§ [SECOND READING.]
§ [SECOND DAY'S DEBATE.]
§ Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment proposed to Question [27th February], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
And which Amendment was—
To leave out from the word 'That,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words this House, while welcoming the adoption of the principle of purchase and the creation of a special court of arbitration, is of opinion that the authority proposed to be created for the purchase and control of the water supply of London, is unsatisfactory and unworkable, and repugnant to the general principles of municipal government.'"— (Mr. Sydney Buxton.)
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ (4.15.) SIR BLUNDELL MAPLE (Camberwell, Dulwich)
In rising to discuss this Bill I am afraid I shall have to trouble the House for some time in 192 order to properly consider the nature of this measure. As most hon. Members of the House are aware, last year I expressed my views upon this subject when I introduced a Bill which had been most carefully prepared by Mr. Gerald Fitzgerald, and which was read a first time and ordered to lie printed On the 23rd of July. Although some portions of the Bill now introduced by the Government are the same as my own, I regret to say that there are other portions which are not included in this. Bill which would seriously affect the working of the measure introduced by me, and therefore I propose to ask, if this Bill is read a second time, that my Bill shall be sent to the same Committee, to be considered at the same time as the Government Bill. The common object is to get a measure passed that will be of advantage to all classes of the community. We want a measure which will not only give a new water authority that will work more satisfactorily, but we want an authority set up which will deal fairly with the present holders of water stock, and which will see that water affairs have. a proper organisation, so that the interests of the water consumers generally will be looked after
The House, no doubt, is aware of the fact that the Royal Commission, when considering the constitution of the new water authority, assumed that that authority would not be larger than thirty members, but the water authority which is now proposed would amount to sixty-nine. Upon the water authority recommended by the Royal Commission, out of thirty members ten were to be given to the London County Council, and the Bill now before the House only gives the same number to the London County Council as was recommended by the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission suggested that the London County Council should nominate ten members of the WaterBoard, being one-third of the whole body, but the Government Bill which we are now considering only allows the London County Council a representation of one-seventh of the whole body. I think the present Bill is wrong in allowing certain of our municipal boroughs to have two members and other boroughs only one member. What is there 193 to define the question as to whether there should be one member or two members? It is perfectly right and proper that every metropolitan borough should have at least one representative of its interests. In the Bill which I introduced last year it was provided that the London County Council were to have sixteen members on the water authority instead of ten members, which is now proposed, and that every metropolitan borough should have its one representative. Therefore, what may be called the inner circle of London would be represented under both these Bills by about the same number. That seems to me to be an important thing when you are going to constitute a new authority, and when you are handing over to this new body a great and important question dealing with the expenditure of something like £40,000,000. Therefore, it is most important that we should be certain that this authority is a thoroughly good and strong body, capable of looking after the interests of the water consumers and of managing their affairs properly. The Royal Commission, when it came to deal with this point, suggested that the appointment of the Chairman and the Vice Chairman should be handed over to the President of the Local Government Board. I am convinced that that is the right thing to do, because, as the House will be aware, the Board now to be constituted is a body that will only last for three years, because we are supposed to have a fresh election every three years. What is thought necessary in dealing with this question is to try and get a body some portions of which would go on continuously. In the Bill which I introduced last year, I proposed that the Chairman and the Vice Chairman should be nominated by the President of the Local Government Board. I proposed that the Chairman should have £3,000 a year, the Vice Chairman £1,500 a year, and that the Water Board should be allowed to nominate a Deputy Chairman to whom they might pay £500. I also proposed in my Bill that there should be an executive body consisting of ten members from the Water Board, making an Executive Committee altogether of thirteen. I proposed that the members of this Executive Committee should each receive £250 per annum. My proposals involved a total payment of £7,000 a year. In dealing with such a large and important subject as the management of 194 these great water undertakings, you cannot look upon this Water Board as a municipal body altogether, but it will be more like a Board of Directors. I would point out that every Board of Directors, such as railway directors, is paid large sums of money, and I do not think that £3,000 a year is at all too much to pay to the Chairman of the new Water Board. Lender these circumstances, I think it would be far better for the Chairman of the Water Board to be nominated and elected by the President of the Local Government Board rather than by the members of the Water Board itself.
Now I come to a rather important subject, to which I do not think the attention of the House has been directed before. The Water Board is to be elected every three years, but it seems to have-been overlooked that the constituent authorities themselves, who send representatives to the Water Board, are also elected every three years. The London County Council elections occur in March, and the municipal borough elections take place in November. Therefore, as the members of the-Water Board will have to go off that body immediately in order to be re-elected members of the local authorities, you will have three lots of elections determining the members of your Water Board. The London County Council members are elected for three years, but on the municipal boroughs some of the members go out of office one year and some the next, and in some cases they all go out in the third year. Therefore, unless you re-organise that body and give some new power to the Water Board, you may have a body which will not exist more than ten or twelve weeks before there is some change in its representatives. That to me does not seem to be altogether on business lines. By this arrangement you would no sooner get your Board to work than some of its members would be leaving, and the working of the Board would be thrown out of gear. Although the Bill I introduced is somewhat on the same lines as that of the Government Bill which we are now considering, I would suggest that the members of the Water Board shall remain on that Board so long as they are the representatives of the Local Constituent 195 Authorities, and until they are replaced by some other representatives, so long shall they remain members of the Water Board. If I had to deal with this body, I should most decidedly pay the members of the Executive Committee, and I would also pay the ordinary members. I would like to pay to every ordinary member £100 a year because of his great travelling expenses in going from one district to another. If you gave to the Chairman of the Water Board £3,000 per annum, to the Vice Chairman £1,500 per annum, to the Deputy Chairman £1,000 per annum, to the ten members of the Executive £500 a year, and to the other members £100 a year, that would mean only £17,000 a year. The water directors at the present time are paid £31,000 a year, so that you would be getting this work done for something like £14,000 a year cheaper than now. My opinion is that unless you make this new water authority a powerful body, composed of men who will devote themselves, not one day per week, but day after day, and hour after hour to this work, the water authority will be perfectly unable to deal with this great question. Sooner than see a water authority set up on the lines which have been suggested, I would most certainly prefer the present directors of the water companies to remain in their places. To create an authority which will be changeable and shifting, and which will be required to give its whole time without any pay, would, in my opinion, be an authority in which the business people of this Metropolis would have no confidence. I consider myself that it would be far more advantageous to have the authority which.at present exists than have a new body like the members of the Water Board who would not be paid for their services. Let me read to the House what the Royal Commission said upon this point. Their Report says—It is doubtful whether the management of so large a business as that of the eight water companies by an unpaid committee whose members will frequently be changed and who have no interest in the financial prosperity of the business is likely to result in economy. More responsibility will be thrown upon the permanent officials, and that responsibility will result in higher pay and a more expensive staff.196 That is exactly what I feel upon this point, for unless we have a Committee that is made more permanent than the body proposed under the present proposal—which, as I have already explained, changes every three years upon dates different from those fixed in this Bill—it will be a body always variable and a most unsatisfactory authority in which to place the custody and the conduct of this most important business.
And now I come to another portion of this great subject. Having dealt briefly with the constitution of this body, I now come to the financial aspect of these proposals. What is the price to be paid? Allow me here to state that I am not a shareholder in any water company, nor am I a water company director, but I am associated with those who pay a great many heavy water rates, and I say that the Bill as at present framed will do them an injustice. I think the time has come now when we who have studied this question for so many years should be allowed to speak our minds. At a time when the Government are bringing forward a measure like this, the Bill is introduced without those persons who have been identified with this great question so long being consulted about it, and the only way in which we can put forward what we consider is advisable is by stating our views upon the floor of this House. I think it most unsatisfactory that there is a provision in the Bill which leaves it to the new water authority to arrange with each of the water companies the price which they shall pay for these undertakings. If the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Local Government Board, would kindly give me his ear for a minute, I would like him to consider carefully this particular subject. It is one of the questions which very much affects the whole of the Metropolis, and which I think we shall have to deal with at future elections for the London County Council, and also at the Parliamentary elections. The Government Bill, which we are now considering, lays it down that the new Water Board may agree to any terms they like with the water companies, and there is nothing in the Bill, that I can see, which will allow any inquiry to be made into that 197 question. I think that is most unsatisfactory. The water companies, no doubt, will be able to take care of themselves, but what about this new Water Board? Who are likely to be the members of this new Water Board? Perhaps some of the water company directors them selves may be elected on the Board, and I say, in that case, it would not be right that they should be able to have a voice in settling the question of the price to be paid to the water companies. I agree that the water companies ought to be paid a good and a proper price. It was laid down by the Royal Commission clearly that—The shareholders ought to receive such a sum as would purchase an equally good security producing the same income.With that proposal I most thoroughly agree, but this can only be accomplished by putting this question upon a more thorough commercial basis. The Bill which I introduced last year laid it down clearly that each holder of an interest in the water companies, whose interest was perfectly secure, was to receive the same income as they had been in the habit of receiving. That is, in my opinion, a right and proper thing, and that can be settled at once without the arbitrators. Of course the arbitrators would have to come in to decide as to any possible increase of income which would come from the water companies, and that I also made provision for in my Bill. In this Act which we are considering you provide that, unless the sum is agreed upon between the new Water Board and the companies, it is to be left to the arbitrators entirely to decide this matter exactly as they like. That I consider is most unsatisfactory and insecure, and I would much rather prefer to give the same amount of income to the holders of water stock as they have been having up to the present. That is fair and honourable, and that is what all large consumers of water would like to see done. We are all agreed, I think, that the shareholders should have the same income in the future as they have been having in the past from their shares.
Now I come to the proposal in this Bill that the water stock should be a 3 per cent. water stock. I think that proposal is altogether wrong and the stock ought to be 3¼ per cent. When 198 you are giving over water stock for the same rate of income it does not matter one iota whether it is 3 per cent. or 3¼ per cent. If a person has £3 5s. coming in from water stock, and he has received £100 worth of water stock, if you issue it at 3 per cent. instead of 3¼ per cent., instead of having £100 worth of water bonds as in my proposal he will get by the Government Bill £108 6s. 8d. worth of water bonds. The great advantage of making your stock 3¼ per cent. is that it would he above par, and therefore would be likely to be looked upon more favour-ably by the investing public, whereas when the stock is less than par people are inclined to think that there is something wrong with the stock and something insecure, and when it is above par it is much better. When you issue new stock, if you issue it at 3¼per cent. you issue it at a premium. The London County Council issued its stock at 3 per cent., and now that stock stands at 93 and 96. But seeing that the consumers have got to pay the water rates and provide the purchase money, the whole question is just the same whatever rate of interest is paid. I much prefer to see a stock put upon its proper basis. Let me again say that I think this Bill, when it creates a new water authority, does not seem exactly to give to this new authority the necessary powers which it will require to carry on its business. I have looked everywhere in the Bill to see how this new authority is going to carry on its finances. It is true that the new body will take over the debts and all the money in the banks belonging to the Water Company, but supposing the water companies pay all their accounts, what is the financial position of the new Board? I think this measure requires a clause to be added giving to the new Water Board authority to borrow from the Bank of England by means of an overdraft. I know that these are all questions for the Committee, but I think they ought to be pointed out to the House in order that they may be inquired into before the Committee. It is for that reason that I ask the House to agree that the Bill which I brought forward last year shall be placed before the Committee when they consider the Bill brought forward by the Government, in order that their attention may be attracted to the proposals contained in that particular Bill of mine. 199 When the new water authority comes into existence, what will it do? It will desire to connect up the different pipes, alter the different services so as to save waste and incur some expense. This Water Board will have a very serious and important subject to deal with. It means perhaps spending half a million of money in abolishing duplicate pipes and trying to bring the entire water supply under one governing body. Let me point out that there is no authority in the Bill to borrow money for that purpose, whereas if you put in your Bill power to borrow say £1,000,000 when they come into existence, then the new body will be able to go to work at once. The right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Local Government Board, must not for one moment think that I do not recognise that this Bill is one which should be read a second time for I do, and I hope all the water directors here will support it; but I do feel compelled to point out the weaknesses of the Bill and I also feel it my duty to point out the way in which I think those difficulties should be dealt with.
Now I come to a much more serious question, and that is the interests of the ratepayers. By this Bill the Water Board may come into power and immediately proceed to alter the charges and make reductions. They can if they like alter altogether the financial conditions. In the Bill I, together with some of my friends, introduced last year, laid down that:—All bye-laws, rules, regulations and scales of water charges made or enforceable by any of the scheduled companies shall continue in force until repealed, altered, or superseded under the powers conferred by any Act of Parliament.That seems to me to be a necessary provision to put in. It is perfectly true that there are different charges in Lon- don, but how did this happen? Simply because powers were given to the different water companies under different conditions. The landlords had houses built in those neighbourhoods well knowing the water charges which they would have to pay, and to go and reduce those charges now, would mean that you might have to put an extra charge upon other localities. This great water question has often been debated, and I have heard it debated upon the London County Council when I have had to reply to the Rodual 200 charges upon this subject. I have frequently had to point out that lodgers and ordinary tenants would not be benefited. The question of the charges made by the water companies is one which has wholly and solely to do with the landlord. The lodgers do not pay water rates, and if you were to reduce the water rate of any particular house, the lodgers would not benefit. What governs the price of lodgings is the law of supply and demand. If there are 100 lodgings and 500 people want them, the price will be high, but if there are 500 lodgings and only 100 people wanting them, then you would get them very much cheaper. That is exactly what governs the price. The ordinary tenants will not benefit by this. The only people who will benefit by the water charges being reduced lower than they ought to be are the landlords and owners of house property having long leases. If the water rate of a house is reduced by £5 a year, then the landlord will get £5 extra in rent. Therefore this is all a question of benefiting the landlords. It does not so much interfere with the lodgers, and it is altogether a landlord's question and nobody else's.
Before I sit down, I wish to say that I am not a water director nor a shareholder in the water companies, but I am one of those persons who pay large sums in water charges, and we like to have good value for our money. In this Bill, I think, it is laid down that every employee in connection with the water companies should be either re-engaged or else paid a certain sum of money. The same thing happens in the creation of municipal boroughs. There is, however, one body of men who are left out and who ought to be paid, and they are the directors. The present directors of the various water companies have a professional interest in this question, and I think that this Bill deals most unfairly with them. I think the directors ought to be provided for in this Bill as well as the clerks and other different employees of the water companies, and they ought also to be paid a legitimate price. I believe that I am right in saying that when the Government took over the telegraph companies the directors of those companies were also paid as well as the other officials. Then, again, the holding of a certain number of shares in the New River Company entitled anybody who held them to a seat on the Board, and those 201 seats were worth £500 a year. By this Bill you will give no money at all to the present directors of the companies. In considering what is right and fair I cannot understand why the Parliamentary draftsman was not instructed in drafting this Bill to provide for the water directors. In the Bill which I introduced last year I proposed by Clause 35 that—Every director of the scheduled companies who is in office and has held office for not less than three years on the appointed day shall be entitled to receive by equal half-yearly payments out of the income of the Water Council a life annuity equal to his yearly salary, or fees on the average of the said period of three years.That is the way in which you ought to treat the servants of the water companies. The directors have worked hard and well, and they have been well looked after by the London County Council and other authorities, and all things considered, I think they have done their work very well indeed. As I have said before, these directors have done their duty as best they could under very trying circumstances. The directors of the water companies have had in the past to spend a great deal of time and money opposing Bills brought before Parliament by the London County Council which were useless, and Parliament has decided that they ought not to have been introduced and re introduced, but they have been brought forward again and again and they have been a great deal of trouble. Therefore, to let the directors go without being provided for is not in my opinion what we ought to do.
To recapitulate briefly the points I have made, I say first of all that most decidedly the London County Council, in view of the fact that the Water Committee of the Council will cease to exist—and I do not see any reference to this Committee in the Bill—ought to be represented to that extent on the Water Board, for the Water Committee of the London County Council ought not to be allowed to interfere with the Water Board at all. I cannot see if we are going to have a public Water Board why we should have another public body like the London County Council continually coming down and interfering with the Water Board in its work. Therefore the 202 Water Committee of the London County Council ought to cease to exist, and the Water Board ought to be made secure in every possible way from any outside interference. It is because I think the London County Council Water Committee ought to cease to exist that I say that the number of representatives of the London County Council on the Water Board should be as large as the number of members of the Water Committee of the Council now is, that is sixteen. These members know exactly what is required, and instead of being allowed to interfere with the new Water Board, it should be allowed to carry on its business in its own way. I shall have no confidence myself in the executive body controlling this water question unless those men are paid as they ought to be paid for that constant attention to the work which is absolutely necessary. The work will require their constant attention day after day, and if the members of the Water Board are not paid, you will find a lot of extra officials will be employed, and instead of about £17,000 a year you will have £200,000 or £300,000 spent every year in paying for an over-abundance of water officials, and the whole of the ratepayers of London will be suffering from this disadvantage. We know by this Bill, and by any other Bill that may be introduced dealing with this question, that any deficit must be made up out of the county and borough rates. We do not want, however, to have to contribute through the ordinary rates. We are aware of the fact that every year large sums of money have to be contributed from the local rates in Liverpool and Manchester to make up the deficits upon the working of the water undertakings by the Water Committees. [Opposition cries of "No, no."] I could give you the figures to show that. I think that is a most serious state of things, and one that ought not to be. There should be no chance of suffering from that in London If the water rates were considerably reduced, we should find ourselves in the position of having to pay a few hundred thousand pounds a year through other rates, instead of having to pay our proper share of water rates. I support the Second Reading of this Bill, and I hope the Government will kindly give a chance to 203 the Committee in some form or other, either by instruction or notice to the Committee, that the Bill I brought forward last year may be considered, and also that the other questions which have been discussed here may be taken before the Committee. It is most important for the whole of the London district that a thoroughly good Board should be established, consisting of thorough business men, to look after the interests of all classes of the community. I think it is possible to make this a good Bill if the Government will give it more attention, and have the various proposals thoroughly threshed out in Committee.
§ *(4.55.) MR. ASQUITH (Fife, E.)
Rarely in the Parliamentary experience of any of us has a measure of first-rate importance proposed by the responsible Government of the day been exposed to a more unbroken fusilade of hostile criticism from every quarter of the compass. I do not know whether I am to gather from the speech of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down that he is a whole-hearted supporter of the Bill. So far as I could judge, a considerable portion at any rate of his remarks was devoted to advocating a rival scheme of his own, but so far as I know he constitutes the only exception—not one to boast of very much—to the otherwise continuous stream of hostility with which this measure has been received since its introduction. That being so, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman may take some consolation in the cynical maxim that a Bill which pleases nobody must have something to be said for it, and that it must contain some elements of good, particularly when the critics approach it from so many diverse views and with so many different interests.
Although I shall have one or two hard words to say about this measure before I sit down, I should like to begin by repeating the acknowledgment made by other speakers on this side of the House in an earlier stage of the debate, that in two respects it constitutes a very distinct advance upon the position hitherto taken up by His Majesty's Government. In the first place, it not only recognises that the water supply of the metropolitan area is a matter of public concern, which ought in some form or other to be 204 in the hands of the community—that has been recognised before—but that as between the two, and the only two, competing methods by which that principle can be carried into effect—the method on the one hand of public control, and on the other hand of public purchase—that purchase has won the day. In the next place, the Bill acknowledges also—and this likewise is a considerable step in the direction of progress—that the machinery of the. Lands Clauses Act with the incident of a bonus on compulsory purchase which is annexed to that machinery by the custom of arbitrators is inapplicable to such subject matter as this, and that in dealing with that subject matter the various interests and contingencies which it involves are so complicated and so exceptional in their character that you must constitute a special tribunal of arbitration with special directions of its own. On that point, though I do not wish in my few remarks to deal with the financial aspects of the Bill, I should just like to say a word. I am glad to understand from the speech made by the hon. Gentleman, the Under Secretary of the Local Government Board, that as regards the whole of these provisions the Government have, comparatively speaking, an open mind, and that they are to be freely discussed and overhauled by any Committee to whom this Bill may ultimately be submitted. That being so, I do wish strongly to press, upon the Government—the suggestion has already been made, but I desire to emphasize it and press it so far as I can —that they should follow the recommendation of Lord Llandaff's Commission, and that in the case of every one of these companies the valuation should be a valuation in cash, so that we may know precisely what is the value which this tribunal has put on the undertaking, of each particular company. Then we shall be able to pursue the further inquiry—a most important inquiry in the interest of the ratepayers—whether the amount of water stock allotted to the vendor is or is not more than he ought to receive. To my mind it is fundamental to the businesslike carrying out of this transaction that the valuation in the first place should be a valuation in cash. This is the only 205 other observation I have to make on that point, and I should have thought it was a truism, that in considering the amount of stock which is ultimately to he issued to the vendor, it ought to be clearly understood and there ought to be no doubt about it, that account is taken of the better credit of the purchasing authority. You have under this Bill a trustee stock, that is, a stock in which trustees will be able to invest. You have a stock very large in quantity and therefore very easily marketable. You have a stock the transactions in which can he put through the Bank of England,—a stock secured on the rates, not only of the County of London, but of the adjoining counties. It is ridiculous to contend that the existing shareholders of t he metropolitan water companies ought to have granted to them for all time to come an income equivalent to that which they at present receive, when all the causes of possible fluctuation and diminution of the value of their security have been removed, and it is put on the basis of the public credit. What is given to them ought to be an equivalent, and an equivalent only of the undertaking. The cash value and the market value of the stock ought to be clearly the equivalent, and no more than the equivalent, of each other.
I pass from that to what I conceive to be a far more important and vital matter, and that is the nature of the authority to whom the transfer is to be made. Now, any statesman accepting the two principles which the Government have accepted, and which I have already indicated, in facing the problem of how the transfer was to be effected and the undertakings placed in the hands of one body for the future management of the London water supply, would find himself under the necessity either of discovering or inventing an authority fitted for the purpose. What would he look for? There are some obvious and elementary conditions on which such an authority should be constituted. It ought to be either from its own constitution or from its powers of delegation to Committees, moderate in numbers and manageable in size. It ought to be, so far as you can make it, homogeneous as possible in its composition. It ought to be framed upon the 206 precedents which our legislative and administrative experience in other parts of the country have shown to be successful. And it ought to command, from the first, public respect, and what is most important of all, it ought to be directly subject to popular control, because otherwise there is no argument for purchase at all. You would be no better off than you were before if you substituted for the existing companies a body which is not directly responsible to the ratepayers and consumers of water in the metropolitan area. I do not believe that anyone will dispute that that is a fair statement of the case.
These being the conditions to which such an authority ought to conform, I go a step further. I may say to the light hon. Gentleman that if the area of water supply actually authorised wereconterminous with the area of the county of London it is impossible to conceive that either he, or any other Minister, would look elsewhere than to the one municipal body which represents the whole of London and is responsible to the whole of the ratepayers. I do not think that will be disputed. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I think I hear a faint murmur of dissent, but I do not believe—certainly if you go back to precedents cited in other cases, awl act on these precedents—that you could have other than one authority with jurisdiction over that one area. Now, is that prima facie presumption displaced because of the undoubted fact that in the case of the water undertakings with which we are dealing the actual water supply to a substantial extent, and the possible future supply to a considerable extent, goes outside the boundaries of the administrative county of London? In answering that question, certain considerations present themselves, some of which are peculiar to London, and some of which are founded upon experience elsewhere. The circumstances of London—I speak, not of the county of London, but of the whole metropolitan area of water supply—are in some respects peculiar. In the first place, it is obviously impossible that you could break up the water supply and the management of the water and hand it over piece-meal to the various local authorities in the whole of this immense area. Nothing but chaos, confusion and waste would result from a scheme of that kind. We are all agreed about that. Again, there is the other 207 extreme proposal which might be made, that all these bodies without distinction, County Councils, District Councils, Borough Councils and the like, should all be united into one amorphous and gigantic Board which would undertake the duty of furnishing the water supply and the whole management. That is an equally ridiculous proposal. Further, if we contemplate an indirectly representative body in the case of the metropolis, we have a special experience of our own, which in a matter of this kind ought not to be disregarded or forgotten. The old Metropolitan Board of Works perished unwept, unhonoured, and unsung. [Hon. Members on the Ministerial Benches: "Oh!"] Well, the fatal blow was dealt, I remember well, by Lord Randolph Churchill, with the approval of a great number of hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House. That Board began its career under good auspices, and undoubtedly made some contributions to the improvement of London, but it was found that, from the inherent vices of its composition, it did not and could not in the long run command the confidence of the ratepayers. And what was the reason? The reason was very evident. The moment you introduce the principle of indirect election—I will show presently to what an extraordinary and unprecedented length that has been carried in framing this Bill—it is obvious that the door is opened to the operation of indirect influences and interests, and in the same proportions and almost to the same extent, you shut the door to that which is essential to the true and vigilant conduct of business; that is the invigorating and restraining sense of direct responsibility. These theoretical reasons, which are strong everywhere and at all times, and which cannot possibly be ignored, are amply justified and verified in the actual experience of the Metropolitan Board of Works.
I am not an uncompromising and undiscriminating advocate of everything which the London County Council does, or does not do. That body is a creation which reflects the very greatest credit and honour on the right hon. Gentleman, whom I see present opposite, who was responsible for bringing it into existence. It would be nothing short of marvellous, acting as it did on an unprecedented scale, and dealing with 208 new problems, if it had not at times transcended the limits of that which was sensible and prudent. But, on the whole, the London County Council is a body in which the great mass of the ratepayers of London possess confidence; and in regard to this question of water, it stands in a very peculiar position ever since the Report of Lord Ridley's Committee of 1891. For a period of twelve years, the London County Council has devoted itself, at the invitation of Parliament, through its Members, its Committees, and its officials to the investigation of this subject of water supply. It has collected a mass of material, information, and evidence by Parliamentary Committees, by the promotion of Bills, and by investigation before various Commissions not to be paralleled anywhere else. Although in these days it is dangerous to indulge in metaphorical language, I may say that the London County Council have immersed themselves in that subject, and steeped and drenched themselves to a greater extent than any other representative body in similar case in any other part of the Kingdom. If these are the circumstances peculiar to London, what is our experience in other places? Instances have already been given. The House is aware that there are many instances in which Parliament has deliberately entrusted to great municipal bodies like those of Manchester, Liverpool, Bradford and others, the power and the duty of supplying water to outside areas beyond the jurisdiction of their own Municipal Councils.
The President of the Local Government Board, in the course of a reply to observations made by the hon. Member for Poplar, made a remark which deserves some notice. The right hon. Gentleman said that there was no parallel between the position of the London County Council and the municipal authorities in any other great towns. If, he said, my hon. friend was right in his contention, it would amount to this, that the County Council of Lancashire should be given the control of the water supply of Liverpool. I heard that statement with amazement, coming from the President of the Local Government Board. It showed a strange ignorance of the conditions of local government alike in London and in Lancashire. What is the County 209 Council of Lancashire? It is the local authority over an area which consists of the residue of the County of Lancashire after you have scooped out of it twelve or fifteen large county boroughs, which are themselves autonomous and independent, with an exclusive jurisdiction. Now, of these county boroughs, taken out of the geographical area of Lancashire, no fewer than twelve at this moment have powers of independent water supply of their own. And out of these twelve, eight supply outside areas. The real analogy, if the right hon. Gentleman wants an analogy, would have been between the London County Council and the great municipal authorities in Lancashire. It is to these great county boroughs in Lancashire that Parliament has given the very powers the Government is denying to London. To take two illustrations. Manchester is authorised to supply water not only to its own administrative county but to the Adjoining County Borough of Salford and to other outlying parts of the administrative County of Lancashire. In the same way the County Council of Liverpool has been authorised to supply not only its own area with water, but the county borough of Bootle and a considerable part of the adjacent area in the county of Lancashire. Therefore, if you go to Lancashire, when you get as near to identity as you possibly can, you will find it entirely in favour of the municipal authority which represents the bulk of the population, which, both from its needs and number, has the central and dominating interest in the matter, such as the County Council of London, the body which according to all Parliamentary precedent should have been entrusted with this jurisdiction.
There are two obvious ways in which you might have dealt with this matter. If you had made the County Council the purchasing authority, you might require it to supply water to the outside local authorities, leaving to them the task of distribution. That is the common practice adopted elsewhere. Or you might, having regard to the peculiar circumstances of London—which I admit to be exceptional in many respects—do that which the County 210 Council itself proposed in the later versions of its own Bill, viz., you might have admitted on to the Statutory Committee, which will have the management of these water undertakings after transfer to the Council, members of the outside County Councils. Whether you have regard to the special circumstances of London, or to the example set in the nearest and most analogous cases, that would have been the course which, according to all precedent, this House should have pursued.
But what have we here in this Bill? I confess the more I study the authority set up in this Bill, the more I am filled with bewilderment and confusion. If the wit of man had been commissioned to devise and to put on paper the most farfetched, the worst equipped and least workable body the imagination could suggest, it might have equalled, but could not have surpassed, the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. Look at it. What is it? First of all, in point of numbers, the Water Board is to consist of sixty-nine gentlemen. Why sixty-nine? What are they to do? They will have two functions. The first is to conduct the negotiations, and, if necessary, to prepare for the arbitration which is to proceed the actual operation of purchase; and then they are to take the daily routine management of these water undertakings. I ask the House, as men of business, can you imagine for the one purpose of preliminary negotiation or the other of subsequent management, a body less fitted to transact these operations, than a body consisting of sixty-nine gentlemen brought from the high-ways and bye-ways of all the home counties? In adopting this number of sixty-nine, the Government have flown in the face of the recommendations of every authority which has ever examined this question. Lord Ridley's Committee recommended a body of twenty-one; Lord James, when he introduced the Bill of 1896, said he thought that on the whole thirty would be the best number to fix upon, and he gave as his reasons, which were very good reasons, that that would enable a fairly representative body to be constituted, not too large to relieve individual Members of their responsibility, while enabling the duties imposed on 211 them to be properly discharged. Then the Llandaff Commission, also appointed by this Government, recommended that the Board should consist of not more than thirty Members, selected on account of their business capacity and, if possible, for their knowledge of matters connected with water supply. The right hon. Gentleman himself, speaking in this House last March, in referring to that very recommendation, said that the meaning of it was that the men who would have charge of these responsible and difficult duties should be selected because of the experience they had had, or ought to have had, or because of a training which fitted them for such a difficult and peculiar task. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that that part of the Report ought to meet with general approval, viz., the part which recommended that the body should consist of thirty gentlemen. The right hon. Gentleman endorsed without any qualification or exception that recommendation. Therefore, this unwieldy body of sixty-nine members is absolutely novel, and is directly contrary to the recommendations of every Committee which has inquired into the matter for the last ten years.
Let me pass from its number to its composition. Its composition is at least as remarkable as its dimensions. Where are these sixty-nine gentlemen to come from? Forty-six of them are to come, one way or the other, from the County of London, ten from the County Council, and thirty-six from the City Corporation and the Borough Councils. I ask again this question, which has been asked repeatedly in the course of this discussion, but has not yet been answered—why were the Borough Councils brought in?
§ * Mk ASQUITH
Why not? That is not the question. Why are they brought in? I can understand why the County Council should have been brought in, not only for the reasons I have already given, but on this very simple ground. First of all, it represents the whole of London; next, each County Councillor is 212 elected by the whole of the district which he represents in the County Council; and, thirdly, as regards the County Council it is a matter of notoriety that the question of Water Supply has been and is one of the great issues on which the electors gave their votes. Is that denied? [An Hon. MEMBER: Yes.] I am surprised that it is denied, as it shows what short memories some hon. Gentlemen have. When we were discussing this question last year, I was able to produce a leaflet, which was part of the fighting ammunition of what is called the Moderate Party at the last County Council election, which stated that a vote given to the Progressives was a vote given to the Water Companies. The water issue was one of the governing issues at the County Council election, and it was one on which the members of the Council had pledged themselves. But when you come to the Borough Councils you cannot say anything of the sort. No one contemplated when these Councils were created that the Water Supply was to be handed over, even indirectly, to their control, and, in addition, it is not immaterial to remember that in these Borough Councils, unlike the County Councils, the election is by wards. Every member is returned by one particular segment or fraction of the constituency. The average number of electors in each is, as far as I remember, between 500 and 1,000, rarely more. Therefore, you cannot say that a representative on the Borough Councils comes there clothed with authority to represent the constituency as a whole. He represents his own locality, but he does not represent the width and range of interests in this particular question especially, which every member of the County Council may be presumed to do. Under these circumstances, it does appear to me that if your object is—and I assume it is—to get upon your Water Board a fair representation of the opinion of London in relation to London's interests and London's water supply, there can be no justification for resorting to these Borough Councils.
Then I come to the outside areas, and. there I concede that the right hon. Gentleman was right in having these outside areas represented. But there again why, apparently simply for the purpose of 213 swelling the size of this unwieldly body, did the right hon. Gentleman bring in all the urban districts enumerated in the schedule. Just let me give one illustration. Take the case of Brentford, and let the House see how this will work out in practice. A number of these Urban District Councils are to choose a Joint Committee and the Joint Committee is to choose a representative of the whole. In this case you have eight Urban District Councils. These choose a Joint Committee of twenty-one members, and the Joint Committee is solemnly brought into existence for no other purpose than to select from its twenty-one members one person to go on the Water Board and represent these eight districts. What a travesty and caricature of popular representation is that! There is a representative chosen by a Committee of twenty-one, themselves chosen by the eight Rural District Councils; who, in turn, are elected by the ratepayers of eight separate districts, and this one man—there is no analogy to a case under the Public HealthAct—is sent to the Water Board to deal with interests extending over 620 square miles, and that you say is representative government. Whom will he represent? To whom will he be amenable, and of whose interests will he be the spokesman? You cannot have a more useless, a more nugatory way of recruiting your Board than by doing this, which is nothing more than lip service to the principle of representative government and of electoral responsibility. One might multiply illustrations from the schedule, but that is sufficient.
I venture to say, in summing up the objections which I think go to the very root of the Bill, that this Water Board is gratuitously created by the Government. There is no necessity for bringing it into existence at all. I say that it is viciously constituted on the principle of indirect representation, which, even if it were not carried to the extravagant lengths I have shown, really negatives electoral responsibility and popular control. There cannot again be anything like real and individual responsibility among the members of such a body. You have no guarantee in the source whence they are drawn and, in the circumstances of election, that it is a body of expert or 214 technical knowledge. Their size and their numbers from the business point of view are unwieldy; and, anxious as I am to see this process of purchase carried through and the transfer of these undertakings accomplished at the earliest possible moment, speaking for myself I see little or no prospect that in hands such as these the water supply of the metropolis will be more economically or more efficiently managed than it is by the present authorities.
I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree that a scheme of this kind, as to the foundation principles of which there is now general assent, ought not to be forced through by mere appeals to party discipline. The Government have already shown a disposition, which is to be commended, to keep an open mind as to the financial aspects of the measure. I ask them to go a little further, and I suggest that under these financial arrangements the size and the composition of this proposed authority should also be a matter which the Committee can freely consider. Let the Committee have any other scheme—the scheme, say, of the hon. Member for Dulwich, the scheme of the County Council, or any other scheme of any responsible body or individuals—and give them an opportunity with an open mind and a free hand of considering and dealing with these proposals. After all, it is a matter not only of the comfort but of the health of the metropolitan and adjoining populations in the next generation, and it cannot be any one's interest to bring in an unworkable body to carry out an undertaking like this. No one can pretend that any fundamental principle is involved in the numbers of this body, or in the precise scheme contained in the schedule. I suggest to the right lion. Gentleman that, taking his fundamental principles as we all do, —first, these undertakings ought to. be transferred to a representative public body; next, that they should be transferred under terms which will allow, either by negotiation or arbitration, the special and peculiar circumstances of the case to be taken into account in fixing the amount of consideration to be paid; if we accept these as the fundamental principles on 215 which the scheme is to be built up, all the rest is merely a matter of machinery.and procedure. He might well undertake on behalf of the Government—I will go further and say that he ought to allow no obstacles to be thrown in the way, after we have had ten years of continuous and abortive effort of settling this question by arrangements of a specific and final character.
§ *(5.36.) SIR F. DIXON-HARTLAND (Middlesex, Uxbridge)
We have heard from both sides of the House a good many speeches with regard to the London County Council, the poor ratepayers and other people affected by this Bill, but I do not think anything has been said or any point made of the persons who will have to supply the water that is to be used by this Water Board that is to be created. I have the good fortune to be Chairman of the Thames Conservancy, and I represent those who supply most of the water used by London and who say they ought to be considered because the great bulk of the water supplied to London comes from the Thames. I do not think we are represented on this Board which is proposed to be created in the way in which we ought to be. In the Llandaff report, the Board was to consist of not more than thirty members, and of these four was not an unreasonable number to represent the Thames Conservancy, because there is no doubt whatever that a great deal of what will have to be arranged by this new Water Board will have to be done by communication with the Thames Conservancy. I am told we have got everything we can want in connection with the Thames Conservancy in this Bill, because the powers given to the new Water Board are only the powers which the companies at present enjoy, but this new Water Board will come before Parliament for new powers of their own, and the Thames Conservancy will be in a very bad position if it has to fight a big Board like the Water Board, instead of having to fight the different water companies which are not only not closely allied but generally differ amongst themselves. I therefore consider the composition of the Board is objectionable. I think it should have been composed 216 of more businesslike men; men who could discuss the water question; and who were fitted for their work. You have to consider the fact that these new men have to learn their work, and you may depend if you make a wrong start by putting in men who do not understand their work, it will take more time to put right than if you had put in business men in the first instance. The Boards of Directors, whatever they have done, have tried to manage the Companies in the most economical way possible, because they wanted to get a profit for the shareholders, but when the Water Board comes into operation economy will disappear altogether, because they can come down on the rates for any money they want. I think the composition of the Water Board is very different from what it ought to be, and I hope the Government will take the responsibility of appointing the first Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board so as to secure that they shall be equipped with a knowledge of the work they will have to undertake.
I have also to speak for another outside interest—with regard to the County of Middlesex. Nearly all the water that comes to London is supplied by the river Thames. All the water except that supplied by the Lea and the New River comes through Middlesex, but the Bill has drawn a fancy line across Middlesex, and it is surprising to see how scantily it is dealt with. It has drawn a line through that part of the country where there is just about enough water, and only just enough, to supply the population at the present time, but not the increase which is going on every year, and what is to become of Middlesex when this Board is formed and takes that water away. The whole of the water is to be taken by the new Water Board. This Bill, if it is passed as it stands, alters the whole system of rating outside the County of London as it places the extra charge upon the Poors Rate, whereas at present it is charged in any Urban District upon the General District Rate or District Fund, and if in future it is charged as proposed on the Poors Rate, land and other properties entitled to a differential rate under Sec. 211 of Public Health Act, 1875, will 217 be charged the whole instead of one quarter of the assessment.
There is another important point with reference to the rating. It has been stated by the Llandaff Commission that there is plenty of water in the Thames to supply London until 1940, by a system of reservoirs through the valley of the Thames. There is no doubt that that is the case, but what will be the result to Middlesex? At the present moment, a large area of the county is occupied by reservoirs, and it has this effect. The moment a Water Company takes land for the purpose of a reservoir, the rating of that land is reduced to one-fourth, consequently, the parish or district loses three-fourths of the rates it would otherwise have received. That is manifestly unjust, but it is not the worst. There have been cases in which large numbers of houses, which would have paid rates to the County of Middlesex, have been pulled down, and the land taken for these purposes at one-fourth the agricultural ratable value. Therefore, if all these reservoirs were formed, they would utterly destroy the ratable value of the land in the county. The loss represented by this reduction of rates to the extent of three-fourths is at present very great. In Hampton it is £1862 a year; in Barnes, £1604; in Esher and Dittons, £782; in Sunbury, £794; in Molesey, £469; in Walthamstow, £1763; and in Walton-on-Thames, £448. If the necessary reservoirs were made to keep London supplied with water until 1940, 6000 acres of new reservoirs would be required, and the consequent loss to the rates would be enormous. That is a very strong point which I hope the President of the Local Government Board will take into account and deal with at a later stage. The right hon. Gentleman says that that would not be the general law of the country, but I do not think there would he any difficulty in so dealing with it, for there is no reason why a Bill of this sort should be brought in which is not just in its local effect.
Then we are all naturally very anxious that the Committee which deals with this Bill should have a free hand to thresh out everything connected with the matter. We remember the Hybrid 218 Committee in connection with the Thames Conservancy Act of 1894. That Committee did its work so well that when the Bill came before the House afterwards very little discussion w as. necessary, because it had been thoroughly threshed out. I hope we shall have such a Committee as will do justice all round, because you may depend upon it that if any of the ratepayers are tremendous sufferers under this Bill it will re-act upon those who have brought in the measure. If an unjust Bill gets through it will be the most dangerous thing that was ever done. But there is no question that a Bill is wanted to settle this matter once for all. That we all feel. I have opposed Water Bills year after year, and with a good deal of knowledge spoken upon them, but I hope that this Bill will be so amended that we can, approve of it, and that it will be a great success in the hands of the President of the Local Government Board. I certainly do not agree with the suggestion, which has been made that the Water Board should consist of thirty Members paid at the rate of £100 a year each, to devote the whole of their time to the duties connected with the Board. What sort of person would you get at £2 a week to devote the whole of his time to the work? You would get a much better class to give their time gratuitously. I thoroughly agree that the Chairman should be well paid, but the suggestion to which I have referred is simply ridiculous. I shall support the Bill, trusting the inequalities I have pointed out will be redressed in Committee.
(5.52.) MR. CHARLES HOBIIOUSE (Bristol, E.)
I hope the House will allow me to say a few words on this Bill, not in any way from the point of view of the consumer of water, but rather on behalf of the counties which contribute almost the entire supply on which London depends. By examination of the Schedule to this Bill, I find that every water company mentioned as to be absorbed by the Water Board draws its supply of water from the counties of Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire, with a very small proportion coming from Gloucestershire. It is not unnatural, therefore, that these counties 219 should view with apprehension a Bill which makes no provision for the representation of their interests on the body proposed to be set up. There is this further point the Government might well consider in connection with the matter of representation. A great deal of money has been laid out by these counties, and.by the county boroughs of Reading and Oxford far in excess of anything necessary for their own sanitary requirements, in order that no trace of pollution might escape into the Thames and thus contaminate the supply for London. In particular, I understand that the Borough of Reading has expended about £100,000 in bringing not only up to date but to a state of perfection their sanitary works, in order that they might comply with the minutest demands of the Thames Conservancy Conservors, and in that way, by a rate laid upon its ratepayers, has benefited the consumers and ratepayers of London. In return for the services thus rendered, these counties and county boroughs are to have absolutely no representation whatever. Under existing circumstances, either directly or indirectly, they have representatives on the Thames Conservancy, but only to the extent of one seventh of the Board, and, as the Thames Conservancy Board is to be represented on the new body by only one member, the consequence is that the outside representation which these large and important local bodies will have is about one-seventh of the number.
I should like to enforce the argument, already addressed to the House, that upon the Board of thirty members recommended by the Llandaff Commission, the Thames Conservancy were to have four representatives, and the Dee Conservors two, so that the providers and administrators were to have a representation on the board of one-fifth of the whole, while upon the board now proposed they are to have a representation of only one-thirtieth. That is a serious divergence, and a proportion which I am sure the House regards as inadequate, and one which in no way represents the real interests of the providers of water.
Then I should like for one moment to direct the attention of the House to the interests concerned in this matter. The four counties to which I have referred as providing the greater part of the London 220 water supply have a ratable value of £7,000,000, and a population just under 1,000,000, and an average of 1,250,000. The population of the limit of supply, I understand, is practically 6,000,000, and the ratable value £40,000,000. Therefore, the 6,000,000 population and £40,000,000 ratable value get a representation of sixty-nine members, while the 1,000,000 population and the £7,000,000 ratable value get none at all, except the indirect representation of the Thames Conservancy.
Another point is that while these counties and boroughs have every year to meet an increasing demand from London, they have, at the same time, to meet an increased demand for water from within their own limits, and they are also directly menaced in regard to their water possessions by this Bill. It may not be possible—though I hope it will be to—give direct representation to these four counties and two county boroughs to the extent of one representative each, but an improvement would be effected by the adoption even of the principle of the Thames Conservancy Act of 1894, under which two or more of the counties and the counties' boroughs might be combined and given some direct representation, carrying to it local knowledge, on the Water Board. There is a direct connection between that Board and the counties on whose behalf I speak. The water companies are bound by statute to contribute to the service of the Upper Thames a sum of £25,000 a year, and this contribution, under the present Bill, will have to be continued by the Water Board. This contribution—the obligation to pay which is of considerable standing, dating, I believe, from 1866—is not now enough to maintain the service of the upper portion of the river. Under this arrangement a great many works would be carried out to the advantage of London and London water consumers, which lack of funds up to the present has put off. And so there would be direct transactions, and direct communications between the new Water Board and the service of the upper river, but apart from this, I think these counties and borough's ought to have some representation. There is under Section 19 of the Act a very large power given to this new Water Board, with regard to which I think it is well that 221 something should be said. Under Section 19, sub-Section B, the new Water Board may go into any county not only within but outside the counties of supply as they exist at the present moment; they could purchase areas of land, and by setting up a powerful system of pumping, could absolutely drain the districts of all water for the purpose of supplying London. That is a very large power, which, if exercised to the full, would be absolutely disastrous to the districts and counties concerned. Although this power is given to the new Water Board, the counties concerned are given no powers of resistance, and they have no voice as to the terms upon which this water shall be taken away from their own consumers and ratepayers, and the power given to the Water Board in this Bill can only be exercised to the detriment of their own consumers in the future. I do think that this matter is so very serious to the future interests of those counties and those county boroughs that I venture to bring it to the notice.of the House.
§ * 6.4.) MR. HARRY SAMUEL (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)
I am glad to be able to say a few words, because I speak on this matter from a different point of view to many hon. Members who have already addressed this House. I have to speak for a body of men and women who, unfortunately, have through much suffering become intimately acquainted with this water question, and the inadequacy of the present water supply, consequently, they have formed their opinion as to what they desire the water authority of the future to be. My constituents are anxious to do justice to all parties in this matter, but not more than strict justice. The first thing I should like to say is that the very greatest possible satisfaction has been given by the announcement that at last a scheme of purchase has received the stamped approval of His Majesty's Government. I think, after all, that is the very greatest possible consideration in dealing with this question. This subject we have never had satisfactorily settled in all the storm and stress which this water question has produced before the House. I should like to say that the question of the authority is, to my 222 mind, the chief point to which I ought to direct my attention, because, after all, the other questions we have had dealt with in this debate are more or less questions which may be adequately dealt with in Committee. The chief point is that this House approves of purchase; and the second point is that it will have to decide who shall be the authority to purchase. I cannot help saying that my constituents feel very strongly upon this question. They recollect well that in days gone by, when they were suffering from cruel want, owing to the inability of the water companies to supply them with a proper amount of water, the London County Council, which was supposed to take the greatest possible interest in the welfare of the inhabitants, seemed to have as its chief idea the object of opposing every possible form of improvement by which relief could have been given to my constituents. I have often stood up here and complained of the London County Council endeavouring to stop the water companies from obtaining powers to increase the supply East for the people of London. Consequently, my constituents would view with the deepest concern any proposal to entrust the management of the London water supply to the London County Council. We do not want to have Party politics introduced into this question, but I cannot help saying that some of us would like to see some signs of business methods being introduced into one or two things with which the London County Council are dealing at the present moment. I do not want to deal now with the Works Committee, but were it a limited liability company, I feel sure the Directors would view the prospect of the annual general meeting with some trepidation. I have heard whispers, which may be true or untrue, that the system of management adopted by the London County Council is not quite all that we have a right to expect in connection with the tramways, and when we do see the figures of the revenue from the tramway system, I think we shall find that it is not producing anything like the amount which it was when in the hands of the companies. I am the Chairman of a very large educational body, upon which there are two distinguished members of the 223 London County Council. One of them holds the same politics as I do, and the other is of the same political opinions as hon. Members on the other side of the House. It became necessary at one meeting to fix a day for the visiting Committee meeting of the institution I refer to, and I submitted almost every day in the week in my endeavour to obtain their most valuable assistance. These two distinguished Members of the London County Council informed me that their time was so fully occupied by the work of the London County Council, that it was impossible for them to attend our Committee. If that is so, and I do not suppose a single hon. Member present will dispute that their time is fully occupied, it seems a very curious thing that they should desire to have one of the largest and most important things connected with this Metropolis thrust upon their shoulders.
For these reasons, I think that it is much better to look somewhere else for this new water authority, and if it is not to be the London County Council, the question naturally arises "Who is it to be?" The Matthew White Ridley Commission suggested who this authority should be, and I think this is the keynote of this Bill. By this suggestion the Corporation of the City of London is brought into conjunction with the London County Council, and I must point out that up to that time the Corporation of the City of London was the only Corporation that existed in the Metropolis. But since this Commission reported, twenty-eight new corporations have sprung into existence. I would like to point out to the House that the Act of 1894 constituted the London vestries the sanitary authorities, and therefore the Corporations of London, as their direct successors, have become the sanitary authorities for London. It does certainly seem a very common sense view, to suggest that the sanitary authorities should be the masters of the water supply of this great city, because, after all, they really require a copious supply of pure water more than any other body that now exists. I cannot help thinking, therefore, that His Majesty's Government have been absolutely right in coming to Parliament and asking that the water supply of London should be 224 placed in the hands of the sanitary authorities. The sanitary authorities in provincial towns are the water authorities, and I cannot agree with the right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House when he says that the water authority for London should be the London County Council, because it is analagous to the provincial corporations; they are not in any way alike. The right hon. Gentleman acknowledged that London held an altogether peculiar position, and that the London County Council is, practically a county authority. It seems to me, however, that when you have your twenty-eight corporations created, and the Corporation of the City of London in existence, it follows that those corporations, as the sanitary authorities of London, should be given the control of this great water question. Surely the London County Council has got its own representatives. It has been given, as I think was pointed out upon the First Reading of the Bill, five times as much representation as any other body. I should like to point out that the London County Council is not strictly a sanitary authority at all, but it has powers in regard to main drainage, and in addition it has to appoint medical officers of health. Under these circumstances I submit that the London County Council cannot be considered to be the sanitary authority at all.
What are the objections raised to the proposed constitution of this Board? First of all, in regard to its numbers, I cannot see myself that the Board is in any way too large. If you take the London County Council with its 137 members, you have a body almost double in numbers to what is proposed under this Bill. I am told that the London County Council is worked by Committees. I think the new Water Board would also be worked by Committees, and the most onerous work would, of course, fall upon the Executive Committee. I think the Water Board will have to appoint seven or eight other Committees, and the number proposed will only give about eight members to each of these Committees, and no man can say that the number is too large for the great work which has to be done. In regard to what has been said with reference to the incompetency of the Board, 225 I would point out that the Metropolitan Asylums Board has seventy-three members and ten Committees, and I have heard from all sides testimony paid to the admirable manner in which that Board conducts its business, and we are having a proof of this in regard to the small-pox epidemic, which they are now dealing with in a most admirable and competent manner. Therefore I think we might accept the constitution that is proposed. I will grant that the London County Council has had a very great deal of experience in regard to the water question, but I do not think it has had any experience whatever in water management. I notice, from a flood of documents which I have received, that the London County Council has been spending the ratepayers' money very extensively in printing and circulating literature in support of its case. I do not think, after all, that this is a very excellent way of spending their money. I confess that the methods which the London County Council have adopted by constantly introducing these Bills cannot fail to have given them some knowledge of the financial arrangements of the Water Companies, but I do not think this has given them any insight whatever into the management of these water undertakings. How they can claim to be more competent to manage this business than anybody else I cannot see. In regard to the Corporations, of which there is a large number it seems to me that it has been a great delight to hon. Gentlemen opposite to cast aspersions on the members of these Corporations. I will insist on one point, and that is, that the members of these great Corporations are infinitely more representative than the members of the London County Council. First of all, they must be ratepayers in the areas for which they are elected. They have a very great knowledge of the districts they represent, and of the requirements of those districts. In addition to that, they are men living in the districts or in business there. How about the candidates for the London County Council? A great many of them have never been in the districts they desire to represent, until they are candidates. The area is much larger from which you have to 226 select your members of the Water Board, and I cannot understand why it should be impossible to obtain competent men of business there. Why should they not be as competent as the members of the London County Council? Again, we are told that there is no control whatever over this Water Board. It appears strange that nobody has discovered that there is a double check on the qualifications of the men selected by the districts to act as members of the Water Board. First of all, they must be elected by the ratepayers, and then they must be elected by the Corporations. If the ratepayers were not satisfied with these men they would not be elected, and if the Corporations in turn did not find them representative on the Water Board they would not send them back. It seems to me that there is a double check which they would not hesitate to use if occasion demanded. Again, we have in the London County Council the interests of the east and the west of London, which are opposite as the poles. There is nothing in common between them, and yet it claims to carry on its administrative work extremely well. I cannot see why, if we have men of diverse views on this Water Board, that the work should not be carried on equally well.
There has been a question raised with regard to arbitration and agreement. Hon. Members on the other side of the House have raised a particular objection that the price, or rather that the amount of water stock to be given to the water companies should be fixed not by agreement, but by arbitration. I find that in the London County Council's Water Bill of 1902 there is a clause which would have enabled the County Council to come to an agreement with the water companies. I am, therefore, surprised that the London County Council should object to that proposal in the Bill now before the House. It is also stated as an objection that the whole Board cannot be turned out together. I do not think it is desirable that the whole Board should be turned out together. It seems to me the chief work the Board will have to do will be to manage the water supply in a careful and business-like manner, to endeavour to meet the requirements of the consumers as far as possible, and to mete out absolute justice to the ratepayers 227 and the consumers. There are two different ways of looking at it. So far as the east end of London is concerned, the people suffered very severely indeed from want of consideration by the companies. It is not out of place, therefore, that a Member, representing an East London constituency, should give vent to the feelings of the people whom he represents. In giving my vote as I shall for the Second Reading of this Bill, and in supporting it in every way I can, I believe that I am acting in the very best interests of my constituents, and I believe the Water Board will be capable of giving sound work, and that my constituents will, in future, have a better supply of water on less onerous terms than they have had in the past.
§ *(6.20.) MR. JOHN BURNS (Battersea)
For the last time but one, the House.of Commons is confronted again with the London water question. I say the last but one advisedly, because, anxious as I am to convert this Bill into a businesslike operative measure, I am convinced that it cannot work, that the Board which it sets up will break down, and that the House of Commons will again be confronted with an amending Bill to supply the defects which this Bill undoubtedly contains. I say that, because, like many Members of Parliament who are also members of the London County Council, I have had some experience of various branches of London administration. I have been for nearly fourteen years a Main Drainage Commissioner, and the duties of a Main Drainage Commissioner give me an opportunity of forming a view and of getting experience of a cognate service, viz., the water supply, and justify me in giving a few opinions based on experience to the House. I venture to say that the Board which this Bill creates, by its anomalous composition, by the inexperience of its members, by the costliness of its proceedings, and the incapacity it must demonstrate, will break down. That is the opinion of nearly everyone of the thirty Members who from different points of view have addressed the House of Commons on this subject.
Why do I think that this Board will break down? Because the 228 Board has been created contrary to the teachings of water history, and the experience of the water companies, and is opposed to all the precedents, and the Committees and Royal Commissions on this subject. This Board has been created, not because the Government think that it is a good or workable Board, but because it is necessary to have a large Board in which the County Council representation will be out voted. There is underlying this Bill a prejudice against the County Council, and the majority vote of the Borough Councils will enable them on the new Board to set the Council practically at naught. I venture to say that, except that this Bill is framed mainly out of prejudice to the County Council, I cannot see any reason at all why this Board should have been created so large, unwieldly, and unrepresentative. Whom have we had speaking on this subject? We have had water director after water director getting up and telling the House of Commons that this Bill from the point of view of the Board is unworkable. I do not associate myself with the financial criticism of the water directors, but I would appeal to the Government not to be too susceptible to it. On the business side, on the representative side, and as regards the capacity of this Board, every one of the water directors has criticised this Bill adversely. I think this Bill goes out of its way deliberately to detract, to minimise, and to shear off useful municipal power the only body in London that ought to have been the rucleus of the Water Board or Water Committee. I would point this out to the Conservative Party. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon was responsible for the creation of the London County Council. I know that he has suffered much criticism, most of it uninformed, nearly all of it prejudiced, and a great deal of it interested, for his creation of that body. I venture to say that twenty-five or fifty years hence, when impartial opinion passes judgment on his creation, the County Council will be praised beyond his expectations, and will be regarded as perhaps the best body this city ever got. This Bill still further is an attempt to shear the County Council of its proper functions and duties, and it is part and parcel of the deliberate policy on the 229 part of some members on that side so to do. We are not to have the power of running a half-penny tramway over Westminster Bridge, but you will spend £5,000,000 on a railway from nowhere to the back of beyond in Uganda, and the natives can burn the sleepers for the lack of passengers using it. That is your policy. Everything by London, but nothing for it. The Council is to be deprived of the power of running a municipal tramway; it must not run steamboats; it is to be deprived of telephones; it is to be robbed of markets; and last, but not least, it is to be unfit to discharge the elementary municipal duty of carrying out a municipal water supply.
Let me put this view on this occasion. It is a mistake—and I would say this to any Government, whether Liberal or Tory—to depreciate your central municipal body in London. What is more, you ought to magnify the central body in London, so that you may attract to that body not water company directors, or gas company directors or men "on the make," but able, conscientious, disinterested men who will be attracted to the municipal service by the usefulness, honour and dignity of the work. Instead of that, you are depreciating the Council, you are making it less attractive for healthy ambitious men, and it is because this Bill is merely an affront to the London County Council that I protest against its being treated in the way this measure does. See how contrary it is to what the Government does in other directions. When the old vestries, mainly through indirect election, lack of publicity, and lack of attractions, rendered themselves unpopular, and when you decided to get rid of them what did you do? You said that you must render the work more attractive If that is so with the Borough Council, it is doubly so with the chief municipal body of London, to whom you deal a serious, a heavy, and unnecessary prejudicial blow by the way in which you treat it under the conditions of this Bill.
I pass from that to the history that the Government has ignored in setting up this authority for the water area. This House prides itself on its respect for constitutional and historical precedents and 230 authority; but what precedents have the Government followed in the composition of this Board? What authority have they listened to? What respect have they shown to the findings of their own Committees and Royal Commissions? There has not been a Committee or a Royal Commission which has sat upon the London Water Question, every one of the recommendations of which this Government has not flagrantly violated and over-rided. As the right hon. Member for East Fife proved—but I must repeat it because it is part of the argument I am now addressing to the House —the City Corporation introduced a Bill in 1891, which some Members forget, but which proposed to place at the outside fifty-one on the Water Board, and not a single vestryman or Borough Councillor. In what was called the Vestries Bill itself, because it was introduced with the approval of the Vestries, in 1891, the largest number proposed was thirty-nine. Lord James's Commission recommended thirty. In 1900 the proposal which Lord Llandaff's Commission recommended was thirty. But this Bill flies in the face of all these precedents from four different quarters, viz., the City, the Vestries, Lord James's Commission, and Lord Llandaff's Commission; and it recommends sixty-nine men from seventy-eight districts. Well, let us go into these sixty-nine. The London County Council has ten only out of the sixty-nine. That is a smaller number than the City gave to the London County Council in their Bill, smaller than the Vestries Bill gave to the London County Council, and smaller than Lord Ridley's and Lord Llandaff's Commissions recommended. Then why is it that the London County Council have, under this Bill, only ten out of sixty-nine? I say that ten is inadequate to the position which the London County Council occupies, to its capacity, its ability, its experience and its powers of work; and I venture to say that that number has been made small to put the London County Council in a hopeless minority on this Board, and to use the Borough Councils probably in the interests, as it may work out, of the water companys. [HON. MEMBERS: No, no!] Well, that is my opinion, and it may be your experience; and they know how to do it, exploiting the innocent 231 ignorance and inexperience of the thirty-four borough councillors, and exploiting that innocence and that inexperience by mulcting London in the interest of good purchase terms against the ten London County Councillors, whose knowledge and experience put them in a position of being neither hum hugged by water directors, nor deceived by the water companies' officials. I am one of those who have done everything in their power to dignify the position of the Borough Councils. I have never said one word to discredit them, and I hope I never may, because it is a mistake to discourage anyone in a city like London, where, through apathy and indifference, it is the greatest possible difficulty to get any sort of men to take any interest in Government, be it central or local. But I decline respectfully to recognise these Borough Councils for tins purpose, as being representative, or in any sense an authority, that ought to he taken into consideration on such a Board as this.
Why do I say that? The borough councils are elected by wards for purely microscopic local interests. They will probably in the matter of water supply do what experience, sentiment and instinct teaches them to do, viz., to fight for their own narrow and parochial interests on this Water Board, as against the general water interests of the Metropolis as a whole. They cannot help that, they are built that way. But on the London County Council we insist, and every Member here who is a member of the London County Council knows, that immediately a man from any district asks for a fire station for his locality, it is the signal for every one of the metropolitan-minded Members to see that he does not get that fire station unless it is concurrent with and coincident with the general fire interest of the metropolis as a whole. That is the right way and the proper spirit. I venture to say that on this Board the borough councillors will fight for their own local interests and their own local ends as against the Metropolitan interests as a whole. What is more, it will mean district after district trying to get cheap water at other districts' expense, and probably many of the poor districts, improperly amalgamating against the bigger districts, who pay, 232 at present, very heavily for their water. And it may also mean cheapening the rate of London water at the expense of the outside areas. That will be a blunder; it w ill be a mistake. It will he inefficient ill administration, and costly in process. This Board means the diffusion of control; it means the diffusion of strength; it means the waste of energy arid extravagance in financial adminstration. I go further, and say that the Borough Councils in this matter must be irresponsible to the Metropolis. What experience have the Borough Councils in cognate matters? None at all. The London County Council has great experience. It has 137 members, split up into twenty-one different Metropolitan Committees to deal with such kindred duties as drainage, fire, health, and so forth; and I believe that as we have proved ourselves to be representative of London as a whole, and not delegated from any particular locality, that ought to be the experience and the body from which you ought to get your Water Committee in the interests of efficiency and economy.
I come to another point. It has been urged by the hon. Member for Limehouse that the Borough Councils have been selected because they are the Sanitary Authority; but they are not the Sanitary I Authority for London. They are the sanitary authority for their own small areas, one thirtieth part of London as a whole. The London County Council is the Sanitary Authority for dra nage, for fire, for drawing up regulations for public control, and for acting when these local sanitary authorities do not in default do their work. What is more, the London County Council is sufficiently the sanitary authority that this Bill recognises the value of our experience and capacity for the kind of work which this Bill denies to us. It is the London County Council's plans, it is the London County Council's measures, it is the London County Council's men, it is the London County Council's officers, and it is the London County Council's abilities that have forced this Water Question to its present stage. If the hon. Member for Islington doubts me, let him ask any water director whether, without the persistency, without the representative authority behind its back, 233 without the ability and sustained experience of the London County Council, you would have had this Bill before the House of Commons. Then an hon. Member gets up and says: "What about the outside area?" The outside area has been purposely exaggerated. The bulk of the people who live outside the London County Council's area are men whose business interests are inside the metropolitan area; and if these men are content, as election after election has proved, to have the London County Council to be the water authority, surely these same men will not object to our dealing with them in their residential capacity in the counties of Middlesex, Kent, Essex, and Surrey. The fact is that tins Bill duplicates representation, and mixes up a number of things, particularly with regard to outside areas. Let me give one. I see the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Middlesex in his place and also the hon. Member for the Epping Division. The latter admits frankly that he is a water director, and that the London County Council Bill is, in many respects, a better Bill than the Government Bill. Both hon. Members admit that if they had to choose from an outside point of view, whether they would deal with a London County Council Water Committee of fifteen, or this hetearogeneous mob from everywhere, they would rather choose the London County Council's experienced Committee of fifteen. The hon. Member for Limehouse said that the borough councillors were the only right people, the only people who perhaps ought to be considered. I want to know where the evidence is that the Borough Councils want this Bill. It has not been produced. The water companies do not like it; the outside authorities are not enthusiastic about it. Well, then, who is it that wants it?
§ * MR. JOHN BURNS
No, we do not want more than our proper deserts; but we do say that ten out of sixty-nine is not,our proper deserts; that this large Water Board is unnecessary, is dangerous, and that some day you will have to demolish it, and that you will have to set up an 234 experienced Committee of the London County Council, that has forced you to give more consideration to this very serious problem. Where are the Borough Councils that are in favour of this Bill?
§ * MR. JOHN BURNS
But one swallow does not make a summer, and one Borough Council out of thirty asking for this Bill does not prove the Government's ease. I will take Wandsworth, which plumped for this Bill before its provisions were known. Did Wandsworth know what effect this Board would have on their local rates? Did they know that they would have to raise local rates for a foreign body to spend on works 120 miles up the river Thames? Did Wandsworth know that tins Board, to be gathered from anywhere, could mortgage Wandsworth's rates and could indent on Wandsworth for expenditure that Wandsworth knew absolutely nothing about? So far as I can find out not another Borough Council has expressed an opinion in favour of the Bill except Wandsworth, and Wandsworth bought a pig in a poke. I believe that if Wandsworth, with its high rates, had known what they were doing, Wandsworth would have thought twice before they decided to petition in its favour.
§ MR. MOON (St. Pancras, N.)
I may tell the hon. Member that I presented a petition from St. Pancras Borough Council on Friday in favour of tins Bill.
§ * MR. JOHN BURNS
Then we have two swallows out of thirty I am waiting cheerfully and patiently for 235 the remaining twenty-eight. Supposing the borough councillors who were elected to this Board took their seats, I want to know who is going to have some or any control over the member, or the 420th part of a Member from places in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire? If he is elected, he will not be elected by the Borough Council on the Water Board because of any knowledge that he may have of London water. Not a bit. His conduct on the Board can never be challenged; he can never be brought to book because he is elected for other local purposes; there can be no check on those localities, and no control over the Board of which he is a member, and the borough councillor will be a member of the Council for the water supply, and he will be free from the supervision of the Local Board that elected him in the discharge of his duties. When we find that thirty-six Urban District Councils nominate eight members, what possible chance of control can those districts have over a member elected in this way? When we find that eight Joint Committees must take place every three years to elect eight members, what control can there be? 575 Urban Councillors have to be elected; they have to elect ninety-one, who elect eight members to serve on a Committee, who sit, and in their turn elect one member to the Board. The result is that while 343 people in Hertford will have one member on this Board, London will have only one for 97,245, and from the Central London view one member for 400,000 people. It is preposterous when we remember that the Board will be elected for three years, and that half that Board may be aldermen, and not subject to re-election, and when we consider that the Royal Commission recommended that the Board should be a popular body, not larger than thirty members, responsible to the central authority, this Board is not only against common sense representation, but dead against all the recommendations of the Commission.
Now, with regard to the personnel of the Board, some will no doubt say I am always proud to sing the praises of the London County Council. Sir, I cannot 236 help it, that body deserves it, and this is the last time probably that I shall ever, as a London County Councillor, take part in a London Water Bill. But compare the Committee of Water of the London County Council with the Committees that will be derived from this body. Immediately we got to work with the heavy burden of London Government upon us, we did not run our politics to death in the selection of men for onerous posts which required experience and capacity, we put upon our Finance Committee ex-civil servants, Lord Welby, Lord Farrer, Lord Lingen, and men of this type. Those men were on the Water Committee and the Finance Committee, and were responsible to and under the executive control of the Lon don County Council. We added to them the hon. Member for East Islington, Mr. Hoare, a banker, and Sir John Lubbock. Where the probity and honour of the London County Council is at stake, we do not trouble whether a man is a Duke or a banker what we wanted was the work properly done by people that London might trust from the point of finance and credit, and I venture to say if we had a Water Committee the type of men we would commission would he Lord Welby, Lord Farrer, Sir John Lubbock, Mr. Hoare and Mr. Anthrobus—men we could trust and London could respect. I believe if you were to give the London County Council the control of the, London water supply we should have, fifteen of our best men, men whom London could trust, men who had financial knowledge and ability of the, highest character, and men on whom London could safely depend for experience and probity.
However, you have decided to create this body. Directly it goes to work with its inferior and excessive personnel, this is what will happen. This strong Board of ex-vestrymen and Borough Councillors will only have one body of men to advise them, the water companies' own officials. Supposing you had an ex-vestryman or Borough Councillor from Battersea or Watford or Hertford, and suppose he was confronted with the, solicitor, lawyer, and accountant of one of the London Water Companies, he would be, as clay in the hands of the potter, without, 237 experience, without knowledge and without that suspicion based on past experience which is necessary when dealing with matters of this kind. These people would make him a mere negative plate on which to photograph their own views. But we have wrestled with the water beasts at Ephesus—we have grappled with these gentlemen, and on facts, knowledge and experience we would extract from them a not unfair bargain based on the facts and our knowledge of their works, plant, engines, and service. This cannot be the case with these inexperienced Borough Councillors. What will this new Board have power to do? The rates in London are jumping up by leaps and bounds as a proof of what the Borough Councillors have done. Since they have been in existence in London they have raised the rates from 6d. to 10d. in the £. They have raised the rates more than any other public body in the history of London. This body will have the power of contracting debt, to levy rates to purchase without arbitration, to abandon the present supply and undertake new sources, and do all this under the advice and guidance of the water companies' officials without having previous experience. If it is necessary to have a Board at all, have a Board constituted out of the City Corporation, the outside County Councils, and the London County Council itself. Those three bodies would make an infinitely better Board than that which the Government give us. What is going to happen to this Board? Take the Metropolitan Board of Works. I am not going to say anything against the Metropolitan Board of Works. I have said in the House before, and I repeat it now, it was a Board that was unnecessarily abused. It did a great deal of good work, and it did a great deal of harm in its latter days. You made a mistake in doing with the Metropolitan Board what you are trying to do with the London County Council. You tried to belittle it. It was indirectly elected, many of its Committees were held in secret and did not do its work in the full light of day, in the fierce light of public criticism in which the London County Council has happily been compelled to work. The Metropolitan Board of Works died from lack of attractiveness, and the lack of that capacity and control which you cannot get except by direct election even with 238 regard to the Metropolitan Asylum Board. I have nothing to say against that body, but some of its members think that some day it will have to go the way of the Metropolitan Board of Works because it has not that attractiveness that bodies of this kind should have. The Metropolitan Board of Works died; it was killed by public opinion. The Metropolitan Asylums Board may do the same very shortly. The Thames Conservancy is another instance of these irresponsible bodies. The Thames Conservancy was so unpopular and so irresponsible that to keep it sweet the Government had to bring in a Bill to send half a dozen County Councils to keep it from putrifaction, and since we have enforced popular election, we have tried to teach them, and have to some extent shown them how to do their work properly.
Let us go to another instance. Take the Government's own work. There recently has been centralisation. They have got rid of the old vestries, the old Metropolitan Board of Works, they have had to level up the Thames conservancy, and in the House itself they have centralised legislation. Now why have they departed from those four cardinal principles in this Bill, except for one purpose, the purpose of giving an unmerited snub to the London County Council? Why have they treated London in this way? Why have they not treated her in the same way as they have treated other cities. There are 931 water authorities in the Kingdom and of those 931, 918 or 98 per cent. of them carry out their water supply by the directly elected water authority of the Municipal Council. Of that 931 there are only thirteen joint water authorities, and those are not joint authorities for the distribution of water but for the allocation of water sheds which is a very different matter. Here is an extraordinary anomaly. You deny Home Rule to Ireland. One of these days you will alter your mind about that, but in the whole of Ireland there is only one body for the supply of water that is not directly elected. Let London have in this respect, what Ireland enjoy. These bodies carry out their works for miles outside their own areas without difficulty. Why cannot you give the London 239 County Council power to go outside its own ratable area? Birmingham does it. Let me deal with Birmingham for a moment. Birmingham has a population of 522,182 inside its area and 252,462 outside. Its ratable value inside is £2,735,426, outside it is £1,182,417, and the extent of its area inside its wards is 19.9 miles. outside it is 112 miles. This municipality has compulsory jurisdiction over 112 miles, over five times as much as its own ratable area, and what is true of Birmingham is true of Bolton, Leicester, Plymouth, Liverpool, and other places. I ask the Government, then, not to fly in the face of municipal precedents like that—not to make a mistake and follow the sinister precedent of the various Boards they have created which they have afterwards had to abolish. I have mentioned four. Let us not forget the Thames Sewage Valley Board which was created and had to be abolished. And never forget that whenever this has been tried in America and elsewhere it has always led to bad results. Why should the Thames Conservancy have two members? Why should it have one or two? If it has a direct interest then in my opinion two is not enough, I believe a Body that is going to sell water ought not to send a representative to the Board that may have to buy water. If it does its duty as it, should to the river Thames it may have to prevent this new Board from taking water from outside districts. It has to keep the river full and keep it clean and may have to prevent the Board from taking water from the Thames in dipletion of its natural flow. What the Water Board ought to do is to go to Wales or some other place for a source of supply and why you allow the names Conservancy to sit on the new Water Board this inevitable duty will be postponed for interested reasons. Now what is the reason for admitting Wanstead? Why should Wanstead where the flats are locoing admitted to, this Board? Why should Hanwell where the lunatics are claim to be represented on this peculiar Board? Why should all these Urban Councils get this representation to the exclusion and suppression of the London area? I see no reason except that the Government intended to snub the London County Council and give it another blow. 240 I will not trouble the House with further arguments against this popular Board. I believe it is too large and unwieldly; that it has vested in it dangerous powers, and is costly and extravagant; that it will cause another Bill to be introduced to deal with the same matter; and that, is why I speak against it. In my opinion the only alternative is a Water Committee of the London County Council, or a Water Committee of the London County Council co-operating with other County Councils only. The Water Board will have to have a little more control over it financially than this Bill gives if we are to have this foreign body levying rates in the outside areas.
The last point is the question of price. It is curious that though the London County Council has been represented as confiscatory in its policy, the water companies would rather throw themselves on the tender mercies of the Council than this Bill. What does the County Council ask? That the Water Companies shall receive, a fair market value for their undertaking. We have asked for nothing more nor less, and if we asked for less we should not be doing our best for our constituents. The fact of the matter is, the water directors want better security for their investments, and they have no right to have it. If they ask for their present income on better security, they are asking that on a water supply drawn at a nominal charge from public water sheds. They ought to be satisfied. They have no legal monopoly for the water apply, and I believe when their plant engines and pumping power come to be examined, they will receive far more than adequate consideration for the concern that they have to sell. We must remember that they have no future source of supply to warrant them in asking that their income should be made more secure. I think, from our point, of view, the water companies under this Bill are as well treated as they deserve to be. I do not like to see the House of Commons year after year wasting its time on Water Bills, all based on one idea, that idea being to keep the London County Council out of the work of London Water Supply. This Bill is based on t hat authority for reasons I cannot understand, but when tins Board breaks 241 down, as it will; when the Board prove to be incompetent, as it must; when it levies rates and contracts debts, and makes the supply more costly, more complex, and more difficult, then the London County Council will have to come and ask the House to reverse this Bill in some particulars.
I make this suggestion to the Government. Let the Bill go to a Committee, and send to that Committee, concurrently with this Bill, the London County Council Bill and the Bill of the hon. Member for Dulwich, and give the Committee the freest possible hand to cut down this Board to measurable proportions. If they do, the Committee will cut down this Board to thirty Members, composed generally of London County Councillors with eight or ten County Councillors from Berkshire, Kent, and Middlesex. They will only ask two members of this Board for about a year during the transition period, arid then they will give us our own water supply, to which the London County Council would be willing to agree. Those are my suggestions, and I hope the Government will agree to them, that we may settle this matter once and for all. Let time body that collects the rates and spends the rates, make the debt and pay it, and undertake the responsibility of going to Wales or elsewhere for a future supply of pure water. Such a body is the County Council. We ask for this body an opportunity of increasing the burden of our responsibility, so that we can manage the existing water supply as every other municipality does, and that we may get a new supply from Wales. This new Board cannot and will not do it, because, so far as London is concerned, they have neither the will nor the power. It is because I believe all this that I have much pleasure in supporting the Amendment.
§ (7.12.) MR. WALTER LONG
I do not propose to follow the hon. Member through his various remarks upon London government; I will content myself by saying that it was only when he is making practical suggestions and offering alternatives to the Government proposals that the hon. Member commands the attention of the House. It is easy to indulge in criticism 242 and attack upon any proposals under consideration; but the hon. Gentleman devoted most of his speech to an attempt to convince the House that there is behind the Bill sonic feeling towards the London County Council of which at all events I, as responsible for the Bill on behalf of the Government, am entirely in ignorance, and as to which I know nothing. The House has been told that the only reason for the introduction of the Bill is hostility to the London County Council and to prevent that body becoming the controlling water authority; but it is idle to waste time in 'discussing an opinion of that kind. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are welcome to their own opinions as to the motives which have induced the Government to introduce the measure, but I will as briefly and clearly as I can give the reasons for the proposed solution of this very difficult question. Much has been made of the criticisms addressed to the Bill from the Government side of the House, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Fife said he had only heard one speech in support of the Bill, and that was from the hon. Member for Dulwich, and of that even he was not sure whether it was actually in support of the Bill or not. I share the right hon. Gentleman's doubt on that point, but I must remind him that this is not the only night of debate. I have gone carefully through the list of speakers on the first evening, and, putting aside those who spoke, and rightly spoke, on behalf of the water companies and presented the companies case, out of the others the three speeches from this side of the House were in unqualified support of the Government proposal. Even the hon. Member for the Chelmsford division of Essex—
§ MR. WALTER LONG
Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that because his company is not directly interested in the Bill my hon. friend is not capable of forming a correct judgment in regard to it?
§ MR. WALTER LONG
The hon. Member is entitled to describe my hon. friend as he likes, but I am also entitled to say that out of eight speakers on this side of the House, four spoke, and rightly spoke, on behalf of the water companies, but of the remaining four, three spoke in firm support of the policy of the Bill. Therefore, I maintain that the criticism of the right hon. Gentleman earlier in the evening has no foundation whatever.
But I am not surprised that a measure of this kind should meet with much criticism. We have heard of what the London County Council would do if they were now dealing with the question. All I have to say in comment on the remarks of the hon. Member for Battersea is that it is a great pity they did not arrive at this conclusion when they had the opportunity long ago, but did not avail themselves of it. It is a little late in the day to come forward with this policy now in criticism of the proposals of the Government and to say, "If we had the opportunity we would do much better." The London County Council have tried their hand—I do not blame them for it—and failed. My hon. friend the Member for Dulwich—all honour to his industry—produced and introduced a very long Bill dealing with this question last session. All who have put their hand to the work, even to the smallest extent, know how full of difficulties and anxieties is this London water question. I say that it is unnecessary that our difficulties should be added to and our path rendered more thorny by these uncalled for and unjustifiable suggestions that our proposals, made in good faith, are based on feelings of hostility either to the London Count Council or to the Party opposite. When I hear these constant suggestions with regard to our attitude towards the London County Council, I am inclined to ask myself whether the right hon. Gentlemen opposite would be so persistent in their support of the London County Council, in claiming that it should be given every new power, if it were not for the fact that that body is progressive in character, and therefore representative of views with which the Party opposite are in sympathy. I do not know; it may be that if it were composed of Moderates, they would take the same view. [Cheers.] That is a very easy cheer to give now. All I can say is that these are not the reasons that induced His Majesty's Government to 244 formulate the policy we have proposed. I have argued before, and I will not take up the time of the House by arguing again, the question of the analogy between the London County Council and other municipal authorities. Great stress has been laid in the course of this debate on the fact, that the Metropolitan Borough Councils were not elected as water authorities. No more was the London County Council. When the London County Council was created in 1888 it was not created as the water authority for London, nor was it contemplated that it should become the water authority. It was not until the passing of legislation permitting it to promote Bills in Parliament to become the water authority that it was so constituted. Therefore, any argument based on the objects for which these Metropolitan Borough Councils were created must apply equally to the London County Council.
But I pass that by altogether; I desire to deal simply with the municipal question. We are told by Gentlemen on the other side of the House that we are casting a slur on municipal life, and that we are putting back the hands of the clock of municipal life. Do hon. Gentlemen opposite realise that in repudiating the right of these Metropolitan Borough Councils to bear a share in London government, either in connection with the administration of the water supply or in regard to any other matter, they are denying to them rights and privileges enjoyed by every provincial body in the country? ["No, no."] It is easy to say "No, no," but so it is. There is not one of those metropolitan boroughs that has not at present a population which, if it were a provincial borough, would entitle it to the separate powers and privileges of county boroughs. Why is it they have not these powers? Because at the time of the passing of the Act of 1888 the metropolitan boroughs as such did not exist. ["No."] I beg your pardon; that is the fact. I speak of what I know. At the passing of the Act of 1888 the metropolitan boroughs did not exist; they were created by an Act of Parliament passed in the year 1899. Did Parliament mean anything real in regard to the reform of the municipal government of London when it passed the Act setting up metropolitan 245 boroughs, or did it not? Did it mean simply to create a certain number of men as mayors and aldermen, and nothing more? If so, then the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite is the right one. But if, on the other hand, it meant to endeavour to give a new interest and a new life to local government in the Metropolis, if it meant to realise the fact that in some respects the creation of one centre of local government had failed, and that new centres must be created if the best men are to be attracted, then we are entitled to regard the metropolitan boroughs as representative of the local government of London, and to include them in the constituent bodies which will go to form the new water authority for the metropolitan area as a whole.
Great ridicule was cast—and I must confess to my surprise—by the right hen. Gentleman the Member for East Fife upon the inclusion not only of the metropolitan boroughs, but also of the urban districts. "Why do you bring in these metropolitan boroughs? What right have these metropolitan Boroughs to come in?" Somebody suggested, in the ordinary way, that there was an answer to that by asking, "Why should they not be brought in?" The right hon. Gentleman indignantly rejected such a form of answer; he declined to be drawn—for which discretion I much admired him—and said, "No, it is not enough to ask me why they should not be brought in. Why are they to be brought in? Why are the urban districts to be brought in?" I confess that as I listen to such remarks, as I am told that we have trampled on every precedent of local government, that we have taken an entirely novel course in connection with local government—when I hear these statements emphasised in this particular manner I am filled with surprise. I admit that the position of the metropolitan boroughs is different from that of the provincial boroughs for the reason I have already given. But the position of an urban sanitary district outside the metropolitan area is in no sense different from that of any other urban sanitary district in the country. They are responsible for the sanitary work of their area, and one of the primary 246 duties of a sanitary authority is to provide its area with water, or to bear a share in that provision if it is required. Therefore, I maintain that so far from it being wrong to include in the constituent bodies of this new authority the urban sanitary authorities of the various areas, including the Metropolitan Borough Councils, it would have been wrong, on the other hand, to have excluded them from some share in the representation upon this new body. I am glad to notice that in the debate on this stage of the Bill, the language on the other side of the House has altered somewhat from that used in the debate on the First Reading. It is true that one or two gentlemen tonight have let slip those familiar words with which we were so familiar in the previous debate, but we have not heard so much about this, Omnium, gatherum these sweepings from lanes and by-ways. We heard a great deal of such expressions in the First Reading debate, but tonight hon. Gentlemen have been more guarded in their references to the new Board, and a little more respectful in their references to the metropolitan boroughs concerned.
I listened to the greater part of the debate on Thursday last, and to the whole of it tonight, but for the life of me I have not been able to ascertain what there is either in the form of election or in the qualification of a candidate or in the members themselves which justify this remarkable distinction between the members of the London County Council and members of the Metropolitan Borough Councils. They are elected by the same electors; the same man goes to the polling booth and votes, one day for a member of the London County Council and another day for a member of the Metropolitan Borough Council—it may be for the same person in each instance; but according to the hon. Gentlemen opposite, if the person is elected to the London County Council he is immediately endowed with all the civic virtues, but if he is elected to a Metropolitan Borough Council, as we have heard tonight, he is not fit to be entrusted with the ordinary duties discharged by members of every provincial Borough Council in the country. What is the marvellous change that takes place? What wave of the magician's wand is it that turns 247 either the elector or the elected into such different material, depending solely on whether the election is a London County Council election or a Metropolitan Borough Council election? We have had no justification whatever given us for the special pen into which Metropolitan Borough Councillors are to be driven by hon. Gentlemen opposite. They fall foul of us because, they say—I think without justice—we attack the London County Council. There is no foundation for that criticism of theirs. But at all events they cannot deny that they have declared tonight, and on Thursday night last, through their representative speakers, that you cannot expect or hope to find among the representatives of the Metropolitan Borough Councils men fit to be entrusted with the management of the water supply of London, but that if you turn to the London County Council you will find there a Committee of fifteen competent in every way to do the work. But let us know the secret of this marvellous effect of the elections to the London County Council. What is it that turns a Londoner into something marvellous, who may be entrusted with everything the moment he is sent to Spring Gardens, but which leaves him a poor unworthy citizen, unfit to be entrusted with municipal powers, when he is elected to a Metropolitan Borough Council?
Hon. Gentlemen opposite have been a little more careful in their references to precedents tonight. We heard a good deal the other night about the Metropolitan Board of Works. I am not afraid, if it is necessary, to discuss that here; I am not afraid to discuss its history. Until tonight hon. Gentlemen opposite have been very free in their recollections of what the Metropolitan Board of Works did that was wrong, and they have been conveniently unmindful of the great works which the Metropolitan Board of Works did for the advantage of London. We had heard nothing until tonight of the share that body had in some of the greatest of London's improvements. The Thames Embankment, Shaftesbury Avenue, the main drainage system of London, of which the hon. Member for Battersea spoke the other day with such high praise—all these are works well done by the Metropolitan Board of Works. But I admit the failure of the 248 Metropolitan Board of Works. Its history it is not necessary to go back upon. The hon Member for Battersea tonight frankly admitted that that was not the only indirectly elected body that London possessed which had done good work for the Metropolis. When the Government, basing their views generally on the Report of the Royal Commission, had to look for precedents and experience, to help them in creating a new body for this work, I confess I found none more worthy of the respect and confidence or better deserving to be copied than that of the Metropolitan Asylums Board. It is quite true that we do not have such debates as took place elsewhere, and are not constantly told that we possess every civic virtue; but it is known to all that the work they have to do is the most responsible that could be given to them, that the very life of the Metropolis is in their keeping; they have never shrunk from their work or their responsibility, and all men speak well of the way in which they discharge their duties. Hon. Members are aware that it was necessary not long ago to place a number of children under the care of the Metropolitan Asylums Board, and nobody at that time raised the objection that the fact of their being indirectly elected made them unworthy of the confidence of the people of London.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
Then I withdraw that statement. At any rate, the hon. Member for Battersea said he thought that the members of this Board ought to be appointed in some other way.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
It has been said that we have not followed the recommendations contained in the Report of the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission recommended that this body should number not more than thirty members, and my noble friend Lord James, when he introduced a Bill in another place a few years ago, also limited the new authority to a similar 249 number. We have been asked why is it that we propose that this new body should be so large and unwieldy in its size. I deny altogether that the body proposed in the Bill is too large, even by one man, for the work it has to do. I may assure hon. Members opposite, although I can hardly expect them to believe it ["Oh, oh"]—I hardly expect them to believe it, because I have been so repeatedly assured that the one thing that is not to be expected from this Government is any proceeding that is business-like—but I assure the House that the first step I took as the Minister responsible for the, preparation of this; Bill was to obtain the advice of the most experienced expert connected with the administration of water in London—an expert of experts, intimately acquainted with the whole area and knowing all the work that has to be done. I asked this expert to suggest to me what sort of body would have to be created, and the reply was—"A body that will have to appoint at least eight or nine separate committees, a body that will have to do the work now done by eight separate directorates numbering something like eighty or ninety gentlemen, and a body which will have to do work certainly as difficult and laborious as the work now done by the Metropolitan Asylums Board, which numbers, I think, seventy-three." The present companies represent eight different districts with varying conditions. For some years, at least, it will be necessary for any body responsible for the administration of the water supply to have meetings in different parts of the metropolitan area with considerable regularity. I do not profess to be a business authority upon this question, and I have no doubt that I deserve the condemnation upon that head which has been so freely passed upon me by hon. Gentlemen opposite, but if this new body is to provide men to sit upon eight or nine different committees to do such work as the provision of stores, and which has to deal with all questions of rating charges and a variety of other matters, then I do not think it will be too large.
The hon. Member for Battersea has referred to the London County Council. It is said that we are proposing seventy or eighty members to dc what fifteen members of the London 250 County Council could do. But then we have not all reached to that state of human perfection. If this body is to do such work as must fall to it, then, looking to the capacities of such ordinary mortals as we can only expect to find outside the region of Spring Gardens, the number sixty-seven proposed in the Bill will not be too large to man the Committees and do the weekly work and allow for such absentees as must necessarily occur thro ugh ill-health and other causes. I do not believe that anybody who will look at the size of the Board from that point of view will arrive at any other conclusion than that which the Government have arrived at, namely, that it must be large enough to enable five or six separate Committees to be appointed so that the work of each district may be done without imposing upon the Board as a whole such incessant labours as would lead to constant resignations and inconvenience.
I could quote precedents with regard to this question, and I know of no local body connected with the Metropolis which is not at least as large as the one which the Government propose. The School Board is composed of fifty-five members, dealing (or, I would say, who; ought to be dealing) only with primary education: and the Technical Education Committee, dealing with technical education, has thirty-five members—the two together making a body for metropolitan education a little bigger than the one the Government are now proposing for the purpose of dealing with the difficult question of the water supply of London.
As to the criticisms of the method of purchase, I feel, after listening to the I debates, that the Government must have struck that happy middle path which is the safe and fair one between two extremes; for, while I am told on the one hand by hon. Gentlemen opposite that I am giving over the ratepayers of London to eternal ruin and destruction by the friendship we have evinced for the water companies, I, on the other hand, can never forget the pathetic tone of the hon. Member for East Marylebone as he described what he imagined to be the unhappy and forlorn condition of the companies under this Bill. The hon. Member for Chelsea has put the position in words which could not be more desirably 251 chosen by the Government when he said that by the transfer no one will he one whit the better, and no one will be one whit the worse. In other words, outman justice will be done as between the companies and the public. I am unable to find any justification for the criticism of the language of the purchase clauses. The Government has adopted the view of the Royal Commission that a special tribunal should be appointed and no one has shown that there will be any departure from the lines of the Lands Clauses Act. As the Government were advised, and as was stated by the hon. and learned Member for Dumfries, the provisions of the Lands Clauses Act are not in themselves applicable to the kind of purchase under consideration; all that is intended by the principle of the Lands Clauses Act is to provide a fair and just system of purchase by agreement, or, failing that, by arbitration. There is no ground for the apprehension that an unfair agreement might be made by the new Board, as it will be composed of representative members of public bodies. The object of the Government is that the policy of the Land Clauses Act shall be incorporated in the Act, except as to the 10 per cent. for compulsory purchase.
I listened with surprise to the hon. Member for the Tewkesbury Division of Gloucestershire when he suggested that the purchase should be made piecemeal. To ask this Water Board to take these companies over piecemeal one by one would impose upon them an almost impossible task, which they could not find means to carry out. This must be a part of the purchase scheme. My hon. friend has stated that this new Board would be created without the means of deciding as to the price, but I do not think that there is any justification whatever for that statement. I imagine that if they so desired this new authority could state within a few days or weeks what the price of their undertaking would be. But supposing that was not the case. If hon. Members think that the appointed day is too soon for the companies to have their case ready for arbitration, they must remember that the Government have taken power to postpone the "appointed day" That power will be justly, fairly, and reasonably exercised, and I cannot help 252 thinking that that ought to be a sufficient guarantee that the water companies will have a reasonable opportunity for the statement of their cases. I can only repeat that, while we stand by the provisions as to purchase and arbitration, we have no intention that the procedure on the arbitration clauses should be different from the procedure of the arbitration courts appointed under the Lands Clauses Act. That is the principle.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I have said that we believe there is no necessity for the insertion of that. The words as they stand are absolutely clear and incapable of being misunderstood, but if the words do not convey what we intend, obviously we should be prepared so to amend them as to make them convey that intention. I do not think there is anything more I need say now. I have already referred to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Chelsea with regard to the appointment of chairman and vice-chairman and members of outside bodies. Those and other suggestions are matters to which the Government will be prepared to give friendly consideration in Committee.
§ (7.47) MR. ABEL SMITH (Hertfordshire, Hertford)
I think my hon. friends will allow me to say a few words in regard to this Bill. It is one, as we all admit, of first rate importance, and the proposals it contains have been very ably argued on both sides from many points of view. I must say that I do regret that more has not been heard of the wants and wishes of the outside districts who buy water, which is so necessary to the welfare of the people. I wish to remind the House that this a matter of the very first importance to the district which I represent. My constituents are very anxious indeed to see what their position would be under the provisions of this Bill. Now I think it must be admitted that our position in this matter is a very peculiar one. I will not attempt to describe it at any length, but I think it is known to many Members of the House that there is a great want of water felt throughout the district. Many of the deep wells had 253 to be deepened at very great expense. Narrow wells and springs have dried up in the upper portions of the Lea, and the tributaries have ceased to flow. The people of these districts have not that supply of water which is so necessary for their comfort and for the carrying on of their business. I am not going to attempt to discuss what is called the question of depletion, but at the present time I hope the County of Hertford will have its rights and wants carefully considered by the Committee when considering the details of this Bill. I think I may say that I have not been influenced by the eloquent Members opposite, who say that the London County Council ought to have the management of this matter, but still I am very anxious, and my constituents are very anxious, as to how they will stand when the Bill becomes law, and I therefore urge my right hon. friend and the Government to give most careful consideration to the interests of the County of Hertford, which I have the honour to represent.
§ *(7.50.) MR. CORRIE GRANT (Warwickshire, Rugby)
Although I represent a county constituency, I have been resident in London all my life, and therefore I hope the House will excuse me for a few moments if I intervene to answer some of the arguments brought forward in support of the Bill. I take the last speech first. The House will understand that that has been by far the most effective speech yet delivered in support of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman in defending his measure said he was quite ignorant of any motive of attack on the London County Council. There is motive expressed in language and there is motive expressed in action, and when you find the Government departing from the principles of municipal government which have obtained in this country for thirty years past, and when you find them attempting methods of government such as are not suggested by any of the bodies to which they entrusted the consideration of this question, surely you are justified in asking what inspired this action if it has not been some motive which is not apparent on the face of it.
The right hon. Gentleman complained that the London County Council 254 did not express in its Bill the voice of the London people which had been accepted by this House. If the London County Council has made a mistake in dealing with this matter, it has been in attempting to follow from time to time the recommendations of the different Royal Commissions and Committees which have dealt with this matter instead of establishing a single principle for itself, and insisting on that view. The right hon. Gentleman made a complaint in introducing the Bill of the changes in the London County Council's policy, and said that the Council must be bound by its last declaration of policy. He said that it could not go back again to the first. The reason of that is that the London County Council has endeavoured to meet the expressions of opinion from different bodies which have dealt with this question, and in so doing it has to some extent changed the policy which was expressed in the earlier bill. The right hon. Gentleman said the London County Council was not elected on the water question. [An HON. MEMBER: No.] Well, I apologise if I am wrong. He said, at any rate, that the London County Council did not represent London on the water question. The fact is that the water question has been part of the Progressive programme since 1889, but that alone is not the point on which I rely. The London County Council as a whole has had a policy on the water question, and the present policy of the London Council is endorsed alike by the Progressives and the Moderates. There are hon. Members on the Benches on the opposite side who are Moderates in the London Council, and I venture to predict that if we do hear their voices in the course of the debates on this Bill we shall find them critics of the Government and not supporters of it. The right hon. Gentleman's main point, and that, I think, upon which we join issue with him, is that the Borough Councils in London are in exactly the same position as the Municipal Councils in the provinces. The Borough Councils in London deal with small administrative matters, but with the great matters which are entrusted to the Municipal boroughs in the provinces they have nothing whatever to do. These matters are entrusted to the London County 255 Council. If you come to the questions of main drainage, and the fire brigade, and all matters which are common to London, you find that they are entrusted to the London County Council, and therefore that Council is the body which stands in the place of the Municipal Council in the provinces, and that is the body with which the parallel ought to be drawn. When the right hon. Gentleman asks what was the remarkable difference between a man elected to a Borough Council and to the London County Council, the answer is perfectly simple. If in 1889 it had been proposed to constitute a Water Board, it would have been perfectly fair to say that they were ignorant of the water question, and not fit to deal with it. No one supposes that because a man is a member of the London County Council he is fit to deal with it, but for the last twelve years the London County Council has been studying the water question. It has been fighting the water question, and it has men trained in that question. Therefore, the men elected to the London County Council have the benefit of that growth of experience which is not at the disposal of the Borough Councils or their officials. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the Metropolitan Board of Works, and showed a natural desire not to touch upon the later years of that body. Without referring to the matters connected with the later history of the Board of Works, let me ask him what was the verdict of London on that Board when the County Council was elected. Of the men who had served on the Metropolitan Board of Works a considerable number presented themselves as candidates for the County Council, and I think I am right in saying that with the exception of those who represented the city of London they did not find election.
§ * MR. CORRIE GRANT
I said with the exception of the city of London. I think the hon. Gentleman represented the city of London. Out of that great body who formed the Metropolitan Board of Works, representing the whole 256 of London, the only members who obtained election to the County Council were the hon. Member who sits for Woolwich, and, I think, Mr. Clark, who sits on the Council for the city of London.
§ * MR. CORRIE GRANT
I am sorry if I am wrong. I will take just one other point. The right hon. Gentleman said that these water companies have eight Boards, and that he had given a large number of representatives because eight Committees would be necessary to carry on the different classes of work to be done. The eight companies have eighty directors among them, giving an average of ten directors to each of the water companies. Therefore these ten directors are competent to early on the work as it is now. If they are competent to do so, where will be the need of the far greater number to carry it on in the new Board? It is all the same class of work, although it may differ in detail. I come now to the last point, and it is, perhaps, the most important. With regard to the financial aspect of the question, he said that he wanted this new Board to so deal with the present shareholders that nobody should be one whit the better or one whit the worse. That is a perfectly true position in regard to the finance, but I ask him to turn his own test to the Water Board. Will he say that the new Water Board will be better than the present administration? The whole of experience is against it. He is removing directors of long experience trained in the difficulties they have to meet and putting in their place a Board upon which, if he has some water directors, so much the better, but of whom, because of the limitation of the election, we shall not be able to see more than one or two representatives. I think that justifies this House in asking that the Board he is going to substitute shall be a better administrative Board than the one he is going to remove. On that ground alone, I think the proposals in the Bill are unsound. I think I have said enough to justify me in the vote I am about to give.
§ *(8.1.) MR. HUDSON (Hertfordshire, Hitchin)
rose to address the House amid loud and persistent cries of "Divide," which rendered the hon. Gentleman practically inaudible in the gallery. He was understood to say that in his part of the country there was very considerable feeling in regard to this question of water supply. As a matter of fact, the Urban Districts of Ware and Cheshunt desired to be taken out of the limits of water supply of the new Water Board, as they had applied a few years ago to the New River Company for a supply of water, but were refused it, and they had to bring in a supply of their own, at a cost of £35,000.
(8.5.) MR. BRYNMOR JONES (Swansea. District)
also spoke amid loud cries of "Divide." He said that although there seemed to be a general wish to bring the debate to a close, he felt that the matter had not received adequate consideration. He spoke not only as a London ratepayer, but as a representative of a constituency which might possibly be affected by the construction of this new water authority, and as one who felt that the matter was one of the greatest magnitude, and which affected the principles of local government, in which the whole country was interested. The arguments in favour of the Bill had not struck him as being sound. His point was, that the true principle in regard to this matter was that the water supply was a municipal function for a municipal service. He would remind the House that down to the seventeenth
§ century it was a good and sound principle of legislation and municipal action that the corporations of this country should control the water supply; but in the troubles of that century that principle was departed from (Cries of "Divide.") If any one would take the trouble to read the history of Private Bill legislation on this subject, he would find that in modern legislation Parliament had only gone back to the older practice. For what reason was this new water authority to be created? He had very considerable authority on his side for asserting there was not the slightest reason for taking away this matter from the control of the London County Council. His authority was no less a. person than the right hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies. That right hon. Gentleman had had great experience in regard to municipal affairs [Cries of "Divide."] He was sure that every one would admit that the right hon. Gentleman's conduct of municipal affairs in Birmingham was of a most remarkably successful kind. What did the right hon. Gentleman say, speaking in this House? [Cries of "Divide."]
§ (8.7.) Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Questions be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 223; Noes, 145. (Division List No. 53.)261
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex, F.||Bigwood, James||Charrington, Spencer|
|Agg-Gardener, James Tynte||Bill, Charles||Clare, Octavius Leigh|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Clive, Captain Percy A.|
|Aird, Sir John||Bond, Edward||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Boulnois, Edmund||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Anson. Sir William Reynell||Bousfield, William Robert||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Brassey, Albert||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brymer, William Ernest||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bull, William James||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Butcher, John George||Crossley, Sir Savile|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cavendish, V. C. W. (D'rbyshire)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G'r'ld W(Leeds)||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Cust, Henry John C.|
|Banes, Major George Edward||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Mich'el Hicks||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Davenport, William Bromley-|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r)||Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham|
|Bignold, Arthur||Chapman, Edward||Dickinson, Robert Edmond|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Rasch Major Frederic Carne|
|Dixon Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Keswick, William||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Knowles, Lees||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lawrence, Joseph (Menmouth)||Robinson, Brooke|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lawson, John Grant||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Baunatyne||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Leveson Gower, Frederick N. S.||Rutherford, John|
|Fison, Frederick William||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edwd. Algernon||Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Bristol, S||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Flower, Ernest||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Foster, Sir Michael (Lond. Univ.||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Foster, PhilipS (Warwick, S. W.||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Macdona, John Cumming||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Gardner, Ernest||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Garfit, William||Majendie, James A. H.||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Smith, H C (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.|
|Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlets||Maxwell, W J H (Dumfriesshire||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Spear, John Ward|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Milvain, Thomas||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Gretton, John||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)||Stroyan, John|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Hain, Edward||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Morgan, David J (Walthamstow||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Morrell, George Herbert||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Morrison, James Archibald||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Moulton, John Fletcher||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Hardy, Laurenee (Kent, Ashford||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Rt. Hon A Graham (Bute||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col.Edward|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Myers, William Henry||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Whitmore, (Charles Algernon|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Helder, Augustus||Pemberton, John S. G.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Pierpoint, Robert||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Plummer, Walter R.||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wylie, Alexander|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Purvis, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Pym, C. Guy||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Randles, John S.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Crean, Eugene|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud||Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Cremer, William Randall|
|Ambrose, Robert||Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Cullinan, J.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Burke, E. Haviland-||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon Herbert Henry||Burns, John||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Delany, William|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Caine, William Sproston||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Bell, Richard||Caldwell, James||Dillon, John|
|Black, Alexander William||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Blake, Edward||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Boland, John||Causton, Richard Knight||Doogan, P. C.|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Channing, Francis Allston||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Duncan, J. Hastings|
|Dunn, Sir William||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent)||Reddy, M.|
|Edwards, Frank||Lundon, W.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Emmott, Alfred||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||M'Crae, George||Runciman, Walter|
|Fenwick, Charles||M'Govern, T.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Kenna, Reginald||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Field, William||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Markham, Arthur Basil||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Gilhooly, James||Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Mooney, John J.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East|
|Grant, Corrie||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Northants|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Morley, Rt. Hon. John (Montrose||Sullivan, Donal|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Murnaghan, George||Tennant, Harold John|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Murphy, John||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Newnes, Sir George||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Sealc-||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings|
|Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wallace, Robert|
|Holland, William Henry||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Warner, Thomas Courtney T.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||O'Dowd, John||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Malley, William||White, Luke (York. E. R.)|
|Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth||O'Mara, James||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Kitson, Sir James||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Lambert, George||Partington, Oswald||Young, Samuel|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Perks, Robert William|
|Leigh, Sir Joseph||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Levy, Maurice||Power, Patrick Joseph||TELLERS FOK THE NOES—|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Price, Robert John||Mr. Lough and Dr. Macnamara.|
|Lloyd-George, David||Rea, Russell|
§ (8.21.) Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."262
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 226; Noes, 140. (Division List No. 54.)265
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex, F.||Brymer, William Ernest||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bull, William James||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-|
|Aird, Sir John||Butcher, John George||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Dorington, Sir John Edward|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Doxford, Sir William Theodore|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh 0.||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Chapman, Edward||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Charrington, Spencer||Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r|
|Balcarres, Lord||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Balfour. Rt. Hn. Gerald W. (Leeds||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Fison, Frederick William|
|Banes, Major George Edward||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon|
|Beach, Rt. Hn.SirMichael Hicks||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Flannery, Sir Fortescue|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Flower, Ernest|
|Bignold, Arthur||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Foster, Sir Michael (Lond. Univ.|
|Bigwood, James||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W|
|Bill, Charles||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Crossley, Sir Savile||Gardner, Ernest|
|Bond, Edward||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Garfit, William|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Cust, Henry John C.||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Davenport, William Bromley-||Gordon, Maj. Evans-(T'rH;mlets|
|Brassey, Albert||Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Macdona, John Cumming||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Gretton, John||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Majendie, James A. H.||Rutherford, John|
|Hain, Edward||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Maxwell, W. J. H. (D'mfriess'ire||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G(Midd'x||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Hamilton, Marq.of(L'nd'nderry||Milvain, Thomas||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Scott. Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Smith, H C (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Morgan, David J. (W'Ithamstow||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Morrell, George Herbert||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Heath, James (Staffords., N. W.||Morrison, James Archibald||Spear, John Ward|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Helder, Augustus||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham (Bute||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Stroyan, John|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Myers, William Henry||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham)||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'dUniv.|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Pemberton, John S. G.||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Pierpoint, Robert||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Plummer, Walter R.||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Keswick, William||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Knowles, Lees||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Purvis, Robert||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)||Pym, C. Guy||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Randles, John S.||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Lawson, John Grant||Rankin, Sir James||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Ridley, Hon. M. W. (Stalybridge||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Wylie, Alexander|
|Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Robinson, Brooke||TEKLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kont)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Channing, Francis Allston||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Gilhooly, James|
|Ambrose, Robert||Crean, Eugene||Grant, Corrie|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Cremer, William Randal||Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Cull nan, J.||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Bell, Richard||Dalziel, James Henry||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Black, Alexander William||Alfred Davies, (Carmarthen)||Haldane, Richard Burdon|
|Blake, Edward||Delany, William||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. Sir William|
|Boland, John||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Dillon, John||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Donelan, Captain A.||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Doogan, P. C.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.|
|Brunner. Sir John Tomlinson||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Duncan, J. Hastings||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Dunn, Sir William||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea|
|Burns, John||Edwards, Frank||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Emmott, Alfred||Joyce, Michael|
|Caine, William Sproston||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Caldwell, James||Fenwick, Charles||Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Kitson, Sir James|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Ffrench, Peter||Lambert, George|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Field, William||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Spencer, Rt. Hn C. R. (Northants|
|Leigh, Sir Joseph||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Sullivan, Donal|
|Levy, Maurice||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Thomas Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Lloyd-George, David||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Lough, Thomas||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Lundon, W.||O'Dowd, John||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Thomson, F. W. (York. W. R.)|
|M'Crae, George||O'Malley, William||Tomkinson, James|
|M'Govern, T.||O'Mara, James||Trevelan, Charles Philips|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wallace, Robert|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Partington, Oswald||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.|
|M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Perks, Robert William||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Pirie, Duncan V.||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Mooney, John J.||Price, Robert John||Weir, James Galloway|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Rea, Russell||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Reddy, M.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Morley, Rt. Hon. John (M'ntrose||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Moulton, John Fletcher||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Wilson, Henry J.(York, W. R.)|
|Murnaghan, George||Runciman, Walter||Young, Samuel|
|Murphy, John||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Newnes, Sir George||Shipman, Dr. John G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)||Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. M'Arthur.|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Soares, Ernest J.|
Bill read a second time (8.33.)
§ (9.5.) MR. WALTER LONG
There seems to be some little doubt in the minds of Gentlemen on both sides of the House as to the reasons which have led the Government to suggest that this Bill, under the somewhat peculiar procedure which governs a Bill which is both a private and a public Bill, should be sent to a Joint Committee, The procedure governing a Bill of this kind is peculiar. It has to be considered as a private Bill upstairs and as a public Bill downstairs. The interests concerned in this measure are not only large but numerous, and it is probable that the statement made on their behalf would take a considerable time before any Committee of the House of Commons or of the House of Lords. The two considerations which have been foremost in the mind of the Government in selecting a Joint Committee have been, firstly, economy of time, and secondly, economy of money. If this Bill were to be considered in the ordinary way as a private Bill by a Committee upstairs, then come back to be considered by a Committee of the Whole House, and pass through the report stage and Third Reading, and if it were then to go to the House of Lords and go through the same procedure there, it is obvious that very considerable time would be occupied. To those Members who, like some on the 266 opposite side, honestly dislike the Bill, that result is one which they would view probably with equanimity, but undoubtedly it would load to the defeat of the Bill, for I do not think it will be possible for the measure to pass through the procedure I have mentioned within the compass of an ordinary session. It would be, at all events, a risky proceeding. But in addition to that there is the question of cost. A great deal has been said on the other side as to the ultimate effect on the ratepayers of the Bill, but it is perfectly certain that if we are to have a bitterly conducted conflict before a Select Committee of this House and also before a Select Committee of the House of Lords, the costs must be practically doubled. The same fight would be fought over again after being decided here in the House of Lords, and consequently it became the duty of the Government to see whether there was not some other procedure of Parliament adequate for the purpose which would avoid both the risk of wasting time and the risk of undue expense, and to accomplish this the course we have selected is to have a Joint Committee.
Many precedents might be cited for the course suggested by the Government. In 1873 all railway and canal Bills containing powers of transfer and amalgamation were referred to a Joint Committee. In 1900 the same course was followed with the Dublin 267 Corporation Bill, which was an extremely contentious measure. That Bill was referred by general approval to a Joint Committee of both Houses. There is also the procedure, now well established, under the Scottish Private Bill Procedure Act. Under that procedure, a Scottish Bill is referred to a Joint Committee, not of both Houses, but to a specially constituted tribunal, and there is only one hearing. There can, as far as I know, be only one argument advanced against this proposal, and that is that the decision of the Committee of the Commons may be reversed on appeal by the Lords. That is the view which I understand is taken by my hon. friend who represents the water companies, who thinks that the decision of the House of Commons might be adverse to the companies' interest, and the decision of the House of Lords might be of the different kind, and therefore they ought to have an opportunity of appealing from one to the other. But in answer to this I would point out that while with an ordinary private Bill the only chance of appeal is from the Select Committee of the one House to that of the other, in this case there is an opportunity of revision of the decision of the Select Committee by the Committee of the Whole House in either Chamber. For my part, as a Minister specially connected with Private Bill legislation, this is the kind of procedure which I would not hesitate to recommend in regard to all Private Bill business. If we could consolidate our Private Bill business by referring it to a Joint Committee of both Houses we could save the enormous delay and cost of a double inquiry before both Houses, where we should only get the same evidence, the same counsel, and the same speeches, and differing only in the fact that in one case there are five commoners considering the matter, and in the other five peers. In this case the Government think full justice will be done by having a strong Joint Committee composed of five Members of the Upper House and five Members of the Lower House. A question has been put to me by the hon. and gallant Member for Yarmouth, in regard to the chairmanship of the Committee. It did not occur to me at the time that probably there might 268 be some idea prevalent in the minds of hon. Gentlemen that the position of Chairman of the Committee should be filled by myself as being the Cabinet Minister in charge of the Bill. So far from making any claim of that kind, I should strongly dissent from any suggestion that I should be Chairman of the Committee. I should, however, be prepared to serve on it if selected by the Committee of Selection, but I should ask that somebody should be selected as Chairman, who would not be likely to be so partial as I should be towards the Bill. For these reasons I beg to move the Motion standing in my name.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That it is expedient that the Bill be committed to a Joint Committee of Lords and Commons, and that a message be sent to the Lords to acquaint them therewith."—(Mr. Walter Long.)
§ (9.15.) MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
There is one remark which fell from the right hon. Gentleman with which I entirely concur, and it is that if we were considering the new procedure in reference to Private Bills I think there is a great deal of force in the contention that a large number of the Bills which come before the Private Bills Committee, and then go through the same ordeal in the Upper House would be very much better dealt with in this way by a Joint Committee of both Houses. Obviously, in a very great number of cases, the point is really a small one, and the expense of going to two Committees is overwhelmingly large in regard to a very great number of these Bills. I think, however, that this is one of the cases in which this particular tribunal and the particular proposals of the right hon. Gentlemen are not adapted to the circumstances of the case. He said that some who opposed this might oppose it in order to destroy the Bill.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
At all events I would say myself in regard to this matter that my wish is not to destroy the Bill. What we desire is publicity in regard to this matter, which is a most complicated one, involving very large interests. We desire that all the persons interested should be able to place their views at full length before a Committee of the House of Commons, and subsequently before a Committee of the House of Lords. Although I quite agree that there is a great deal of force in what the right hon. Gentleman said in regard to expense and time, it does seem to me in regard to this matter that it would be better for the public interest that the Bill should go before two distinct and separate tribunals. We shall have this advantage if it is sent to an ordinary Committee that evidence and counsel will be heard, and they will be able to bring their arguments to bear in regard to the Bill, and to point out where if possible certain parts of the measure ought to be amended or changed in some way or another. The House of Commons when it goes into Committee on the Bill would therefore be in a better position to deal with the details of the proposals. I think the right hon. Gentleman has practically promised us that to a very large extent he will allow this Bill to he considered as an open question. We have had that promise from his subordinate in the matter of finance, and I did not understand that he took up a positive attitude in regard, for instance, to the question of the number and composition of the authority.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I am sorry that there should be any misunderstanding on this matter. I thought I was perfectly clear in what I said. I am quite willing, arid I do not think the Government would resist any proposal, that the Committee should consider in the freest possible manner the numbers of the governing body, the financial questions, or the special reference in either the arbitration clause or the purchase clause; but to the main principles on which the Bill is founded obviously the Government must adhere, and if the Committee were to break through those the Government would drop the Bill.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman thought I was 270 misrepresenting him. Although he maintains the main principles of the Bill, he is not going to make it one of those inspired Bills in which no word can possibly be amended. His argument is that the Bill should first go through the Hybrid Committee upstairs, that they should make alterations in the Bill, and that it should then come to this House. I hope, and I believe from what I know of the right hon. Gentleman, that he will not be deaf to the arguments from the other side of the House. These are likely, I think, to lead to some Amendments in the Bill during its passage through Committee of this House. It is obvious that the Bill would not go out in the same condition as it came to this House, and it would be a great advantage, therefore, if after passing through Committee of this House it should go again to a Committee of the House of Lords. They would be able to enter into the different points. The result would be that there would be two inquiries, and that process would throw more light on the matter. I make this appeal all the more strongly, inasmuch as we have had a debate on Thursday and this evening, and I think there is no doubt that on the right hon. Gentleman's own side of the House there are a good many Members who desire to speak not exactly in favour of the proposals put forward. We hope, therefore, that these hon. Gentlemen will have an opportunity of being heard in Committee. I think we can perfectly well assume that there will be some alterations made when the Bill is going through Committee. This Bill has been placed before the House and the Metropolis as the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman. It has been placed before the different governing bodies without, as I ventured to say the other day, any official communication. We want to give every opportunity to the bodies concerned of being heard in regard to this matter, and especially that the County Council should be heard. They have never in all these years, when this question has been discussed, had a real proper opportunity of stating their case to a Committee of this House. If they are afforded this opportunity, I believe they will be able to show that many parts of the Bill not hold water at all. The right hon. Gentleman said one object of the 271 proposal was to save expense. As I have already said, that is a good sound argument in regard to Bills of a minor description, but I confess I do not think it is one which ought to affect the question we have before us now. It is a matter so large and which affects so much the future water supply of London and the interests of consumers, ratepayers, and shareholders, that I do not think the question of a few hundred pounds more or less, which may be paid to counsel, should affect the question at all of the double tribunal. What we want is more light on the matter, and, therefore, two inquiries are likely to be better than one. Assuming that this Bill goes before a Joint Committee, counsel, of course, will appear. It was stated to me, but I do not credit it, that evidence will not be allowed on behalf of the different bodies interested; for instance, on behalf of the London County Council, and that the Committee will merely hear the addresses of counsel. It is very important that those who oppose the Bill in regard to certain parts, and more especially the London County Council and the outside authorities, should have the fullest opportunity of stating their ease, not only through counsel, but that they should be able to give evidence themselves. I want to ask, with respect to the terms of reference, whether the arguments of counsel on behalf of those interested will be fully allowed. I hope the right hon. Gentleman. will consider this matter from the point of view I have put before him. So far as I can see the arguments are in favour of the double inquiry rather than the Joint Committee which he is proposing.
§ (9.24.) MR. BOULNOIS (Marylebone, E.)
My right hon. friend has alluded to me as representing the water companies. In regard to the question of this Committee, I should like to say that I do strongly urge that my right hon. friend should reconsider his decision. In the first place, I must say at once that I entirely dissociate myself from the idea that because I object to a Joint Committee and prefer an ordinary Committee I do it with any desire to wreck the Bill. It is far from my intention, especially in view of the concessions which have been made this 272 evening by my right hon. friend. [An HON. MEMBER: What concessions?] Well, the explanations. I think the proposal is unconstitutional. This is described as a private Bill, but it is a public Bill. It has been brought in as a public Bill. I believe that all precedents quoted by my right hon. friend were in connection with private Bills which have been brought into this House. I cannot speak with any authority, and I may be corrected, but I think I am right in saying that no public Bill of such importance, no public Bill at all events of a highly contentious nature, which has been brought into this House, has ever before been referred to a Joint Committee of both Houses after the Second Reading only in this Chamber. It is practically pledging the other House to a Bill which has never been before them. One may say that the House of Lords has practically no legal cognisance of the Bill which some of the Members of that House would have to revise in Committee. On that ground I think it is unconstitutional. My right hon. friend said that I stated in the speech I made on the Second Reading of the Bill on Thursday last that I apprehended that the companies might be prejudiced by their not having the right of appeal which all persons who are expropriated have to the second Chamber. I think that is extremely important. There are a vast number and variety of matters of detail which will be brought before the Committee by counsel and attested by witness, and it is advisable, at all events it has been considered advisable hitherto, that where errors are made by a Committee of this House corrections should be made by the House of Lords. I think this proposal is denying to those persons whose property has been taken, what I may call their right of appeal to the Second Chamber. It is a matter of supreme importance, and although I should have, of course, great confidence in such a Committee as my right hon. friend describes, I cannot help feeling that the ordinary custom and the established usage of this House should not be departed from, and that a Bill of such enormous magnitude, involving interests which are an unknown quantity, should be dealt with in the same way as other Bills. This Bill should go before a Committee, first, of this House, and, secondly, a Committee of the Upper House. I do 273 not care, personally, whether it is an ordinary Committee of four of this House such as Bills have to go before, or a strong Committee, selected by the Committee of Selection, of seven or nine Members, but I hope the ordinary custom will not be departed from, and that this Bill will be decided as other Bills have been.
§ *(9.30.) M R. LOUGH
said that looking at this question from an entirely different point of view, he arrived at the same conclusion as the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken. He heartily appreciated the candour with which the right hon. Gentleman stuck to the Bill; he had not even tried to admit that he had made any concession. The Government intended to get through this Bill, if possible, and the right hon. Gentleman had told the House that that was the reason he had made the proposal for a Joint Committee. That candid statement ought to make the House pause before adopting a suggestion which had been supported by very weak arguments. The right hon. Gentleman had said that he was going to give the House precedents for the course he was adopting, but the case of 1873 was not an exact precedent at all. Then the right hon. Gentleman got over the next thirty years with a bound, arid mentioned the case of the Scottish Private Procedure Bill. But, again, that was no precedent for this extraordinary proposal. Then the next point the right hon. Gentleman brought forward was that the question of cost was in the way. There never was a case in which the question of cost was of less importance than on the present occasion. The transaction involved in this Bill would cause the expenditure of £35,000,000 or £40,000,000 sterling, and in a huge transaction like that, what did it matter whether there were 'two inquiries or one? He was entirely with the hon. Gentleman who said that this was not a case in which to depart from the usual practice. In connection with private Bill procedure lie was not one to say anything against the House of Lords. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] He was as ready to do justice to the House of Lords as anyone else. When the Conservatives were in power their behaviour was correct; it was only when the Liberals were in power that the action of the House of Lords could be 274 questioned. He would mention a precedent relating to this question touching London, in which huge financial interests were involved. A Bill was brought by a great Gas Company. They made the same protests, but they were of no use, and the Bill romped through this House, but in the House of Lords the Bill was defeated. Then what happened? The same Bill was brought into this House in the next session, but the same hon. Gentleman who had supported it in the previous session now opposed it, and the Bill was defeated, and they had never heard of it again. That was a most remarkable instance. Tins Bill bristled with great constitutional points, and they had a right to claim that the usual course of Parliamentary procedure should not be abridged, or departed from. He was paying a compliment to the House of Lords and defending it from hon. Gentlemen opposite. He wanted a House of Commons Committee, and he wanted a House of Lords Committee as well. The House of Lords would not be influenced by the emotions which swept over tins House after the last general election, but would look at the matter from a high constitutional point of view. There was another point. Few amongst the people of London understood this Bill yet. He had been astonished to find that members of the Borough Councils had not given this Bill any attention, because they did not understand it. If the procedure were shortened, they would only have half a chance of understanding the nature of the proposals that were being thrust upon them. He urged, therefore, that they should proceed in the usual way, and send the Bill to a Committee of this House, where it could be thoroughly discussed, and then send it to a Committee of the House of Lords. The only serious argument of the right hon. Gentleman against this proposal was, that there might not be time. But he would remind the right hon. Gentleman that this was only the 3rd of March, and there was no reason why it should not be through this House on the 3rd of May, and then there would be three months for its consideration by the House of Lords.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
Does the hon. Gentleman really believe that this Bill will be through a Select Committee upstairs, and afterwards through the Report stage by the 3rd of May? I only ask for information.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Gentleman is not in order in discussing the action of the House.
§ * MR. LOUGH
I beg pardon; I did not mean to reflect on the action of the House. If the right hon. Gentleman devoted himself to the subsequent stages of the Bill in the same hearty fashion as hitherto, he did not see how it would not be through in two months. He heartily supported the Motion that the usual course should be pursued, and that the Bill should be sent to the Select Committee upstairs.
§ (9.40.) MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)
said they all accepted the declaration of hon. Gentlemen opposite that they did not desire to wreck the Bill; but everybody must see that their resistance to that procedure which alone could secure the passing of the Bill and their insistence on the unique procedure of two Select Committees, must be attended, if not with fatal results, at least by detracting from the value of the Bill. His hon. friend was unfortunate in referring to the history of the Gas Bill which had passed through this Rouse and had been rejected by the House of Lords. Like the hon. Member, he had been a member of that Committee, but the House of Commons had not the Report and recommendations of the Committee before them when the Bill was sent up to the House of Lords, which had the advantage of having the Committee's report and recommendations before them, and they naturally adopted the course which, he believed, the House of Commons would have adopted if they had been in possession of all the documents. The precedent, therefore, had no value or validity at all. The hon. Member for Poplar asked that the evidence of the London County Council should be heard in the Committee up- 276 stairs. Now, he had had the advantage of being a member of the London County Council for twelve years, and had never said a disrespectful word against that body or depreciated its work in any way; and although he had ceased since March last to be a member, he had been favoured with a great deal of printed matter prepared by the London County Council and its members on this Bill, and he did not think that his hon. friend opposite would contradict him when he said that the evidence and opinions of the London County Council had been brought more than once ipsissimae verbaebefore hon. Members. He was therefore quite convinced that the London County Council even without a locus standi before the Joint Committee, need not fear that their views and opinions would be concealed. It was not possible to conceal them. Anybody who knew, as he did, the handwriting had very easily recognised these opinions in the speeches they had just had the advantage of listening to. He was not saying that by way of reflection on the London County Council or on his hon. friends who availed themselves of the information which had been furnished to them. He did not think there would be any difficulty in anybody being heard or in making their arguments felt in the Joint Committee proposed to be constituted. His hon. friend wanted the Bill to be submitted to the House of Lords in consequence of alterations which might be made in this House. But was it not the fact that after the Bill had passed this House and had gone through Committee, it would have to go through the same procedure in the House of Lords, and would be subject to the same critical examination as it had gone through here? When his hon. friend avowed that his desire was to alter the Bill and not to wreck it, he could not see why he should resist the adoption of the procedure which alone could ensure its passage through Parliament this session. Criticisms on points of detail should be reserve d to Committee stage. He would not now refer to them, because that would be out of order, but he would say that, as there was this principle set up in the Bill, Members should apply themselves like business men in a businesslike way without Party spirit and try and make this Bill art equitable settlement of this long vexed question.
§ (9.47.) MR. JOHN BURNS
I must say there is something in the proposal of the Government to send this Bill to a Joint Committee, when one considers the desirability of passing the Bill in any altered form. As the right hon. Gentleman suggests, it is an economy of time and an economy of money to allow the views on this Bill to be expressed before one Committee. But I would suggest to the President of the Local Government Board that probably he might modify the views he expressed to the House. If he increased the number of Members from the House of Commons and the House of Lords on that Committee from five to seven, I think that would meet with acceptance where otherwise it might be opposed. I can only say that if he will do that I think it will give satisfaction to all sides of the House. There is another thing I wish to ask, and that is, whether all the authorities who have given notice as having some right to come before the Joint Committee, will have the power, and I hope they will, to give evidence and state their case before this peculiar tribunal. We have not had it definitely stated. Of course I know the London County Council wants a lot of keeping out when it takes up a question. It is built that way. It generally tries to get the views of the ratepayers expressed, whether it has a locus or not. I do not object, and I do not think the Government ought to object, to anybody giving their views on this matter. Am I to understand from the right hon. Gentleman representing the Local Government Board that the procedure is that the Bill will go to this Joint Committee, and then to a Committee of each House, and that then there will be a Report stage, and then the Third Reading, and do I gather that the various authorities would have a right to be fully heard?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. GRANT LAWSON, Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk)
That will be a matter for the Committee.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
If that be so, that considerably reduces my opposition to the Government proposal; but the Government must not forget that there are very few precedents for this novel and exceptional course. You are taking a Bill, to some extent a Private Bill, but 278 in the main a Public Bill, and sending it to a Joint Committee. There are some kinds of things which the House of Lords is competent to deal with, and with regard to which it is a fair tribunal, but if we are to have this proposal used as a precedent for other matters, it is a course we shall have seriously to consider, because whether the Government likes it or not, when you have a Joint Committee of five Members from this House and five from the House of Lords, you start with a permanent makeweight of Toryism and vested interest in property. That cannot be denied. The House of Lords is not susceptible to the same influences as the House of Commons, and, when you are setting up a Joint Committee to inquire into matters proposed in Private Bills, that raises, more or less, political issues. You are giving that Committee a permanent makeweight of vested interests in property which attaches more peculiarly to the House of Lords than to the House of Commons. But I trust that the criticisms that have been directed from this side of the House against this novel and exceptional proposal will enable the Government to see their way to increase the size of the Committee and make it more satisfactory. There is one thing more than anything else that makes me more satisfied with the proposals, of the Government than I otherwise should be, and that is that the water directors in this House look on these proposals as dangerous to their interests. That draws me towards these proposals, and when I find they are opposed by the water directors I support them. Speaking generally, whatever the Water Companies are in favour of I am against. And, as the Government in their proposals appear to be against the companies, I earnestly support them.
§ (9.52.) MR. BOUSFIELD (Hackney, N.)
said time, of course, was of paramount importance in regard to this Bill. It would be a public misfortune if now this question was raised it should not be settled, but at the same time, if it was necessary in the interest of fairness and justice that it should go through two Committees, the matter of time might perhaps be allowed to fall in the background. When, however, it was considered that this Bill 279 would have to go through all the stages of a public Bill, and a Joint Committee as an additional stage super-imposed on the others, there was no doubt the question would be thoroughly settled. A Joint Committee was appointed not for discussion, but for taking evidence and doing that which it was inconvenient for the House itself to do in a Committee of the Whole House, but if the evidence had been taken once why was it necessary to take it again? It had already been given once and could be cited in this House. He was, however, of opinion that if it were of paramount importance that the Bill should be passed this session, and dealt with finally, it was desirable that the course proposed by the Government should be adopted.
§ MR. SIDNEY BUXTON
Will the hon. Gentleman say whether evidence can be given before the Joint Committee?
§ (9.55.) MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said he took part in the debate not so much from his knowing anything of the water supply of London, except that it was common knowledge it had the worst water supply in the whole world; he simply rose for the purpose of protesting against the practice of referring Public Bills to a Joint Committee of the two Houses. The reasons for referring Private Bills to a Joint Committee were much stronger than those brought forward in public measures. In a Private Bill there was the grave consideration of expense. That was the reason why the great Irish Railway Amalgamation was referred to a Joint Committee. He thought it would be a great misfortune if a procedure were to be set up which, no matter what the composition of the House might be in future, in regard to private Bills would permanently set up a majority of the Tory Party by means of these Joint Committees. He could not imagine what could be said in favour of referring public Bills to such a tribunal. He had al ways understood until now that there was no precedent, but he believed the President of the Local Government Board had quoted one. He never recollected in his experience a public Bill being referred to a Joint 280 Committee, and he thought it was particularly unfortunate that the present Bill should be referred to such a body. He should not have dreamed of intervening in the discussion except for the fact that a precedent was being set up. This was one of those occasions that marked the epoch of a new departure in proceedure, and the same argument would be used in the case of every other great Bill connected with vested interests. He was not familiar with the proceedings of Joint Committees, but he understood it was almost precisely that of a Select Committee. They could alter a Bill or they could make recommendations to the House, and then when the Bill came down from that Committee, with the weight of the opinion of the Committee behind it, it was idle to say that the House could come to an opinion upon it with the same freedom as if the Committee had not sat. Therefore a Joint Committee had great power, which not only affected its own procedure on a Bill, but had the power of affecting the decision of a Committee of the Whole House. He thought, therefore, that it was a most retrograde step to establish, as a principle of the practice of the House, that Committees considering Bills of this great nature were to have a permanent majority of Conservatives in their ranks. On that ground he opposed the proposal of the Government, and as an Amendment proposed to move that the Bill be referred to a Select Committee.
§ (10.1.) MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid.)
seconded the Amendment. He said he should not have intervened but for the fact that this made a new departure. Reference had been made to Scotch procedure, but if the hon. Gentleman had looked at the Scottish Act Bill he would have seen that its title was "Private Bill Procedure Act," and that it was in regard to Private Bill legislation alone. The origin of that was that having regard to the local inquiry having been held in Scotland, it was felt that when the Bill came up here a Joint Committee was all that was needed. That was not the ease of a public Bill at all. The argument had been used of the saving of time and expense, because the same witnesses and counsel were employed and the Bill then went through two Committees, but that 281 did not apply to all Private Bills. That argument, if it were an argument at all, would only be an argument for altering Private Bill legislation. That might be a very good thing, because the object of the procedure of the House lately was to cut down the opportunity of discussing Bills in this House. The other precedent referred to was that of the Irish Railway Amalgamation Bill and the Dublin Corporation Bill, both of which were private Bills, and in the case of the latter, there was good reason for having it heard by a Joint Committee, because it had been discussed for twenty or thirty days in the previous session by a Committee of the House, which had passed it, and a Committee of the House of Lords, which had thrown it out, and it was thought better, instead of doing it all over again, to have a Joint Committee, and eventually a compromise was effected, and the Bill passed through the House. The House Was in this position; there was no precedent for sending a great Bill like this to a Joint Committee at this stage. The constitutional position was that the House should give its unbiased verdict through its own Committee and come to its own judgment, and that the House of Lords should begin anew and go through all the stages of the Bill and have the whole matter tested again. If it had been through the ordeal of both Houses, there would be some ground for believing the legislation had been well considered. That was the principle on which our constitutional procedure was based. Now it was desired to introduce a new element, and the only argument for doing away with the constitutional practice was that it would save time and money. There were a great many Rules of the House to ensure protection against Bills going through Parliament without being thoroughly sifted. There had been no case made out to remit this matter to a Joint Committee, and he could not see any sense in the suggestion in the hon. Member for Battersea's suggestion to increase the number to seven. The only result would be to have two Members of the House of Lords—
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The question of the number of the Committee does not arise on this Motion. That point will have to be the subject matter of a subsequent Motion.
§ MR. CALDWELL
said he accepted the ruling of the Chair. The effect of having a Joint Committee would be that the Committee would be chosen in such a way that a portion of the Committee must represent the greater number on the Conservative side of the House. If they remitted the Bill to a Committee presented as nearly as might be the Parties which was a reflex of this House and re-and interests in this House, that was one thing, but if they introduced another and distinct element it was quite another. The great magnitude and importance of this Bill was a reason why it should not go to a Joint Committee. This matter had been going on for ten years, and supposing it were not settled in this particular year, progress could be reported in such a way that a better settlement could be taken next time. It was not in its first year that a good Bill was obtained; on the contrary, if a discussion was taken upon it, and the Bill came forward in the following year, it was generally found to be improved, and many obnoxious clauses had been removed, That was the object of debate. He begged to second the Amendment.
Amendment proposed, "To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'the Bill be committed to a Select Comnaittee.'"—(Mr.Dillon.)
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ (10.14.) MR. WALTER LONG
I hope the House will not accept the Amendment of hon. Member for East Mayo, and certainly not be guided by the argument addressed to it by the hon. Member for Mid. Lanark. While I anticipated many strange results from this Water Bill, I hardly expected to hear hon. Gentlemen opposite descanting with great eloquence on the merits of the House of Lords. I cannot regret that my proposal to refer the Bill has evoked declarations from the other side, of which the Conservative party will take note for future use. The hon. Member opposite said there was no precedent in the case of the Scottish Private Bill Procedure Act, because in that case the Joint Committee procedure was confined to a private Bill. 283 But this is a private Bill, save and except that it is brought in by the Government. This Bill deals with private property, but it is introduced by the Government. It is therefore subject to Private Bill procedure and to Public Bill procedure. What is the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman opposite? We are told that the matter of expense is nothing. We heard a great deal about expense in the debate before dinner; hon. Members were then very full of the cost to the ratepayers, but now it is a mere matter of a few hundreds more or less. Hon. Gentlemen ignore the fact that there are a great many local authorities and, it may be, private individuals affected by this Bill, whose case will have to be heard, and who will have to pay their own costs. Hon. Members opposite are very anxious that they should pay twice over by having two hearings. ["No."] Certainly they are. If they do not wish that, they have no right to press their arguments one inch further. If they do not mean that, their arguments are dishonest arguments. The only way in which the double expense, caused by the double hearing, can be avoided, is by accepting the proposal of the Government. The suggestion that this course is unconstitutional is ridiculous in these days. Why should it be unconstitutional to ask a Joint Committee to hear this question in order that the evidence of and the counsel representing the various parties concerned should be heard before one tribunal? The case has to be heard in both Houses whatever happens; the Bill will have to go through Committee, Report stage, and Third Reading stage, in both Houses, but as it is a Bill affecting the rights of private owners, those private owners have the constitutional right and privilege of presenting their case before a Committee of Parliament through counsel and supported by evidence.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
Without discharging what, in regard to Private Bills, is their duty—that of lodging a petition?
§ MR. WALTER LONG
Certainly not. There must be proper notice, and petitions will have to be presented in the ordinary way. The ordinary procedure will be followed. 284 The only difference the Government suggest is, that in this case, instead of evidence being given twice, instead of counsel having to present their case twice, instead of the expenditure of time and money having to be incurred twice over, one hearing by a Committee composed of Members of the two Houses should serve instead of two hearings, one by Committee of each House. This House will hear the case in Committee afterwards, and the other House will do the same when the Bill has passed through this House. All that we suggest is that instead of a Committee of this House hearing the evidence first, and this House then dealing with the Bill, and then a Committee of the House of Lords hearing the evidence, a Joint Committee should hear the evidence of the individuals and corporations concerned, by which means both time and money will be saved. The hon. Member for West Islington said I had made a frank avowal, that I had admitted that if this policy were not adopted the Bill could not be carried. I do not think I made any admission of the kind. But I told the House, as I felt bound to do, that if the Bill had to go before a Select Committee of this House and also a Select Committee of the House of Lords, and all the subsequent procedure, its passage would be seriously imperilled. Nobody who is honestly desirous of seeing the Bill pass into law can possibly object to the proposal the Government has made. The argument that the strength of the Opposition will be weakened on such a tribunal will not hold water for a moment. The position of the Opposition, whether in the House of Lords or in the House of Commons, upon a Joint Committee is the same. The selection will be made in the usual way, and I think hon. Gentlemen will agree that a Joint Committee as a rule is an impartial tribunal, not governed in any way by party or partisan views, but which hears the evidence and decides upon the issue. That is all we ask—that a tribunal should be appointed to hear the evidence, to hear counsel, and to decide upon the issue, and thus settle in one hearing a case which otherwise would have to be heard twice. I hope the House, in the interests of economy, in the interests of the ratepayers, and in the interests of the discharge of business, will reject the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Mayo.
(10.23.) MR. BRYNMOR JONES
I have listened with some surprise to the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman. Either this is a Public Bill or it is a Private Bill. Anyone who has studied our Parliamentary procedure at all, knows that there is a vital difference between the two classes of measures. The right hon. Gentleman says this is a Private Bill. If he says that, and that alone, I venture to contradict him. This is a public Bill, and not only a public Bill, but a Government Bill. What I cannot understand is why, being a Public Bill brought in by the Government, it should not go through this House, if the Government can get it through', in the ordinary way. Why is it not allowed to go to a Committee of this House, or to the Standing Committee on Law, or to the Standing Committee on Trade, or to whatever other Committee of this I louse the Government might suggest I have not heard a single argument in favour of treating this Bill in a manner different from that of any other measure under the auspices of the Government.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
It is nothing whatever to do with the Government; it is under the Rules which govern the procedure of the House of Commons. We have no power to deal with the Bill otherwise; we have no power to send the Bill to a Grand Committee.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
That is so, but it is still a Public Bill, and I have heard no reason whatsoever for depriving this Rouse, through this method of procedure, of having a detailed consideration of each clause in the measure.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
I beg your pardon. It is proposed to send the Bill to a Joint Committee first of all. Why should not the Bill proceed in the ordinary course?
§ MR. WALTER LONG
Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to deal with the Bill either in a Committee of the House of Commons or in a Standing Committee upstairs, but unfortunately the Standing Orders of the House necessitate that a 286 Bill of this kind should go, first of all, to a Committee upstairs, Select, Joint, or Hybrid, and, after that, come back to a Committee of the Whole House. That is not the action of the Government, it is procedure of the House of Commons.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
I should like the right hon. Gentleman to show me the Standing Order containing; the proposition he has just advanced. It may be so, but I do not think there is any Standing Order which, if a Bill is brought in, not under the procedure relating to private Bill legislation, but tinder the ordinary procedure relating to public Bill legislation, can possibly affect oar right to deal with this matter in the ordinary way.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
The procedure is governed by the practice of the House of Commons, and the Rule is No. 226. Under that Rule, Private which are private in this respect, that they deal with private property, though they are introduced by the Government, and are therefore really Public Bills, are dealt with by reference, first of all, to a Select committee, in order that the persons affected may have their case presented by evidence and through counsel. Subsequently, such Bills have to go through Committee of the Whole House. If the hon. and learned Gentleman can show that we are wrong, and that we can dispense with a Committee of any kind, I should be delighted to withdraw my Motion and deal with this Bill in the ordinary way.
Mr. BRYNMOR JONES
I think the Rule or Standing Order No. 226 comes in the second part of the Standing Orders —those relating to private Bill legislation; and if the right hon. Gentleman looks he will find—
§ [A copy of the Standing Orders was handed to the hon. Member.]
§ * MR. SPEAKER
It will save time perhaps, if I say that there can be no doubt about the matter. When the Government bring in a Bill which proposes compulsorily to take private property, it brings it in as a Public Bill, but by the general practice of this House—practice of long standing—that Bill must go before a Select Committee, 287 or some other Committee such as is now proposed, in order that those private interests may be dealt with. Private interests there have the same opportunity of being heard as in the case of a Private Bill. After having been disposed of by that Committee, the Bill must come back to Committee of the Whole House just as if it had never gone to a Select Committee, and the procedure after that is the same as in regard to any other public Bill.
MR. BRYNMOR JONES
I do not contest your ruling, Sir, for a single moment. My argument is this: why have not the Government allowed this Bill to go before a Select Committee of this House? That is the ordinary way in which matters of this kind are dealt with. Why is this so exceptional? What ease have the Government made out for differential treatment in regard to this Bill? I will not longer occupy the time of the House; I have made my point. I have not heard a single word to justify this proposal. It is, however, a good argument for altering the whole of our procedure with regard to Private Bills, so that it should not be necessary to go to the expense of conducting cases before two Committees. But what I want to know is why this Bill of all others, one of the most important and affecting the greatest interests, is to be treated exceptionally by the Government? It is because it is a Government Bill, and one which they want to take every step possible to pass into law.
§ *(10.31.) MR. BLAKE (Longford, S.)
Although this Bill no doubt embraces those elements, which according to the practice of the House of Commons, require that it should be dealt with by means of a Select Committee for the protection of the private interests affected, it is yet properly a Public and a Government Bill. Why is it properly a Public and Government Bill? Because it is of such magnitude, concerning, as it does, the affairs of London the larger, concerning interests so enormous, so complex, and so varied, that, as is stated in the Text-book to which we refer on these matters, that it is a measure of great public policy rather than one of private interests. Private interests are involved and they have to be considered and guarded. And, indeed, the magnitude of 288 the measure is such that the pecuniary interests concerned are larger than those involved in the whole aggregate of the Private Bills before the House this session. That is the condition of the magnitude of the private interests. The condition as to magnitude of the measure in other respects is shown by the circumstance of its introduction. Large questions of public policy justify, nay, necessitate its introduction as a public Bill by the Government of the day. Now I have said that the pecuniary interests involved by this one measure are probably greater than the aggregate of those involved by all the Private Bills before the House this session. But what are we doing with reference to the suitors connected with all those other Bills, with their small interests and comparatively enormous costs of investigation and solicitation in the two Houses? Has the cry of the innumerable private suitors reached the ear of the Treasury Bench, and induced the Government to make any proposal for the mitigation of expense where that expense will be really felt, for lessening the expense in cases where the Committees will deal with the subjects on the principle to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, namely, that of fairness and of impartial regard for the private interests involved? No, that cry has not reached the Treasury Bench. Every one of those hundreds of Private Bills has to run the gauntlet of two Committees, with double sets of counsel, double sets of witnesses, and all the double expenses in regard to which the right hon. Gentleman weeps at that Table when he speaks of the Administrative County of London and the bloated corporations who are going to litigate in this case. If you were to ask me to give an example in which the cautious procedure of Parliament does not produce the sometimes over - balancing disadvantages involved in great and excessive expenditure, it would be the case before the House this evening. And the expense is to be widely distributed. It is to fall in infinitesimal individual shares on innumerable members of Corporations. No individual is hit hard. The double expense is as nothing in this case; it cannot be counted when compared with the £30,000,000 or £40,000,000 involved in this Bill. On the other hand, the interests, even private, are so enormous, that if any case would justify a double investigation, this one would. But it is 289 not so much because I desire a double investigation that I am opposed to the introduction of this precedent with reference to this great public Bill. It is because I wish this House to have that just weight of authority in the final decision of the question which it will not retain if it allows this important and preliminary investigation to be conducted by a Joint Committee equally representative of the two Houses, instead of being undertaken in the first instance by a Committee of its own, responsible to itself alone; announcing as far as the evidence before it justifies what the views of the popular body ought to be, the matter afterwards being discussed and decided for itself by the popular body, and then going to the House of Lords as so settled, with all the weight due to that settlement. You are proposing to surrender the just share of influence and authority of the popular and representative body of the nation in regard to the settlement of this question when you propose to remit it in the first instance to a Joint Committee of the two Houses, instead of taking care that the opinion of the House of Commons, unbiassed and uninfluenced by any view of the House of Lords, is expressed, and sent forward, as the settled view of the popular body, to the other and non-representative Chamber of the Legislature.
§ (10.36.) DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)
I find myself in some difficulty. I thought in the first instance the issue was fairly simple; a Select Committee on this side, or a Joint Committee on that. But from the speech of the hon. Member for Mid. Lanark, it appeared that a great constitutional change was involved, and, as a new Member, I shrink from that. I also gathered that it would create a great precedent. I do not know whether that is so or not, but, if it is, it is a precedent which will be hailed with the greatest satisfaction by those poor suitors on whose behalf my hon. and learned friend the Member for South Longford pleaded so eloquently. I came in to the debate in favour of a Select Committee of this House; perhaps that was because of my unregenerate prejudice against the other House. But I listened to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local 290 Government Board, and I listened to the hon. Member for Poplar, as they put their views before the House; I also listened to the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo on the constitutional aspect of the question; and I am bound to say, as a mere common sense person, that the weight of argument appears to be entirely on the side of the President of the Local Government Board. What is the position? The Bill is to go upstairs to a Joint Committee, and I understand that all interests are to be heard. That is an important point to me. The local authorities and private individuals interested are to be heard fully and completely. The measure is then to come back to this House and be dealt with in Committee. If I thought I were relinquishing that, I would go dead against the proposal, because there are certain matters of principle in regard to details in which I am closely concerned, and upon which as a private Member I should have a word or two to say. But I understand that that right is reserved in any case. Then, if there should be—and I gather from the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman there may be—changes made, there will be the Report stage and Third Reading. In the other House there will be Second Reading, participation in the Joint Committee, Committee stage, Report stage, and Third Reading. Really, I feel that in the interests of economy—I stood for the School Board, though a very strong Progressive, as a friend of the poor over-burdened ratepayer, and I appear in that capacity once more—and as a friend of the ratepayer, I am bound to say I think the proposal of the Government is the preferable one. I do not see that any constitutional issue is involved. As to time, I confess frankly, the Second Reading having been carried and the principle of the Bill thus adopted, I am not concerned to kill the measure. I think it requires modification in important details, but I do not wish to associate myself with any effort which may make it impossible to carry the Bill in an improved form, as I hope it will be before the session ends. I shall therefore find it impossible to vote for the Amendment, which I think is certainly not in the interests of economy or of the business-like conduct of the remaining stages of the Bill.
§ (10.40.) Question put.292
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 193; Noes, 120. (Division List No. 55).293
|Acland-Hood,Capt.SirAlex.F.||Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Flower, Ernest||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Foster, Sir M. (Load. Univ.||Morton,ArthurH A (Deptford)|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gardner, Ernest||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Garfit, William||Murray. Col. Wyndham(Bath)|
|Arnold-Foster, Hugh O.||Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Myers, William Henry|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gordon,Hn.JE.(Elgin&Nairn)|
|Gore, Hn. S.F. Ormsby-(Linc.)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Balcarres, Lord||Grenfell, William Henry||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Gretton, John|
|Balfour,RtHnGeraldW. (Le'ds||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Parker, Gilbert|
|Beach,Rt HnSir Michael Hicks||Hain, Edward||Peel, HnWm. Robert Wellesley|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Hambro, Charles Eric||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Bignold, Arthur||Hamilton, RtHnLordG(Mid'x.||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richd.|
|Bigwood, James||Hamilton, Marq.of(L'nd'nd'ry||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Bill, Charles||Hanbury, Rt.Hon.RobertWm.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hardy, Laurence (K'nt,Ashf'rd||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bond, Edward||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Pryce-Jones,Lieut. -Col. Edwd.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Purvis, Robert|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Bowles,Capt.H.F. (Middlesex)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Randles, John S.|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Helder, Augustus||Rankin, Sir James|
|Brassey, Albert||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Bull, William James||Hogg, Lindsay||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Butcher, John George||Hope,J.F. (Sheffield,Br'ghts'de||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Ridley,RtHriM.W.(Stalyb'dge|
|Cavendish,V. C. W. (Derbysh'e||Hozier,Hon James HenryCecil||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.J.(Birm.)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Robinson, Brooke|
|Chamberlain,J. Austen (W'rc'r||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Chapman, Edward||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Charrington, Spencer||Kennaway,Rt.Hon.SirJohnH.||Rothschild,Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Keswick, William||Round, James|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smith||Rutherford, John|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Knowles, Lees|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Corbett, A.Cameron (Glasgow)||Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lawson, John Grant||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Seely,Maj. J. E. B. (Isleof Wight|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N.S.||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Dairymple, Sir Charles||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Smith, AbelH.(Hertford,East)|
|Davies, Sir HoratioD(Chatham||Long, RtHn.Walter(Bristol,S)||Smith,H C.(North'mb.Tyn'sde|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Smith,JamesParker(Lanarks.)|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Lucas,Col. Francis(Lowestoft)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lucas,ReginaldJ. (Portsmouth||Spear, John Ward|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Stewart,Sir MarkJ. M'Taggart|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Majendie, James A. H.||Stroyan, John|
|Doxford Sir William Theodore||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Maxwell,WJH (Dumfriesshire||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Durning Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants,W.)||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Fison, Frederick William||Moore, William (Antrim,N.)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col Edward|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose||More, Robt. Jasper(Shropsh're||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Wanklyn, James Leslie||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||Wylie, Alexander|
|Wason,JohnCathcart(Orkney)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Abraham, William(Cork,N.E.)||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Dowd, John|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Grant, Corrie||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Mally, William|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||O'Mara, James|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Shaughnessy, P. J|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Harmsworth R. Leicester|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir ArthurD.||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Bell, Richard||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Black, Alexander William||Hobhouse, C. E.H. (Bristol, E.)|
|Blake, Edward||Holland, William Henry||Rea, Russell|
|Boland, John||Joicey, Sir James||Reddy, M.|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Jones, David Brynmor(Sw'nsea||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Brown, GeorgeM. (Edinburgh)||Joyce, Michael||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Runciman, Walter|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Kennedy, Patrick James|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Labouchere, Henry||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Caldwell, James||Lambert, George||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Layland-Barratt,Francis||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Leese, SirJoseph||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Condon. Thomas,Joseph||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Levy, Maurice||Spencer,RtHn.C.R(Northants|
|Crean, Eugene||Lloyd-George, David||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Cremer, William Randall||Lundon, W.||Sullivan, Donal|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Crae, George||Thomson, F. W. (York.W.R.)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Govern, T.||Tomkinson, James|
|Delany, William||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dewar, John A (Inverness-sh.)||M'Kenna, Reginald|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Wallace, Robert|
|Doogan, P. C.||Markham, Arthur Basil||Wason,Eugene(Clackmannan)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Morley, Rt. Hn.John(Montrose||Weir, James Galloway|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Moulton, John Fletcher||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Murnaghan, George||White, Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Edwards, Frank||Murphy, John||Whiteley, George(York,W. R.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Whitley, J. H(Halifax)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Fenwick, Charles||Newnes, Sir George||Wilson,FredW.(Norfolk,Mid.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nolan, Col. JohnP. (Galway, N.)||Wilson, Henry J.(York.W.R.)|
|Field, William||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Woodhouse, SirJT (Huddersf'd|
|Flynn, James Christopher|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Brien,Kendal(TipperaryMid||Young, Samuel|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||TELLERS OF THE NOES—|
|Gladstone,RtHn. HerbertJohn||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Mr. Dillon and Mr. Lough.|
Bill read a second time.
§ Resolved, That it is expedient that the Bill be committed to a Joint Committee of Lords arid Commons.
§ Message to the Lords to acquaint them therewith.—(Mr. Walter Long.)