HC Deb 10 March 1911 vol 22 cc1829-30

Order for Second Reading read.

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


I am sorry I must oppose the Second Reading of this Bill. It provides for the nationalisation of the railways of England, which, I think, would be a very large order. I see the Secretary of State for War agrees with me on that point. As if the nationalisation of the railways was not enough, the canals are added to the Bill. I wish to ask the House whether the railways and canals of England should be nationalised. The capital of English railways amounts to 1,300 millions sterling. I am now leaving out the question of the capital of the canals. That I propose to deal with later. I think 1,300 millions of capital is sufficient to deal with on a Friday afternoon. I do not suppose that any hon. Member below the Gangway on either side of the House would get up and say that he proposes to confiscate 1,300 millions of money. Let me ask: the House to realise what the proposal really means. The National Debt of this country is about 700 millions, and if you add 1,300 millions we are going to make the National Debt 2,000 millions, and we are going to do that at a time when by the course of fortuitous circumstances Consols have gone down from £90 to £81.

Objection being taken to further proceeding, the Debate stood adjourned.

Whereupon Mr. Speaker adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3.

Adjourned at Two minutes after Five o'clock till Monday next, 13th March, 1911.