HC Deb 11 July 1927 vol 208 cc1897-8

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


It will, perhaps, be for the convenience of the Committee if I explain that this Bill, which is merely to enable the Post Office to acquire sites for various telephone exchanges and post offices in different towns at a reasonable price, passed its Second Reading a few weeks ago unanimously after hon. Members opposite had been satisfied that the Bill was sound. It has since been to a Select Committee which has again reported unanimously in its favour after having made one very small Amendment. I therefore hope the Committee will allow us to obtain the Committee stage to-night.


Will the hon. Gentleman make clear to the Committee exactly what the Amendment was?

Viscount WOLMER

I will. The Amendment is in Clause 2.


I have no doubt the Select Committee went into all the details of the Bill, but this Committee has not done so yet. I do not want to delay the Noble Lord over Clause 1; there may be something more to be said on Clause 2. Can he tell us the exact purpose of Sub section(2) of Clause1?

Viscount WOLMER

Yes. The first Sub-section of Clause 1 lays it down that the Postmaster-General shall not enter upon any contract without the sanction of the Treasury. The next Sub-section merely absolves any person with whom he is making a contract from inquiry whether he has got the Treasury's consent or not. If the Postmaster-General was an ordinary private individual, in a fiduciary capacity, and he was making a contract with another party, that party would be bound to inquire as to his title. This Sub-section merely absolves the people with whom we are dealing from doing that which otherwise they would have to do. Everybody knows that the Postmaster - General must have the Treasury's consent.