§ Consideration of Commons Amendments to Lords Amendments and Commons Reasons for disagreeing to some of the Lords Amendments considered (according to Order).
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (The Earl of Morley)
said, he would make a short statement of the Amendments he proposed to move, and of the manner in which it was proposed to deal with the Commons' Amendments to the Bill. Their Lordships would remember that there wore three points involved in those Amendments. The first was the representation of the London County Council on the Thames Conservancy Board, the second the representation of the London County Council on the Lea Conservancy Board, and the third the sum to be spent on investigations by the London County Council. When the Bill came before their Lordships' House it was referred to a Committee over which the Duke of Richmond presided, and they rejected the Amendment as to the first point, representation on the Thames Conservancy Board, on the ground that other parties who ought to be represented were not brought into the proposal. When the Bill went back to the Commons they boldly re-inserted the Amendment, though he ventured to think they would have done better if, instead of insisting on its re-insertion, they had, by amending it, given their Lordships' House some indication of the direction in which they wished to proceed. But, that not having been done, there was still an indication in what took place in the other House as to what were the desires of the Commons. He had had an opportunity of conferring on the subject with the Authorities of the House and the President of the Local Government Board, and the result was the Amendments of which he had given 1398 notice. It was proposed, with regard to the Thames Conservancy Board, that instead of four representatives the London County Council should have three, and that these representatives should be reinforced by a single representative from each of the four riparian counties of the lower navigation, Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, and Essex. But it was postponed that this arrangement should be in force only for three years, and that, in the meantime, next year the Thames Conservancy Board should introduce a Bill to amend the Public and Private Acts dealing with its constitution and powers. The introduction of that Bill would give an opportunity for an investigation of the whole constitution and powers of the Thames Conservancy. As far as his own opinion went, he would have much preferred that any alteration of the Board should have been postponed until after an inquiry had been held. That would have been much the more regular and expedient course to have pursued; but that was not the opinion of others, and, therefore, it appeared to him that they should come to an arrangement which should as little as possible prejudice the course to be taken next year, or, at the latest, the year after. Next year, as he had said, the Thames Conservancy Board would bring in a Bill dealing with (heir constitution and powers; and if they failed to do so power was given to the Loudon County Council to bring in such a Bill either next Session or the Session after, or the Session after that again. With regard to the Lea, he advised the House to adhere to its Amendments. He ventured to think that there was no cause to interfere with the constitution of the Lea Conservancy, upon which the London County Council had already one representative, at least until an investigation as to the powers and constitution of the Board should be made. With regard to the third point, the House would remember that, in the first instance, the London County Council had asked to be allowed to spend £10,000 a year on investigations and negotiations which affected the interests of their constituents. That power was struck out in this House after the matter had been before a very strong Committee. The Amendment now returned from the Commons, but very much modified. It was now proposed that the 1399 sum should not exceed £1,000, unless with the assent of the Local Government Board. He understood from the representatives of the Loudon County Council that they would prefer that the words "with the consent of the Local Government Board" should he omitted, and they were content to leave it at a maximum sum of £1,000 a year. To that Amendment he thought their Lordships would have no great objection. He would, therefore, move that the provision as to the spending of a further sum with the assent of the Local Government Board should be struck out, so that not more than £1,000 a year should he spent on investigations; and the Loudon County Council were willing to accept that compromise. He begged to move the Amendments of which he had given notice.
§ Moved, That the Lords do not insist on the omission of the first two paragraphs of the Amendment on page 1 to which the Commons have disagreed, but propose to amend the said paragraphs so re-instated as follows:—
§ The first two paragraphs.
§ "And whereas the River Thames passes through or by the Administrative County of London and the counties of Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, and Essex, in this Act called "the riparian counties," and the Councils of the riparian counties are interested in the flow of the river, and the purity of the water, and the conservancy thereof:
§ (20 and 21 Vict. c. cxlvii.)
§ "And whereas the Councils of the riparian counties have no representation on the Thames Conservancy Board constituted under the Thames Conservancy Act, 1857, and the Acts amending the same, and it is expedient that the Councils should be empowered to appoint members of the Thames Conservancy Board for a limited period, as hereinafter provided, and that provision be made for the consolidation and amendment of the public and local Acts relating to the conservancy of the River Thames so far as regards the constitution and powers of the Conservancy Board."
§ The Lords insist on their Amendment to omit paragraph three of the said Amendment.