1. £31,526, to complete the sum for Royal Palaces and Marlborough House.
desired to call attention to one or two matters on the Vote for Royal Palaces, and to ask for a little information. He would first, however, congratulate his right hon. Friend on his appointment as First Commissioner of Works, and express the hope that they might expect a little more sympathy from him than they got from the old hand. With regard to the Windsor Royal Kitchen Garden, he saw there was down in the Vote £1,015, as against £978 last year. He was always careful not to say much about Palaces which were occupied by Her Majesty, and he had no desire to alter the arrangements made when she came to the Throne. He could not, however, see why they should keep up the kitchen garden. Surely that ought to be kept up by the Civil List, and he should like to know why they were asked to pay for the garden? The next item was Kensington Palace, £2,415, as against £2,125 last year. There was no explanation of that increase as far as he could see. He objected to their being asked to pay for the repair of these Palaces at all. These buildings belonged to the nation, but they gave up their use of them. The Queen nominated certain persons to reside in such Palaces, and, living there rent free, the very least that could be expected from them was that they would keep them in a good state of repair. The people who occupied the Palaces were well-to-do and did not require to receive this kind of outdoor relief: but, in addition to this, it was not fair to call upon the already too-heavily taxed people of this country to pay for the expenses of repairing these Palaces. There was an increase in the expenditure of over £600 in regard to the White Lodge, Richmond Park. He should like to know who occupied the White Lodge, and why they were called upon to pay this sum? The same remarks applied to Pembroke Lodge and the other buildings enumerated in the Votes. He desired explanations on these points. The next item to which he wished to refer was in respect of Holyrood Palace. He had for a number of years been calling attention to the bad state of repair of the Scottish Palaces and Castles, hut so far he had got little sympathy from the Government. He hoped the present First Commissioner of Works would take some little interest in these buildings, and sympathise with the desire to have them kept in a proper state of repair. They were now, he was sorry to say, to some extent tumbling to pieces. With regard to the chapel that used to be attached to Holyrood Palace, the roof had tumbled in, and the building gone to ruins. He suggested that something Like £10,000 a year should he taken for 10 years to put these Palaces and Castles into a proper state of repair. He would ask the First Commissioner to visit Holyrood and Linlithgow Palaces during the summer, and he would be satisfied that their present condition was a disgrace to the nation, and that they sorely needed repair. Part of Edinburgh Palace came under this Vote, and that structure also required some money spending on it to put it in good repair. A Mr. Nelson, a citizen of Edinburgh, formerly spent, £20,000 out of ins own pocket, not to embellish or decorate it, hut to put if into a decent state of repair and prevent it falling to pieces. It was disgraceful that it should be necessary for a, private citizen to do any such thing. Part of Edinburgh Castle was sold to a Railway Company some time ago, and the purchase money so received, instead of being spent on the building, had been put into the capital account of the Royalty fund. It was through the exertions of the Edinburgh Corporation that they got that money, and the least that could be expected was that the money so obtained should he spent in connection with the repair of that part of Edinburgh Castle under the charge of the First Commissioner of Works.
did not often find himself in accord with the hon. Member for Peterborough, hut on this matter of Scotch Palaces and Castles he was most thoroughly in agreement with him. He had visited Holyrood in the course of an historical tour he made over Scotland last year, and there was a danger of the chapel and other parts of the building falling into a state of disrepair, which would be disgraceful to this country. After all, if there was no absolute engagement made at the time of the Union to keep these Palaces and Castles in repair he considered it to be a moral responsibility. Holyrood was of profound historical interest in Scotland—Indeed, it did not sink beneath that of Royal Windsor itself. Such an important historical building as Holyrood should be kept up, and the necessary funds found for that purpose.
desired some information in regard to the large expenditure of £8,500 required for new drainage at Buckingham Palace. He had very often had to complain of the serious danger and risk to health and life in our Public Offices on the part of the Civil servants engaged in such Offices. The condition of the War Office a few years ago was disastrous owing to the bad state of the drainage, and now they had the matter come home to Buckingham Palace itself. Of course, when the health of the Royal Family and Royal visitors at Buckingham Palace was concerned it was a serious thing. The fact that the drainage was in such a bad condition as to require the expenditure of £8,500 emphasised the desirability of a public inquiry into the condition of our Public Buildings, most of which he believed to be in a thoroughly insanitary state. The Government ought to set an example in this respect, and have buildings in such a sanitary state that those who worked or lived in them should not have their health endangered or injured. He did not grudge this amount. He could quite believe the money would be well spent, and he should like to see more going in the same direction, but the Government must not ask them to vote such large sums in the dark. This item appeared in the Votes for the first time.
It appeared last year.
said, they did not have any explanation last year, and he hoped, therefore, they should he told what had been the defects in the drainage of Buckingham Palace, how the money would be expended, and whether sufficient guarantees would be taken that this would be a final sum?
desired to know what system of drainage it was proposed to introduce at Buckingham Palace? The drainage system was remodelled some years ago, and the system known as the pneumatic system, which had always worked with great satisfaction, was introduced. Was that the system which it was now proposed should be adopted? With regard to the Windsor Royal Kitchen Garden, he noticed that there was an increased charge this year. What became of the produce of this kitchen garden? The Royal Family were very seldom in residence there, and he should like to know who got the benefit of the produce of the kitchen garden? If it found its way to Covent Garden, or if anything was made out of it, why should it not be applied in the reduction of the expenses.
remarked that the Secretary to the Treasury was, no doubt, aware that Windsor Castle was not the property of the Sovereign as such, neither was it personal, but it was the Palace of the Order of the Garter, and was occupied by the Sovereign not as Queen of England but as head of the Order of the Garter, and if it were a conceivable thing that any other Sovereign could be the head of the Order of the Garter, that Sovereign would occupy the Palace at Windsor; consequently, it did seem to him that Windsor Castle stood in a somewhat different position to Buckingham and St. James's Palaces, which were no doubt personal Palaces—personal to the Sovereign as Sovereign. He was not sure whether, if the strict right of the matter were followed out, Windsor Castle should not be charged with the other paraphernalia of the Garter, of which they made a separate Vote in other departments of the Estimates. There was another subject to which he wished to call attention. For many years there had been two services held in St. James's Chapel, one at o'clock in the morning, to which everybody was admitted, and another at 12, for which tickets were required. The 10 o'clock service, which he had long been in the habit of attending, was a most beautiful service, conducted with the utmost dignity and propriety, and had been regularly held up to last year. At the time of the Royal Marriage last year both services were interrupted at St. James's Chapel Royal, and were transferred to the German Chapel, of which he would only say that neither in propriety, in acoustic qualities, nor in appearance, was it at all comparable with the other, and, instead of being a delight and a pleasure to attend the service there, as it was at St. James's Chapel, it was rather a trial of patience.
That question does not arise on this Vote.
said, that he only wished to complain that while part of the service had been restored to St. James's Chapel, the beautiful 10 o'clock service was carried on in the German Chapel, and was spoiled by the acoustic properties of the chapel. He, therefore, hoped that the First Commissioner of Works would see his way to restoring the service to the Chapel Royal.
said, he was not aware why the change in the service in the Chapel Royal alluded to by the last speaker had been made, but he would inquire into the matter. The expenditure on the kitchen garden of Windsor Castle was for structural improvements, and the outlay upon Kensington Palace was attributable to ordinary repairs. The expenditure in connection with the White Lodge, Richmond Park, which was in the occupation of the Duke of Teck, was owing to the decrease in the water supply in the well. In order to insure an adequate supply in case of fire it was found necessary to expend several hundred pounds. In regard to Holyrood Palace, he quite agreed with the historic importance of the old ruin, and it would be his duty to look very closely into that matter. His predecessor in Office had, however, satisfied himself that there was no danger from deterioration, and the Surveyor of the Office of Works, who had gone very carefully into it, had said that there was no ground for apprehension. He would undertake that the whole condition of the building should be carefully watched, and a further Report called for in the course of the year. In regard to Buckingham Palace, the underground drains had all been taken up, the line altered, and new pipes put in on the best system. The item this year was, no doubt, very heavy, but was calculated to cover the cost of all the heavy work. He would endeavour to profit by the remarks of the hon. Member for Preston on the subject of drainage generally. Complaint had also been made of the condition of the buildings of the War Office. Those buildings were very old, but before very long the War Department would have a new house in which the sanitary system would be as satisfactory as sanitary science could make it. The question as to what became of the produce of the Windsor Royal Kitchen Gardens was outside his province, as it was a private matter.
thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the way in which he had met them in regard to Holyrood. As to the occupants of the White Lodge, if their well-water gave out, why should they not have the Water Company's supply laid on, and pay water-rates, just us other people had to do? They got the house rent free, and the least they might do was to pay the water rate. He also thought that the occupants of the buildings, to which the Queen had the right of nomination—such as the White Lodge, Sheen Lodge, and Straw Lodge—should be obliged to keep them in a state of repair. An arrangement had been made by which these people were obliged to keep the buildings in repair inside, and he thought they might be asked to look after the outside as well, as they had the houses rent free.
asked whether the Observatory at Kew was the place to which chronometers and nautical instruments were sent to be tested? He noticed under the heading of "Palaces"—stud-house, Hawthorn Lodge and Kew Observatory. The category of Palaces had been greatly extended when they included a stud-house, an observatory, and a lodge.
said, he was unable to answer the question of the hon. Member who had just sat down. With regard to the question of the hon. Member for Peterborough, he could not undertake to say that the charge for the outside repairs would be thrown on the occupants of the houses mentioned. The owners of houses usually did the inside repairs, in order to ensure that the buildings were properly preserved.
asked why the well-conditioned lords and ladies who occupied these Palaces, cottages, lodges, or whatever they were, rent-free did not pay for their "fuel, lights, water, and household articles"? He accepted the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the produce of the Windsor Kitchen Garden. Perhaps Her Majesty had a right to make as much as she could out of the kitchen garden; but surely these people who had those buildings rent-free should pay for light and water and household articles.
said, his hon. Friend was under a misapprehension. The occupants of those Palaces did pay for their gas and fuel. The item referred to was for gas and fuel used in the Public Works Department in respect to these edifices.
said, that raised another question, which was whether the right hon. Gentleman so analysed the accounts as to apportion to each Palace its respective portion of the expense under this head?
said, he would like to point out, in answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough, that it would be impossible to ask the Royal occupants of those Palaces to undertake the repair of the outside of the buildings. Those Palaces were national property: they had been erected by the Crown or by Parliament, and no one should be allowed to touch them on the outside except under the authority of Parliament or the Royal authority.
said, he desired to say, in reply to the question of the hon. Member for Lynn Regis in reference to the Royal Kew Observatory, that the Observatory had been built in 1778 by Sir Thomas Chambers for George III., but since Her Majesty had come to the Throne she had allowed it to be used by the Royal Society, which looked after the internal repairs, while the outside repairs were done by the Board of Works.
said, the hon. Baronet the Member for Kingston did not seem to understand what he had said about the repairs of the Palaces. They had already made an arrangement whereby they compelled the people who lived in those buildings to keep them in repair internally, and he thought the principle should be extended to outside repairs, just as vicars or rectors were obliged to keep parsonage houses, which were also national property, in repair, inside and outside.
said, he agreed with the hon. Baronet that it was absolutely impossible to allow people to work their fancy on the outside of the Palaces, and that if any work of the kind was needed it should be done by the Board of Works. For instance, if the hon. Member for Peterborough occupied one of those buildings, he should not like to allow the hon. Member his way on the outside of the house, for he would probably spoil it.
Vote agreed to.
2. £79,228, to complete the sum for Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens.
said, that last year the First Commissioner of Works had promised him to provide additional seats in Hampton Court Park and Pleasure Gardens, and as the seats were very much required by the public, he would like to know whether the promise had been carried out. He also urged last year that a refreshment booth for the supply of temperance drinks should be erected in those grounds.
Why limit them to temperance drinks?
replied that a licence would have to be obtained, and that no doubt would be opposed by the public houses, which were kept up by hon. Gentlemen opposite so carefully. At any rate, all he desired was that the public who frequented those Gardens should be able to obtain temperance refreshments. He should also like to ask what became of the thousands of bunches of grapes which grew on the celebrated Vine at Hampton Court? So far as he could make out the grapes went to Windsor—what for he did not know— but as they belonged to the people, he thought the First Commissioner of Works should be able to give them to the hospitals for children in the Metropolis. With regard to Linlithgow Palace, he had again to complain that it was not in a proper state of repair. The walls of the Palace were still in a good and staple condition, and he thought the building might be roofed in and made use of. When Scotland got Home Rule the Palace might be used for the Governor of the country. He had received numerous complaints of the want of sanitary accommodation in Hyde Park, while the open spaces in the charge of the London County Council were admirably supplied in that respect. A little money spent wisely in that way would greatly benefit the people and visitors to London.
said, he noticed that £400 a year were charged to India, in respect to services rendered to that country by Kew Botanic and Pleasure Gardens. he should like to know what those services were. Complaint was constantly made about India being overburdened with taxation on behalf of England, and he thought this small sum might very well be paid by this country, rather than be charged to India. It was a more trifle, and not worth talking about; but he raised the subject as a question of principle.
said, that with regard to Linlithgow Palace, he was aware a considerable difference of opinion existed in Scotland as to the way the building should be treated, and therefore no decision should become to without careful consideration.
said, that additional seats had been provided in Hampton Court Gardens, and he would consider the question of providing a Kiosk, as in Kew and other places, for the supply of light refreshments. The grapes of the Vine at Hampton went to their owner, Her Majesty.
I thought we were the owner.
said, that with regard to the £400 charged on India, it was a very trifling matter, but as he had great sympathy with the views expressed by his hon. Friend the Member for Camborne, he would look into the subject. As the hon. Member for Clapham had stated, there was a difference of opinion about the treatment to be given to the ruin at Linlithgow, and apart from that, it was a matter that required careful consideration. The question of sanitary accommodation in Hyde Park would also be attended to.
said, he would like to know what had become of the Report of the Committee which sat in 1892, and perhaps 1893 also, to inquire into the emoluments of the establishment at Kew Gardens? It would be remembered that the men employed at Kew desired that their emoluments should be rendered equal to the emoluments of similar establishments within the Metropolitan area. It was said that there were certain advantages at Kew, which were not enjoyed in the Metropolitan Parks, and that living was cheaper there. To that the men replied that living was dearer at Kew, and probably they were right. The Committee was appointed—he thought, tinder the auspices or executive control of the late Chief Commissioner of Works. For his own part, he had never heard that the labours of the Committee had had any result. Possibly something might have been done, for he had not heard a complaint for the past year or so. It would be satisfactory, however, if some statement were made on the point. In regard to the bill which was brought against India by Kew he believed it to be bonâ fide. No doubt Kew Gardens did furnish seeds and specimens for the Botanical Gardens at Calcutta and elsewhere in India.
said, that if similar services were rendered to the Colonies and not charged for why should India be charged?
said, he did not know whether Kew Gardens supplied specimens to the Colonies or not. He would point out that the residents at Kew had a standing grievance in respect of the lofty wall enclosing the Gardens on the south western side. The wall was a great eyesore to the inhabitants of a very long row of houses, and it would be a, great boon to them if it could be replaced by iron ralings. It might be said that as the removal of the wall would tend solely to the benefit of the residents in the neighbourhood they ought to be asked to defray part of the expense. That clearly was a matter for negotiation between the responsible Minister and the residents. He wished to thank the Government for throwing open the Home Park at Richmond to the inhabitants of Kingston and Surbiton. There was still a question as to whether equestrians were allowed to ride through it or not. He should like to press the Minister in charge of the Vote to concede this privilege.
said, that as to this charge in India, though a small one, it was a shabby one. They were far too much inclined to put every charge they could on India. They had seen many evidences of that lately, and he protested against it with the hope of seeing the habit put an end to. The habit was the result of the policy of days gone by, when the House was only too ready to pile up small charges against the Indian Exchequer. He agreed with the hon. Member for Kingston that, no doubt, India did derive benefit from Kew, but he thought it a little unjust that those charges should be imposed on India, whilst they were not imposed on self-governing or Crown Colonies. If India benefited from Kew, did not Kew, on the other hand, benefit from the Botanical Gardens of India? If so, was not the present arrangement under which India alone was charged rather one-sided? As the Government had promised to consider the matter, he did not think it was worth while going to a Division against the item.
said, the hon. Baronet opposite had pointed out that, in consequence of the representations he had made, a Committee had been appointed to consider the emoluments of the labourers at Kew Gardens. The Committee eventually reported. They did not recommend any general rise of wages. They made, however, a number of recommendations with regard to small improvements in the wages of labourers in the Royal Parks generally, and all those recommendations had been carried out. The wages of the labourers at Kew had been raised, not to any great extent, but sufficient to keep them in correspondence with the policy of the Government in regard to other Departments of the Public Service. If it were possible in future to go further and raise the minimum rate of wages throughout the Public Service, the labourers generally at Kew would, of course, participate in the advantage.
said, he had understood the hon. Gentleman who had replied to him on behalf of the Government to express such sympathy with the view he (Mr. Conybeare) had expressed that he did not think it necessary to press his Motion to a Division.
said, he agreed that it was ridiculous to make India pay the money to which reference had been made. He hoped no further charge would be made on that account. On another point, so far as his (Mr. Morton's) acquaintance with the Scotch Societies went, they all objected to keeping Holyrood Palace as a rain. They said they wanted it roofed in—especially the old Parliament House.
said, the road in Richmond Park on the east, side of Pembroke Lodge was in a had condition, and very dangerous for riding purposes. It was a series of abysses, and a person riding on it was likely at any moment to come head over heels. It was badly kept, and in wet weather was simply a morass. For years they had been promised an entrance to the Park from London in Priory Lane. The lane ended in a gate, whore there was a Royal lodge inhabited by a Royal keeper, who was paid for out of the Estimates. This park keeper, when applied to by a person —as he (Mr. Bowles) had himself applied —for egress, said, "I cannot let you go through this gate unless you get the permission of Mr. Hugh Smith, who lives down the lane." He (Mr. Bowles) did not know who Mr. Hugh Smith was. It was not the Queen of England who was to give permission for a Royal Park Gate to be used: it was not even the Chancellor of the Exchequer, hut Mr. Hugh Smith. He took no interest in Mr. Hugh Smith—he only took interest in the Park and in the Estimates. This system of keeping up a Park Gate for the behoof of a private individual who was to give permission to his private friends to use it had been going on for years. They thought last year that it was to be put an end to, but apparently it still continued.
said, the hon. Member was quite right about this gate. It was not open to general use, because the road leading to it was private property—the property, he believed, of the landowner to whom the hon. Member had referred. The gentleman, however, was quite ready to hand over the road to the public if some security were given that it would be kept in proper repair. The difficulty was as to who was to repair it. The Local Authorities were certainly the persons who ought to undertake that work. He had entered into communication with them on the subject some time ago, but they were not disposed to keep in repair a road which simply led to a Royal Park. The cost could hardly be placed on the public funds. The owner, Mr. Smith, had made a most generous offer to the public, and it was a pity it could not be availed of.
said, he wished to call attention to the Vote for keeping Hyde Park in order. He thought the Chancellor of the Exchequer would agree with him that the money might be spent in a more advantageous manner, for it seemed as if work were purposely made in Hyde Park. Just now the authorities were putting down an expensive stone kerbing which was not only absolutely unnecessary, but which would probably become a source of danger by reason of horses stepping upon it. Why they were putting such a kerbing alongside Rotten Row he could not conceive; they had done without one for centuries, and the only explanation for laying it could only be that there was some money in hand which it was desired to spend.
I know nothing against this kerbstone, but I will make inquiry. I may point out to the hon. Member that the Vote covered expenditure in St. James's and other Parks, as well as Hyde Park.
Vote agreed to.
3. £30,855, to complete the sum for Houses of Parliament Buildings.
said, he noticed a charge for double sashes for the dining and grill-room windows. Similar items appeared on the Estimates two years ago, and he would like to know if the money then voted was expended on different works? He should watch this matter with some suspicion, as he feared there was a tendency to divert money for the purposes for which Parliament granted it. The promise of a Committee to consider the question of the structure and arrangements of the House of Commons rendered it unnecessary for him to go at any length into some of the matters he had intended to discuss. he did think there was a necessity for enlarging the post office, while the store rooms connected with the Vote Office wore both ill-lighted and badly ventilated, being really unfit for any one to work in. Next, he wanted to know if the men employed in the House had been granted an eight hours day; surely they ought in this respect to be treated in the same manner as the employés in the Army and Navy Departments.
said, he was glad to hear that a Committee was to be appointed to discuss matters in connection with the arrangements of the House. He quite agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough that the post office was not large enough, and he held further that the staff of clerks was inadequate. Rut he wished the right hon. Gentleman to direct his attention to the condition of St. Stephen's Crypt Chapel. This was an exceedingly beautiful building, but all who had visited it recently would have noticed that the frescoes and other decorations were becoming frightfully disfigured by damp. It would I very great pity indeed if the damp were allowed to increase the mischief. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take speedy steps to see that that was put right. There was another department in which he was much interested, and that was the Library. He had repeatedly raised questions as to the provision of which he might call the necessities of their existence. For instance, if they wanted certain Law-Reports they had to go to the Lords' Library for them. He objected to having to do that, in view of the friction between the two Houses. Was it not ridiculous that the real legislators should be compelled to go to the House of Lords to look up the records as to the practical effect of their own legislation? During the Debates on the Local Government Rill it was frequently necessary to refer to the Law Reports for decisions on certain points, but the volumes were only to be had from the Lords' Library, and it was often the case that when reference bad to be made that Library was closed and the officials had gone home. Now, he was not asking that the shelves of the Library of the House of Commons should be encumbered with a lot of musty old tomes, but he believed that the Council of Legal Education had recently prepared a new edition of Law Reports which had brought within a reasonable compass all the important decisions of the last 30 years, and he thought that that would prove a useful addition to the Library. He was not asking that the edition should be obtained in the interests of the lawyers who came down there to study their briefs, but he advocated it in view of the convenience of hon. Members generally. He wished, finally, to com- plain of the character of pens placed in the corridors and Library.
said, he wished to direct the attention of the First Commissioner of Works to the question of the want of accommodation on the floor of the House. This was an inconvenience not experienced by Members and ex-Members of the Government; it was fell solely by private Members. Of course, the Benches on ordinary occasions were not crowded: but there were times on which private Members, unless they could spare time to come down to the House early in the day, found it impossible to get a, seat from which they could hear what was going on. He hoped that the Government would take into their serious consideration the question of enlarging the House.
I admit that the occupants of the two Front Benches may not be the best witnesses on this question of the accommodation, but I would suggest to the noble Lord that hon. Members must look at the construction of the House not from the point of view of exceptional occasions, but from the point of ordinary use, when the attendance is nothing like that which would call for the provision of 670 seats. The House, as at present constructed, is not badly designed for every-day purposes; and I am not sure that by endeavouring to secure the convenience of hon. Members during a few exceptional sittings, the convenience of the many would not be sacrificed. That is a point well worthy the consideration of the House at large.
hoped that neither the present nor future Governments would not go on the line of increasing the size of the House. What they wanted to do was to reduce the number of Members to about 450, which would be sufficient for all legislative purposes; for such a number the accommodation was ample.
desired to draw the attention of the First Commissioner of Works to the absence of any means of communication between the House itself and other parts of the building. There ought to be some easy mode of communication between the House and the smoking-room and the Library, instead of Members who had to deal with a vast mass of correspondence being kept in total ignorance of what was going on in the Chamber. He was well aware of the fact that the Party Whips preferred the present system, as being better calculated to ensure Members voting straight. Some years since, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University was First Commissioner, he, upon the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion, got up a Memorial in favour of some change in this respect, in order to strengthen the right hon. Gentleman's hands against the Treasury. He induced at least half the Members of the House to sign it, and then presented it. The right hon. Gentleman took it away to some foreign watering place to consider, but nothing-was done, and he had since regained possession of the document, which he intended to keep as an interesting memento of his first and last effort 1o get up a Memorial. He believed that the Exchange Telegraph Company offered to supply information of what was going on in the House to the Smoking Room and the Library for a sum of £500 or £600, if an operator and machine could be placed behind the Speaker's Chair, but their offer had not been accepted. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would agree to devote some consideration to this matter.
said, he desired to strongly confirm what the hon. Member for Camborne had said with regard to the beauty of the architecture of the crypt, which was being destroyed by damp. The chapel was a structure well worthy of preservation in the utmost possible efficiency; it was the finest one of its kind in the Kingdom, and probably could not be surpassed by any structure of its description in the world. The interesting small room used as the cloak-room was also a fine specimen of architecture, and it ought to be kept in a condition worthy of the House of Commons. He complained that the tea room was not sufficiently lighted in the afternoons. Seeing that hon. Members were compelled by reason of their legislative duties to remain within the precincts of the House, he thought they ought at least to have the tea room as well lighted as the tea-rooms in their own houses.
said, he wished to support the First Commissioner of Works in the refusal which he hoped the right hon. Gentleman was about to give to the request that the House should be enlarged. In his opinion, the House was quite large enough for the purposes for which it was used. He was entirely opposed to any proposal that would deplete the Benches of that House by supplying information of what was going on in it to hon. Members in the smoking-room or the Library. It was the duty of hon. Members to attend in the House, and they ought not to ensconce themselves in the Library and smoking-rooms. But be was bound to admit that the writing, smoking, dining, and tea-rooms were too small. Hon. Members must cat, drink, and smoke, and sufficient accommodation should be provided for them. The occupants of the Front Benches, he believed, had their private rooms behind the Speaker's Chair, but private Members had no such privileges, and they had to struggle for the writing tables and for the pens in most unseemly fashion. Many people could not write without smoking, and some even could not think without smoking, and be did hold it to be rather hard that the accommodation in this respect should be so restricted. Every Member know what the smoking-room was like, and the accommodation in that respect should have been doubled or trebled years ago. If two or three other smoking-rooms were provided, they would not be too much. The same thing might be said of the accommodation for writing. There was no doubt about it that the writing and smoking-rooms were most uncomfortably crowded whenever the business occupying the attention of the House was not of very general interest. He hoped that steps would be taken to considerably increase the present quite inadequate accommodation given to hon. Members.
was understood to point out that it was impossible to alter the windows while the House was sitting, but the work was to be carried out as soon as possible. The question of St. Stephen's Chapel and the chamber adjoining the cloak-room should receive immediate attention. Some minor matters had been alluded to by various hon. Members with regard to the accommodation of the House, the post office, tea-rooms, and so forth, all of which appeared to him questions that should be settled by the Committee. He had no doubt that the Committee which if was proposed should be appointed would keep in view all questions relating to the general convenience of Members.
said, he raised the question last year as to the accommodation in the Gallery, and asked whether the Committee, when it was appointed, would see its way to improve the present troublesome restriction which did not allow ladies to be accompanied by their husbands and brothers, but compelled them to sit away by themselves. It was a curious fact that ladies were not regarded as "strangers," and that, therefore, the arrangements which he proposed for their comfort last year were passed over. He trusted this question of better accommodation for ladies visiting the House would be brought forward for discussion before the Committee. Unless the right hon. Gentleman would promise that, he should oppose the appointment of the Committee.
thought that ladies should only be allowed access to certain portions of the House as now, and not to the Galleries generally all over the body of the House. If the Committee were to be empowered to make alterations in that direction, he would do all he could to prevent the appointment of the Committee at all.
referring to an item for £450 for lamp oil, said, he never saw a lamp in any part of the House, nor could he find out how that sum of money was expended. He hoped some explanation would be given, and if the right hon. Gentleman would inquire into the matter he would probably find that a saving under that head might be effected.
pointed out that the accommodation set apart for the public was already extremely limited. If ladies were allowed to occupy seats in the Strangers' Gallery, which was already insufficient for the public, he should oppose the innovation. The space at present so limited for the use of the public should not be still further diminished.
said, he would see that the question of the oil lamps received proper attention. He did not say the Government could give a day for a discussion, but they were perfectly willing, if it was the wish of the House, to assent to the appointment of a Committee; and he would suggest that some Member might put down a Motion for appointing a Committee for the purpose. The remarks made that evening showed clearly what the wish of many Members was. His idea was that such questions as that of the admission of ladies to the Strangers' Gallery might be referred to a Committee. That question had not been included in the Reference to previous Committees. He did not like to express a personal opinion on the merits of any particular proposal; but it seemed to him that it would be acceptable to Members generally if a representative Committee were appointed to consider the whole question. With regard to the hours of labour of the workpeople employed by the Office of Works in the Houses of Parliament, it was not possible to consider them without reference to all classes of workpeople employed by Government. It was his intention to consider the question as a whole.
said, he was a Member of the last two Committees upon whose recommendations certain changes had been made. When the appointment of another Committee was proposed he would suggest "Let there be a discussion, so that it might be known what it was desired that the Committee should consider." On the last Committee the question arose whether the wording of the Reference would allow the Committee to consider the admission of ladies to the Strangers' Gallery, and it was decided that it would not. A discussion would now be the best means of elucidating the points to be considered by the Committee. As to the expenditure for oil, each succeeding First Commissioner had his attention drawn to it and gave the same answer—that the matter should be looked into. He did not know what troubled waters were calmed by the oil provided, or what light was thrown upon their proceedings by this expenditure of £1,300.
thought the First Commissioner was under some misapprehension in treating the question of eight hours a day for those employed about the Houses of Parliament as part of the larger general eight hours question, because he understood they were not Government servants at all. They were in the hands of that mysterious Commission mentioned the other day, whose existence was unknown to the Members of it. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman could not get out of an answer on the general plea he bad given, as they were not Government officials, and the House was entitled to some explanation from the right hon. Gentleman upon this particular Vote—how the servants about the Houses of Parliament would be dealt with in this particular matter.
said, that the persons be referred to were employed directly by the Office of Works.
said, the question of the accommodation for Members was not left in a satisfactory position. If a Committee was to be moved for, it ought to be moved for by the Minister responsible for the arrangements. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to show a little more backbone in the matter; and if there were to be a Committee appointed, to move for it himself rather than leave the responsibility to any individual Member. He made that suggestion in a friendly spirit, and trusted the right hon. Gentleman would accept it.
said, the only desire of the Government was to meet the general convenience of Members. He should be ready to put down a Motion for a Committee on the understanding that the Government were not prepared to make any promise as to giving time for a discussion.
did not think that the few minutes that might be devoted to the discussion of the terms of the Resolution would be a serious loss of time to the Government.
said, that last Session he had so many applications from his constituents for admission to the House that at one time he had 100 names on his list. If ladies also were to be admitted to the Galleries he would have nothing else to do but keep a list of applicants.
regretted that of the several demands made upon the Government by the Refreshment Committee only one was provided for. All the alterations and improvements which had been suggested were postponed; and this was particularly disappointing to Members as regarded the suggested communication between the dining-room and the kitchen, for by that alteration alone could any real improvement in the arrangements be effected.
said, that no Public Body, whether County Council, local, or otherwise, would be so slow in moving. It had always taken years and years before anything was done, and he felt sure unless some effort were made, these matters would again take four or five years in carrying out.
Vote agreed to.
4. Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £31,200, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1895, for the Extension of the Admiralty Buildings."
asked how it came about that the original Estimate of £195,000 bad been exceeded by £100,000?
thought that the new buildings promised to be a very handsome pile, but it was disappointing that their completion should be so long delayed. Until they were completed the much-needed thoroughfare between the Mall and Charing Cross could not be made for the enormous traffic between the lower part of Regent Street and the Strand.
pointed out to the hon. Member that that was not the question before the House.
explained that the failure to open a thoroughfare arose from the delay in carrying out the Admiralty buildings, and he pressed for accelerated speed that the traffic might be relieved. In that respect the delay in completing the buildings was very serious, and he would be glad of an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman in the matter.
said, that the increased cost of the buildings had been due partly to a considerable rise in wages and in the cost of material, but more particularly to the necessity for laying the foundations deeper than had been at first anticipated. The buildings were by far the best Government Offices which had yet been built. As to the opening from the Mull to Charing Cross, that could not be made until the present block was completed. The question would then he considered. He could not enter into the matter more fully now, because a large expense was entailed, and it depended upon financial considerations as to how quickly the work could be pushed forward in future years.
said, he had noticed on the east side of the building an extraordinary cupola, which in two days had disappeared again. Might he ask for an assurance that it would not be adopted as a permanent portion of the structure? He noticed that there was a, sum of £5,000 down in respect of Block I for the removal of the staff of the Admiralty. Did the right hon. Gentleman contemplate the removal of any portion of the staff' into the new building during the present year?
said, he hoped that might be done. With regard to the cupola, he was bound to say that the first inquiry he made upon entering the Office of Works was with regard to the structure to which the hon. Gentleman opposite had alluded. The architect came to the conclusion that the base of the cupola was too heavy, the finial too high, and that the curves were wrong. The alteration was being carried out now.
Will there be another experimental exhibition of the cupola?
I do not know that it will be necessary, after the experience from the section that was put up.
said, he did not pretend to lay the responsibility upon his right hon. Friend, who was now First Commissioner of Works, but it appeared to him that there was great delay with regard to these buildings. It might be thought that they were saving money; but they were not doing that, and instead were losing money, because of the rent they had to pay for the wretched old rooms in which much of their business had now to be transacted. He hoped the Government would push on these works as fast as they could, and he believed they could do so without loss to the Public Purse. With regard to the foundations and extra basement, it seemed to him very extraordinary that the cost should amount to £110,000, or more than 50 per cent. of the original Estimate. He should like to have some details as to what was being done with the money. He had said that the First Commissioner was not responsible for the matters he had mentioned, but he was, at all events, responsible now for carrying on the work as fast as possible.
said, that last year when they were discussing this question the then First Commissioner of Works held out a rather gloomy prospect as to the time when this Admiralty building would be completed. He said it would take two years from that time to finish Block I and seven years to finish Block 2.
What I said was that it would take two years before the second block was commenced.
said, he did not wish to insist upon his recollection as against that of the right hon. Gentleman. He was glad to see from the preliminary statement affixed to the Estimates that it was hoped the first block would be finished at the end of the summer or at the beginning of autumn. If that were so, it would be very satisfactory if some hope could he held out that the second prediction of the First Commissioner of Works would not turn out so badly as he feared. It seemed an extraordinary thing that it should take seven years to complete this block.
What I said was that seven years would elapse before the time of the completion of the whole building.
said, as he understood, the first block was to be completely finished and ready for use by the autumn of the present year, and that a sufficient amount of money had been taken for completing the furnishing of the building as well as for the building itself. He did not know whether the First Commissioner of Works could hold out some better prospect as to the completion of Block No. 2. He would venture to ask him when the second block would be finished?
said, he did not think they ought to miss so important a point as that raised by the hon. Member for Peterborough without some explanation from the Government. A difference of 50 per cent. upon an Estimate was almost unheard of, and would not be tolerated by any private individual. There were two grounds in respect of which he saw reasons for the increase—wages were higher, and the additional storey might account for another portion of it. But the cost of material had not increased. In fact, it ought to be less, and he must say that with the two exceptions he could not see any ground for so large an increase. If it were a matter for their own private expenditure the architect would be seriously taken to task for such an outrageous increase over the Estimate. The difficulty as to the foundations was one which ought to have been discovered before by means of borings.
Is not the increase due to the fact that although this is supposed to be a brick building there is a vast amount of stone put into it?
said, there was no doubt that the building had cost a great deal more than was estimated; but he was not responsible for that. He merely carried on the contract which was entered into by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and he himself was anxious that the work should be completed within as short a time as possible. The delay which had taken place had its origin in the mode in which the work was carried out from the beginning—by the erection of the building in two blocks instead of as a whole. It was the late Government that determined that it should be erected in two blocks. The first block would be completed at the end of this year—that was to say, at the end of the two years that he anticipated when he spoke last year. The second block would then be commenced, and, judging from the progress made with the first block, the second block would be completed at the end of four years from the beginning, which would make 12 years in all from the commencement of the scheme. That was not altogether a satisfactory state of things, but, as he had said, it arose from the decision of the late Government to erect the build- ing in two blocks instead of one and from the unforeseen difficulties with regard to the foundations. The building extended 35 feet more into the Park than was originally intended, and instead of adhering to the original design it was decided to transfer the Admiralty staff into the first block, and for that reason the character and size of the rooms had been altered. That was the best explanation he could give of the various causes of the increase.
said, he thought the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman opened up a matter of grave consideration. He had told them that the character of the rooms in the building had been completely altered. Those who remembered the discussion upon this building in 1887 knew what took place. The building was erected in accordance with the recommendation of a Committee which sat in that year. Great trouble was taken by the Committee upon the point of the construction of the rooms, and they thought it desirable that instead of everybody having a small room to him self the work should be done in larger rooms, so as to provide for greater economy and better supervision. Now it appeared, as the explanation of the increased cost of the works, that this careful decision of the House of Commons had been reversed by the Government, and that they had gone back to the old system of small rooms, which was condemned by the Committee. This was a question of principle, and far more important than that of cost, which, as a fact, had not been satisfactorily explained at all. The increase of 50 per cent. had not been accounted for, unless it was said that it was owing to the alteration of the rule laid down by the House of Commons —to resort to the old system of small rooms. That seemed to be the only excuse for this 50 per cent. increase—that the Government had upset the deliberate decision of Parliament. He had been in the Civil Service for many years, and he knew it was generally acknowledged that in the interests of the Public Service it was better that the officers should occupy large rooms. The House of Commons had given the Government no authority to act in this way, and they were entitled to know why the change had been made. The plans of the building were exhibited, and he asked a question as to whether this arrangement was being carried out, and Mr. Smith and the Chairman of the Committee distinctly stated that the recommendations of the Committee had been adopted. He thought that the late First Commissioner ought to tell them upon what authority the Government changed the plans of the building as they were decided by the Committee.
said, the time referred to by the right hon. Gentleman just now was the time when he was at the Office of Works. It was an entire misapprehension, which he did not think was intended, to assume that the recommendations of the Committee had been departed from in this matter. There would be in the building large rooms as recommended by the Committee, and it was quite a mistake to suppose that that principle had been abandoned. The only changes which had been made, and which would cause but a very slight difference in the number of large rooms available for the use of the clerks, were made upon the earnest representation of I the Admiralty, with whom they were in communication at that time. His noble Friend who was then First Lord consulted his staff, and it was upon the urgent advice of the authorities at the Admiralty that the changes were made; but the number of large rooms available for the purposes of the clerks had not been substantially reduced at all. There certainly was no intention to depart from the recommendation of the Committee, and, so far as be knew, the recommendation had not been departed from. He believed that one or two rooms had been changed in allocation, but there was no change of small rooms for large rooms. He did not want in the least degree to shelter himself behind the Report of the Committee, but he did say that they tried to carry out the Report of the Committee as far as possible to the letter, and that any departures made as to the distribution of the rooms in the new building were made under the express advice of the authorities of the Admiralty. He was glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that they might hope that within a period of four years this building would be completed, and not only that, but he assumed that they would have the advantage of the way being opened up from the Park into Charing Cross, which would undoubtedly he a great convenience and do much to facilitate traffic.
said, he had no doubt the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman was all right, except that he said the alterations were made by the Admiralty themselves.
I said upon the advice of the Admiralty.
said, of course these were the very people who would want to alter the large rooms into small rooms. It was these officials against whom the Committee was lighting in order to get these large rooms for the bettor carrying on of the work of the public. He did not say that the Commissioner of Works was responsible, but this was a matter which was not to be looked over very lightly. The Government had said that the building would be erected for a certain sum, and then it turned out that there was an increase of £110,000, or 50 per cent. upon the Estimate. He had no doubt they would hereafter have other increases, perhaps to the extent of £40,000 or £50,000. All Governments ought to get proper estimates, and let the House know what was going to be the cost. He hoped the present Commissioner of Works would get this building completed as soon as possible.
said, it was difficult to arrive at the facts in this case. The reason given by the late Commissioner of Works for some portion of this increased expenditure was that the plans had been altered, and that there were a good many small, instead of large, rooms. No sooner was that statement made than up jumped the previous Commissioner of Works and said that there was not this number of small rooms in the building. It was important that they should know the facts in this matter. It was not only that the House had been deceived, but the Committee had been deceived also. The Committee went very thoroughly into the question, and witnesses were called who said that not only in the interests of economy, but of good management, the clerks should cease to sit in the small rooms, and it was arranged that there should be large rooms in the new building. He contended that they were throwing away all the benefits that they had expected to get from the new Admiralty Buildings if the clerks were going to be placed in a series of small rooms. He agreed with the hon. Member for Peterborough that the Admiralty officials were the last people who should be consulted upon this matter. They had got into a groove with regard to a good many things, but to the best of his recollection there was not one witness who came before the Committee that did not impress upon them the desirability of enlarging these rooms. While one evil was being remedied another of a similar character was being perpetrated, and the result would be that the annual cost of the Admiralty Office would be as great in the future as it had been in the past. As there was a difference of opinion between the two ex-First Commissioners as to the course that had been taken, he should like to know what were the facts of the case. Was one right hon. Gentleman right when he said there was a system of large rooms in the Admiralty, or was the other right hon. Gentleman right, when he said there were a series of small rooms?
I should be very sorry to be in conflict with my right hon. Friend, but what I understand is this. According to the plan of 1887 the principal officers were to be in the old building. The Admiralty Office, however, made a requisition that they should be allowed to remove their principal officers to the new building. Those officers do not want large rooms. The new building, as I understand, was to be laid out wholly in large rooms. The removal of the principal staff necessitates the provision of small rooms, which are of a more expensive character, for their accommodation No doubt the old Admiralty will be remodelled in parts and larger rooms will then be provided. The principle of having large rooms for large bodies of clerks will, no doubt, be carried out.
said, he understood, then, the cause of the extra expense was that the new building, which was to have been made in large rooms, had been made in small rooms for the admirals, secretaries, and people of that kind, and, further, that another sum was going to be spent in making large rooms in the old Admiralty for the clerks. It was extraordinary that after Parliament had sanctioned the expenditure of £195,000 the Government should, without authority, have altered the plans and thereby incurred additional expenditure, in order to provide certain officials, he supposed, with better rooms than they had at present. He said that no Government had any right to alter the building, at a large cost, without consulting Parliament. He moved the reduction of the Vote by £1,000, in order that Members might have an opportunity of considering the question, and of obtaining an undertaking that the original plans and the alterations would be exhibited in the tea-room. It was quite clear that the late Commissioner had had a great deal to do with the alterations.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That £30,200 be granted for the said Service."—( Mr. Bartley.)
said, he did not think the proposed reduction would be of any value. As a matter of fact, it was the ex-First Commissioner on the other side of the House (Mr. Plunket) who made the changes, and they had been actually carried out. He supposed that the only tiling that could now be done was to sue the right hon. Gentleman and the late Government for spending the additional money.
As far as I am concerned, I have no objection whatever to the suggestion of my hon. Friend, that an opportunity should be given of showing exactly what alterations have been made. I venture to say that the result will be to show that the alterations are very small indeed. The idea that the system of large rooms has been sacrificed is an entire mistake, and the amount of money actually expended on the alterations forms a very small part of the increased expenditure. It will be found, I believe, to be something less than a tenth part of the whole additional expense.
Yes; £12,000 was the whole expense which was incurred by these alterations, and the sacrifice of the principle of large rooms can hardly be said to exist at all. No doubt some of the rooms in the new building have been allocated in a different way from what was originally intended when the plans were made, but any changes that were made during the time that I had any knowledge of the Office of Works were made at the instance and by the advice of the officers of the Admiralty. I have no reason to think that they sacrificed to their personal convenience the whole of the Service, and I believe that the more this matter is inquired into the more it will be found that there is really no substantial ground for the grave view that has been stated by some Members of the Committee. I do not in the least wish to shelter myself from responsibility. I shall be very glad if the matter is inquired into, as I consider that a totally different complexion will then be put upon it.
I shall be very glad to have the plans showing precisely the difference between the original plan and the alterations that have been made placed in the tea-room. As the money has been already spent on the building, I hope the hon. Gentleman will not press the reduction.
said, it would quite satisfy him if the plans were produced.
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would also issue a statement showing how the excess sum was made up?
Yes, I will do that.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Original Question put, and agreed to.
5. Motion made, and Question proposed,
"That a sum, not exceeding £59,278, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the:51st day of March 1895, for Expenditure in respect of Miscellaneous Legal Buildings— viz., County Courts. Metropolitan Police Courts, and Sheriff Court Houses, Scotland."
said, he saw that a large sum of money was included in the Vote for the metropolitan Police Court, Buildings. He had frequently protested against such expenditure out of Imperial funds on the plain and simple ground that outside London each town paid for its own police courts, whereas Loudon did not. He believed he almost carried an Amendment on the subject at one time, and he had certainly thought that some alteration should have been made.
I am not surprised at my hon. Friend bringing this subject forward again. He brought it forward last Session, and in the discussion that took place upon it my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir W. Harcourt) promised to take steps to transfer these courts to some Local Authority. Within a, very short period after the discussion in this House we communicated with the London County Council, and proposed that they should take over the police courts. The matter is a very complicated one, and we have been in communication with them ever since. We have had three or four interviews with representatives of the County Council and only about a fortnight ago we had our last interview. We are still in treaty with the County Council for the purpose of getting them to take the courts over. They do not refuse to take them over, hut they, of course, would like to have a, quid pro quo. It is very natural that when they are asked to take over an expenditure of this kind they should desire to have something in return. I was hopeful that before the Vote came on this Session the buildings would be transferred. I am sorry to say that that has not yet been done. I think there is every prospect of making an arrangement, and if my hon. Friend will only give us a little more time I hope to be able to succeed in carrying out the object he has in view. I entirely sympathise with that view myself, and have always done so since I have been in the House.
The announcement which has just been made by the right hon. Gentleman is a very serious one. Not only is the matter very complicated, but it will require legislation to effect this transfer. Those who have listened to previous discussions on this subject will remember that it has always been mentioned and never disputed that if you are to effect this transfer of charge from the Imperial Exchequer to the London County Council, or in some other form to the shoulders of the London ratepayers, there will inevitably be put forward claims for a set-off in respect of burdens which the London ratepayer at present pays, and which it is arguable that ratepayers in similar communities in other parts of the country do not have to hear —in other words, you will have in some way to revise the arrangement of 1888, under which the London County Council area was created, and under which the Exchequer contributions were made. Therefore, it comes to this: that for the sake of this purely theoretical re-arrangement of burdens under which if anything the Exchequer will be a loser rather than a gainer, for the sake of making the arrangement respecting these police courts square with what I may call the copybook theories of Radical legislators, the Government are burdening themselves with further legislation in spite of the fact that they have more already on their hands than they can hope to get through.
said, he did not concur in the argument used by the hon. Member who had just sat down. He (Mr. Powell Williams) did not see why the taxpayers of Sheffield should contribute anything whatever towards the cost of the police court at Wandsworth. He did not understand on what ground the London County Council demanded a quid pro quo for the taking over of these charges. He should have thought it was the other way about. It seemed to him that the ratepayers of Loudon for a long series of years had been receiving in regard to their local legal administration assistance to which they were not entitled and which no county or borough in the country received. Under these circumstances, he should have thought that the Government might have demanded from the London County Council assistance in the other direction.
I wish to point out that I did not say that the claims to sets-off would be in all cases just, but that they would be arguable. What I meant was, that in regard to such financial re-adjustments you had better "let sleeping dogs lie."
said, the hon. Gentleman seemed to be under the impression that, although the demand of the London County Council would be unjust, if it was arguable it ought not to be contested, because otherwise money might be lost over it in a Court of Law. On that (the Ministerial) side of the House Members were in favour of action, not because it was not arguable, but because it was just. He thought they were suffi- ciently powerful to deal with the London Members, and to let them look after their own pickpockets and their own gaol-birds. It was 25 years ago that he first called attention to this matter, and he had gone on preaching in the desert ever since. He did hope the Government would bring in some sort of legislation on the subject. Let there be a proper adjustment by all means, but let the question not be postponed because they were to "let sleeping dogs lie." Who were the "sleeping dogs"? He saw the hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. Burns) opposite, and he was sure the hon. Member would not suggest that anything unfair had been done in asking that London should pay for its own police courts.
said, that as a Metropolitan Member, he had always taken the view that London ought to look after her own police courts. He could not, however, see the logic of the present position. If London ought to pay for the police courts, surely the County Council ought not to demand something to compensate them for doing so. If they were to be compensated, things might just as well go on as at present. If the London people were going to be so wonderfully virtuous, let them be virtuous for once, but do not let them say they would be virtuous on condition that they would be paid for it. Of course, they all knew what was at the bottom of this. The County Council wanted to got possession of the police. They would be a long time in getting that, and the Government ought to put their foot down and say so. The County Council were trying to use this question as a lever in order to get possession of the police, which no Municipal Authorities in any capital city in the world had yet obtained.
I think my hon. Friend is very unfair and unjust to the London County Council. They made no proposal to the Government in respect of this matter. The Government made a proposal to them, and I have every confidence that the County Council will treat the matter in a fair spirit.
But I think it was the right hon. Gentleman himself who said that they wanted a quid pro quo.
Yes, I know that I said so, but that is no reason why we should give it. I have every confidence in the London County Council dealing with this matter in a fair way, and if it comes to an arrangement with the County Council hon. Members will have every opportunity of expressing an opinion when the Bill is brought forward. The County Council made no proposal to us; it was we who made a proposal to them.
said, he objected to the people of Peterborough having to pay for the London Police Courts. He did not understand why there should be a quid pro quo, and he trusted that the London County Council would give way to the Government and pay for their own police.
said, he did not think the London Members would be unreasonable in a ease of this kind. In the case of the local administration of justice the principle that was applied to every other borough applied to London. So far from a quid pro quo being necessary, it seemed to him that if the Loudon ratepayers ought to pay for the police courts they ought to pay for the Magistrates.
wished to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether in the negotiations with the Loudon County Council he had raised the question of the payment of the Magistrates in London? In all cases in the boroughs of England the Stipendiary Magistrates were paid out of the borough funds, and he thought that the same system should prevail in England.
said, he considered that the questions involved were far too large and important, for the discussion to be confined to the maintenance of the Metropolitan Police Courts merely.
called the attention of Mr. Deputy Speaker to the fact that it was now after 12 o'clock.
said, the Twelve o'Clock Rule had been suspended.
said, he only wished to point out that the question was one which could not be considered wholly as one of the maintenance of the Police Courts.
said, he agreed that it was a much larger question than that involved in the maintenance of the police courts. But the Government had thought it advisable to take one step at a time, and had not dealt with the question of the payment of Magistrates or the taking over of the staff. If they could see their way to carrying that one step out it would clear the ground for taking further action at some future time.
wished to point out the peculiar position in which the Committee wore placed. This was a large subject, and it was impossible that it could be fully threshed out to-night. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to say whether there was not an understanding that this discussion should cease at 12 o'clock. The Committee could very well discuss the question further on, on the Vote for Magistrates salaries. There had not been a single Division since the Deputy Speaker left the Chair, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not press for any Vote after this tonight.
said, he desired to report Progress after this Vote had been taken.
Question put, and agreed to.
Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.