§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Sir Dennis Herbert)
On the calling of this Bill, it is my duty to give a Ruling in regard to it. The case regarding this Bill is very unusual. The Ruling that I have now to give has been arrived at after very careful consideration of all the circumstances and all the interests concerned. The Bill was carried over not only from one Session to another, but from one Parliament to another, by special Standing Orders, dated 6th October, 1931, and 8th July, 1932. Under these Standing Orders, the Bill that was to be carried over was to be the same Bill in every respect. Now, in this new Parliament, the Bill is put down for Third Reading under the Standing Order. Technically speaking, the Bill itself is the same Bill. But 1092 when the Bill obtained a Second Reading in the previous Parliament and went through Committee and Report and Second Reading, and indeed Third Reading, it was on the understanding that 75 per cent, of the cost was to be defrayed by the Government. A year ago, and again recently, the Minister stated that it was not possible to make the 75 per cent, grant towards the cost of the Humber Bridge scheme. That being so, although the Bill itself is the same Bill, the conditions are so fundamentally altered that I could not allow the Question to be put in this House, "That the Bill be read the Third time"; I should have to rule that under the altered conditions the Bill would have to be re-committed. If that procedure were adopted, the Motion for the re-committal of the Bill would have to be moved as an Amendment to the Question, "That the Bill be read the Third time." But before that is done I must warn the House that if the Bill were re-committed and the Bill were altered in Committee so as to conform to the new conditions that have arisen, when the Bill is returned to the House on Report, I should have to rule that the Bill was not the same Bill which the previous House had sanctioned, and that it would have to be withdrawn.
Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. LAMBERT WARD
With reference to the Motion standing on the Order Paper in my name and the names of certain of my hon. Friends, do I understand that even in the event of the House being willing to re-commit the Bill and the Committee to 1093 which it is re-committed agreeing to pass the Amendments, you would even in those circumstances hold that the Bill could not have a Third Reading?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
That is the effect of the considered ruling I have given. If the Bill were re-committed and amended in accordance with the notices on the Order Paper, it would then have to be refused a Third Reading.
§ Sir A. LAMBERT WARD
Is it then your ruling that nothing the promoters can possibly do would enable this Bill to have an opportunity for Third Reading?
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. T. GRIFFITHS
Without disputing your Ruling Sir Dennis, may I say that I am particularly concerned about this Bill, because I am connected with the steel trade and because of the amount of Labour which would be entailed in the building of this bridge and I desire to ask for that guidance which you are always so kind and courteous in giving to hon. Members. I understand that you rule out the Bill because the Minister of Transport has withdrawn the grant of 75 per cent, originally arranged. Assuming for a moment that the promoters of the Bill were able to prevail upon the Minister of Transport to make a grant of 1 per cent, instead of 75 per cent., in order that this work might be carried on, would that affect your Ruling? As you know, Sir Dennis, some 20,000 tons of steel were to be used in the construction of this bridge and the work would give employment to a large number in the steel industry and also in the coal industry. If the Minister agreed with the promoters to substitute a 1 per cent, grant for the original 75 per cent, grant would that alteration induce you to give a different Ruling?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
No, I could not possibly do so. The whole basis of the Ruling which I have just given from the Chair is that a substantial part of the finances on which the Bill depends has been withdrawn.
§ Sir BASIL PETO
In view of your Ruling, Sir Dennis, would I be in order, so as to avoid wasting the time of the House, in moving that the Bill be withdrawn?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The hon. Baronet cannot move a Motion of that kind with regard to this Bill. Such a Motion must be moved officially, either by the Chairman or Deputy-Chairman of Ways and Means.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN of WAYS and MEANS (Captain Bourne)
I beg to move, "That the Order be discharged and the Bill withdrawn."
In view of the Ruling which has just been given from the Chair, it is obvious that to proceed further with this Bill would be a waste of the time of the House and of the money of the promoters.
§ Captain BOURNE
I may add that I have consulted with the promoters and that in the event of you, Sir, giving the Ruling which you have just given from the Chair, they were prepared to agree to this course.
§ Order for Third Reading discharged, and Bill withdrawn.