§ House in Committee (according to Order).
§ Amendments made by the Select Committee agreed to.
§ Report of Amendments received; Standing Committee negatived.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 3a."—(Lord Allendale.)
* THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (The Earl of ONSLOW)
My Lords, before the Bill is read the third time perhaps you will bear with me for a moment while I explain what have been the circumstances attending this Bill. It is a very important measure, designed to unite into one borough six of the large towns in the Potteries district. The Bill has been hotly contested before Committees of the House of Commons and of your Lordships' House, and the proceedings upon it in Committee of this House have been protracted literally to within the last few minutes. I am happy to say, however, that, owing to the very great tact displayed by the Chairman of your Lordships' Committee, Earl Cromer, the Bill was, in the end, assented to by all parties, and it now comes before the House practically in the form of an agreed Bill. I venture to think that a great work has been accomplished with much less friction than at one time might have been expected, and I thought that, 2310 under the circumstances, it would not be right to let a private Bill of this importance pass without one word of explanation.
§ THE EARL OF CREWE
My Lords, I am glad the noble Earl the Chairman of Committees has taken the opportunity of mentioning this extremely important measure. The accomplishment of this great work is a source of personal satisfaction to myself, as I happen to be a landowner in the neighbourhood, and I have taken great interest in this matter for some time past. What used to be known as the five towns, but are now six towns, are to be turned into one municipality. This was by no means an easy matter to have brought about, as all those connected with it are aware. I think great credit is due to the Local Government Board for the part they have taken in assisting this operation, and great credit is due also to those who locally initiated the scheme and who have worked hard to reduce the almost inevitable friction which arises in a matter of this kind, especially on the question of rating. It will, I know, be a source of keen satisfaction in Staffordshire that the measure has been brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and I desire to congratulate everybody concerned.
§ On Question, Bill read 3a and passed.
§ House adjourned at five minutes before One o'clock, to Monday next, Two o'clock.