HC Deb 13 December 1926 vol 200 cc2529-31

STANDING ORDER 32.—(Petitions for Bill, etc., to be deposited in Committee and Private Bill Office.)

The CHAIRMAN of WAYS and MEANS (Mr. James Hope)

I beg to move, in line 11, to leave out the word "also" and to insert instead thereof the words "at the same time."

Hon. Members may think that the proposed Amendments to the Standing Orders are very formidable, but really there is very little change brought about by them. The House will notice that they refer only to Standing Orders as to Private Business—Bills brought in under the Private Bill procedure. They have nothing to do with public business. In one or two cases they relate to pure matters of convenience. For instance, in one case they provide that certain documents in the course of Private Bill procedure should be deposited in the Vote Office for the convenience of Members. In another instance, certain procedure is shortened in the interests of those who conduct Private Bills. In a great number of cases, the Amendments are proposed in the interests of accuracy, because the present Standing Orders have been proved to be not an accurate description of the procedure in practice.

In several cases, where the Standing Order is to be repealed, it is because it is obsolete; because, owing to other changes, the Standing Order does not apply to existing circumstances. The proposed changes chiefly concern the Parliamentary agents who are responsible for putting through Private Bills. They have considered these changes with care, and offer no objection to them. If hon. Members would like to study the Amendments further, I have no objection to putting them off until to-morrow; but I can assure the House that they have been carefully considered by the officials of the House and by the Parliamentary agents, who are most concerned, and no objection is taken to them. It is in order to bring the Standing Orders up to date that I move the Amendments. I do not propose to move the Amendment on the Paper to repeal Standing Order No. 244. I shall move the remaining Amendments.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say in what way the rights of Members of this House are interfered with by the suggested Amendments, in regard to the method of dealing with private legislation and objections to Private Bills which come before this House?


I do not think they are interfered with in any way. So far as Members of this House are concerned, the only change relating to procedure within the House is that at present when a Bill is first objected to, the Chairman of Ways and Means is supposed to call it for the next day. In practice he does not necessarily call it for the next day, but for the most convenient day some days hence. It is not a change in practice, but only a change to make the Standing Order conform to practice. I can assure the hon. Member, who looks upon Private Bills with so watchful an eye, that he will not find himself in any worse position by the adoption of these slight: technical Amendments.


I hope that I shall: find myself in a better position.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made:

In lines 11 and 12, leave out the word "therewith," and insert instead thereof the words "at the Vote Office."

In line 13, leave out the word "or," and insert instead thereof the words "and at the Committee and Private Bill Office for the use of any."—[The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

After Standing Order 56, insert new-Standing Order:

(Percentage to be deposited.) On or before the 14th day of January there shall be deposited with the Paymaster-General for and on behalf of the Supreme' Court of Judicature in England, if the work is intended to be done in England, in the case of (a) a Railway Bill or Tramway Bill, authorising the construction of works by other than an existing railway company or tramway company, incorporated by Act of Parliament, possessed of a railway or tramway already open for public traffic, and which has during the year last past paid dividends on its ordinary share capital, and which does not propose to raise under the Bill a capital greater than its existing authorised capital, a sum not less than five per cent. on the amount of the Estimate of Expense or, in the case of substituted works, on the amount by which the expense thereof will exceed the expense of the works to be abandoned; (b) all Bills other than Railway Bills and Tramway Bills, a sum not less than four per cent. on the amount of such estimate or of such excess as aforesaid: provided that in the case of any Bill under which no private or personal pecuniary profit or advantage is to be derived, and where the work is to be made out of money to be raised upon the security of the rates, duties, or revenue already belonging to or under the control of the promoters, or to be created by or to arise under the Bill, no money deposit shall be required."—[The Chairman of Ways and Means.]