HL Deb 16 July 1877 vol 235 cc1295-6


  1. "1. Because the enactments with respect to Post Office Telegraphs proposed to be inserted in Private Bills of this Session are applicable to the whole of the United Kingdom, and not only to the particular local authorities, and Companies which happen to have Bills before Parliament, and against none of which any charge of having injured telegraphs has been brought, and it is unfair towards these local authorities and Companies to subject them to exceptional legislation.
  2. 1296
  3. "2. Because legislation on such a subject should be uniform, secured by a public Bill. The result of submitting the proposed clauses to the decision of Committees on Private Bills has been that they have been in some cases accepted, in other cases rejected or modified and varied in different ways, and it is undesirable in the public interest to give to postal telegraphs such a partial and imperfect protection.
  4. "3. Because when protection to Crown or public property is required in Private Bills, it has hitherto been confined either to a general saving clause that nothing in the Act contained shall be held to authorize interference with such property, or when the property is to be taken or otherwise affected, to prescribing the manner in which it should be dealt with. Also, when Government Departments offer suggestions and amendments to Private Bills, either by reports to the two Houses or by communication with the promoters, such suggestions and amendments have always been strictly confined to the subject-matter of the Bill. In fact, the principle of finality of rights acquired under Private Acts has always been held so important that it is usual in the case of railway, tramway, and other classes of Bills, to insert a clause to the effect that nothing in the Private Act should exempt the Company from the provisions of future general Acts relating to railways, &c, or from any future revision or alteration under the authority of Parliament, of the authorized tolls and charges.
  5. "4. Because one of these clauses which is proposed for insertion in the case of new railway Companies, and of existing railway Companies which have not agreed with the Postmaster General for the sale of their telegraphs, gives to the Postmaster General a right or easement of fixing telegraphic apparatus on the lands and works of the Company without making any payment for the value of the right or easement. In the case of nearly all existing railways the Postmaster General has paid for the value of a similar right or easement, and the promoters of new Railway Bills of the present Session were justified in expecting to be paid for this right or easement just as much as for the conveyance of mails or troops. The clause in question is therefore in the nature of ex post facto legislation without notice of an unjust and unusual character.