§ Brought from the Commons, and read 1a.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Lord KNUTSFORD)
I have to ask your Lordships, as the Standing Orders have been suspended, to pass this measure through its different stages. It is a Bill that is very simple in its character, but at the same time is very important, inasmuch as there is considerable fear lest the potato blight should be more extensive than was expected, and this trouble would, of course, materially affect several of the poorer districts. If the construction of the four railways that are contemplated by this Bill is commenced, it is clear that very great assistance will be given in the way of providing work for the poorer people in those districts. The Bill was read a third time in the House of Commons this morning at 7 o'clock without any Amendment; and the object of it is to enable certain railways 1123 which are mentioned in the first Schedule, some of which, as I have informed your Lordships, are in districts which are likely to be affected by this serious blight, to be commenced at periods much earlier than would be possible if the Spring Assizes had to be waited for to pass the necessary steps and presentments for the lines. This object is effected by shortening and accelerating the times for taking the preliminary steps required by the Tramways Act, and by enabling the Grand Juries to be summoned specially to consider these presentments between the 20th November and the 20th December, instead of at the Assizes in March. It is very important, as I have said, that this Bill should pass rapidly through your Lordships' House. I move that the Bill be read a second time.
(Standing Orders Nos. XXXIX. and XLV. having been dispensed with), moved that the Bill be now read 2a (The Lord Knutsford); agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly; Committee negatived; Bill read 3a, and passed.