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Metropolis — Government Of London Legislation—Question

Volume 203: debated on Tuesday 9 August 1870

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said, in the absence of his hon. Friend (Mr. Buxton), he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to bring in a Bill next Session for the hotter government of London?

said, in reply, that before he answered that Question he might perhaps be allowed to make one or two observations. He did most earnestly desire, and he thought there was a reasonable expectation, that the Home Department would have somewhat more time for the consideration of its measures by the House next Session than it had had this Session. If such were the case, and he thought he might fairly assume that it would be, he held himself pledged to bring in, in the first place, a Licensing Bill and a Trades Union Bill—both of which subjects had been mentioned in the Queen's Speech—and, in addition, a Mines Regulation Bill, which for want of time, he had been unable to carry through Parliament in two successive Sessions. Among the other matters—and he was sorry to say they were numerous—which would require soon to be treated, one of the most important was that to which the Question of his hon. Friend referred—namely, the better government of the metropolis; but, important as it was, there were others hardly yielding to it in importance, and perhaps of still greater urgency. Among them was the condition of our rivers—a matter affecting not only the question of the supply of water, but also the sanitary arrangements of all our large towns. Next to that was another measure of very great importance, and forming the necessary complement of the Elementary Education Bill passed this year—he meant a complete revision of the Factories and Workshops Regulation Acts. Another question on which a Commission had been sitting for, he thought, the best part of two years was the Amendment of the Sanitary Acts; and among the further subjects requiring legislation were the Inclosure of Commons, County Finance Boards, the Turnpike Acts, the superannuation of the Police, and the Game Laws. [Mr. BERESFORD HOPE: And the Medical Acts Amendment.] That, he was happy to say, was not within his Department. He need not say that those measures alone would occupy the whole time of the House, and it was absolutely impossible, therefore, that he could do more than make a selection from them. It would be the business of the Government carefully to consider the contending claims of those various measures, and, with reference to the time which might be fairly allowed to the Home Department next Session, to say what Bills, and how many of them, could be dealt with; and he could assure his hon. Friend that the local government of London was a question which would have a foremost place in the consideration of those measures.