HC Deb 03 May 1928 vol 216 cc1873-4
45. Commander BELLAIRS

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the cost of the proceedings in connection with the Joint Committee on the Railway Bills; and, having regard to the fact that all the charges will ultimately fall on the community, whether the Government will consider legislation simplifying the procedure?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

The Government have no present intention of introducing legislation on the subject. I would remind my hon. and gallant Friend that procedure on Private Bills by way of a Joint Committee is less expensive than if the Bills were considered by separate Committees of each House.

Commander BELLAIRS

While recognising that economy is effected by a Joint Committee, is it not possible to alter the system whereby two sets of lawyers are employed at vast expense, cancelling each other out?

73. Mr. BARNES

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will lay upon the Table a White Paper containing the Report of the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee upon the five Railway (Road Transport) Bills, together with his Report to the Joint Committee to which the Bills have been referred?

Colonel ASHLEY

I do not propose to lay a White Paper. It is not the practice to publish Reports and representations relating to private Bills.


Seeing the public interests involved, cannot the right hon. Gentleman indicate in some way what evidence was given, in view of the decision not to submit it to the Committee upstairs?

Colonel ASHLEY

No; I think it would be unwise to depart from the usual practice.


Is it not unfair, after all the trouble taken by this Committee and the evidence obtained, and in view of the fact that the public have a great interest in the subject to which it relates, that the Report should not be forthcoming? What is the use of having a Committee?

Colonel ASHLEY

The responsibility for the advice tendered to the Committee must rest with the Minister, and no one else.


Does the right hon. Gentleman think it is quite proper to use the precedent of a private Bill in the case of Bills with such far-reaching effects?

Colonel ASHLEY

The Bills under discussion by the Joint Committee are private Bills.


Are we to understand that there is going to be no Report at all, and that it will be impossible for Members to get this information through the ordinary channels?