§ 3.6 p.m.
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (LORD MERTHYR)
My Lords, the Esso Petroleum Company Bill is down for Second Reading next Tuesday, November 22. In this Bill, which is a Commons Bill carried over from the last Session, the Esso Petroleum Company seek power to construct pipelines and other works and to acquire lands. There was considerable controversy over the Bill in another place, and I now understand that several of your Lordships may wish to speak on the Second Reading debate in this House and possibly to oppose the Bill on its merits. That being so, I have asked the promoters of the Bill to invite another Member of your Lordships' House to move the Second Reading. In view of these circumstances I propose, with the leave of the House, to postpone the Second Reading to Thursday, November 24, to be taken after the Second Reading of the Public Health Bill; and in due course I will task the noble Viscount the Leader of the House to move the necessary Motion to suspend Standing Order No. 35 to enable the Private Bill to be taken as last Business. At the time of the Second Reading I shall, under Standing Order No. 91, make a Report to the House regarding the special circumstances to which, in my opinion, the attention of the House should be drawn.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, it seems to me that the arrangements which the Lord Chairman of Committees has made are generally satisfactory but for one thing; and that is, that no one can estimate at the present moment—I put this to the noble Viscount the Leader of the House—exactly how long the Second Reading of the Public Health Bill will take. It is not a short Bill. There are a variety 662 of subjects in it covered under the rather misleading title of "Public Health", and it is a very important Bill. I am wondering whether the noble Viscount the Leader of the House thinks there is going to be sufficient time or attendance to deal with this important Bill after that.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL AND MINISTER FOR SCIENCE (VISCOUNT HAILSHAM)
My Lords, of course it must depend on the feelings of the House in the matter. Such advice as I have received is that it will be all right. But perhaps nearer the time, when we know how many people want to speak on the Public Health Bill and what kind of issues are likely to be involved, it will be a little easier to form an estimate.