HL Deb 15 August 1889 vol 339 cc1312-3

in rising to move— That the Minutes of Evidence and Proceedings in the local inquiry on the Electric Lighting Provisional Orders (Metropolis), held by Major Marinden, R.E., by direction of the Board of Trade, be laid before the House, said: I gave notice of this Motion two or three days ago for this reason—that upon this evidence has practically been based the action of the Board of Trade in bringing forward and promoting the Electric Lighting Bills which your Lordships have read this evening a third time. There has naturally been a very great desire by all those interested in this new branch of industry to obtain the facilities of seeing the evidence and of knowing thoroughly what went on during the 18 days that Major Marinden sat hearing the evidence. I am sorry to say that I have received a courteous letter from the Board of Trade saying that although they have no objection from a Departmental point of view, nevertheless the evidence, such as it is, is very voluminous; and therefore they think it desirable that it should not be printed on the score of expense. They also say that that evidence and the appendices were printed from day to day, and that any persons might have had a copy upon payment. It is perfectly true that any person might have had the evidence if he had chosen to pay for it; but he would have had from the commencement, to enter into an undertaking to take the whole of the evidence from beginning to end, and each copy of that book cost the unfortunate holder of it £37 16s. Very few copies, as your Lordships may imagine, were printed; I think not more than about 45, of which my business absorbed 10. The consequence is that there is a very large demand for this evidence which it is impossible to supply, and my impression was that it would have been an economy of the Board of Trade to allow this evidence to be printed, because I feel pretty confident myself that the possession of the evidence would save the Department very largely in the future by giving absolute guidance to those who will promote Provisional Orders in the future. However, as the Department do not feel disposed to grant my request, I will not press the Motion.


My noble Friend has stated the reason of the Department for deprecating this Motion. There is no Departmental objection to it: the objection is solely on the ground of expense. The evidence lasted 18 days, and there were 1,300 pages of printed matter, and it was considered that unless a very strong case was made out of this large mass of matter being printed and circulated to your Lordships it would be incurring a very heavy expense indeed without sufficient cause.

Motion (by leave of House) withdrawn.