HC Deb 11 May 1905 vol 146 cc129-39
SIR EDWARD STRACHEY (Somerset-shire, S.)

said he rose to move the Motion standing in his name. His ground for so doing was that this was a case in which the House might very well ask the Committee on Standing Orders to reconsider this matter on special and exceptional grounds. The only reason why he had taken up this question was that it was in the interest of the general public. He knew very little of the merits of the competing schemes and had no personal interest in the matter, and he moved the Motion merely as one of the ordinary public whose only anxiety was that the best possible scheme for a tube railway for this particular district should receive the assent of the House. So far as the history of this Bill was concerned he might say that in 1901 it was one of various schemes of tube railways which were referred to a Joint Committee of both Houses, and that Joint Committee reported favourably on it. In 1902 it was considered in another place and was passed by the Lords' Committee. It, however, failed to pass this House, not upon its merits but because at that time the co-partners in the scheme had sold the Hammersmith section of the undertaking to the Yerkes group, and immediately the line proposed in the Bill had ceased to be a through route. The Yerkes group withdrew the Hammersmith portion of the Bill, and therefore what remained of it was bound to fail. Fn 1903 the Bill was further postponed pending the Report of the Royal Commission which was then considering the whole question of London traffic, whilst in 1904 there was an intimation from the Board of Trade which influenced the promoters of the Bill and prevented them from coming to this House and making the usual deposit in the ordinary way to the Standing Orders Committee. The intimation of the Board of Trade emphasised a declaration made in 1903 that there was, no prospect of any Bill succeeding until the Royal Commission reported on London traffic. Under these circumstances it was not unreasonable that the promoters of the Bill should have said that they would not incur any unnecessary expenditure. They, therefore, did not pay their deposit, and when they came before the Standing Orders Committee they failed on that ground. There were four other memorials complaining of non-compliance with other Standing Orders, but those memorials were from promoters of competing schemes who were naturally only too ready to take advantage of the technicality of the nonpayment of the deposit, because the promoters of the Bill would have paid the depesit if they had not been, influenced in the way they had been.

The promoters of the Bill did not now propose to proceed with that part of the Bill which affected the Hammersmith qoute. They wished to limit their Bill strictly to that part of the railway which would compete with the North-East London Railway Bill which now awaited its Second Reading in this House. All the promoters of this Bill asked was that they should have their Bill read a second time as the same time as the North-East London Railway in order that the House, having both the Bills before them, might see which, in the interests of the public, was the best. It was quite impossible for both these railways to proceed because, through one part of the district which both would have to traverse, there was not room for more than one to go. As regarded the North-East London Railway Bill, that was considered by a Joint Committee of both Houses in 1901, and in 1902 it was thrown out by a Committee of the House of Lords on financial grounds. In 1903 a Committee of this House also threw it out, so that the only Bill which could now be considered, if the House refused to refer back this Bill to the Standing Orders Committee, was a Bill which had already been rejected by this House and the House of Lords. All that the promoters in this case wanted was to have their Bill put in the same position as the North-East London and that it should be under no disadvantage as against the North-East London Railways Bill. It was on that ground and that ground a lone that he ventured to make this Motion. He begged to move.

MR. JOSEPH HOWARD (Middlesex, Tottenham) rose to second the Motion. He said that he desired to do so entirely in the interests of his constituents. It was very important to the whole of North London that the line proposed by this Bill should be allowed to be made. It would give access to the City from Tottenham, and greatly benefit his constituents. This, no doubt, was an unusual Motion, but, nevertheless, he hoped, notwithstanding the decision of the Standing Orders Committee, that it might be allowed to proceed, subject, of course, to any conditions laid down by the Standing Orders Committee. He hoped, under those circumstances, that the Bill might be allowed to go before the Committee upstairs and the whole question be fairly dealt with.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Report of Select Committee on Standing Orders of March 7th last on the Hammersmith, City, and North-East London Railway (Petition for Bill), be referred back to the said Select Committee to consider and report whether the Standing Orders may now be dispensed with and the parties be permitted to proceed with their Bill in respect of certain of the railways and works proposed to be authorised thereby, subject to such conditions as to the said Select Committee may seem meet."—(Sir Edward Strachey.)


said that he hoped the House would not accede to the Motion, as the course I suggested was one to be taken only in very exceptional cases, and so far as he could hear the hon. Gentleman had not made out an exceptional case. One very important Standing Order among the several that had not been complied with by the promoters was that which required a deposit of 5 per cent. The agents could not have made a mistake in that matter. It would be a slight on the Standing Orders Committee to send the Bill back. The only reason assigned for sending this Bill back to the Standing Orders Committee was that there was a competing Bill, but it was no reason why the promoters should not have complied with the Standing Orders.

MR. HALSEY (Hertfordshire, Watford),

as Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee, expressed the hope that the Motion would not be accepted. All the arguments in favour of it had been considered by the Standing Orders Committee. With the merits of the Bill that Committee had nothing to do. The Standing Orders were for the protection of the public; and the non-compliances reported in this case, were many and serious, including neglect to make the necessary deposit. He never in his experience remembered a case in which that deposit had not been made. There might be a competing Bill, but that was not a matter for the Standing Orders Committee, but the Committee to which the Bill would be committed. In ordinary cases with which they had to deal the cases of non-compliance were technical cases, and the report of the Examiner of Standing Orders which was always before them took up half a sheet of paper. In this case, however, it occupied three fall foolscap sheets of print. The question of not paying deposit was a very serious one and one which the House would do well to consider. He thought the House would see that that was a most serious and important point, because the deposit was the only safeguard the public had in the event of the Bill being thrown out and the Committee awarding costs.


I do not ask that they should be exempted, but simply that they should be allowed to make the deposit now.


said the Committee certainly considered that it was their duty to reject the Bill. He hoped the House would not agree to this Motion. The general Question before the House was whether they were prepared to impose confidence in their Committees. The Standing Orders Committee was not unreasonable in its requirements. During the last three years 124 cases of non-compliance with the Standing Orders had been considered by it, arid only in thirteen of these had it refused to dispense with the Standing Orders. That showed that the Committee was not unreasonably severe. For all these reasons he urged the House to support the Committee. The Committee had concluded that this was not a case in which they would be justified in dispensing with the Standing Orders. If the House disagreed with the course which the Committee had taken, the proper remedy would be to discharge the Committee and appoint other Members of the House who would act more in accordance with the wishes of the House. So long as the Committee did its duty in these matters he thought it would retain the confidence of the House. He there-fore asked the House not to agree to this Motion.

MR. JOHN ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)

said that this was an unprecedented Motion. It was in a different category from the Motion made by the Chairman of Ways and Means three weeks ago, for that was agreed to by the two parties, and even then it was only carried by a very small majority. He was one of those who thought tint Committees wore all the better for being carefully watched, and the Standing Orders Committee ought not to be free from having its conduct and actions criticised in this House. The precedent of the Motion made by the Chairman of Ways and Means, in view of the exceptional circumstances in which it was made, might very well be brushed aside, but the Motion now before them stood upon a very different footing. This was not an agreed case, and the hon. Baronet who introduced it had adopted the statement of the promoters. The Chairman of the Standing Orders Committee had stated that they had nothing to do with the merits of the case, and all they had to do was, on the Examiner's Report, to see whether the Standing Orders should be suspended. The failure to make a deposit was a serious thing in itself, but he held that promoters, when they came forward asking for powers as against individuals, could not be too careful and strict in the information which they gave to the public in complying with the Standing Orders. Parliament had to safeguard the rights of individuals in this way. In this case the plans were not whit they should have been, and a great many cases of non-compliance with the Standing Orders were pointed out by the Examiner. Under these circumstances it was perfectly impossible for the Committee to recommend that the Standing Orders should be suspended. A Motion like this struck at the very root of the working of the Standing Orders, and it was utterly impossible for the House at large to come to a just decision upon the merits of a case like this. It was quite necessary that the House should take great care in appointing its Committees, but, after having done this, such Committees should be given pretty large powers, and the House should repose considerable confidence in them. If they carried this Motion they would open the door to all sorts of similar Motions in the future on the part of people who had committed such laches as were proved to have been committed in the present case. He appealed to hon. Members to reject this Motion.

*MR. DAVID MORGAN (Essex, Walthamstow)

Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I desire as a business man to ask the House to reject the hon. Baronet's Motion, because the House has, in its wisdom, delegated certain powers to the Committee on Standing Orders, and it is not business if, having done so, it now decides to override the decision of that Committee. I will not repeat the arguments of the Chairman of the Committee on Standing Orders, or those of the hon. Member or, the other side (Mr. Ellis), also a member of the Committee, as they have dealt fully with what passed when the Hammersmith and North-East London Bill was before the Committee on Standing Orders. To my mind the remarks of the two Members were most conclusive, and I beg the House to reject the Motion of the right hon. Baronet.

SIR FREDERICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)

said he wished to draw attention to an important point, and that was the omission of the promoters in this case to pay the deposit. That point had been alluded to by his right hon. friend, but the real importance of it had not been brought before the House. The object of the deposit was to prevent people coming forward and getting powers, and then waiting to see what they could get by disposing of them to other persons. This was a very important thing in the interests of the public and in the interests of everybody concerned in this scheme.

*DR. SHIPMAN (Northampton),

in supporting the Motion, denied that it involved any lack of confidence in or respect for the Standing Orders Committee. Was any want of confidence intended when a few weeks back the Chairman of Committees (Mr. Lowther), through the hon. Member for Hampshire, made a similar Motion? He too, intended no disrespect to the Standing Orders Committee, but he thought a great public injustice would be done unless these two schemes were considered together. They would also find precedents for this Motion in the case of several Irish Railway Bills. The hon. Baronet the Member for Peckham had intimated that this was a sort of wild-cat scheme.


denied that he had said anything at all as to the merits of the scheme, for he never went into that question at all.


said the promoters had spent large sums of money in support of their scheme which had already been approved of, and to suggest they were unable to afford the deposit money was a very unfair way of putting it. They had held back the deposit because they were told officially in 1903 that no schemes would be considered in reference to tube railways until a certain Commission had made its Report, and they were told that until that Report was forthcoming it would be impossible for Parliament to consider these schemes. On November 4th, 1904, the Board of Trade also issued a notification through the Press informing all those about to promote tube railways not to bring forward their Bills. Consequently the Hammersmith Railway promoters, knowing that, held back on the ground that they did not want to pay a large deposit and then be told that they could not proceed with their Bill. When they found that the North-East London Railway had taken their name, and had come into the field ignoring the notification of the Board of Trade, thus trying to take from the Hammersmith Railway promoters the result of their labours, then they felt it was absolutely necessary to bring their case before the Standing Orders Committee. They also had a new ground to put before the Committee in the fact that they were willing to modify their scheme and confine it to that portion which competed with the North-East London Railway's proposals. He therefore asked the House to follow the example which had been set by the Chairman of Committees and the hon. Member for Hampshire. Unless these two schemes were allowed to move

together pari passu the public interest would not be served, and a great injustice would be done to the Hammersmith Railway Company.

Question put.

The House divided:— Ayes, 71; Noes, 133. (Division List No. 156.)

Ainsworth, John Stirling Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Allen, Charles P. Harrington, Timothy O'Mara, James
Barlow, John Emmott Higham, John Sharp O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Bignold, Sir Arthur Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Parrott, William
Black, Alexander William Joyce, Michael Pierpoint, Robert
Brigg, John Kennedy, Vincent P (Cavan, W. Power, Patrick Joseph
Bright, Allan Heywood Kilbride, Denis Reddy, M.
Cameron, Robert Lambert, George Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lamont, Norman Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th
Crean, Eugene Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.) Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)
Cremer, William Randal Leigh, Sir Joseph Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Cullinan, J. Lough, Thomas Roche, John
Delany, William Lundon, W. Sheehy, David
Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Shipman, Dr. John G.
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles MacVeagh, Jeremiah Slack, John Bamford
Dobbie, Joseph M'Fadden, Edward Smith, H C. (North'mb. Tyneside
Doogan, P. C. M'Kean, John Sullivan, Donal
Edwards, Frank Murnaghan, George Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Eve, Harry Trelawney Murphy, John Tillett, Louis John
Farrell, James Patrick Nannetti, Joseph P. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Ffrench, Peter Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Findlay, Alexander (Lanark, N E O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)
Flynn, James Christopher O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir
Griffith, Ellis J. O'Doherty, William Edward Strachey and Mr.
Hammond, John O'Dowd, John Joseph Howard.
Acland-Hood, Capt, Sir Alex. F. Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Hudson, George Bickersteth
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Crooks, William Hunt, Rowland
Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse
Anson, Sir William Reynell Davenport, William Bromley Jeffreys, Rt. Hon. Arthur Fred.
Arkwright, John Stanhope Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham Johnson, John
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan) Jordan, Jeremiah
Balcarres, Lord Denny, Colonel Kearley, Hudson E.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Dickson, Charles Scott Knowles, Sir Lees
Bartley, Sir George C. T. Duncan, J. Hastings Laurie, Lieut-. General
Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin Ellis, John Edward (Notts.) Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)
Bell, Richard Fenwick, Charles Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks. N. R.
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Lawson, Sir Wilfrid(Cornwall)
Bigwood, James Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Layland-Barratt, Francis
Bond, Edward Finlay, Sir R. B (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs Lee, Arthur H. (Hants., Fareham
Brassey, Albert Fisher, William Hayes Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington
Brotherton, Edward Allen Forster, Henry William Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Brown, George M. (Edinburgh) Furness, Sir Christopher MacIver, David (Liverpool)
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Gordon, Hn. J. E (Elgin & Nairn) M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)
Burt, Thomas Gordon, Maj. Evans (T'rH'mlets M'Crae, George
Caldwell, James Grant, Corrie. M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin
Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ. Grenfell, William Henry Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriesshire
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G. (Midd'x Milvain, Thomas
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)
Cheetham, John Frederick Hay, Hon. Claude George Morgan, David J. (Walthamstow
Coates, Edward Feetham Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Heath, Sir Jas. (Staffords. N. W. Mount, William Arthur
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Colomb, Rt. Hon. Sir John C. R. Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E. Nussey, Thomas Willans
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Horniman, Frederick John Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)
Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington Shackleton, David James Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Sharpe, William Edward T. Warde, Colonel C. E.
Pemberton, John S. G. Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Percy, Earl Sinclair, Louis (Romford) White, Luke, (York, E. R.)
Plummer, Sir Walter R. Smith, Rt Hn J. Parker (Lanarks Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Pretyman, Ernest George Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Whitmore, Charles Algernon.
Purvis, Robert Scares, Ernest J. Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)
Randles, John S. Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Rankin, Sir James Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe) Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks)
Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne Thompson, Dr. E C (Monagh'n, N Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine Thorburn, Sir Walter Woodhouse, Sir J T. (Huddersf'd
Renwick, George Tomlinson, Sir Win. Edw. M. Wrghtson, Sir Thomas
Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert Tully, Jasper
Rose, Charles Day Ure, Alexander TELLRRS FOR THE NOES—Mr.
Royds, Clement Melyneux Valentia, Viscount Halsey and Mr. Buchanan.
Runciman, Walter Walker, Col. William Hall
Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.

Question put, and agreed to.