HC Deb 21 August 1916 vol 85 cc2420-1

No building erected by Government during the present War upon land not the property of the Government shall become the property of the owner of the land, but shall remain the property of the Government at the end of their occupation of such land.—[Mr. Rawlinson.]

Clause brought up, and read the first time.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

I have the advantage, at any rate, that this Amendment is not covered by any Clause, and my object in putting it down was this: It really shows, I think, to what the Government is entitled under the whole Bill. They have the power at the present time to do anything they like, and to keep land as long as possible, but unless they choose to accept this offer, which I make very freely, I do not propose to press the Amendment upon them. If the Solicitor-General will request me to move it I will do so, but unless it is necessary I do not propose to move it. I see the right hon. Gentleman wishes that I should move it.

10.0 P.M.


This is the first occasion on which any Member of the House has offered to give us anything we have not asked for. As a matter of fact we do not want this Clause. We have already all that we want. We have power to retain the land for a period, and during that time to remove the buildings. That being so, the substance of this Amendment is already in the Bill. I think it would rather defeat the hon. Gentleman's object, because the effect would be that the buildings would be Government property, and even after we had given up possession of the land at the end of the two years, or other period, the buildings would remain ours, and we might have the right—I do not know how long afterwards—to go on the land to the buildings.


I think that, in a very generous mood, my hon. and learned Friend has drawn a Clause which goes a little further than he intended; but I should like to point out to the Government that if they had drawn a Clause of this sort, and introduced one Clause of this sort, they might have had their Bill weeks—I might even say months—ago. This is really all that is necessary, in rather different words, and I only wish my hon. and learned Friend had been the draftsman consulted by the Government, because we should probably not have spent this evening here, but in a more enjoyable way.


I beg leave to withdraw.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.


I think that the next Clause has been settled; and the same thing applies to the next two Clauses on the Paper, and the next one, also dealing with the saving for commons, open spaces, and allotments.


No, that point has not yet been covered.