HC Deb 11 June 1907 vol 175 cc1309-10

Order read, for Second Reading.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

MR. J. WARD (Stoke-on-Trent)

thought that before the Bill passed the Second Reading they were entitled to same explanation of the Bill and its provisions.


said it was no part of the business of a Government Department to explain what the provisions of a private Bill were, although he would be glad to do so. If, therefore, he did not supply any information, his refusal was meant in no unfriendly sense.

*MR. NIELD (Middlesex, Ealing)

said that as one of the Members whose names were on the back of the Bill he would be glad to explain what the meaning of it was; but at the same time he thought it was an extraordinary thing and not in accordance with the usages of the House for people to put down Amendments to the Bill and then not be present to support them, especially when their objections only referred to clauses about which negotiations were proceeding. There seemed to him to be a practice growing up to oppose the Second Reading of Bills where it was sought merely to get clauses and no question arose as to the principles of the measure, and this he ventured to think should be discouraged. This Bill was one of a series of Bills promoted by the same company for the purpose of supplying electricity in bulk in Middlesex, and a large portion of Hertfordshire and Essex. The object was to satisfy the democratic Eastern and North-Eastern districts of those counties by taking over their lighting and supplying the needs of the poorer areas, who were exercising a wise discretion in taking a bulk supply instead of embarking on an expensive generating plant. He was told that there was some objection on clauses, but that could be met in the course of a few hours discussion upstairs and most satisfactorily disposed of.