HC Deb 01 July 1909 vol 7 cc677-709

Order for second reading read.

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


moved to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words, "upon this day three months."

The House is fully cognisant of the character of the Bill and those which have preceded it during the present Session of a similar character—it is a large combination Bill, such as we have discussed on more than one occasion. It is a Bill for combining two very large interests into one. Speaking of this specific Bill, its first object is to combine two railways, the Taff Vale and the Rhymney—two companies which have systems running parallel with each other and have facilities of access to a very wide coalfield in South Wales. The termini for these railways is at Cardiff and at the Bute Docks, and I think I am right in saying, that for more than 30 years the two companies have been, and are still, in active competition for the coal and general traffic of the South Wales district. There is no doubt as to what would happen on the combination of these two railways into one undertaking. I would ask hon. and right hon. Members to look to the districts where you have one railway holding a large monopoly, and to consider what has been the policy pursued with regard to the trading interests and the interests of the travelling public and all concerned. I do not for a single moment blame people coming here to get powers if they can do so, but it is the duty of this House to see that the public interest is safeguarded, and also the interests of all those who are connected therewith, including the employés. I think I am correct in saying that in 1889 a Bill was promoted for the amalgamation of the Bute Docks with the Taff Vale Railway, and the opposition then raised against it by conflicting interests caused it to be dropped. An attempt was also made in the Session of 1896 to combine the Rhymney and the Taff Vale, and make the two concerns into one, and that also was obliged to be dropped, and I would like to ask the House if there is any difference in principle to-day to what there was at that time. The only difference is that there are greater powers of capital behind the concerns, and. therefore, they would have greater power if this House were to sanction the Bill now proposed for second reading. It would mean that the healthful competition which had existed for so long would cease, and it is in the interests and for the benefit of both traders and workpeople, and all who have participated in the benefit which has resulted from the healthful and rival competition in the district, that it should continue, and I think that is the case, despite the fact that we have had it said on more than one occasion that competition has practically ceased and is somewhat limited. Yet, nevertheless, it exists to-day, and it is because it exists that an amalgamation Bill is sought for. If there was no competition, I venture to say that this Bill would not be asked for. Parliament has hitherto maintained the attitude that competition should continue, and for that purpose lines have been sanctioned in order to give to the community the benefit of it. Here we have an application that sole power ranging over very wide coalfields, should be confined under one control. I think I am quite right in saying that out of 27,000,000 tons of coal per year this combine would at least control 20.000,000, and not only that, it would dominate and regulate as it chooses, and at its own pleasure, the whole shipment of that large amount of coal coining from the colleries. The setting up of such a monopoly power was never contemplated by this House. I know that combines have taken place, but they have been but small, and nothing in comparison to this, which we have before us at the present time. The interests affected here are of a national character. It is of national import. It is not only of a Welsh national character, but it is a combined national character. You cannot allow monopoly to be let loose in one district and expect that it is going to end there. This monopoly in Wales would control, I think, about a third of the total output of coal of the United Kingdom. That is a very serious matter. When other Bills were before the House we were told that it was owing to difficulties that they were seeking to get the powers for working agreements—to be brought together in combination and to pool the receipts, and so on. It cannot be said in this case. The Taff Vale Company declared a dividend on its original Ordinary Stock in 1908 of 105–16ths and the Rhymney Company 7½ per cent. They are doing very well as they are. The object of combination can only be to do better. They do not come here in the interest of the general community. That is well known. They come here in the interests of the concern that they are going to set up.

With regard to the literature that has been circulated, we cannot take everything for granted. We quite admit that all sides have a legitimate right to do the best they can to further their ends, but I find from inquiry that every trade and labour council in the whole area covered has decided distinctly that this will be against their interests. While we have circulars from some of the town councils, we can hardly take them all as strictly genuine in the sense in which we receive them. It is quite true that we have them even from the Mayor and Corporation of Cardiff and that that representative body passed a resolution favourable to the amalgamation scheme; but it is also true that the circular they sent out was never submitted to the corporation for approval. I have another circular here, issued, I think, in the name of the Miners' Federation, but there are other names besides the miners'. I do not say it in any disrespect, but we should know exactly where we are in the matter. It is in the name of the persons who have sent it and whose name it bears.

Mr. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Glamorgan, Rhondda)

What circular is that?


Here is one issued on 29th June. It has the hon. Member's name to it. Over and above all these considerations there is another, namely, that this House has decided that the question of amalgamation should be inquired into by a Departmental Committee which has already been set up. Last week the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade made certain promises that if the House would accept this they would accept certain things afterwards, but this should not be a matter which was left merely as a compliment to any combination which had power to accept anything before the combination is allowed to exist. A Committee should give its decision and the House should consider it and attach any condition to the Bill before it goes from the House. It is no excuse to say this Bill was introduced before the Committee was thought of. Amalgamations have been thought of for a long time. Whatever power exists to-day vested in any railway company, it is merely a delegated one from the State. It is not theirs to bargain with and use as they think fit. Before a State Department should allow a matter of this description to go any further it should at least, in the interests of the community at large, endeavour to place necessary safeguards and restrictions upon the combination. I do not think it is right that we should take even the decision laid down by the President of the Board of Trade a week ago. It is not necessary for the House to prove that a Bill is either fundamentally immoral or scandalous. Where would you expect a Bill to get admission in the House that was of that character. It is sufficient for us to prove that a Bill of this character is not in the public interest, and that being the case, we ask the House to reject this Bill. Before amalgamations come along let us have at least a clear dictum laid down, and give State Departments the power and the initiative to step in at any time, in the interests not only of the traders but of the great mass of the workpeople in that part of the country. What would follow in other parts of the country from a proceeding of this character being set up? I ask the House to reject the Bill.


In rising to second the Motion for the rejection of this Bill, I should like to refer to the circular mentioned by my hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Hudson), which he was under the impression had been issued by the Miners' Federation, and which bears the name of my hon. Friend the Member for the Rhondda Division (Mr. W. Abraham). I think my hon. Friend was mistaken as to that circular. I understand it was not issued on behalf of the Miners' Federation, but merely as an expression of individual opinion. On that subject we shall no doubt hear something from the hon. Member for the Rhondda Division. Although he is against me on this occasion, I am quite sure that the whole House will agree with me in saying that we are very happy that the efforts of the hon. Member in another quarter have been so successful, and that he is able to be present to take part in this discussion. In the Debate which took place on Thursday last on the second reading of another Taff Vale Railway Bill, which is the com- plement of that now under the consideration of the House, I personally refrained from intervening until after the hon. Gentleman representing the Board of Trade had had an opportunity of making clear to the House the position taken up by that Board. I refrained for a two-fold reason. In the first place, having personal interests in South Wales Coalfields, and being connected with the Port of Newport, I did not wish to intervene in such a manner as might appear to suggest that I was speaking on behalf of any personal or sectional interests whatever. I wish merely to deal with this matter as it concerns public interests—those public interests which are the special concern of the Board of Trade. I refrained, secondly, because my position in opposing this Bill depended greatly upon the attitude that might be taken up by the Board of Trade. My opposition will have been perfectly apparent to all the Members of the House through the Amendment I have had on the paper for some time with reference to the manner in which the Bill should be dealt with on second reading. I drafted that Motion in the identical terms of the Motion proposed by the President of the Board of Trade on the occasion of the commitment of the Great Northern, Great Central, and Great Eastern Railway Bill before he accepted the Amendment of the hon. Member for Chester (Mr. Mond).

If the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to deal with these Bills in the way in which he dealt with that Bill when it come before the House early in April, I should be perfectly prepared to go with him, and I think most of those who appear in opposition to these Bills would do the same. To-day, however, I am guided by the experience of last Thursday, and by the statement which was made on behalf of the Board of Trade by the Parliamentary Secretary of that Board (Mr. H. J. Tennant). Speaking in this House last Thursday, the President of the Board of Trade laid down certain considerations which he said should govern the action of this House in dealing with private Bills. I agree with every word he said on that occasion. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for East Glamorgan (Sir A Thomas) that as a general rule, it is far better that Bills of this nature should be allowed to pass the second reading, and should be referred to a Committee, but there are special considerations connected with the Bills now before the House which, I think, should vary the procedure in regard to them. I also accept the principle of which the President of the Board of Trade is a most brilliant exponent, that there should be a discriminating manner of dealing with various Bills. He explained that on 6th April, when he moved the Motion to which I have referred.

I think it is apparent to anyone who considers the matter that the nature of the evidence necessary in regard to the subject-matter to be brought under inquiry necessitates the adoption of a particular form of inquiry. In the case of the Rail-way Bill which the President of the Board of Trade described as a proposal for the largest amalgamation ever brought before this House, he considered it desirable that a special hybrid Committee, should be set up to deal with it. The House took his view, and the hybrid Committee was set up. What I should like to know from the Secretary to the Board of Trade is whether there is any difference between the Bills now before us and that which was dealt with in that exceptional manner. Why is it that these Bills, which undoubtedly set up a condition of monopoly in regard to one of the most important industries of this country, should be treated as if they were merely ordinary Bills for some trifling railway extension? Nobody can pretend that in the matter of mileage, or subscribed capital, these little Welsh railways are to be compared with the great system of railways involved in the Bill dealing with the Great Central, Great Northern, and Great Eastern railways. But these Bills have a character which, I venture to submit, is peculiar, and the position of those railways is such as has no parallel anywhere in England. I would ask the House for one moment to bear with me while I try to put before them the geographical and the physical conditions which surround the coal trade in South Wales. There we have three ports —two in Glamorgan and one in Monmouthshire. The ports of Cardiff—which include Bute and Penarth docks—and the port of Barry, in Glamorgan; and in Monmouthshire, the port of Newport. Those three ports are outside the Welsh coalfield. They are separated from the Welsh coalfield by a range of hills: and those hills are only traversed by three narrow valleys. The Taff Valley, the Rhymney Valley. in Glamorganshire; and in Monmouthshire, the Ebbw Valley. These fix the lines of communication between the coalfield and the port where the coal has to be shipped and restrict the possibility of the creation of other lines of communi- cation. These valleys are narrow in all cases, and it is practically an engineering impossibility to put more than the one railway that there is in them. The valleys are completely filled up with the railway, generally a canal, and a river. There is no possibility of making any competing lines with them. If, therefore, we should have two lines upon which the whole of the coal output of the Glamorgan coalfields is dependent in order to reach the sea, in one hand, that one hand can close the whole output of that port. It creates the strongest possible monopoly you could have—a monopoly against which it is impossible to compete by making a competitive line. In Monmouthshire the port of Newport is mainly, I do not say altogether, dependent upon the Great Western Railway, which has the control of the Ebbw Valley, which is a precisely similar valley to the Glamorganshire valley that I have endeavoured to describe. But it has been abundantly evident from what has come out in the Committee of the House of Lords that if there is not a complete understanding there is something very like it between the Great Western Railway Company and the two companies which are already endeavouring to make an amalgamation, and it is perfectly certain that at no very distant date the whole of these three railway companies must control the direct transit of coal to the sea at Cardiff. That would be practically an amalgamation. That is a condition of monopoly I certainly do not view without great concern. If the House would bear in mind this topographical condition which I have endeavoured to describe, they will realise most accurately the conditions which require that these Bills should be dealt with in a peculiar manner —a manner different from that which is generally applied to railway Bills and similar Bills coming into this House. The Taff and Rhymney Valley Railways are the only two lines of railway which have the means of conveying coal direct from pit to port in the Glamorganshire coalfield, and the Great Western is the only line that similarly convey coal from pit to port from the Monmouthshire coalfields. In every other case all the other railways in that area are merely connecting railways with these three great arteries. They are the arteries of communication, and if they are placed in one hand you establish unmistakably a monopoly, against which we complain. There is only one further point to which I would refer. That has al- ready been referred to by my hon. Friend opposite. That is the argument upon which the Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Tennant) laid great stress in last week's Debate—that the amalgamation of the Taff Vale Railway with the Cardiff Docks Company was desirable in order that those docks should be sufficiently completed and equipped and appointed to serve the public. Whilst he was endeavouring, I think with indifferent success, to show that great benefit was to be conferred upon the general public, he undoubtedly conveyed to the minds of some of us that the larger share of the blessing would undoubtedly go to the Bute estate. I do not grudge the Bute estate or the possessor of it anything which he can reasonably expect to receive from the very great enterprise which for upwards of a hundred years they have shown in the development of Cardiff. But if the argument is a good one, and, for the sake of argument, I will accept that it is a good one—


I may say that that was not my intention.


I merely say it was the impression conveyed on my mind, and, as far as I understand, on the minds of other hon. Gentlemen, but I do not wish to press that point. I will confine myself to the other part of the argument, that he wished to convey to this House an impression of the enormous benefit to mankind —and to South Wales mankind in particular—from the amalgamation of a particular railway with one particular dock. I will accept, for the sake of argument, that that great blessing is going to be accomplished as the hon. Gentleman said.

I will challenge the hon. Gentleman to get up again this evening and say that, in order to complete that blessing which he told us last week was to be conferred on mankind, it is now necessary to bring into combination another railway. It is against that other railway that I am directing my remarks, and I protest against the Bill being carried any further unless we have such an assurance from the Board of Trade as I have indicated and as would be acceptable; otherwise I shall certainly support my hon. Friend in the Division for the rejection of this Bill.

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


When the sister Bill to this was under consideration a few days ago, it may be within the recollection of the House that certain grave charges were made against the company with which I have been associated. These charges were made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bolton and the hon. Member for Denbigh, who are not here this evening, I am sorry to say.


Perhaps the Noble Lord, before he proceeds, will allow me to mention what I had intended stating, that I particularly dissociate myself from any attack such as was made upon the manager of the company with which the Noble Lord is associated, and who I certainly do not believe would permit anything to be done such as was stated.


I am glad to hear the kind observation which has fallen from the hon. Baronet with reference to this point. At the same time, these charges were made. I was not present in the House at the time when the hon. Member for Bolton made his speech, but I was present at the time the hon. Member for Denbigh spoke, and beyond a disclaimer by way of interruption I was not at the time ready to make any refutation. I had received no warning whatever that these charges were going to be made. I had no idea of any such action being proposed, and, frankly, at the moment I did not understand what was meant. Therefore, I take the very earliest opportunity I can to state the facts and the truth. In the arrangement come to between Lord Bute and the Cardiff Company, which was called in question, there was nothing wrong, and there was nothing secret. The action taken was perfectly legal and perfectly public. A statement has been issued to Members with reference to this question, and, perhaps, I may be allowed to quote one paragraph in it. No doubt hon. Members like myself are in the habit of receiving similar statements by every post, and do not very often scan them with such care as the senders of them would wish. The paragraph I wish to read is as follows:— All that was done was that instead of paying the interest on the cost of works in course of construction out of capital, as is often done, and as the Cardiff Railway Company have power to do. Lord Bute undertook to make these payments himself. And these sums appear regularly in the accounts as 'interest on works in course of construction,' and are separately entered as distinguished from the balance from revenue account,' the only effect being that capita was relieved of these payments. After the charges were made, I sought and took the best advice I could as to whether by any possibility anything wrong had been done, or any mistake had been made by the company with which I am associated. I have been assured on the highest authority that nothing whatever was done in the transaction and arrangement which was come to that may be called in question at all in any way whatever. Not only was this matter, as I say, a perfecly legal and a perfectly proper thing to do, but there was no attempt to deceive the public. Attention was called to it in the report issued by the directors to the shareholders in August, 1902:— The Directors have to report that, in order to prevent the undue diminution of dividends through the large amount of capital expenditure which must remain unproductive until the opening of the new dock, and to give the ordinary shareholders the benefit of the revenue actually earned by the works in operation, the Marquess of Bute, whose estate will be greatly benefited by the completion of the docks, has consented, in the meantime, to pay interest upon the capital expended upon new works at the rate of 3 per cent. per annum. Effect was given to this in the company's accounts, which were regularly audited and sent to the Stock Exchange from time to time.


Has anything appeared about this payment of dividend, or money for dividend purposes, by Lord Bute, in any other document published by the Cardiff Railway Company, except in their balance-sheet, from which the Noble Lord is now quoting, published in 1902.


Yes; every year further publicity has been given to this transaction in the "Stock Exchange Official Intelligence." From the year 1903 to 1907, it contained, among the particulars given as to the Cardiff Railway Company, the following:— In order to prevent the undue diminution of dividend through the large amount of capital expenditure which must remain unproductive until the opening of the new dock, the Marquess of Bute has consented, in the meantime, to pay interest on the capital expended upon new works at the rate of 3 per cent. per annum. Net revenue account, at 3 th June, 1905, included £27,123 interest thus received against £23,919 for the corresponding half year of 1904.


He misunderstood my question. What I asked was if there had been any other statement published in any of the documents issued by the Cardiff Railway Company except one isolated balance sheet for the year ended June, 1902?


I am aware that there has been a similar statement shown in the accounts as described in the "Balance from Revenue Account," in which that yearly statement was shown.


I differ from the Noble Lord.


If he will look at it he will see.


I have gone very carefully through the accounts, and there is no indication. As the Noble Lord is aware, interest on capital is quite a different thing from a dividend. You may pay interest on capital from many directions, but you cannot pay dividend except out of profit. I do say that that is not shown in any of the accounts published by the Cardiff Railway Company.


I will be very happy to show him the statement of mine, and I think I will be able to prove his statement is wrong. That is the statement I have to make about this question. I apologise for taking up the time of the House on what, perhaps, is, more or less, a personal matter. The House is naturally, and properly, jealous, and I hope always will be jealous, whenever the conduct of any one of its Members, however humble he may be, is called into question; and I thought it only right and proper I should take this first opportunity of endeavouring to explain what actually happened, and the true facts of the case. With regard to the Bill actually before us, it is regarded as of the utmost importance in the interests of the traders of Cardiff and the local authorities. There are others who will speak with more authority with regard to the corporation of Cardiff and their interest in this particular Bill. This Bill is very different in one respect from the Bill we had under discussion last week, namely, that without this Bill those improvements in passenger facilities at Cardiff could not take effect, and I understand locally the greatest possible effect is expected for the benefit of the general public from passenger facilities which will be afforded by the proposed purchase under this Bill. It is intended to have a joint station of the Cardiff Valley and Rhymney Valley railway at Cardiff itself, and also arrangements by which trains from the district served by the Rhymney Railway will get access to the Great Western. Those are matters of very great public interest and advantage, and they will not be secured without the passing of this Bill. Further, if the other Bill, the Cardiff Railway Bill, the purchase of the Taff Railway, is passed alone, the great benefit of getting traffic in one hand at the dock end, and unity of management in working the traffic between the sidings and the docks, and at the docks, will only be very partially secured. That is an advantage Barry possesses already. Cardiff only desires to obtain and not to get any advantage over Barry, simply to be placed in a position of equality in this respect. It hardly needs any emphasis to show that to get traffic into one end, at the dock end, as it is at Barry, instead of having four railways working on the same lines as at Cardiff, must necessarily constitute a very great improvement. If this Bill goes to Committee it will be demonstrated, I believe, that Barry cannot be injured in any way. At any rate, no facility that Barry now enjoys will be taken away by this Bill. All that will be done will be to improve the working of Cardiff, and that is to the advantage of everyone interested with the trade. Quite apart from the merits or demerits of either of these Bills, I respectfully submit that having passed the second reading of one of these Bills last week we are bound in justice to put those two Bills on the same footing, and, it already having been decided one of them was to go to second reading, to allow the second Bill to be placed in the same position.


This appears to me to be a matter of very considerable importance to the people of Wales and to the country generally. It is a matter which I think we might very properly consider on the second reading rather than let it go upstairs. We are generally met by this cry of "send it upstairs." We have no right to send a bad Bill upstairs and to compel people to spend thousands of pounds in opposing what is wrong. A doctrine of that sort that we ought to send a Bill upstairs is in my opinion utterly wrong. I know we generally send a Bill for second reading upstairs. It is very proper generally when there is nothing special against it. I was astonished to hear the Noble Lord say, practically because we passed one Bill last week we are bound to pass this one to-night and give it a second reading. It is really absurd to tell us because we have done wrong one night we must do wrong the next night. In my opinion we did very wrong last week in passing that Bill, and we should be doing more than doubly wrong if we committed the same error to-night. We really ought to wait before we allow amalgamations until after the Departmental Committee which is, or will be, appointed to consider this question generally. That is what we understood the Board of Trade promised us, and that we should then, in an authoritative way, take the opinion of such Committee as to whether we ought to allow those amalgamations at all or not, and if so, what conditions ought to be attached. Surely before we allow amalgamations of this sort we ought to get the opinion of that Committee. It will be no good having the Committee at all if you allow all the amalgamations to take place first. Last week the Board of Trade did not seem to be looking after the interests of the people at large, but rather to be helping the promoters. The Board of Trade are paid for by the public, and they ought to spend their time, not in company promoting or in looking after companies, but in looking after the public interest. No doubt it is their duty on these occasions to give us their opinion and the opinion of their experts; but, having done that, they are going out of their way when they attempt to force Bills through the House by the aid of Government influence when the people most interested are against them. To my mind this amalgamation is an attempt to kill competition in this particular district. It is said by those who know something about the matter that the amalgamation may to a large extent ruin the Harry Docks. Those docks were established and have been kept going by Cardiff merchants to relieve themselves from the tyranny of the Bute docks and those connected with them, and this House, in my opinion, ought, if necessary, to go out of its way to support that competition of the Barry Docks rather than do anything to kill it. The same remark applies to a large extent to the Newport Docks. The object there again is in the interests of one particular company to ruin or damage those docks. I trust, therefore, we shall to-night take care that we do not commit a mistake a second time by allowing this Bill to be sent upstairs. We have a little too much of the Marquess of Bute in this matter. An attempt has been made to explain the payment of interest on these stocks, but I do not think the matter has been helped by that explanation. Nobody has ever accused the Marquess of Bute of doing anything criminal in connection with the matter. It was simply a smart piece of business. I am told outside that the Marquess of Bute and those interested with him will make at least a million pounds out of this amalgamation. If that is to be the result they can afford to promote a good many Bills in Parliament; but they have no business to put other people, such as the Newport or Barry Docks, to the immense expense of opposing those Bills.

The public must be the sufferers by these amalgamations. As far as our experience has gone, such amalgamations nave, generally speaking, been against the public interest, and have resulted in increased charges to the public. That is why we ought not to allow a bigger monopoly to be created than we have in any case in connection with the railway companies. I am always willing to vote for the second reading of Bills which are right and fair to the public; but in the case of railways we have to remember that they are necessarily a monopoly, and that we give them that monopoly for the benefit of the public, and not to work against the public. Therefore, while we may be willing to give railway companies every right and proper advantage by passing their Bills, we ought to take care that we do not pass them against the interest of the people. If Members would do as I have done, go down and see these docks and what they are doing, they would realise how very unfair it would be to allow any amalgamation of this sort to kill the competition that is brought about by the Barry and Newport docks in the general interest of the people. I trust-that the Board of Trade, seeing that they were saved last week by a curious combination of forces, and those not Liberal forces, will be in a more chastened spirit to-night, and will content themselves by giving us all the information they can, leaving Members to settle for themselves in the best interests of the people a matter which is non-party, and should be non-political.


Although I have listened very carefully to the speeches to-night, I have not heard a single argument why this Bill should not go upstairs. It has been said several times that we ought to do what is right and just, but the House will not be doing that if they do not send the Bill to a Committee in order that it may be threshed out in the only place where it can be threshed out. What the Mover of the Amendment (Mr. Hudson) has said is only another proof that this is not the place to manage local affairs.I No doubt he knows a great deal about railways, but he evidently is not familiar with the Taff Vale and Rhymney Railways. He said that these railways were in direct competition. In the most microscopical way they may be; but as the Taff Vale Railway is in the Taff Vale, and the Rhymney Railway is in the Rhymney Vale, how can they really compete? A nobleman's name has been freely mentioned, but I think he ought to have fair play. The only place he can have it is in the Committee. Contrary to what has been alleged, when this transaction has been consummated he will have got one and a quarter million sterling less capital. This House has granted some 1,043 undertakings, and out of these no less than 933 are amalgamations. This little Taff Vale, that we hear so much about, is only 124 miles altogether, and there are 13 undertakings in that. Thirteen is an unlucky number, and we ought to take the opportunity of making it 14 or 15. I have the honour and the great responsibility of representing a Constituency in which more than half of these railways are situated. I can speak with authority with regard to the Merthyr Corporation, which has unanimously passed a resolution in favour of the Bill. There are no less than 12 Labour members on that corporation, and the mayor also is a Labour member. The Pontypridd Urban District Council have passed a resolution in favour of this Bill, and the chairman of that authority happens also to be a Labour member. Caerphilly is unanimously in favour of the amalgamation. Monmouth, Brecon, and other places are in favour of it. The Cardiff Chamber of Commerce are in favour, too. With regard to the men, their interests would be safeguarded, and they will only have to meet one instead of three conciliation boards, nor will they have to deal with three boards of directors, and those not already under, will come under the Taff Vale old age pensions scheme. I am asking for this second reading for a great mass of people whom I know are anxious for it. The Bill may not be perfect. Probably there never will be one that is perfect. But the opportunity should be given to show whether it is fair and just. It will be an outrage upon these people not to have the opportunity to prove their case.


Having had some experience of the conduct of public business upstairs, I feel bound to raise my protest against the action which was taken last week and again this week in opposition to this Bill. I feel a great public danger is being encouraged if this House claims upon its own Motion to decide very great and important questions upon generalities, and thereby to do away with the detailed system of examination upstairs, where all parties are heard, merely on the ground of statements made, such as we have heard here to-night from hon. Gentleman who are opposed to this Bill. There is a tribunal formally constituted, and proved by long experience to command the confidence of the public and to satisfy all interests concerned, and that is the Committee upstairs, where all rights are examined and protection is afforded to all the various interests affected The established practice in this House has been to give a second reading to Bills of this sort unless some great public interest is menaced, and unless the Bill is one which calls for the declaration of principle to be decided and not a mass of details. It seems to me that in this case private interests are alarmed at the prospect of the passing of this Bill, and these private interests are, I am afraid, seeking to trade upon generalities, and to use the feeling which is natural against the doing away with competition or anything of that sort to obtain the rejection of the Bill. In order to save themselves the cost of opposing the Bill upstairs they have urged the cry of preserving competition. An hon. Member opposite spoke of the large sum of money which the fighting of this Bill would cost, but it is in accordance with the practical feeling and temper of this House that Bills should be contested upstairs, and as far as I can form an opinion this is not a scheme of great amalgamation. The Taff Vale Railway is the principal opponent, but it will remain with all its full powers, and it is protected also by special clauses. In the same way all public interests affected have been safeguarded by clauses introduced by the Board of Trade. The promoters of the Bill come with a strong case before us. The Rhymney shareholders are unanimous in their approval. An hon. Member said "Cardiff is always seeking to be protected against the Marquess of Bute," but the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce is unanimously in favour of this Bill, and in the same way the Cardiff Corporation is in favour of it. The House of Lords, after three weeks' careful examination, decided that the Bill is in the interests of the public, and I say it will be a very strong measure indeed for this House, on the statements of the wild character that have been made, to undertake upon its own responsibility to reject a Bill which is very largely desired in the interests of the shareholders of the railways concerned, and of the public. The proper course is to send the Bill to a Committee upstairs, where all things will be fully gone into, and if such statements as have been made here to-night are substantiated, there can be no doubt the Committee will give full and entire weight to them. It seems to me there is a very strong primâ facie case made out in favour of this Bill. I submit that the details of the Bill are not to be decided by this House, but by the tribunal legally constituted for the decision of such matters, where all the interests concerned can be heard, and where all the statements in opposition to the Bill can be thoroughly sifted and most carefully gone into. I believe the country generally has the fullest confidence in the decisions of the Committees upstairs, and I earnestly hope the Bill will be sent to a Committee.


I did not intend to interfere at all in view of the fact that we are to-night covering much of the ground which was covered last Thursday; but after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, it would not be right for anyone who opposed the Bill, not on local, but on general principles, and not as the representative of any individual, but of a large number of traders throughout the country—it would not be right to allow that speech to pass without reply. There is one point to which I must bring the House back, and that is that the question of amalgamation is not a local but a national question. This is not only a question affecting South Wales, but it is a great problem affecting traders in Scotland, in Lancashire, in the Midlands, and right through the country. The Railway Managers' Association works together; traders work separately. This amalgamation might be a small one, but if we sanction it now we shall be told when the next amalgamation scheme comes along that the House has adopted the principle of amalgamation, and, therefore, the next amalgamation scheme ought also to have a second reading. With what consistency can the House take up this attitude in regard to the principle of amalgamation? I cannot understand the point of view taken up by the President of the Board of Trade the other evening when he said that the Committee which has been set up to consider this question of amalgamation was not meant to stop railway companies acquiring what he calls their rights. Since when has it been the right of two railway companies to amalgamate? This House, if it thinks fit, may pass a Bill allowing two railway companies to amalgamate, but this is the first time I have heard it asserted that railway companies have a right to amalgamate. The purpose for which the Committee was appointed was to inquire whether amalgamation should be sanctioned, and, if so, upon what terms. In this particular case you are saying that this amalgamation shall take place before the inquiry. When the horse is stolen you are going to lock the stable door. It is really very remarkable that this House should be asked to deal with a great national question in this manner. The hon. Member for East Glamorganshire said that the House of Commons had assented to a large number of amalgamations in the past, and that is perfectly true. I wish to point out, however, that anyone who follows that argument up in detail will find that amalgamations in the past consisted not of competing lines but of sections of lines. Most of our great trunk lines have been formed by the amalgamation of small lines in the earlier days of our railway industry. There is no doubt that in the past the House of Commons has laid down and every Select Committee has laid down, that competition is a good thing. If any hon. Member will take the trouble to look at the map of this district he will find that these railways run parallel with each other, and Parliament permitted this in order to establish competition.

I think we are entitled to have some better reason from the promoters of this Bill why we should allow this House now to undo what Parliament has done. I think we ought to have some better reason than that which has been put forward to the effect that all these questions can be discussed upstairs. I protest against the assumption that this House is incapable of discussing a private Bill. We are not here to discuss what the Newport Docks should have, or this trader or that. I agree that is a question to be dealt with upstairs; but surely this House is capable of deciding between the principle of competition and amalgamation. The late Mr. Gladstone, in an interesting memorandum, in 1842 made a great point of the fact that this House should be extremely jealous of the rights of the public with regard to railway matters, should carefully scrutinise all railway Bills, and not send them to a Committee, but should look into the matter themselves. Most of the speeches we have heard to-night would have been far more applicable to the Bill which passed its second reading than to this measure, because the two Bills do not hang together. I hold in my hand a list of firms representing an output of 11,400,000 tons of coal, all of them opposed to this amalgamation. I think it is only right that I should put the House in possession of all these facts. What we want to know is whether the Board of Trade adheres to the policy which they have previously adopted in regard to this question of amalgamation? I would like to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is prepared to accept in regard to this Bill the Instruction he moved in the case of the Great Central, the Great Northern, and the Great Eastern amalgamation? There is in this Bill an important question of principle involved affecting a very large industry and a very large number of people, and if the President of the Board of Trade will intimate to the House that he will accept the Instruction which stands in the name of the hon. Member who seconded this Motion I think we might be disposed to accept it and bring this matter to a conclusion.


Upon the last occasion, when the question, which is very closely associated with this one, came before the House, I gave my reasons for recommending that the House should not deny the Bill a second reading. I am sorry if I gave a false impression to my hon. Friend the Member for South Monmouthshire (Colonel Sir Ivor Herbert), but, if I did, I did so quite unintentionally. I recommended the second reading of that Bill to the House on the ground that it would bring public advantage. I said it was a matter of considerable difficulty, but, after consideration and balancing all the advantages and disadvantages, I had come to that conclusion. The hon. Member for Sutherland (Mr. Morton) said the Board of Trade ought to be engaged more in recommending what they thought was the public advantage rather than in taking part in company promoting. If I thought my hon. Friend really understood the full meaning of those words I should be very angry. I can only think he did not comprehend all they conveyed. My Noble Friend the hon. Member for Sussex (Lord Edmund Talbot) alluded to the action of Lord Bute. I have consulted my advisers, and I am informed by them they did not disapprove of any action Lord Bute took. They think his action was perfectly justified. My hon. Friend who has just sat down (Mr. Mond) is under some misapprehension as to the terms of reference of the Committee now sitting. He stated that it had been appointed to say whether amalgamation shall take place. That is not what the Committee have been appointed to do. It has been appointed to recommend whether any and, if so, what changes in the law with regard to amalgamation shall be made, and, supposing Parliament authorises amalgamation, what protection is necessary for safeguarding the public interest.


The matter is one of very great importance, for the traders have not read the reference in that way. They wish to know whether the Board of Trade assumes that amalgamations are to be the official policy in the future and whether the Committee is to go into the question not of whether amalgamation will be a good or a bad thing for traders, but what protection can possibly be framed.


I think I am correct, but I do not happen to have a copy of the reference by me. The promoters of the Bill allege that by it the passenger traffic in this pare of South Wales will be very much improved owing to the fact that you cannot diminish by the terms of the Bill the number of trains per day, but that that number will be spread out over the day. The promoters allege that owing to the inter-communication between Rhymney and Taff Vale and the Central Station at Cardiff advantages will accrue to the public, and I think that is the view of the inhabitants of that district, otherwise you would not have had all the documents which have been circulated to hon. Members from the chambers of commerce at Rhymney, Cardiff, and Pontypridd. I realise there is not unanimity in those districts, inasmuch as the workmen represented by the Trades Labour Council are opposed to the Bill. They allege that it is dangerous and injurious to trade by the withdrawal of competition, and that the Powell Duffryn Colliery, in the Aberdare Valley, will be prejudiced and injured by the absence of this competition. Surely we ought to be able to find out which is right. It is not for this House to make investigations of this kind. These are points eminently to be investigated and threshed out by a Committee, and I have already informed the House that on a balance of the advantages and disadvantages the Board of Trade have arrived at the conclusion that the Bill ought to go to a second reading for investigation. There are only two valleys in which these companies really compete, the Aberdare and the Merthyr, and it is rather singular that at Merthyr, where there is the most inter-communication between the two companies, that we should have the strongest representations by the Merthyr Council, which has upon it twelve labour members. This question of competition or its absence should be investigated by a Committee, so I say the main interests ought to be investigated by a Committee.

It seems to me it would be a great pity, if you have a chance of really improving the commercial facilities of a great growing and important district—and the Board of Trade believes that that will be the outcome of this Bill—it seems a great pity that, owing to fears which may be groundless, the chance should be denied of having this matter investigated, especially in view of the fact that if the Committee decided that the fears were well founded they could insert clauses for the protection of those who entertain them.

Mr. WILLIAM ABRAHAM (Rhondda Valley)

I have been pressed by a considerable portion of my Constituents, whom this amalgamation will affect, to say a few words in favour of this Bill. No one will deny that the amalgamation, one way or another, will greatly affect the Miners' Federation. The executive of that Federation, of its own initative, investigated this proposal with a view to seeing if the interests of the workers were sufficiently safeguarded. It is not merely the interests of the Valleys which are concerned. Those who live in the East, West, North, and South are equally affected. The executive of the Miners' Federation, as a result of the investigation they made, were satisfied that the protective clauses, so generously and liberally granted by the promoters of the amalgamation, sufficiently safeguarded the interests of the workers; and they therefore felt it their duty to help on the amalgamation movement. I have always laid great stress upon direct labour representation. Take the case of the Rhondda Valley, which is supporting the second reading of this Bill. There could be no more representative labour body than the Council there, and I am informed that they are unanimously in favour of the amalgamation. Then, again, an ex-Mayor of Merthyr Tydvil this very day explained to me that, on his corporation, there are ten direct labour representatives, and they are unanimously in favour of this amalgamation. I cannot feel, therefore, that I am going against the interests of labour in this matter when I support this Bill. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that, in my opinion, this amalgamation will enormously increase the trade facilities in the Pontypridd district. Now I come to the Rhyinney district. In our investigations we had to see if that district was adequately protected, and I may assure the House we were thoroughly convinced that, in view of the clauses agreed to by the promoters, there was no danger that that district would be damaged. That is one of my reasons for interposing in this Debate. There is another railway which has to be considered—the Cardiff Railway—which, in my opinion, commences nowhere and ends nowhere. It has no direct connection with anything, but I am clearly of opinion that if this amalgamation takes place that little rail-way can be made an enormous influence. Great help will be given and facilities will be increased by putting that railway into this combination. With all due respect, therefore, let it be understood that my direct interest is to protect the rights of labour by wishing for increased facilities for workers, but the transfer of the management of that line into the hands of this new combination will give us vastly increased facilities beyond anything we have now. For that reason, I, for one, and the members of the committee of the executive of the South Wales Miners Federation, consider it our duty to come here and say a word in support of the second reading.


With regard to the Labour interests affected by this Bill, our trade councils, on which the miners are represented, together with the railway men and men in other trades, were unanimously against the Bill, and the same is true of every body of organised workmen anywhere. Every body of organised workmen who have given expression to their opinion have pronounced against this amalgamation, and I rise to make this correction lest the House should think that the Labour opinion is anything like so favourable to the measure as has been supposed. An hon. Member told us of the different interests that were in favour of this Bill, and, naturally, the cargo shipping owners are in favour of it, because it plays so much into their hands. The hon. Member made one interesting statement, which has a direct bearing on the Labour aspect of this case; he told us how, at the present time, a workman dismissed by one of these three railways cannot find employment on either of the other two.


I did not get that from the railway people, but it was given to me by a man who advocated the amalgamation.


My argument is this, if this complete form of blacklisting applies when three companies are in existence, what is going to happen when the three companies become one. It is the fear of this that forces the people on railways to take such a strong stand in opposition to the Bill. The promoters of the Bill have worked with considerable skill in obtaining support and the management has been distributing, in the form of promises, largesse with a very prodigal hand. A station is promised here, a fresh train there, and workmen's travelling facilities somewhere else, and all the interests likely to oppose have thus been conciliated. But those who accept these proposals forget that the Taff Vale Railway Company at present is in the position of the wooer. It is a different matter when the Bill becomes law, and the promises of these courtship days are then being called upon to be redeemed. I have heard nothing this evening to alter the opinion I expressed in the last Debate that the passing of this Bill would establish a dangerous precedent, and until we have the Report of the Special Committee set up by the Board of Trade nothing should be done to prejudice the findings of that Committee, and to fetter the action of the House in the future by establishing a 'precedent of this kind.


It will be admitted that the House is in no ordinary position in coming to a decision upon the merits of the Bill. It is true that it is a similar Bill to that which we decided upon last week, but this Debate is not without interest, and the importance of the subject justifies the time the House is spending upon it. It will be admitted that Labour opinion on the Bill is divided. There is, on the one hand, the working mining interest, who see the advantage which has accrued to them by the more rapid delivery of coal and other facilities. On the other hand, it is true that the Cardiff Trade Council have expressed their opinion in opposition. It is clear from that fact that this measure offers certain advantages to the whole community of Cardiff and to the whole district connected with Cardiff in which the labour interests will naturally share. On the other hand, the labour interest is also rather anxious that some advantages it has derived from the present competition should not be lost. I agree with the Secretary to the Board of Trade that it is difficult for the House on a second reading Debate to thrash out the various pros and cons of these interests, and the mere fact that there is a division of opinion in the Labour world in the district rather points to us sending the Bill to a Committee. If we turn from the labour interest to the trading interest of the general community, I am inclined to think we shall be guided to adopt the same course. It is obvious that the competition of the various railway systems in South Wales-have been in the past a very great advantage to trade. The formation of the Barry Company, the creation of the Barry Dock, and the building of a competing line were of very great advantage to the whole community of coal owners and shippers. At the same time I think it would be unwise for us to overlook the advantages which can very naturally redound to the community of the whole district from amalgamation. The hon. Member for Merthyr has stated that the promoters have promised, or are able to promise, very considerable facilities, both for traders and the travelling public, as a result of this amalgamation. I have no doubt, if they know what they are about, these facilities will be forthcoming. What we have now to do is to weigh the advantages as between amalgamation and competition. I think the House would be very ill-advised if they granted to this combination such an advantageous position as would enable it to force those companies which remain outside the combination to their knees. That would be a great misfortune, and I think the men of South Wales, and the men of Cardiff themselves who are particularly interested, and who are pressing the advantages of this scheme, will feel that a great disadvantage would occur if that were to be the result. Of course, I know it is stated by the opponents of the Bill that no terms can be inserted which can possibly guarantee the continual existence of competing systems. I believe it is perfectly possible for the Committee to insert such clauses as will guarantee the continued existence of those other companies. When this Bill comes down from Committee for third reading, if these conditions have not been considered, and if the result of the Committee stage has been to place the new amalgamation in a position to tread under the Barry Company or any other existing system, I think it will be perfectly competent for this House to reconsider the decision of the Committee, and possibly to reverse it.

Having tried to consider this matter absolutely impartially from the point of view of the representative of Cardiff, I cannot see my way to deny a second reading to the Bill. After all, nobody can ignore the fact that the trading community of Cardiff are in favour of the proposal. They believe their interests, and those of the docks, demand that this Bill should be passed. The salient point is that, unless the Bute Docks are acquired by a strong body, both financially and commercially, there is grave reason to apprehend that the development and equipment of those docks will not be carried out, and that the result may be that Cardiff will fall behind in the natural and legitimate competition in connection with the different ports in South Wales. I think it is my duty to support the Motion for the second reading. It would be wrong on our part to deny to the great city of Cardiff the right to place before a Committee of this House the case they have for amalgamation.

Sir C. J. CORY

I wish to say a few words as a director of the Barry Railway Company, to which reference has been made to-night. In the first place it has been said that when the amalgamation takes place improved facilities will be given to the public. On the other hand. I would point out that the Taff Company are now carrying at company's risk goods which the Rhymney Company carry at owners' risk. When there is no competition the same rates will apply to goods which are carried at owner's risk. My colleagues on the board of the Barry railway state their belief that if the amalgamation goes through they would be bound to approach the amalgamated companies and practically sell their interest to them on any terms they may claim. I should like to state to the House the history of the Barry Railway and why it was started. The condition of Cardiff was such that steamers were hung up there for weeks at a time for want of berths. A certain number of freighters, in order to overcome all those difficulties, agreed to promote a Bill to make a dock and railway of their own. This was very strenuously opposed by Lord Bute. Lord Bute had powers to make a further dock. When pressed to make that dock owing to the great congestion of the trade of the district he said, "Why should I be put to the expense of making that dock? If the freighters want more accommodation let them go and make a dock themselves." Yet when they attempted to make it themselves Lord Bute opposed it, and it was only after very great expense that they succeeded in getting the powers. Then we made the docks and the trade of the district has increased by leaps and bounds ever since. I am a director of the Barry Railway having a very large interest in the Barry dock. My company naturally send as much traffic as we can to that dock, but we have also to send at least a million tons a year to the Bute docks. It would not suit us to send the whole of our traffic to Barry dock even if they could take it, because, owing to the tonnage it would be impossible to get the tonnage of the whole of our ships at one dock. If this amalgamation goes through we shall find that the competition which exists to-day in the port of Cardiff in having the Penarth dock will be done away with, that is to say, if we did not get facilities these things are so hung up at Cardiff that while now we have a second string to our bow yet if the Amalgamation Bill goes through that competition will be done away with. It is said that the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce and also Cardiff shippers are in favour of the amalgamation. I understood from a number of members of those bodies that the reason they are in favour of it is that they find that the Bute Docks are carried oil in such a bad way that they feel that any change would be a change for the better. There is absolutely no reason whatever to have an amalgamation to bring about these improvements. All that is wanted is to have improved management of the Bute Docks. The Noble Lord the Member for Sussex (Lord E. Talbot) said the other night, when the Cardiff railway amalgamation was on, that Cardiff was indebted to Lord Bute's grandfather for its development, owing to his spending huge sums on making the docks. But Cardiff is not indebted to Lord Bute any more than to the colliery proprietors who sank their money opening collieries in the different valleys adjoining Cardiff. The docks would have been no use without the collieries any more than the collieries without the docks. If Lord Bute had not made the dock, no doubt other people would have made it for themselves. I cannot help feeling that, in the interests of the competition which has been the life and soul of the trade of Cardiff and the districts in South Wales, it would be most disastrous if these amalgamations passed. The competition of the Barry Railway, which has been of much benefit to the district, would be done away with if these amalgamations go through,' and I would therefore appeal to the House not to pass the second reading of this Bill.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Churchill)

Whatever may be the merits of our Private Bill procedure, the second reading is very often decided by the votes of Members who know too little of the subject and by Members who know too much. Whenever a railway Bill is discussed it is the duty of the Board of Trade to offer advice to the House. I am frequently told that our advice is supposed to be unduly favourable to railway companies. If that is so, it arises out of the new procedure which the House is inclined to adopt with reference to private business. Whenever a Private Bill is brought forward of any controversial character we are always enjoined to reject it on the second reading, and if a request is made on the part of the Government or the Board of Trade, quite apart from the merits of the Bill altogether, that it should go to Committee for a thorough and scientific examination, then there is a suggestion that the rights of different parts of the country and the general interests of the public are being invaded. The general interests of the public are best served by a proper procedure in regard to private business. The safe rule to go upon —one which I always went upon before I had an official position in these matters—where there is a private interest, local or special, interest of any kind whatever, is not to try to overthrow a private Bill on the second reading simply because they have more chance of doing justice to arguments in two or three hours' discussion than they would have had if they passed the second reading and sent the Bill upstairs for proper examination in Committee. I am sorry to differ with many hon. Members, but I do suggest that on this Bill, as on any other private Bill, and almost every other private Bill that occurs from year's end to year's end, the proper thing is to send the Bill upstairs and let the Committee thresh it out. I do hope the House will take that point of view, because injury is done to the general procedure of the House of Commons, and injury is done to the general interests of the country, when, without hearing arguments fairly and without challenging statements made in great detail by Members on one side or the other who had the case at their fingers' ends, the House is advised to reject one of these proposals without its being examined. This general statement I venture to submit, and I have submitted it before, that in this case there are particular reasons, quite apart from the merits of the Bill, why the House should not deny it a second reading. The House has passed the sister bill—["No"]—or the rival bill; at any rate it has passed a companion bill. I will not quarrel about the relationship. The House has passed the Tatt-Cardiff Bill, and, having given it the second reading and sent it to a Committee, it is necessary that a second reading should be given to this Bill in order that the Committee may have it in their power to protect the district served by the Rhymney Railway against any misuse of power by the Cardiff company. This is really consequential upon the decision which the House came to last week. The Committee ought to examine into the case—they ought to look into it as a whole. I should think the Committee would be failing in its duty if it did not attach the fullest importance to the interests dealt with when it came to examine the proposals. It will be for the House to say if the Committee has done its work, and to what extent it has dealt with the subject, whether there are omissions or failures on the part of the Committee, to give proper protection to all the other interests. I say, without hesitation, to reject the Taff-Cardiff Bill last week would have been, I think, an injudicious procedure with regard to private business, but to pass the Cardiff Bill and send it to a Committee after second reading, and then to reject the Taff - Rhymney Bill would not merely be an injustice, but it would be an absurdity. I am confident of the duty I have in this matter, and the Government have not put the slightest pressure, but we offer our advice simply from the point of view of the Board of Trade. I am confident my duty is to ask the House to have this Bill thoroughly threshed out and examined with its companion Bill. We are told those Bills are a scandal, that they contain elements of the grossest impropriety and immorality. Can you not trust a Committee to throw light on the scandal? If this is a Lord Bute "Relief Bill," as I heard it called, is not a Committee of this House, chosen impartially, with all the exhaustive process of examination and cross-examination, capable of throwing light on that scandal? Will not the House have the courage and the fullest material to deal with the matter drastically and with the Committee's decision and the Report of the Committee after the examination has taken place? I trust that the House will not hesitate in the course it should adopt. I say this without saying a word with prejudice to the decision the Committee may come to. The Committee may find the preamble of the Bill is not proved, and that injustice done to other interests make it undesirable that the Bill should proceed. The Committee has on more than one occasion in recent times rejected a Bill which the House referred to it. Therefore I say let the House adhere to the proper procedure adopted after long and careful consideration. That is the only procedure to enable the House of Commons to do justice to the complicated proposals which are from time to tune brought before it.


I would not have intervened in this Debate but for the fact that the President of the Board of Trade has made no reference to what seems to me the most decisive factor in this situation. He has deliberately, after the very important discussion on the Bill to amalgamate the Great Northern, Great Central, and Great Eastern Railways a few weeks ago, appointed a Committee to deal with the whole of the questions relating to railway agreements and railway amalgamation, and for the protection of the

rights of the public and trade in relation to them. But in this Debate he has made no reference to this, the most serious argument for rejecting this Bill, and has referred in his speech solely to local matters and opinions, as to which I express no opinion upon with regard to this particular Bill. I must, as a Member of long experience in these matters in the House, enter my protest against the policy of the Board of Trade in adopting a strong and partisan attitude in defence of Bills which involve the very principle which they themselves have decided should be and ought to be thoroughly threshed out by a responsible Departmental Committee. Having taken that decision it really appears to me singular that a great Government Department should deliberately invite the House to take a step which sets their own decisions absolutely at defiance.


I have listened to many Debates of this description, but I do not remember one in which there was so much difference of opinion between Members as has been shown to-night. I do not know the district, the railways, the docks, or the promoters concerned. I am not interested, except as wanting to do the right thing. I cannot support one view against another, my only chance is that the Bill should be discussed upstairs. There four or five gentlemen, somehow or other, I never understand how, manage to divest themselves of every vestige of party feeling, and after sitting for days and even weeks, while points are discussed in the most minute and exhaustive fashion, come to conclusions which, in 99 cases out of a hundred, are accepted by the House at large. So far as I am concerned, I cannot honestly do other than vote for the second reading of the Bill, in order that the divergent views which have been expressed may be cleared up.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the question."

The House divided: Ayes, 137; Noes, 91.

Division No. 225.] AYES. [10.50 p.m.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Bright, J. A. Craig, Chales Curtis Antrim, S.)
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Bull, Sir William James Craik, Sir Henry
Anstruther-Gray, Major Burns, Rt. Hon. John Crossley, William J.
Ashley, W. W. Carlile, E. Hildred Dalrymple, Viscount
Balcarres, Lord Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)
Banbury, Sir Freerick George Cheetham, John Frederick Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-shire)
Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Doughty, Sir George
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers.
Bignold, Sir Arthur Clyde, J. Avon Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)
Birrell, Rt Hon. Augustine Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E. Elibank, Master of
Bramsdon, Sir T. A. Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Falconer, James
Fell, Arthur Lonsdale, John Brownlee Raphael, Herbert H.
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Lundon, T. Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Lupton, Arnold Redmond, William (Clare)
Fletcher, J. S. Lyell, Charles Henry Rees, J. D.
Forster, Henry William MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)
Freeman-Thomas, Freeman Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Fuller, John Michael F. MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Roe, Sir Thomas
Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.) M'Micking, Major G. Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham) Markham, Arthur Basil Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Goulding, Edward Alfred Marnham, F. J. Sandys, Col. Thomas Myles
Gretton, John Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Seely, Colonel
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Menzies, Sir Walter Simon, John Allsebrook
Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston) Molteno, Percy Alport Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B'y St. Edm'ds) Montagu, Hon. E. S. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Mooney, J. J. Starkey, John R.
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Moore, William Strachey, Sir Edward
Haworth, Arthur A. Morpeth, Viscount Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert Morse, L. L. Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Hills, J. W. Murphy, John (Kerry, East) Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)
Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.) Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.) Tuke, Sir John Batty
Illingworth, Percy H. Nannetti, Joseph P. Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Jenkins, J. Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield) Valentia, Viscount
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) Nolan, Joseph Waring, Walter
Joyce, Michael Norton, Captain Cecil William Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Joynson-Hicks, William Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.) Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Kennedy, Vincent Paul O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Kerry, Earl of O'Malley, William Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Kilbride, Denis Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Lambert, George Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Saff, Wald.) Younger, George
Lamont, Norman Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)
Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis Phillips, Owen C. (Pembroke) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir
Lewis, John Herbert Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) A. Thomas and Mr. W. Abrahams
Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.) Pullar, Sir Robert (Rhondda).
Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.) Glover, Thomas Philips, John (Longford, S.)
Ambrose, Robert Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Pointer J.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Griffith, Ellis J. Radford, G. H.
Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset) Gulland, John W. Ridsdale, E. A.
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Barnard, E. B. Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Barnes, G. N. Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Bell, Richard Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Rowlands, J.
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Higham, John Sharp Seaverns, J. H.
Bowerman, C. W. Hodge, John Snowden, P.
Brigg, John Hogan, Michael Spicer, Sir Albert
Brocklehurst, W. B. Horniman, Emslie John Steadman, W. C.
Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh) Hunt, Rowland Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Bryce, J. Annan Hyde, Clarendon G. Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Johnson, John (Gateshead) Summerbell, T.
Byles, William Pollard Jowett, F. W. Sutherland, J. E.
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Kelley, George D. Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Kettle, Thomas Michael Wardle, George J.
Cory, Sir Clifford John Laidlaw, Robert Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster) Waterlow, D. S.
Crosfield, A. H. Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Watt, Henry A.
Cross, Alexander Levy, Sir Maurice Wedgewood, Josiah C.
Dalziel, Sir James Henry Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Weir, James Galloway
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Maddison, Frederick White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Duncan, C- (Barrow-in-Furness) Manfield, Harry (Northants) Wiles, Thomas
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Massie, J. Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Edwards, A. Clement (Denbigh) Meagher, Michael Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Esslemont, George Birnie Mond, A.
Everett, R. Lacey Morton, Alpheus Cleophas TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. W. Hudson and Sir Ivor Herbert.
Fenwick, Charles Parker, James (Halifax)
Flynn, James Christopher

Question put, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 141; Noes, 89.

Division No. 226.] AYES. 11.0 p.m.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Baldwin, Stanley Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Bramsdon, Sir T. A.
Anstruther-Gray, Major Banbury, Sir Frederick George Bull, Sir William James
Arkwright, John Stanhope Barry Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.) Burns, Rt. Hon. John
Ashley, W. W. Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks Carlile, E. Hildred
Balcarres, Lord Bignold, Sir Arthur Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight
Cecil, Lord I (Marylebone, E.) Joyce, Michael Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Cheetham, John Frederick Joynson-Hicks, William Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Pease, Rt. Hon J. A. (Saff. Wald.)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Kennedy, Vincent Paul Philipps, Col. Ivor (Southampton)
Clyde, J. Avon Kerry, Earl of Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos, H. A. E. Kilbride, Denis Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Lambert, George Pullar, Sir Robert
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Lamont, Norman Raphael, Herbert H.
Craik, Sir Henry Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Crossley, William J. Lewis, John Herbert Redmond, William (Clare)
Dalrymple, Viscount Long, Rt. Hon. Walter (Dublin, S.) Rees, J. D.
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Richards, Thomas (W. Monmouth)
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Lundon, T. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.) Lupton, Arnold Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Doughty, Sir George Lyell, Charles Henry Roe, Sir Thomas
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers. MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Elibank, Master of MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Sandys, Col. Thos. Myles
Falconer, James MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Seely, Colonel
Fell, Arthur M'Micking, Major G. Simon, John Allsebrook
Fergusson, R. C. Munro Markham, Arthur Basil Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Marnham, F. J. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Fletcher, J. S. Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Stanier, Beville
Forster, Henry William Menzies, Sir Walter Strachey, Sir Edward
Fuller, John Michael F. Molteno, Percy Alport Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John Montagu, Hon. E. S. Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Glen-Coates, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.) Mooney, J. J. Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)
Gooch, Herry Cubitt (Peckham) Moore, William Tuke, Sir John Batty
Guiding, Edward Alfred Morpeth, Viscount Ure, Rt. Hon Alexander
Gretton, John Morse, L. L. Valentia, Viscount
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Murphy, John (Kerry, East) Waring, Walter
Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston) Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.) Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B'y St. Edm'ds) Nannetti, Joseph P. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.) Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield) Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Nolan, Joseph Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Haworth, Arthur A. Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. (Stuart-
Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T. O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid) Younger, George
Hills, J. W. O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.) O'Doherty, Philip TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir
Illingworth, Percy H. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) A. Thomas and Mr. W. Abraham
Jenkins, J. O'Malley, William (Rhodda).
Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)
Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.) Fenwick, Charles Philips, John (Longford, S.)
Ambrose, Robert Flynn, James Christopher Pointer, J.
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Glover, Thomas Radford, G. H.
Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset) Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Ridsdale, E. A.
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Griffith, Ellis J. Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Barnard, E. B. Gulland, John W. Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)
Barnes, G. N. Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Bell, Richard Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Rowlands, J.
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Seaverns, J. H.
Bowerman, C. W. Higham, John Sharp Snowden, P.
Brigg, John Hodge, John Steadman, W. C.
Brocklehurst, W. B. Hogan, Michael Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh) Horniman, Emslie John Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Bryce, J. Annan Hunt, Rowland Summerbell, T.
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Hyde, Clarendon G. Sutherland, J. E.
Byles, William Pollard Johnson, John (Gateshead) Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Jowett, F. W. Wardle, George J.
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Kelley, George D. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Cory, Sir Clifford John Kettle, Thomas Michael Waterlow, D. S.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Laidlaw, Robert Watt, Henry A.
Crosfield, A. H. Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Cross, Alexander Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Weir, James Galloway
Dalziel, Sir James Henry Levy, Sir Maurice White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Davies, David (Montgomery Co.) Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) Wiles, Thomas
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Maddison, Frederick Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Massie, J. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Meagher, Michael
Edwards, A. Clement (Denbigh) Mond, A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. W. Hudson and Sir Ivor Herbert.
Esslemont, George Birnie Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Everett, R. Lacey Parker, James (Halifax)