreed that it ought to have been dealt with years ago in some way which would have allowed the water supply of London to be in the hands of a single responsible authority. They were approaching this question in the wrong way. They were putting in the forefront this Clause, which dealt with the constitution of the Board, which, in his experience, and he believed in the experience of many others, was not, by its size, the most suitable body to undertake the work. Every speech delivered on the Government side of the House had been a speech in favour of the postponement of the Clause. The whole case for the large and cumbrous Board rested on the 700 pages of evidence in the Blue-book, and it was but reasonable that the House should have an opportunity of studying the question as it was affected by that evidence. He only got the book this morning, and he understood that a large number of Members had not seen it at all. If they were to be treated fairly in the consideration of this great problem, the Clause should be postponed.
§ *MR. MOULTON (Cornwall, Launceston)
said the Government, out of respect to themselves and to the House, ought to allow this most contentious portion of the Bill to be postponed until the Members had had time to study the evidence. He was satisfied that even the majority of hon. Members opposite viewed with great surprise the evidence of the Joint Committee whose Report they were now considering. The circumstance which impressed the people most was that the Committee, by a large majority, decided in one way, but that when it met again it was told that the Government disapproved their decision. The Chairman of the Committee then cleared the room; it was 45 decided that evidence should be taken, and on that evidence the Committee was reported to have reversed its former decision. If there was a thing which would be disgraceful to the House, it would be to find that its Committees were supple to Government pressure; and if there was a thing which would be disgraceful to the Government, it would be that the Government exercised that pressure on Committees representing the House.
The hon. Member is not entitled on this Motion to make attacks on the Committee. He is entitled to urge his reasons for postponement.
§ *MR. MOULTON
said if he had been allowed to finish he was going to say it would have been clear that he was guilty of no intention of attacking either the Committee or the Government. He was about to point out that the one justification both of the Committee and of the Government was that the evidence which was called was such as rightly moved the Committee, so that the Committee was not supple, but was simply keeping its mind open, and that the Government was not exercising improper pressure upon the Committee but was asking permission to call evidence upon the point upon which it differed from the Committee. What was the all-important thing to put before the House to save the Government from appearing to have done an improper thing, and to save the Joint Committee from appearing to have been supple to Government pressure? Why! it was to permit a careful study of the evidence which was the defence of both. This evidence was contained in a bulky Blue-book. All that was now said was that this contentious Clause dealing with the point upon which the Committee had changed its opinion under these remarkable circumstances, and in a way which could only be defended by the weight of evidence, should be postponed until the House had an opportunity of weighing that evidence. He was not prejudging this question at all. He had no wish to bring in any angry passions at all. He wished to point out to the Government that the position they themselves took up, that the Committee were wise in boldly altering their 46 decision, made it essential that the Government should be willing, and more than willing, that the House, before it judged of this Clause, should have a full opportunity of studying the evidence.
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT
said the Government might have behind them the support of the bodies referred to by the President of the Local Government Board, but surely the right hon. Gentleman did not mean to maintain that the Committee should decide upon the constitution of the Board first and read the evidence afterwards.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I merely stated that the Members of the House representing the people mainly interested in this Bill are sitting on this side and supporting the Government in the matter.
§ *MR. CORRIE GRANT
said the London Members were supporting him by their votes, but not by speeches. The Opposition were now attempting to persuade the right hon. Gentleman to take a reasonable view of this matter. Every London Member who had risen to support him had given away his case. The right hon. Gentleman had not a single friend to justify the action he had taken up. The only precedent he could find for the proceedings of the Government was in one of Lewis Carroll's books, "Alice in Wonderland," in which the Queen of Hearts declared that their procedure was "Sentence first—Verdict afterwards." Ever since the famous arbitration of the late Mr. Smith thirty years ago he had been a careful student of the London water question; but he protested that he could not debate the Amendments without any knowledge of what had taken place in the Committee. According to all his experience and information, Members of this House had no inherent right, as was alleged, to have evidence supplied to them from day to day, even on application. He had inquired into the statement of the right hon. Gentleman in order to see what ground there was for it, because it came to him as an absolute surprise. He had failed to find any justification for the statement. He wished the right hon. Gentleman would tell them his authority 47 for the statement. It was not fair that men who were anxious to come to a reasonable decision should be asked to debate Amendments on one of the most contentious clauses in the Bill without seeing the evidence which induced some Members of the Joint Committee to alter their opinion.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
said the President of the Local Government Board had stated that he was guided by the expert evidence of Mr. Perrin in regard to the particular constitution laid down in the Bill. He had looked through the evidence of Mr. Perrin, but he could not find a single question or answer affecting the constitution of the Board.
§ (4.0.) CAPTAIN NORTON
said that everything that had been stated in connection with the proposal to postpone Clause 1 had fully justified him in moving to report progress. The hon. Baronet the Member for North-West Manchester, who was in a better position to deal with this question than most of them, made the admission that he had changed his mind when in Committee. He presumed that the hon. Baronet and the majority of the Committee did not change their mind on this most vital point owing to the fact that there was any influence behind them, as had boon suggested, for he did not believe that any Member would allow himself to be influenced in that direction. They could only have come to that conclusion because evidence was brought before them to enable them to make up their minds. The hon. Baronet seemed to infer that that did not apply to Clause 1, but that Clause went to the establishment of a Water Board, which was the basis of the whole Bill. Well, if the Committee, composed of experts with a mass of evidence before them, came to the conclusion that the best time to deal with this question was in Part 3 of the Bill, surely the House was entitled to say that they should be in the same position. They should have a right to discuss the nature of the body; and he maintained that the Water Board set up by Clause 1 was an impossible body, and that its constitution was altogether 48 wrong. He had a map which showed not only the administrative county of London, but Water London, and Greater London; and he found five or six counties were involved in this question, and it was proposed that one single Committee should deal with it. He found from the evidence from almost every large town in England which had dealt with the water problem a consensus of opinion that London was so large—
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
said he was trying to show the reason why they were not now competent to enter into a discussion of this Clause, which dealt with the nature of the Board to be established for the purpose of acquiring by purchase, and of managing and carrying on the undertakings of the companies mentioned in the first Schedule of the Bill, and generally for the purpose of supplying water within the area de scribed in the second Schedule; and the number of members of which the Board should consist. He believed he was in order in dealing with any of these questions which would necessarily come under discussion when the Clause came to be considered. When the matter was first under discussion in the Committee upstairs, they decided by two to one—
The hon. Member is going into the merits of the Clause. He cannot do that until the Amendment is disposed of.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
said that surely the Chairman would allow him to go as far into the merits of the Clause as other hon. Members had been permitted to do.
The hon. Member is not entitled to repeat arguments already laid before the Committee.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
said he thought he could claim that he had not said one word which had been previously stated. Might he put this point, that on the question as to what proper authorities should be represented on the Board, whether the London County Council should not have some say?
That will arise in the discussion of the Schedule. I must warn the hon. Member of the Standing Order against repetition.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
said that the question as to purchase by a public authority was one of those which would come before the constituent members of the Board. The London County Council decided unanimously that there should be purchase by one public body.
called the attention of the Committee to the conduct of Captain Norton, Member for Newington (West Division), who persisted in irrelevance, and directed him to discontinue his speech.
§ (4.8.) Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 101; Noes, 163. (Division List No. 286.)51
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Hayden, John Patrick||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glou., Stroud||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary, M.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Horniman, Frederick John||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||O'Malley, William|
|Burns, John||Joyce, Michael||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Burt, Thomas||Kennedy, Patrick Alfred||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Kitson, Sir James||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Caldwell, James||Labouchere, Henry||Rea, Russell|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)||Reddy, M.|
|Cawley, Frederick||Leamy, Edmund||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Reid. Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lloyd-George, David||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lough, Thomas||Runciman, Walter|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lundon, W.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Delany, William||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Spencer, Rt Hn. C. R (Northants|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacNeid, John Gordon Swift||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Dunn, Sir William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Sullivan, Donal|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Cann, James||Tennant, Harold John|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||M'Govern, T.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||M'Kean, John||Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Mappin, Sir Frederiek Thorpe||Tomkinson, James|
|Field, William||Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William||Tully, Jasper|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Mooney, John J.||Weir, James Galloway|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Young, Samuel|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Moss, Samuel||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Grant, Corrie||Moulton, John Fletcher|
|Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||Mr. Herbert Gladstone and|
|Harrington, Timothy||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Mr. Causton.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex F.||Bousfield, William Robert||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bowles, Capt, H, F. (Middlesex||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. Eden||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Arkwirght, John Stanhope||Bull, William James||Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bullard, Sir Harry||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Doxford, Sir William Theodore|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshi'e||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Chapman, Edward||Faber, George Denison (York)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Charrington, Spencer||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Coddington, Sir William||Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward|
|Beach, Rt, Hn. Sir Micha'l Hicks||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Bond, Edward||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Fison, Frederick William||Loder, Gerald Walter Ers kine||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehonse)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Fletcher, Rt Hon. Sir Henry||Lowe, Francis William||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Flower, Ernest||Lucas, Reginald J (Portsmouth)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Garfit, William||Macdona, John Cumming||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Smith, Abel H. (Hereford, East)|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E (Elgin&Nairn)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Smith, H C (N'th'mb. Tyneside)|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morgan, David J. (Walth'mst'w||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Morrell, George Herbert||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Morton, Arthnr H. A. (Deptf'rd)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Mount, William Arthur||Stroyan, John|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G(Mid'x||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J.G. (Oxf'd Uni.|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert W.||Murray, Rt Hn. A. Gr'h'm (Bute||Thompson, Dr E C (Monagh'nN|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Tomlinson. Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Heath, James (Staffords., N.W.||Nicholson, William Graham||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hobhouse, Aenry (Somerset, E.||Pemberton, John S. G.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Horner, Frederick William||Penn, John||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Percy, Earl||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Hoult, Joseph||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard||Wason, John Carthcart (O'kn'y|
|Howard J no. (Kent. Faversham||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Pretyman, Ernest George||Williams, Rt Hn Powell-(Birm|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Purvis, Robert||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Pym, C. Guy||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Kimber, Henry||Rasch, Major Frederick Carne||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Knowles, Lees||Rattigan, Sir William Henry||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Laurie, Lieut-General||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Younger, William|
|Lawson, John Grant||Robinson, Brooke|
|Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareh'm||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Henage||Round, Rt. Hon. James||Sir William Walrond and|
|Lockwood, Lt-Col. A. R.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander||Mr. Anstruther|
ruled that the first two Amendments on the Paper, the object of which was to substitute the London County Council for the Metropolitan Water Board, were out of order as being beyond the scope of the Bill; and the next two Amendments, proposing to substitute a Joint Committee for the Metropolitan Water Board, were also out of order, as they implied delegation, which would be contrary to the Bill.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
moved as an Amendment—In page 1, line 6, to leave out the word 'Metropolitan' and insert the words 'London and Counties.'The title of the Bill, he said, was a misnomer, inasmuch as the Bill applied to an immense area outside the Metropolis.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said he hoped the hon. and gallant Member would not persevere with his Amendment. There was a precedent for the use of the word 52 "Metropolitan" in "Metropolitan police," which had to patrol different counties. "Metropolitan Water Board" was a more convenient name than "London and Counties Water Board."
§ MR. CORRIE GRANT
said that the right hon. Gentleman recognised that this was a verbal Amendment, but what they wanted to have was a title that had some meaning. As to the precedent of "Metropolitan Police," there was nothing in it, as the right hon. Gentleman must know that the constitution of that police force was an accident of an accident. The only real precedent was the "Metropolitan Board of Works," and any one who knew the history of that Board would not think of using the word "Metropolitan" again. "London and Counties Water Board" accurately described the area to be covered. The title of the Bill must have been chosen by mere accident.
§ MR. LOUGH
said that he had an Amendment on the Paper to substitute 53 "Metropolitan and Districts Water Board" for "Metropolitan Water Board." The area of supply included not only the county of London, but parts of five other counties; and he thought some words should be put in the clause describing correctly the actual facts. A great many rural districts round London were to be represented on the Board, and he thought the right hon. Gentleman might accept some modification of its title.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said he was exceedingly sorry that the time of the Committee should be taken up with so trifling a matter. The name was thoroughly understood by most people connected with London. No suggestion had been made in any other quarter that the name did not accurately describe the new area. To insert "Districts" would not be any better than "Counties."
§ Amendment negatived.
§ MR. LOUGH
said that the Amendment he had to move was a very substantial one, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give it his sympathetic consideration. It was apparent, at first sight, that this purchase would be a gigantic undertaking, and it should be entrusted to some body which would be able to protect the interests of the ratepayers. They had the Water Companies as vendors; on the other hand, the Water Board was not to come into existence for sometime. He thought a great purchase of this kind should be left to a body which had some experience in such matters. The Water Board had no existence at present, and could take no preliminary steps towards the purchase of the undertakings of the Water Companies; and even when it came into existence, it would have no experience to fit itself for the task of purchase. On the other hand, the Watee Companies were using all the skilled assistance they could secure to baffls the efforts to obtain their undertakings at a reasonable price. He believed that each Water Company was empowered to engage the assistance of three or four counsel for the arbitration proceedings, and supposing twenty-four or thirty-two of the leading counsel at the bar, skilled 54 in such matters, were engaged by the Water Companies, what chance would there be for the Water Board, when it came into existence, to succeed in getting that skilled assistance which was absolutely necessary to protect the public interest? The same remark applied to the employment of skilled engineers. For every reason it was extremely risky to leave the purchase to the Water Board. The London County Council had for many years been considering this subject, and had overcome almost every difficulty in dealing with the Water Companies, and to the London County Council should be left the conduct of the negotiation for the purchase of the Water Companies' undertakings. The London County Council had been passed over, and another authority had been found to carry out the purchase; and it would have been far better, in his opinion, if this duty had been undertaken by the old authority rather than left with the new. When the new body was called into existence it would have no power, no office, no experience of working together, and it would have all the difficulties which were put upon new bodies, and would have forced upon it this enormous responsibility of purchasing from the companies, a matter which would tax the oldest and the most experienced administrative body in the kingdom. He thought, for these reasons, the question which he had raised was a most important one, and he therefore begged to move.
In page 1, line 8, to leave out the words 'acquiring by purchase and of.'"—(Mr. Lough.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ (4.35.) MR. WALTER LONG
said there could be no question but that the hon. Member had raised a considerable point, but at the same time he hoped the Committee would not require a long time to discuss it. He could not imagine it to be possible that at this stage in the history of the London Water question any considerable number of Members could be found to support the proposition of the hon. Member, which 55 would put the new body in an intolerable position, and would lead to certain confusion. This Amendment went right to the root of the principle of the Bill. It would be impossible for the new Board to approach any of the important questions, such as the equalisation, of charges, which awaited solution, if their sole duty was to manage and control, and the financial arrangements were in the hands of another body. It was obvious that if this suggestion were accepted the recommendations of the Royal Commission would have to be adopted, because there would have to be some further supervision in the hands of a Government Department. For these reasons he hoped the Committee would not accept the Amendment.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
did not think the Amendment was directed against the principle of purchase, as the right hon. Gentleman seemed to think. It simply raised the question as to whether there should be one authority to purchase and one to manage, or whether there should be the same authority for both purposes. His own attitude would depend on the ultimate form of this Clause. If they were assured that the Water Board would be reduced in size, he would not wish to see the Amendment passed; but they had to consider the nature of the Board which was to make the purchase according to the Bill as it stood. He thought they depended too much upon the efficiency of this large body, and to his mind the question would turn upon whether such a large body could be an efficient body. It was impossible to give an opinion on that off-hand, because the Committee had not had sufficient time to study it. If the purchasing body were to be the large, inconvenient, and fantastic body now proposed in the Bill, he would certainly support the Amendment. He could not conceive why such a body should be selected for this purpose. It was the most unsuitable body that could be picked out to arrange a purchase at a certain time. The day fixed for the purchase in the Bill was a very early one, and it was not conceivable that this body of seventy-three persons— most of whom had not seen each other before; who had no common action, common interest, or common knowledge of the Water question; who would have no office, and no staff—would be in a position to deal with the Water Companies in regard to the purchase of their properties. The Water Companies would 56 naturally make the best possible case they could in order to get the best price for their shareholders, and it was the duty of the Committee, as representing the ratepayers—the consumers—to see that the price was not unduly inflated or extravagant. But when eight Water Companies combined to get the greatest possible price, with all their knowledge and control, and when on the other side there was this chaotic, nondescript, fantastic body, with no policy whatever, the probability was that a very bad bargain would be made so far as the ratepayers were concerned, whether it was by agreement or whether it was by arbitration. The one body which had some knowledge of this matter would be excluded from taking any part or share in it, and therefore he thought there ought to be in this part of the Bill a distinction between the question of purchase and the subsequent management. He had a very great fear of negotiations, and he noticed by the second Clause of the Bill that the Board had power to come to an agreement with the Water Companies. He thought all these questions ought to be dealt with on a separate footing, and not by agreement but by arbitration. He was of opinion that if this was to be arranged by an agreement, the Board would be practically at the mercy of the Water Companies, and would have to pay a very extravagant price. If the matter came before the arbitrators, as in his opinion it ought, it was quite clear the case ought to be strongly put before them on both sides so as to ensure an impartial judgment. As the Bill now stood, it would not be in the power of the arbitrators to give a proper and mature judgment, because they would only hear one side of the case, that of the water companies. In voting for the Amendment he disclaimed entirely any intention to vote against the principle of purchase. He voted for it because this body was, in his opinion absolutely incompetent to carry through the purchase, and the only body which was competent had been excluded from taking any part in the matter.
§ MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
thought it was the last speaker who misapprehended the scope of the Amendment, which certainly attacked the principle of the Bill. He believed at the 57 present time there was a universal consensus of opinion that the time had arrived when the question of purchase ought to be settled. The objections of the hon. Member were directed entirely against the tribunal which, by the Kill, it was proposed to establish as the authority. The question raised by the Amendment was whether there was to be purchase or not. It was not the ease that the County Council would be entirely excluded from the consideration of the purchase, as the hon. Gentleman had said.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
As a body! That was a different thing. But the County Council would be represented by ten members on the new Board. He was ready to admit, and he gladly admitted, that there was an excellent section of the County Council who had a thorough and able knowledge of the London Water question, and if they took ten gentlemen from the Council and put thorn on the Metropolitan Board he believed they would exhaust all the particular knowledge to be found on the County Council.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
said that the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had used a strong argument against the course which he wished the Committee to take. The right hon. Gentleman said that there were not more than ten members of the London County Council who had a knowledge of the London Water question. That might or might not be true, but if the County Council were to contribute all these members to the proposed body, the right hon. Gentleman ought to have carried his argument further. How many of the sixty-three remaining members would have a knowledge of the London water question? He ventured to say that not more than three or four would have a knowledge equal to that of the seven or eight or ten members of the County Council. What would happen? It would mean that by their intimate knowledge of the question the members of the County Council would exercise a disproportionate influence in converting the other members to their own particular 58 views. He objected to a small section of the body being in a position to use their knowledge, influence, and experience to such an extent. That being the case, they were confronted with the question—What was the body best qualified to undertake the purchase? Speaking in the presence of the directors of Water Join parties, he said frankly that the interests of the companies would be better protected, as far as that was compatible with the interests of the water consumers, if three trustees in whom the companies and London generally had confidence were to be appointed to carry out the purchase. If that arrangement were adopted, he ventured to submit that a purchase price would be arranged which would be more satisfactory to the two interests concerned, than would be the case if the purchase were carried out by a body of severity-three members, perhaps unduly influenced by the ten members of the County Council, who would have had ten or twelve years continuous experience of the subject. If the Committee declined to appoint three trustees, then it seemed to him that the next best thing would be to remit the matter to the Local Government Board, in which, perhaps, he would have some confidence. Failing the trustees and the Local Government Board, the only other body was the County Council. Whatever might be its attitude towards the London Water question in the past, it had knowledge and experience; and had at its disposal men like Mr. Dickenson, Mr. M'Kinnon Wood, Mr. Hayward, and Mr. Young, as well as the Council's engineers, all of whom had displayed great firmness, ability, and energy in defending the interests of the London ratepayers. He would put it to the Directors of the London Water Companies that the members of the body of seventy-three would in too many cases be elected on one programme. That programme might be to take it out of the Water Companies, in which case that body would do an injustice, through ignorance and lack of experience, which the Committee ought to save it from. If the body did not do that, it would take the other view, and would say it was time the question was settled. It could only be settled in one of two ways; either by being harsh on the Water Companies, or being harsh on the ratepayers. He believed that the directors 59 of the Water Companies would be satisfied to have the purchase conducted by the County Council, allowing the body of seventy-three to manage the matter afterwards; and he ventured to say that if the County Council were nominated by the Government to carry out the purchase, there would be a strong probability that the matters at issue between the Water Companies and the Council would not reach the stage of arbitration at all. He hoped and believed that the knowledge the directors of the Water Companies and the County Council had acquired as to the real value of the undertaking, would result in an amicable settlement being arrived at. If the Committee would not sanction the trustees or the Local Government Board or the County Council to conduct the purchase, it might take a very long time before the purchase would be completed; an injustice would be inflicted on one of the two interests involved; and a condition of things would be brought about which the Government did not anticipate. The more he saw of purchase in London, the more convinced he was that it was far better, when land was to be acquired, or when Tramway or Water Companies were to be brought out, to leave the purchase to a relatively small body of honest, able, competent men, who had the time and the inclination to concentrate all their energies on the task immediately at hand. The nearest approach to that type of body was the County Council. It was ridiculous for hon. Members opposite to think that they could ever hope to secure justice all round from a body consisting of seventy-three members, drawn from an area of 440 square miles, without premises officers or continuity of knowledge and experience which either the trustees or the County Council would possess. It was because he had no desire to be unjust to the Water Companies or to the water consumers, that he protested against the purchase being carried out by such an unwieldy body as was proposed, and which would possess neither knowledge nor experience.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL (St. Pancras, S.)
said that the speech of the hon. Member 60 strengthened his hope that the Government would not accept the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division had said that these were only ten members of the County Council who were acquainted with the Water question; but five at least of the other members of the new body would have knowledge of the question; and, therefore, there would be fifteen altogether. That seemed to him to be a distinct advantage. The County Council claimed to have a very good staff, but in the ordinary course of events, the new body might be able to secure from the County Council, gentlemen who had a special knowledge of the water question. He thought the new body would secure the best experts and officials they could find. What was the point at issue? Whenever anyone bought a thing they bought it as cheaply as possible; and that, it seemed to him, would be the policy of the new Board. They would want to make as good a bargain for the ratepayers as they possibly could. For these reasons, it appeared to him that the proposal of the Government was the best.
§ SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
said that the real point raised by the Amendment was whether the purchasing body and the managing body should be one and the same or separate. Apprehension had been caused by the proposed constitution of the body, and the absence of previous experience and skilled assistance, lest the price might not be fairly fixed. For his part, he should have frankly preferred that the County Council should have the management of the whole affiair; but the Government would not consent to that. He hoped, however, that when the new body was appointed, it would get to work as quickly as possible, in order to avoid the very serious danger to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred. He hoped they would preface any compulsory fixing of the price by an attempt to come to a reasonable agreement, and for this purpose it was necessary that they should be well informed.
§ (5.3.) DR. MACNAMARA
did not think a composite Water Board such as was proposed was the best body to secure 61 cheap transfer, but said it must not he supposed on that account that he was opposed to purchase. He was strongly in favour of purchase carried out in a manner which would secure the arrangement of fair and reasonable terms between shareholders and ratepayers. He did not desire to destroy the principle of purchase, but he wanted a competent Board appointed to conduct the purchase. This purchase had to be carried out on behalf of seventy-eight distinct authorities with varying interests, and they had no confidence that a cheap bargain would be scoured for the people by a body such as that which was proposed. Looking at the financial propriety of this question, the London County Council represented the London ratepayers who were going to get another pull through the Borough Councils. He wanted to know where the money was going to come from. Was it coming out of each borough fund? If so, this was a most iniquitous proposal for the poorer parts of London. If, on the other hand, the money was, as he hoped, coming from the various county funds, what right had the Borough Councils to be represented on the Water Board at all? What right had the London ratepayer to a double pull? They had included in this body representatives of the Conservators of the River Thames and the Lea Conservators Board, but what right had they to be represented on the purchasing body? They were water sellers and had no right to he represented on the Board which was going to purchase these undertakings from them on behalf of the rate-payers. There was no justification for purchase by a composite Board at all. All our large provincial towns and municipalities owned their Water supplies, but they bought them themselves and supplied large areas outside their own district with water. In those instances Parliament never insisted that the purchase should be effected by a composite body representing the outside areas, and if they appointed the body which was proposed in this Clause they would not get a cheap bargain. Bradford bought its own supply, and was now supplying as many areas outside Bradford as inside, and in this case there was not even a proposal made for the representation of any of the outside areas. Bolton bought its own Water supply, and supplied more people outside 62 than within its own area, and there was not even a claim made for outside representation in the case of Bolton. The setting up of this composite body was bound to bring serious burdens upon the London ratepayers. They wished to strike out of this Clause the purchasing power because they had no confidence in the purchasing body. He would remind hon. Members opposite that the London County Council always put in its purchasing clauses provision for admitting upon the managing body representatives of outside areas. That was a a great deal further than they went in Bolton and Bradford, but they could not find anywhere a proposal for a composite body, and this proposal would give London ratepayers a double representation on the purchasing body. While he was strongly in favour of purchase it ought to be carried out on sound financial grounds, and upon fair and reasonable terms as between the water sellers and the ratepayers.
§ MR. LOUGH
said that his intention had been misrepresented. He did not oppose the principle of purchase, but as the Bill now stood the new body would be extremely ill-equipped for carrying out that difficult operation. It did not appear to have been observed that a great change had been made in this matter. The Bill, as it left the House, fixed the appointed day as the 1st of January, 1903, and it was intended that the new Board should come into possession of the Water Companies' offices and take over the undertakings before arbitration took place. That arrangement had now been entirely altered, and the appointed day was now to be at the end of 1903 or in 1904, and the arbitration was to be completed before the appointed day, and before the Water Board came into possession of the company's premises.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
It is perfectly true that the Committee has altered the appointed day to the 25th of December, 1903, but there is no alteration in the Bill with regard to the passing over of the Water Companies' property before the appointed day.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
If this Bill passes the Water Board will be elected next November, and it can at once take over all the companies' offices and equipments, and all the machinery.
§ MR. LOUGH
said his point was that it could not take over these offices, seeing that one year afterwards the new offices and an immense staff would be thrust upon them. On the Opposition side they were all unanimous as to the desirability of purchase, but they wanted it carried out so as to protect the interest of the ratepayers.
§ (5.15.) CAPTAIN NORTON
said that experience went to show that Joint Committees were a failure, and it was hardly to be expected that they would be a success in dealing with this important purchase. A case analogous to the one under discussion occurred with refer-
§ ence to dealing with the sewage in the area of the Lower Thames, and the authorities concerned formed a Joint Committee. What was the result? This Committee was formed in 1877 and existed up to the year 1885, and then it had to commit suicide, because it was unable to do the work, and it introduced a Bill into the House of Lords to do away with itself. That Committee spent £45,000 upon legal and engineering expenses, and it had no assets of any kind. As soon as they had got rid of this Committee the various authorities concerned dealt with the question separately, whereas they were unable to do it with a Joint Committee. That was the only London experience they had to go upon, and if it failed in a case like that, the idea of succeeding in the case of such a Board as that which was now proposed was preposterous. He should, therefore' support the Amendment of his hon. friend.
§ (5.14.) Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 192; Noes, 101. (Division List, No. 287.)67
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Bond, Edward||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton|
|Agg Gardner, James Tynte||Bousfield, William Robert||Crossley, Sir Savile|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bowles, Capt. H. F.(Middlesex||Cust, Henry John C.|
|Alshusen, Augustus H'nry Eden||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bull, William James||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John)||Bullard, Sir Harry||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Dorington, Rt. Hn. Sir John E.|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Doughty, George|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Doxford, Sir William Theodore|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wore'r||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch||Chapman, Edward||Elliot Hon. A. Ralph Douglas|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Charrington, Spencer||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Coddington, Sir William||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Big wood, James||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bill, Charles||Cranborne, Lord||Fison, Frederick William|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cripps, Charles Alfred||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Robinson, Brooke|
|Flower, Ernest||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Garfit, William||Lowe, Francis William||Samuel, Harry S. (Lime house)|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Lowther, Rt. Hn. James (Kent||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn)||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Macdona, John Cumming||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Maclver, David (Liverpool)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East|
|Greene, Sir E W (BuryS Edm'nds||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich|
|Guest, Hon Ivor Churchill||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorne||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Stroyan, John|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'rry||Moore, William (Antrim N.)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Morgan, David J (Walthamstow||Talbot, Rt Hn J.G. (Oxf'rd Un'v.|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'thsh.||Thompson, Dr. EC (Monagh'n, N|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Morrell, George Herbert||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Heath, James (Staffords, N. W.||Morton, Arthur H.A. (Deptford||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Henderson, Sir Alexander||Mount, Willliam Arthur||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edward M.|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Horner, Frederick William||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Nicholson, William Graham||Vincent, Col. Sir CEH (Sheffield|
|Hoult, Joseph||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Peel, Hn. Wm Robert Wellesley||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Pemberton, John S. G.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred.||Percy, Earl||Welby, Lt-Col. A.C.E. (Taunt'n|
|Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Williams, Rt Hn J. Powell- (Bir.|
|Keswick, William||Plummer, Walter R.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Kimber, Henry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E.R. (Bath|
|Knowles, Lees||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Purvis, Robert||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Law, Andrew Bonar ((Glasgow||Pym, C. Guy||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Rasch, Major Frederick Carne||Younger, William|
|Lawson, John Grant||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham||Reid, James, (Greenock)|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Remnant, James Farquharson||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Renwick, George||Sir William Walrond and|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Doogan, P. C.||Kitson, Sir James|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead||Dunn, Sir William||Lambert, George|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Gloue., Stroud||Elibank, Master of||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Leamy, Edmund|
|Beaumont, Wentworth, C. B.||Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Fenwick, Charles||Leigh, Sir Joseph|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Flynn, James Christopher||Lundon, W.|
|Burns, John||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.|
|Burt, Thomas||Gladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert John||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Grant, Corrie||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Caldwell, James||Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Haldane, Rt. Hn. Richard B.||M 'Govern, T.|
|Carew, James Laurence||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. Sir William||M 'Kean, John|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Harrington, Timothy||Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William|
|Cawley, Frederick||Hayden, John Patrick||Mooney, John J.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Healy, Timothy Michael||Moss, Samuel|
|Cremer, William Randal||Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||Nannetti, Joseph P.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Horniman, Frederick John||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen||Jacoby James Alfred||Norman, Henry|
|Delany, William||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hn. Sir Charles||Joyce, Michael||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Redmond. William (Clare)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.|
|O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries.||Tomkinson, James|
|O'Connor, T. T. (Liverpool)||Rickett, J. Compton||Tully, Jasper|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscomm'n, N.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Weir, James Galloway|
|O'Malley, William||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)||Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.|
|O'Mara, James||Robson, William (Snowdon)||Young, Samuel|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Schwann, Charles E.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Partington, Oswald||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C R (Northants|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Sullivan, Donal||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Rea, Russell||Tennant, Harold John||Mr. Lough and Captain|
|Reddy, M.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.||Norton|
§ Committee report progress; to sit again upon Monday next.