§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
My Lords, this Bill is a very simple one, to which I think your Lordships will have no hesitation in giving a Second Reading. Its object is to enable the county councils of either counties or county Boroughs to purchase any existing manorial rights which may be in the possession of the lord or lady of the manor in the matter of weights and measures. The Bill is not compulsory—it creates no new offence of any kind, and imposes no new penalty; it presumes a willing purchaser and a willing seller, and gives the Parliamentary sanction which is required to the bargain which these persons may make between them. The immediate necessity for the Bill arises from the fact that such a bargain has been made between those who own rights in the matter of weights and measures in the Manor of Wakefield and the County Council of the West Riding of York. Under the Acts of 1878 and 1889 referring to weights and measures, with which Then doubt your Lordships are acquainted, the County Councils are the Local Authority for weights and measures; but there are some few instances (they are not many, and, with the exception of this one of Wakefield, I think I may say they are not of any real importance) in which these rights remain in private hands. The sole object of the first clause, which is the main clause of the Bill, is to give Parliamentary sanction to the bargains for the transfer of these rights which may be completed; and it is obviously in the public interest that Public Authorities should have the appointment of those who are to enforce these Acts and not a Private Authority. The effect and purpose of Clause 2 is to provide for the adjustment of expenses between boroughs and counties, should any borough desire to obtain their share of the rights which the County Council may have purchased in the first instance. The Bill is not intended to apply to 820 Scotland or Ireland; the Scotch Office and the Irish Office, having been consulted, say there is no occasion for it in either of these countries. The Bill has passed through the other House of Parliament without any amendment, and although there is one small Amendment which I shall ask your Lordships to insert, I do not think there is any further explanation which it is necessary for me to give, and I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Lord Balfour.)
§ Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the whole House on Monday next.