HL Deb 30 June 1896 vol 42 cc374-5

On the Order for the Third Reading of tills Bill,


said that, having been in communication with those in consultation with whom he originally brought in the Measure, they were agreed that so far from amending the present state of the law, it would if passed make confusion worse confounded. He, therefore, thought it advisable to withdraw the Bill, in the hope that before next Session, in consultation with the Local Government Board and the noble Earl (the Earl of Morley) whose Amendments were embodied in it, they should be able to introduce a new Bill which would be entirely satisfactory to all parties.


thought the noble Earl deserved every credit for tackling this difficult and thorny subject, but he had shown very great judgment in withdrawing his Bill on this occasion; and this for two reasons. First, because it would make the law on the subject, already most perplexing and uncertain, more perplexing and uncertain still; and also because, from the noble Earl's point of view, the Amendments introduced by the noble Earl opposite certainly destroyed any merit—if merit it had—which the original Bill possessed. This subject of sewers and drains, and the responsibilities in connection with them as a branch of the Public Health Acts, was in a most confused condition—so much so that he should have no difficulty in pointing out cases in the Queen's Bench Division impossible to reconcile one with another. He suggested for the consideration of the Government whether the time had not arrived for putting into one Act, in consolidated form, the whole provisions which were to be found scattered through different Acts of Parliament, not always themselves easily reconcilable, so that the law might be brought into a coherent and simple form, instead of being as now, a fruitful source of litigation.


joined in the remarks of the Lord Chief Justice. He regretted that his own Amendments might have had some effect in injuring the Bill, but it was impossible to say what the effect of a new definition inserted in an earlier Act might be, and he feared very much that in this case, which was obviously a Bill in favour of local authorities, injustice might have been done to individuals if it passed in its original condition.

Order of the Day for the Third Reading, read, and discharged; and Bill, by leave, withdrawn.