§ Amendment made: To leave out the words "August, nineteen hundred and nine" and to insert instead thereof the words "January, nineteen hundred and ten."—[Mr. Gladstone.]
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be read the third time."
§ Mr. J. HARMOOD-BANNER
I would like to protest against the form of this Bill. It has been impossible to raise the question before. Under this Bill, county councils are to exercise their powers in non-county boroughs. The non-county boroughs have a better knowledge of the conditions of building in these boroughs, and of everything necessary to carry out the regulations under this Bill than is possessed by the county council, yet all the power is put into the hands of the latter body. This may be all right in counties where there are only small agricultural towns; but where, as with the case of Lancashire and Yorkshire, you have very large non-county boroughs with all their own powers and regulations, it does seem curious to put the county council over the heads of the authorities who have far more experience of these matters. There is a very strong feeling as to the undesirability of allowing the county councils to override these non-county boroughs, and I trust that the Government on reconsidering the matter will not place these non-county boroughs under the jurisdiction of the county councils.
§ Mr. JOHN MOONEY
It has become a habit in respect of these Departmental Bills to put in the hands of Members the original draft, not the Bill in its amended form. This practice causes difficulty and confusion. I do not say that many alterations have been made in this Bill, but I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that in the case of Bills connected with his Department, the amended Bill should be in the hands of Members.
§ Mr. GLADSTONE
I agree in principle with the hon. Member, but in this instance the alterations which have been made were so few, and the pressure of work was so great, that it was not thought worth while to reprint the Bill. I will, however, bear the hon. Gentleman's suggestion in mind. 337 In reference to the observations of the lion. Member for the Everton Division of Liverpool (Mr. Harmood-Banner), if there was such a strong feeling in the quarters which he represents, it would have been better if the matter had been brought to my attention some months ago when the Bill was first introduced instead of on the third reading.
§ Mr. HARMOOD-BANNER
Unfortunately, the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. A. H. Scott) and myself, who took this in hand, were taking a little rest after our arduous labours.
§ Mr. J. C. LARDNER
I do not oppose the Bill; I rather welcome it. There are Church properties in Ireland which are under no title whatever. There are no trustees, and the title is one of prescription, and in no sense could the person be considered as either the owner or occupier of the premises. Unless something is done to make the matter clear, it will be absolutely impossible to get a licence for such buildings. I would like to know whether the Home Secretary will have the matter seen to in another place?
§ Mr. T. B. SILCOCK
I agree with the lion. Member opposite as to the boroughs, and it seems to me extraordinary that the county councils should be put over the borough authorities, who know the circumstances of the case.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.