HC Deb 23 February 1904 vol 130 cc710-3

Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Question [22nd February], "That the Committee of Selection do nominate a Committee, not exceeding eleven Members, to be called the Police and Sanitary Committee, to whom shall be committed all Private Bills promoted by municipal and other local authorities by which it is proposed to create powers relating to Police or Sanitary Regulations in conflict with, deviation from, or excess of the provisions of the general Law."—(Mr. Cochrane.)

Question again proposed.

* SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

said it was necessary he should reply to some observations made by the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division of Nottingham, on the previous day, in regard to the appointment of this Committee, and the part it took with respect to the action of municipal corporations and local authorities. Many hon. Members on the Government Benches were of opinion that municipalities should be crushed, while those of the Opposition mostly thought with himself that the Committee had rather erred in the direction of preventing these bodies acting freely on the views of the local inhabitants The opinions of the hon. Members in favour of restricting the grant of powers were rather against those to which he was giving expression. However, he took it that the hon. Member was not opposed to municipal trading. He had cited two cases in which police powers given in the 1886 Parliament had led to debate in that House, but he had admitted that the objection to which they gave rise had not arisen in regard to later Acts. It was therefore not necessary to go into that matter. There was a great deal to be said on both sides of the question, but he wished it to be understood that the House generally must not be taken as concurring in the suggestion that local authorities were going too far in these matters.

MR. HALSEY (Hertfordshire, Watford)

, as Chairman of the Committee of Selection, said they took the greatest care in choosing members for this particular Committee and he believed that the manner in which it did its work met with the approbation of the House. He agreed with the hon. Member that it would be desirable that the declaration he referred to of absence of personal interest in the business to be done by the Committee should be made by the members in the same way as was done by members of all Committees on Private Bills, but he feared that that would involve a very complicated alteration of Standing Orders. He wished to take that opportunity of bearing testimony to the admirable manner in which the Committee had done its work—work which did not come before the public in any way, but which was more severe than that of Private Bill Committees, and which involved great personal inconvenience.

Question put, and agreed to.

Ordered, That Standing Orders 150 and 173A apply to all such Bills.

Ordered, That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.

Ordered, That Four be the quorum of the Committee.

Ordered, That if the Committee shall report to the Committee of Selection that any clauses of any Bill referred to them (other than clauses containing police and sanitary regulations) are such, as having regard to the terms of reference, it is not in their opinion necessary or advisable for them to deal with, the Committee of Selection shall thereupon refer the Bill to a Select Committee, who shall consider those clauses and so much of the Preamble of the Bill as relates thereto, and shall determine the expenditure (if any) to be authorised in respect of the parts of the Bill referred to them. That the Committee shall deal with the remaining clauses of such Bill, and so much of the Preamble as relates thereto, and shall determine the period and mode of repayment of any money authorised by the Select Committee to be borrowed and shall report the whole Bill to the House, stating in their report what parts of the Bill have been considered by each Committee.

Ordered, That the Committee have power, if they so determine, to sit as two Committees, and in that event to apportion the Bills referred to the Committee between the two Committees, each of which shall have the full powers of, and be subject to the instructions which apply to, the undivided Committee, and that Three be the quorum of each of the two Committees.—(Mr. Cochrane.)

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