HC Deb 17 February 1915 vol 69 cc1141-2
62. Mr. BOOTH

asked the Prime Minister if his attention has been drawn to a number of Private Bills introduced this Session which are on various grounds opposed; whether he is aware of the possibility of Bills being defeated in the House after much labour and expenditure of money in the Committee Rooms; and whether he will now make a statement indicating what class of Bills fall within the category of contentious public matter so as to avoid heavy loss upon promoters of such Bills and the waste of the time of the Committees?


I refer my hon. Friend to my remarks on the 3rd February last, where I stated that if particular private Bills raised questions of a public character, and of a contentious nature, the Government would naturally feel disposed to prevent further progress. He will see that I do not include Bills where the contentious matter is of a private nature and domestic to the Bill. It is, of course, not easy, prima facie, to determine whether a particular Bill is or is not of the latter description; but where doubt exists, the question could be settled on a Second Reading Debate, and I am sure the House would be disposed to be guided by the view which would probably be then expressed by the Chairman of Ways and Means.