§ The Lord President of the Council (Viscount Whitelaw) rose to move, That this House do concur in the resolution communicated by the Commons in their Message of Wednesday last.
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, in moving this Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper I should briefly explain its purpose. The House of Commons agreed last week that it would be desirable to appoint a Joint Committee of both Houses to consider the whole question of Private Bill procedure and in particular whether there were any ways in which certain matters now requiring the promotion of a Private Bill—for example, those concerned with the construction of works—might be dealt with other than by private legislation. Concern has been expressed recently, particularly in the House of Commons, but also in your Lordships' House, about certain aspects of what I will broadly call private legislation procedure. These arose, for example, in the Joint Committee considering the question of the Okehampton bypass and in the Joint Committee considering the Edinburgh western relief road.
§ It is now some 30 years since Private Bill procedure was last considered, and the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees, following discussion with the Chairman of Ways and Means, agrees that it would now be appropriate for both Houses to set up a Joint Committee to examine these issues and to consider whether any changes might be made. I hope therefore that your Lordships will agree to this Motion, which will lead to the formation of a Joint Committee. In due course the Committee of Selection will be asked to choose those Peers who will be appointed to the 157 committee and who will face what I know will be a formidable inquiry. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That this House do concur in the resolution communicated by the Commons in their Message of Wednesday last—(Viscount Whitelaw.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and it was ordered that a Message be sent to the Commons to acquaint them therewith.