HL Deb 28 July 1927 vol 68 cc945-7

Returned from the Commons, with the Amendments, agreed to, with an Amendment.


My Lords, in reference to this Bill I think I ought to say a few words to explain the recommendation that I now make that your Lordships should agree to the Commons Amendment. You will remember that this Bill was debated on Third Reading, and that there was a battle between two rival opponents of the Bill, each of whom wanted an amendment. Your Lordships decided in favour of one of the parties and the other party opposed the Bill, I am informed, when it reached the House of Commons. But further negotiations took place and an agreement was at last reached between the two opponents of the Bill. I am informed that unfortunately, by inadvertence, the Amendment moved in another place to carry out the agreement was not the right one. It has been suggested to me that I should recommend your Lordships to disagree with that Amendment in order to move the right Amendment here. I think that that is an unreasonable request at this moment, with the Royal Commission fixed for tomorrow at a quarter past twelve; but the promoters have given a certain undertaking.

I will quote from a letter written by the agents for the promoters of the Bill to the agents for the County of London Electricity Company, and I understand—in fact, I know—that the agents for the County of Essex have no objection to it and will co-operate. Here is the offer in the words of the promoters:— We would give them an undertaking to the following effect:—

  1. "1. Your clients are frequently in Parliament and if they care to insert in their next Bill a provision remedying the error made last night, our clients would undertake not to oppose it.
  2. "2. If on the other hand our clients promote a Bill before yours, they would include such a provision therein."
I think I am describing the position correctly when I say that in the meantime there is an honourable understanding between the promoters and the County of London Company, with the assent and approval of the County Council of Essex, that the Bill shall be operated as if it had been amended as agreed, instead of as amended last night in the House of Commons.

My only comment will be to repeat what I said on Third Reading. I do not believe, as I have said throughout this controversy, that this state of affairs can arise for years, if at all, and it certainly cannot arise until ample opportunity has been given for making any necessary amendment if there be such a necessity. That being so I advise your Lordships strongly to allow the Bill to stay as it now is in the interests of the promoters, who have behaved with great patience all through this controversy in face of opponents who refused to agree. I think that it would be very unfair if their Bill were endangered merely because their opponents are in controversy.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(the Earl of Donoughmore.)


My Lords, the noble Earl may be quite right in what he has told us, but can he inform us what was the nature of the mistake that was made and the change that was effected? Some of us are interested.


It was a matter of two or three words. I should characterise it as a drafting Amendment. I am not learned in the law, as the noble and learned Viscount I am sure knows, but I have the words here and can give them if they are of any interest. To me, as I have said before, the whole thing seems to be a storm in a teacup.


But on the substance of it can the Barking source of supply be used for Essex now? Is that precluded?


Not at all. As I am sure the noble and learned Viscount will remember, the actual operation of this will arise only if the supply from Barking fails.

On Question, Motion agreed to.