THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (THE EARL OF DONOUGHMORE)
My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name in regard to this Bill, for which there are public reasons in justification.
§ Moved, That the Order made on the 25th day of March last, "That no Private Bill brought from the House of Commons shall be read a second time after Tuesday the 29th of June next," be dispensed with.—(The Earl of Donoughmore.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a. —(The Earl of Donoughmore.)
THE EAEL OF CRAWFORD
My Lords, I wish to ask a question about this Bill. It is a measure which contains provisions for dealing with Waterloo Bridge. Since the Bill was read a second time in the House of Commons the general position has changed. The Government has announced its intention of holding an inquiry into the general question of London bridges, which will clearly affect Waterloo Bridge among others. I should like to ask my noble friend Viscount Falmouth if he can make a statement on the position. I would ask that the County Council may pay heed to the Report of the Commission and that, unless any vital or urgent structural necessity should arise, the bridge shall not be destroyed until the Commission has had an opportunity of making a Report upon the subject.
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission I will answer the noble Earl by reading the resolution which was passed by the London County Council when it became known that His Majesty's Government had decided to set up a Royal Commission on the Thames Bridges. The resolution is as follows:—That on the understanding (1) that the proposed Royal Commission on Thames Bridges will issue their Report within a reasonable period, and (2) that the Council retains full liberty in the event of an emergency to deal with the bridge as it thinks fit, action for the rebuilding of Waterloo Bridge be deferred, but that in order to provide for an emergency such as is indicated in (2) the holding of the competition agreed to on 27th-28th April, 1920, be proceeded with.I hope that the noble Earl will offer no opposition to this clause of the Bill, for if it is decided that the bridge must be reconstructed, or if the bridge should show dangerous signs of failure, it is most essential that the Council should be able to proceed at once. If no money powers are obtained in this year's Bill no action can be taken until next year's Bill is passed, and thus twelve months may be lost when no time can be spared. I sincerely hope that the noble Earl will accept this statement. The County Council are willing to let the bridge stand as it is for the time being, while holding their competition, and nothing could possibly be done until towards the end of the year.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a.