§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ 7.37 p.m.
§ Mr. LEVY
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day six months."
2006 I remember that on many occasions, Mr. Speaker, you have suggested that Members should be brief in their speeches. If I have to refer to my notes more than is usual, it will be for the reason that I intend to be brief. I would first call the attention of the House to Part II of the Bill and Clause 19, in which the Cardiff Corporation ask for powers to grant to any company, body or person the use of any station for public service vehicles. I believe that such a station ought to be available for all public services on reasonable terms. If the House will look at Clause 5 it will be found that the land is to be purchased under compulsory powers and the ratepayers' money is to be used. As the Clause stands there is nothing to prevent the corporation giving a preference to one or more omnibus or coach companies to the exclusion of others, and I am sure the House will agree that there a very important principle is involved. These coaching stations will probably play a very important part in the future of public passenger transport, and this House ought to insist that where they are provided out of the rates they should be available to all vehicles licensed by the Traffic Commissioners. I have here the report of the Amulree Committee that was set up in 1930 by the Minister of Transport. The powers that 2007 are being sought in this Bill cut right across all the recommendations of that committee. But I do not propose to trouble the House with details.
Then we come to Part IV where, in Clauses 44 to 51, the Cardiff Corporation are asking for powers for wireless distribution. It is within the recollection of the House that a similar Clause was put into a Bill of the Middlesbrough Corporation, and I understand that it has since been withdrawn. It is not right for corporations surreptitiously to try to foist these powers into Bills of this kind, and then, when they find they are opposed, graciously to withdraw them. The proposal was defeated in this House by a very large majority. Then we come to Clause 76, an important Clause about which I propose to say something later. In Part IX is Clause 77, which contains quite a novel proposal, much too wide and general to be justified and one which would create a very bad precedent. But I want to draw the attention of the House particularly to Clause 76. This Clause proposes to set up a most sweeping and thoroughly undesirable form of local control of the legitimate business of advertising. It introduces a new principle and one so important that it ought not to be sanctioned in any local Bill. It is the principle of restriction of trade, even to the point of extinction, by any local authority which gets power to apply it. If it is sanctioned in the case of Cardiff no doubt other authorities will ask for it, and once the principle is conceded it will be difficult to gainsay it.
The language of the Clause is most arbitrary. It empowers the corporation to make by-laws for regulating or preventing—mark that—the exhibition of advertisements within the city or any part of it. In other words the corporation can stop altogether general billposting and illuminated signs throughout the city. We all know that the majority of people to-day are saying, "Advertise more; show the public what you have to sell." One of the greatest men in one of the highest positions, who is known as the world's best salesman, is saying continuously, "Advertise your goods," and here is a local corporation trying to prohibit it. The only safeguard for existing advertising contracts and advertising stations is a provision exempting them for a mini- 2008 mum period of five years from the operation of any restriction or prohibitive by-law. What will be the position of an established firm of advertising contractors, faced with the possibility that some day the local council might, if there were a fanatical majority, actuated by a passion for amenity and uplift, take steps to destroy the local bill-posting and advertising industries in five years?
What is the safeguard against such action? It is a provision that a by-law shall not have effect, unless confirmed by the Home Secretary, and it is provided that, before confirming it, the Minister shall either consider objections to it or order a local inquiry. That is only extending to the Minister in the last resort the autocratic powers which the corporation seeks for itself. The Minister may or may not order a local inquiry. If he does not, and if he confirms the by-law himself, there is an end of the matter as far as the advertising industry is concerned. There is no appeal. It is probable that in most instances the Minister would settle the issue himself from a second-hand knowledge of the local conditions but, where an inquiry is ordered, the local advertising industry will have all the trouble, expense and anxiety of fighting for its very life.
Even if the provisions for Ministerial confirmation and inquiry were considered to be a satisfactory guarantee of impartial judgment, it would still be unfair to hang the sword of Damocles over the head of this important industry. Above all, it would be economic folly at a time when expansion not restriction, and confidence not uncertainty, are vital needs. These powers are so autocratic, so foreign to ordinary commercial freedom, that they are indefensible. Yet it is sought to obtain them in a local Bill, as if they were of no particular consequence. The application of an important principle of this kind is a matter of national concern and national importance, and should be considered, if at all, in its national bearings and not in relation to one small local area.
§ Mr. LEVY
I never interrupt and I would ask hon. Members to extend to 2009 me that reasonable courtesy which I extend to others. I was saying that the application of this principle should be considered, if at all, in its national bearings, because it is certain that, if it is granted in one area, its more general application will speedily be demanded by other local authorities. Last year the Salford Corporation sought powers, I believe, of a much less drastic kind. They sought to limit the number and to control the situation of advertisements. Here we are asked for power to prohibit and not merely to limit. The Home Office opposed the Salford proposal. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary to the Home Office, whom I am happy to see here to-night, then said that such wide powers could be used for objects entirely different from considerations of amenity, and might seriously embarrass the legitimate business carried on by advertisers.
Captain ARTHUR EVANS
Is the hon. Member aware that the Under-Secretary, on that occasion, made those observations before a most important Amendment had been accepted by the promoters of the Bill.
§ Mr. LEVY
Nevertheless they are applicable in this case. They dealt with the powers which the Salford Corporation then sought to obtain and the Under-Secretary was perfectly right. I may remind the hon. and gallant Member that nobody contradicted the Under-Secretary because he was right. He also said that the powers then sought were much too wide and would make administration at the Home Office exceedingly difficult. Those arguments apply with even greater force against the present Bill. Adequate powers for the protection of amenities are already provided in the Town and County Planning Act of 1932 and the earlier Act of 1925, and the majority of, if not all the local authorities, are prepared to carry on with those Acts. The advertising industry which is so seriously threatened by this Clause of the Cardiff Corporation Bill is a big industry with ancillary trades. This industry, with the thousands who are dependent on it up and down the country, would be jeopardised by this proposal for a wholly insufficient and relatively unworthy cause. I said I would be brief; I hope I have been brief, and I conclude by asking the House to reject this attempt at despotism.
§ 7.52 p.m.
§ Mr. CROOM-JOHNSON
I beg to second the Amendment.
I do so for a very definite reason and on a very definite point of principle. Hitherto, with one or two minor exceptions the control of advertising in relation to amenities has been a matter for general legislation applicable to the whole country. Without referring to that on which I expect all hon. and right hon. Gentleman present have already informed themselves, namely the legislation of 1907 and 1925, it is sufficient to say that up to the present that legislation in the main has been found quite adequate for the purpose. Some of us think that the general law with regard to what is sometimes called the disfigurement of the countryside, might very well be examined by this House and if necessary amended and strengthened. But, as I have said, control in this matter has hitherto been a national control, exercised under Statutes of the Realm, with the exceptions, I believe, of the power given in the Salford Bill of last year and a provision in a Liverpool Corporation Bill.
Those exceptions may be all very well, but this question ought not to be left to sporadic treatment by individual local authorities, who think it desirable in particular cases, for some reason, good, bad or indifferent, that they should have a law which is beyond and in extension of the law applicable to the whole country. It is, as I say, high time that the matter was examined, but we shall never get it examined properly if, each time the question arises in this House, it arises on a private Bill. In those cases we are driven inevitably, as in the case of Salford, to examine peculiar local conditions with the result that very powerful appeals, with which one has a great deal of sympathy, are made to the people interested in the locality concerned. We shall never get the problem examined and dealt with properly if that is to be the method of procedure on each and every occasion. I am interested in no way whatever, directly or indirectly, in any single industry likely to be affected by this Bill. But I cannot help feeling that it is not a good principle that this question should be dealt with by private Bill legislation. The general body of Members in these circumstances get little opportunity of considering the problem from a national point of view, because all 2011 sorts of local conditions, with which most of us can have little familiarity, are thrown at us. This matter ought to be dealt with on broad national lines. The existing general legislation should be carefully examined, in order to see whether it is sufficient for its purpose and how far it needs strengthening.
There is another reason for not dealing with this matter piecemeal. Most of us of middle age have not yet learned the lesson of the internal combustion engine. It has broken down every local barrier in this country; it has made a great difference in the whole fit-up of the country. In the old days you belonged to one town, and unless business and the train took you elsewhere you might never see another. Industry was localised and the people were local in their ideas. To-day we spread ourselves all over the country, even those of us who would like, for the most part to stay at home—and politicians do not get much opportunity of doing so. We go into one town and find ourselves subject to one set of by-laws. We go into another town and find that we are subject to another set of by-laws. If a man wants to extend his, business he finds that in one place he can do a certain thing, but in another place he is forbidden to do anything of the sort. More and more we shall be driven to regard the country as a whole, and not as a set of different counties, different municipalities and different districts. That is an added reason why we should deal with this matter not by local by-laws, but on a national and straight forward basis.
There is a third reason which appeals to me in connection with my everyday work. Those of us who have the task of advising local authorities—which falls to my lot sometimes—or advising people who are interfered with by the activities of local authorities, know that when we want to find out the true position of the law, we are often confronted with a welter of local legislation. When we have finished with that we have to deal with a whole system of local by-laws. Sometimes it becomes almost impossible for people whose business it is to settle these things, and who are trained for that purpose, to understand and advise upon the law on any given subject in a locality where there is local legislation. These are three reasons why I suggest to the 2012 House on principle that this Clause 76 is a thoroughly bad Clause and ought not to be permitted to stand in the Bill.
I well recollect, in the course of the Salford Debate, one other point being made, and made with some force, by my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State, when he pointed out that it was not wise to deal with this topic by local legislation. You are going to have difficulty, because even this present Bill has to provide that there may be something in the nature of a local inquiry as to whether or not there should be by-laws, and then there is to be an inquiry by the Minister as to whether or not the by-laws should be passed, and there is a Clause that someone has to get remuneration and another Clause that people who offend against the by-laws are to be subjected to penal consequences. All those things are put into the Bill at a time when we are all, irrespective of party, trying to promote the trade and industry of the country and to sweep away the difficulties which lie in the way of so many people who only desire to carry on their business.
The right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State pointed out in the Salford Debate that much the better way to deal with the problem is to deal with the matter by inquiry on the spot and to give people a right of appeal, so that they will not find themselves subject to a by-law against which they can no longer appeal. Once it is in, it is a local law and has to be enforced just like any other law. I suggest that the procedure is wrong, that the idea of a by-law is wrong, that the idea of local legislation is wrong, and I desire to support the Amendment. There is another Clause in the Bill about which at the moment, I confess, I am in some difficulty. Clause 77 says that the city engineer or any person authorised by the city engineer is to have the right at all reasonable hours to enter uponpremises within the City upon which any new building is being or is proposed to be erected or constructed and may take samples of any materials used or proposed to be used in or for the purposes of or in connection with the erection or construction of such new building.What is to happen after that? What are they going to do next? Here is a new proposal. I think I am right in saying that this proposal has never before been put into any Bill, either local or national. 2013 I can quite see that in connection with some Housing Bill or something of that sort it may be thought proper to demand safeguards that somebody should be entitled to do something of the sort, if the matter has been examined from a national standpoint, with a view to the national weal, and in order to see that houses are being put up which are proper houses and built of proper material. But to find this for the first time proposed for the City of Cardiff, in a local Bill, is certainly a little surprising. As I see my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health in his place, I should be very much obliged if he could give us some explanation, from his point of view, of this Clause and tell us what is the object of taking the samples. I want to appreciate what is being done.
Here again is a penalty, and under Sub-section (2) of the Clause any person who hinders or obstructs or does all sorts of things in regard to the taking of the samples, is to be liable to a penalty not exceeding 40 shillings. If that Clause is to appear in an Act of Parliament, it should appear after due examination in this House, and it should be dealt with for the purposes of all housing and not merely for the City of Cardiff. What is there in the City of Cardiff which makes it necessary to have samples of any materials proposed to be used there as distinct from any other city or town or township that we know in the country? We are left completely in the dark. I look, but I do not find any guidance as to what is to be done with the samples. They clearly cannot come under the Food and Drugs Act. What is to happen to the samples, and what use are the Cardiff Corporation to make of them? For aught I know, they are to be put into the Car-diff museum, but we are left absolutely in the dark from start to finish as to what it really means, what it is aimed at, why the samples are to be taken, and why somebody who objects to a sample of something on his land being taken should be made liable to a penalty of 40 shillings.
Those are, I think, two sufficient blots on the Bill. There are other Clauses in the Bill which merit examination, but I do not propose to occupy the time of the House in examining them now. I think perhaps hon. Members who are following the Debate might just glance at Clause 78, and see if they understand 2014 what that is aimed at, and why money which has been paid into court in respect of claims in times past, on behalf of persons whose property has been taken away from them, should now be subjected to being handed over, in whole or in part, on application being made to the court, to the corporation. With these few observations, I second the Amendment.
§ 8.8 p.m.
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Sir Hilton Young)
The principal contention of my hon. Friends the Members for Elland (Mr. Levy) and Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson), on Clause 76, will be dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department. I only rise in order to give such assistance as I can to the hon. and learned Member for Bridgwater in regard to Clause 77 and the matters which he has raised upon that Clause. The nature of the Clause is to enable the corporation to enter upon the site of building operations and to take from that site samples of the building materials being used there. We must distinguish. As the hon. and learned Member is aware, there is nothing novel in the power to enter upon the site. That is at the disposal of local authorities under their ordinary by-laws. What is novel, as I understand it, is the right to take a sample when you are on the site.
The hon. and learned Member asked the Committee why that Clause should be included in Cardiff when it has not yet been included anywhere else. I suggest to the House that that is just what we want to find out when the Bill goes before a Committee. A Committee of the House would really be the best constituted body to ascertain what the case is in support of this Clause. Frankly, I do not know the reason for it any more than does the hon. and learned Member. Prima facie, I do not see why any builder should object to samples being taken, and I do not suppose, really, there will be any difficulty in a normal case. Nevertheless, in Cardiff there may be same special circumstances, and I suggest to the House that under those conditions it would be right to see what ease is made in support of the contention. It would rather be emptying the baby with the bath to reject the whole Bill because of a slight novelty in this respect. In these circumstances, because it is rather a novel 2015 Clause in a Bill of this sort, probably the House will think it is a suitable one to refer for consideration to a Committee.
§ 8.11 p.m.
Captain A. EVANS
For some reason best known to my two hon. Friends, the Members for Elland (Mr. Levy) and Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson), they seem to have chosen this opportunity, the consideration of the Second Reading of the Cardiff Corporation Bill, to launch what appears to me to be a general attack on the legislative proposals of local authorities. They seem to have placed my right hon. Friend, the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, and the aldermen and citizens of that city in the dock. If that is the charge, then it is a challenge which I accept most readily.
I would like to deal with the general aspect of the case, but to-night I am privileged to speak on behalf of this Bill at the request of the citizens of a city which has a reputation, not only in the Principality and in the United Kingdom, but throughout the world, for good government, for a fine and sound town-planning scheme, and for public buildings which are the envy of every other capital in Great Britain, and I think it is renowned, throughout Great Britain at least, for its civic dignity and its beauty, especially by those who know it. It must be rather surprising, after listening to my two hon. Friends, to realise that the actual purpose that the Corporation of Cardiff has in view is to extend and to continue to protect the amenities, pleasures and beauties of which they are so proud. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bridgwater has the advantage of me in that he is learned in the law.
In the 4½ years that he has been a Member of this House, I do not think it is any exaggeration to say that the hon. and learned Member has earned for himself an enviable position so far as Parliamentary skill and eloquence are concerned, and on this occasion he has conducted himself in his usual manner and made a very good job of a bad case. What is the chief objection of 2016 the two hon. Members to the Bill? If I understand them aright, they say that, if it is desirable for Parliament to grant powers such as are contained in Clause 76, it is a matter for a public general Act and not for local legislation. I share that view to a limited degree, and if my hon. Friends were in a position to assure me to-night that they were able to persuade their right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury to give Parliamentary facilities for considering a public general Act based on the principles contained in Clause 76, and if there were a reasonable prospect of that Bill being considered by Parliament in the near future, I would be the first to endeavour to persuade the Lord Mayor and citizens of Cardiff to postpone this Clause until such time as Parliament had had an opportunity of considering it from the national point of view.
§ Mr. CROOM-JOHNSON
Of course this can be done by a private Members' Bill, but will the hon. Member co-operate with me in introducing such a Bill?
I should be most happy to co-operate with my hon. Friend in that way, but if be takes his suggestion to its logical conclusion he knows that after a private Members' Bill has had its First Reading, and if by the grace of God and good fortune it gets a Second Reading, that is the end of the Bill. He knows perfectly well, even if the Bill goes upstairs for consideration by a Committee of this House, that unless he is able to persuade his right hon. Friend the Patronage Secretary to give Parliamentary time to Report and Third Reading, there is not the slightest possibility of that Measure becoming law. If this Bill goes upstairs, however, there is a reasonable prospect of it being on the Statute Book within a short space of time. Therefore, I ask my hon. and learned Friend, if he thinks it a good Measure—and he thinks it sufficiently good to receive the consideration of Parliament—why should the City of Cardiff be penalised in the meantime until Parliament has an opportunity of considering the matter? The fact is that if Clause 76 is deleted from the Bill to-night it means that Cardiff City will actually be penalised because of the foresight in town planning of past city fathers who 2017 occupied the position of responsibility in the city corporation.
My hon. and learned Friend has quoted the Town and Country Planning Act of 1932. He knows very well that under Section 6 of that Act the Minister of Health is in a position to sanction certain building and town planning schemes. Unfortunately, owing to the excellent town planning schemes approved by the city corporation of Cardiff in the past, they are not enabled under Section 47 of that Act to apply to the Minister to approve a scheme. For the sake of argument, let us assume Cardiff was in that position; I would like to remind my hon. Friends that automatically we would acquire powers at least as drastic as the powers we are asking Parliament to grant us to-night under Clause 76. [Hon. MEMBERS: "No!"] My hon. Friends challenge that statement. Clause 47 of the Town and Country Planning Act of 1932 is very long, and I will not weary the House by reading it. It enables a local authority, subject to certain rights of appeal, to require the owner of an advertisement or hoarding which seriously injures the amenities of the land to remove the advertisement or hoarding. In default of compliance with such request the local authority may themselves remove the advertisement or hoarding and recover the expenses from the owner.
That means that if the Cardiff Corporation in a new town-planning scheme are anxious to control the erection of advertisements on private houses in a road or street within that area, they are entitled and within their rights so to do. If, however, they are anxious, as they are, to control and regulate or prevent if necessary advertisements on private houses occupying a street not within the Town and Country Planning Act of 1932, that power is withheld. The Cardiff Corporation consider it is logical that the people resident in those areas should have the same amenities and protection as the people who are resident within an area under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1932.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bridgwater referred to certain by-laws. I want the House to observe that before any by-laws regulating advertisements under this Clause become law, the Secretary of State has to approve them, and he also has the right 2018 to cause a local inquiry concerning the framing of those by-laws to be held in the city which is responsible for them. Any petitioner taking a view opposite to that of the Cardiff Corporation on the drafting or the effect of a by-law is entitled to be heard at that local inquiry. Therefore, I submit that there are not only safeguards on paper, but safeguards of a practical and real nature. In addition, I am quite sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Elland and his colleague my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bridgwater will be interested to know that the Cardiff Chamber of Trade, which represents the majority of business interests in that City, waited on the Lord Mayor and his colleagues with reference to this Measure, and, after considerable discussion on the ambitions of the local council in this direction, they came away entirely satisfied, with the obvious exception of the bill-posting interests and also, I believe, of the sign writers.
I ask my hon. Friends to observe that the Chamber of Trade represents interests which are likely to be affected by these by-laws. I would like to draw their attention to a statement which, it is to be observed, was not issued by the Town Clerk of Cardiff, but by the Cardiff Chamber of Trade, and they use these words:The Town Clerk pointed out that the present powers of the Corporation with regard to the control of advertisements were restricted to those which affected the amenities of public parks, pleasure grounds, beauty spots, historic or public buildings, or disfigured the beauty of the landscape or the view of rural scenery. The present powers were sought in order to deal with unsightly and obnoxious advertisements in the city streets and suburban and residential districts. He pointed out that it was not intended to control advertisements which related to the trade or business carried on within the building.Among illustrations given of the type of advertisement which it was sought to control were the following: posters and other advertising material plastered on temporarily disused buildings in the centre of the city; streamers suspended on the railings of a building announcing an exhibition or boxing tournament in another building; large and unsightly advertising devices in the gardens of private houses in residential areas. The assurance was also given that there was no intention of prohibiting reasonable illuminated signs in the main streets where such signs were now in use, but of controlling the use of such signs in residential areas, where the brilliancy of 2019 the light might cause a nuisance to residents.Here is an organisation whose interests might possibly be affected by a Measure of this kind, and, after discussing the matter at considerable length with the authorities who will be concerned with the framing of the by-laws they went away entirely satisfied. I ask my hon. Friends to observe that the Lord Mayor and his colleagues, in an endeavour to satisfy public opinion on this point, promised the Cardiff Chamber of Trade that before the by-laws which they themselves suggested were submitted to the Home Office for sanction the Chamber would be consulted. That is a reasonable gesture to meet any opposition.
As I have said, we are very proud of our city of Cardiff, but there are certain areas of it in which the housing conditions are not as we would like to see them and in which there is congestion. Though every endeavour is being made by the local authorities, in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, to do what is practicable to improve conditions at the earliest possible moment, nevertheless those conditions do exist. Is Parliament justified in depriving people who are compelled against their will to live in certain cheerless and depressing areas of amenities and facilities which are afforded to those of their brethren who are fortunate enough to live in a new area under a town planning scheme? If my hon. Friend the Member for Elland will do me the honour of coming to Cardiff one day I will show him some of these depressing streets, which would be made even more ugly by the exhibition of advertisements on private houses. I wonder what his impression would be if he woke up in Cardiff on one rainy, dreary, dull morning—a Monday morning for preference—and on putting his head out of the window found himself confronted with a rather ugly, badly—drawn and badly-coloured poster which invited him to take a good dose of Beecham's pills. It would be entirely depressing, and I imagine it would be even more depressing if he suddenly remembered that he had forgotten to take advantage of that excellent advice on the previous evening.
Let us rid our minds of all cant and humbug in this respect. People with the 2020 Welsh temperament possesses the artistic sense and are just as sensitive to atmosphere as English people, who are privileged to live in areas which are not so depressing. I am reminded from behind that the Welsh people are even more responsive to artistic surroundings. Therefore it is the duty of the Cardiff Corporation to ask the House of Commons to assist them to do everything in their power to brighten the areas in which those people are compelled to live. When it comes to advertising, the kind of advertising those people are anxious to see is the smoke stacks of the Dowlais works, of Guest Keen's, and of Baldwins' belching forth smoke, testifying to the fact that conditions in Cardiff are prosperous and that they and their friends will find constant employment. What would happen if this Clause were struck out of the Bill? If those works were subsequently unoccupied the Cardiff Corporation would have no power to prevent them being covered with hideous advertisements. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] Not at the moment. Under the by-laws and the Corporation Act of 1920 they are not able to prevent the exhibition of such advertisements.
§ Mr. LEVY
If my hon. Friend will read the Advertisements Act, 1922, he will find that he is not quite accurate in that respect.
All I can say is that before this Bill was brought to the House of Commons the Cardiff Corporation made very careful inquiries as to the powers they already possessed to protect the amenities of the city, and came to the conclusion that the Acts already on the Statute Book did not give them the powers they now seek. Before I was interrupted I was going on to say that unless the Government take the earliest opportunity of announcing their policy in regard to the continuation of the duties on iron and steel, it may well be that in a short space of time, if those duties are rescinded, the works I have mentioned will be empty and will be covered with advertisements of foreign steel and iron. It would be quite possible for advertisements to be displayed in that way if Clause 76 were struck out. On the question of advertisements, I submit with all respect and sincerity that it is the duty of the House to give the 2021 necessary powers to the Lord Mayor and his colleagues.
Before I conclude I wish to deal with two points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Elland, who drew attention to certain Clauses in the Bill, Clauses 15 and 19 in particular. If I understood him aright, he suggested that under Clause 19 the local authority might be tempted to give partial treatment to services of omnibuses operated by the corporation as against services operated by private enterprise. My hon. Friend probably knows that the Traffic Commissioner, through the Ministry of Transport, would be the first to prevent any such partial decision.
They desire that power because they wish to consider the claims of the services operated by the corporation and by the private lines. I think the Minister of Health has satisfied my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgwater with regard to Clause 77, but I did take the trouble to consult with the Lord Mayor and his advisers on that point, and I am assured that in the case of certain houses in Cardiff, which were built under the subsidy, and are occupied by their owners, inadequate and bad damp courses were put in owing to the fact that they were not inspected at the time of erection. If the building inspector had had the right to inspect the material and the workmanship there would not have been that cause of complaint. I may also say, as regards the builders of Cardiff, that up to the moment the local authority know of no case in which a building inspector has been prevented from inspecting a building. They have not the power under the by-laws, but their inspector has never been challenged. Nevertheless, they want to safeguard themselves by securing powers under which they can insist on the inspection of materials should a builder prove arbitrary and awkward.
§ Mr. CROOM-JOHNSON
I am sure ray hon. and gallant Friend will recollect that many of those houses must have been built under a proper form of agreement—certainly it was so in the early 2022 days. The Ministry laid down what regulations were to be observed and there was a proper form of contract, which the contractor was expected to sign. He will find that the corporations who entered into contracts had ample powers.
Apparently there is a difference of view on that, question, because I am assured by hon. Friends behind me that that is not the case. However, as the Minister of Health has pointed out, that is a matter which can be usefully examined by the Committee. I thank the House for having listened to my remarks, and will conclude by expressing the hope that hon. Members will take the large view and grant the Cardiff Corporation the powers which would automatically have been theirs but for the foresight of the City Corporation's predecessors, and so enable that city to protect the just rights and amenities of its citizens and maintain its reputation as one of the most beautiful capitals of the Empire.
§ 8.33 p.m.
§ Mr. GEORGE HALL
I shall not take up time in dealing with the statement of the case for the Bill. That case has been made out very well by the hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans). I want to call attention to a matter of vital importance to a number of local authorities through whose areas the mains for the Cardiff Waterworks pass. Merthyr Tydvil Town Council are very concerned about their position, because under Clause 38 it is proposed to interfere with the amount of compensation water which passes down through the valley. In the absence of my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr (Mr. Wallhead) on account of illness, I have been asked by the Merthyr Tydvil Town Council to deal with this short point.
The position is that under the Cardiff Corporation Waterworks Acts of 1884 and 1909, the corporation were authorised to construct waterworks on the River Taff fawr, such waterworks consisting of three large impounding reservoirs. Hon. Members who have travelled over the Brecknock Beacons, either from the Merthyr side or the Aberdare side, have been charmed, I am sure, with those very large lakes which retain as much water during the rainy seasons as Cardiff requires. The Acts to which I have 2023 referred provide for a certain amount of compensation water to pass down through the Merthyr Tydvil area, a distance of some 10 miles, through a portion of the Mountain Ash Urban District area, the Pontypridd urban area and the Caerphilly urban area, to the boundaries of Cardiff. The point of view of those local authorities is that the amount of compensation water which was agreed to under the Acts to which I have referred is only just sufficient to meet requirements, because the areas are large coal-mining areas. They are very populous, but unfortunately, owing to underground workings, the sewers get broken because of subsidence, and a good deal of sewer matter finds its way into the river. So does a good dear of offensive liquid matter from the collieries, and it requires a considerable amount of water to wash it, right away.
It may be argued that in those areas a certain amount of water would be sufficient. I ask the Cardiff Corporation, and the Committee which will have the responsibility of examining the Bill, to take into account what I call the exceptional circumstances which confront these local authorities who will be affected if Clause 38 is carried in its present form. In addition to that, in the town of Merthyr Tydvil, there are some works—there are not very many, unfortunately—on the river banks which are dependent upon the water which passes down the river. As most hon. Members know, Merthyr Tydvil has the reputation of having the highest percentage of unemployment in the country. In the last 10 years the unemployed persons in that area has been round about 60 or 70 per cent. For some time the Merthyr Town Council have been anxious to induce industries to come into that area with a view to finding work for persons who are at present unemployed, and the first question which is put to the Merthyr Town Council, by industrialists inquiring for sites, is as to what the prospects are of a water supply. Unless the Merthyr Town Council can have a guarantee that there will he no reduction in the amount of compensation water provided under the Act of Parliament to which I have referred, the position will be serious.
As far as the general principles of the Bill are concerned, I shall certainly give 2024 the Cardiff City Council all the support I can, even on Clause 76, which has been argued by hon. Members on the Government side of the House. I can say without unfairness to the Cardiff City Council, the Lord Mayor and the members of which we met recently, that they are prepared to meet the local authorities fairly, and I hope that they will come to some reasonable arrangements. As a matter of fact, I think the hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans) told the House that the City Council are prepared to a very large extent to meet the wishes of the authorities of whose behalf I speak.
Captain A. EVANS
I have just had an opportunity of consulting with the Lord Mayor of Cardiff and with certain of his colleagues, on the water question, and I am authorised to give the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall) this assurance, that the Cardiff Corporation will take into account the circumstances of all the petitioning parties against this Bill on the water supply question, with a view to a mutual agreement being arrived at.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Mr. LYONS
I have listened with very great interest to what was said by the hon. and gallant Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans) about the city which he is so proud to represent, but upon a little examination, what he said seems a little hollow. In order to understand not only what was said on behalf of the city of Cardiff, but some of the proposals of the Bill, we have to consider them in relation to what was said by the hon. and gallant Member. I remember one of his references when he sought to ask the House to believe that it was a desire of the Cardiff Corporation by means of this Bill to brighten the lives of the people, who have the good or bad fortune to live in Cardiff. He did not call attention to what I think is one of the most unfair and most impudent provisions ever inserted in any Bill by a local authority. The stand that we are taking on this Bill on this side of the House is for the protection of the poorest tenants of 2025 the city of Cardiff. Clause 14 of the Bill reads as follows:Nothing contained in the Rent and Mortgage interest Restrictions Acts, 1920 to 1933, or any enactment amending or extending those Acts shall be deemed to prevent the corporation from obtaining possession of any lands, houses or property which may under the powers of this Act be acquired by the corporation and the possession of which is required by them for any of the purposes of this Act.
§ Mr. JANNER
May I ask the hon. and learned Member what is his purpose in raising this question when it has been intimated that the provision is to be withdrawn? Surely he is going to argue on the merits or demerits of the Bill as it stands?
§ Mr. JANNER
I would like to point out to my hon. and learned Friend that I know the town of Cardiff very well.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Captain Bourne)
A point of Order should be addressed to me, and not to the hon. and learned Member.
§ Mr. THORNE
Surely the hon. Member on this side has as much right to be heard as the hon. Member on that side?
§ Mr. KIRKWOOD
On a point of Order. A Ruling having been given last week that it was not in order to raise a question on a Clause which had been dropped, I should like to ask whether it is in order for the hon. and learned Member to raise this Clause and call attention to it when already it has been admitted by himself that the Clause has been withdrawn?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
The House has no knowledge of whether a Clause has been withdrawn or not. The withdrawal can only take place in Committee, and the House cannot be cognisant of what happens in Committee until the Committee reports to the House.
§ Mr. LYONS
I was referring to Clause 14, and was saying that in that Clause the Cardiff Corporation took power to say to a man whom this House has made a statutory tenant, and who has been given protection by virtue of the Rent Restrictions Acts, that the law of the 2026 land as fixed by this House should not obtain in the City of Cardiff. I think we shall understand the temper of those who are responsible for promoting this Bill when we consider most of its provisions. I merely remarked on this particular Clause, which is in the Bill as circulated, as being thoroughly objectionable, and I think that my hon. and learned Friend who spoke in support of the Amendment would be quite willing to add this Clause to the two other Clauses to which he referred as being worthy of the Criticism of the House.
Clause 76, on which most of the Debate to-night has centred, is a change in the law which in our judgment is fundamental, and, rightly or wrongly, we think that it is not a matter appertaining to Cardiff. If there is to be an alteration of the Advertisements Regulation Act, 1925, the alteration should be by a general Act of Parliament passed by this House, having similar application throughout the country. My hon. and learned Friend who seconded the Amendment made what I think was a good point, that neither Cardiff nor any other city can be said to-day to be separate and purely local. As business expands, as transportation facilities become greater, the whole country becomes more compressed, and it is very unfortunate for business if a trader has to realise that in different towns to which he goes different laws are to be in operation.
There is another angle from which this matter may be regarded. Is another Department to be set up by the Cardiff Corporation—paid for no doubt by the harassed ratepayers if this Bill proceeds—with a director of advertising a complete staff, and a good many inspectors? Traders in Cardiff who form a substantial body of the ratepayers—people in the theatrical business, bill posters, printers, and so on—will all suffer by this additional fetter on trade. Moreover, the man with the small house who may desire to add to a small income by letting off a wall for advertisements—which to-day are very largely decorative—will not be able to do so because of this restriction, applying to Cardiff alone. I think it is about time that the spending power of local authorities, so long as we are not considering matters of public health, was lessened rather than extended in this way, and I hope the House will reject the 2027 Bill, which in no way really helps trade, which in no way really helps the citizens of Cardiff, and which puts one city in a different position from any other. As regards the power to regulate municipal broadcasting, I think that the Corporation of Cardiff know that that provision too will be withdrawn when it gets before a Committee, so I shall say nothing about it beyond this, that it is a provision which would give to a municipality such an extension of private enterprise as would be a dangerous inroad on ordinary trade, and, therefore, I hope it will not be sanctioned.
Perhaps I may be allowed to point out an inaccuracy in the statement of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans) when he was trying to make out that there was some need for this Bill and some similarity between it and the Town and Country Planning Act. He omitted this important difference, that in certain circumstances under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, when the local authority in relation to any premises in a scheduled scheme desires to interfere with an advertisement, serves a notice, and in defiance of the action of the owner of the property proceeds itself, there is from that action of the local authority a right of appeal to petty sessions, and from petty sessions to quarter sessions. I am referring to Section 47 (2) of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932. There is no such right of appeal here. The Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, in conjunction with the Advertisements Regulation Act, 1907, run very smoothly, and afford proper protection to the citizen, with full regard to the liberty of the subject and the proper preservation of the amenities of the district concerned. There is no need at all for this very different Measure, for this despotic power which is sought under Clause 76 of the Cardiff Corporation Bill.
For the reasons I have given, I join with those who have spoken in opposition to the Bill, and I say that because of Clause 76, Clause 14, and the other Clause mentioned by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson), it marks a new era in local authority legislation. The provisions which are sought are unworkable and unnecessary, in no way promote or in any way help the citizens of Cardiff, and may 2028 in fact become detrimental to the operation of commerce in the city to which they would apply. I hope we shall hear very shortly a statement on behalf of the Government as to the view which the Secretary of State for the Home Department takes on these matters. If there were any real need as a general proposition for the extraordinary powers which Cardiff now seeks alone, it would, I have no doubt, be met by a Measure introduced by the right hon. Gentleman or some other Member of the Government; and, if I may ask the question without presumption, I would like to know whether, if the Government approve of this scheme, they have any intention of introducing a Government Measure comprehensively and nationally dealing in the ordinary way with municipal legislation, sweeping away all these local powers, and giving complete similarity throughout the municipalities. If that were so there would be no need for the present Bill, and the whole matter would be discussed when the new Bill came forward as a Government Measure. I ask that question because, if it were so, it would serve the purpose of the Cardiff Corporation, and they would not want to proceed with the present Measure. At this hour I will say no more except that I give my support to those who are opposing the Measure, and hope that we shall have some indication from the right hon. Gentleman as to whether the Government have any intention of bringing in a Measure dealing with these matters for full application throughout the country.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I rise to support this Bill, and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Cardiff (Captain A. Evans). I had intended to preface my remarks by saying that I have no intention of detaining the House for any time, but I have come to realise that a phrase of that sort at the beginning of any speech inspires a hope which rarely comes to fruition. I can endorse to the full the remarks of my hon. and gallant Friend about the City of Cardiff. It is a magnificent city magnificently run, and its merits are so obvious that it does not require even a Walsh bard to sing them. As a Scotsman, I am very glad to pay that tribute to that great city. It has advantages additional to those which have been already mentioned. It is only 2029 eight miles from the port and the very fine seaside resort of Barry, and it includes within its area the fine place of Llandaff and, incidentally, many of my constituents.
I have listened with the greatest attention to the speeches of the Opposition, and I realise to the full that the great theme in attacking the Bill is that it is not right for local authorities to introduce in private Bill legislation things which should be introduced by a general public Act. I am ready to admit that there is some substance in those statements, but I feel that there is a complete answer to them, which is that to ask Cardiff to wait till this can be arranged in a public Act would be as good as asking them to wait till the Greek Kalends. It is, in my opinion, unfair to put forward that plea. It is obviously impossible for any city to await such an event. I think the House should come down from the very excellent theories propounded by those who are opposing the Measure and treat it, not as lawyers, but as average sensible citizens. I do not for a moment mean that those two are opposites, but I feel that one must regard the Bill in an average common sense way. Apart from the general objections to the Bill, there have been two or three special objections taken to the special Clause which has been much discussed. Those objections have been, as they were on the Salford Bill, firstly on the score of expense, although that has not been so much stressed to-night as in the case of the Salford Bill. It is clear that any question of extra expense chargeable to the ratepayers and the corporation would be of a practically negligible character. It would really only be the printing of the by-laws when they have been passed.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I am convinced that there would be no case for any extra staff. I am assured that the actual building inspectors at present at work there would be sufficient and that all that would be required would be some £50 or £60 for printing the by-laws. Another objection of a more special nature which I have heard mentioned in regard to the advertising question is that it is an infringement of the liberty of the subject. I feel that that is stretching the point 2030 a very long way, because, high as is our standard of individual liberty, in fact the highest in the world, I do not believe that anyone would object to controlling people who were spoiling the amenities and the happiness of their neighbours. I, therefore, do not consider that the point of the infringement of individual liberty is really of any great weight.
That the present powers of the Cardiff Corporation are adequate to deal with the matter is, in my opinion, a wrong statement. The Advertisements Acts of 1907 and 1925 do not give the requisite powers. Of course, they deal with the matters of spoiling rural scenery and advertisements being detrimental to parks and pleasure grounds and beauty spots, but surely those who live in mean streets have as much right to that protection, and I claim that the present position of Cardiff in this respect should be strengthened and the powers they ask should be granted. I listened to practically the whole Debate on the Salford Bill, and I feel that the new Clause, as inserted here, which really embodies the modifications accepted by those in opposition to that Bill, is entirely satisfactory. We have heard mention of the statement at that time of the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department—and I hope we are shortly going to hear a similar statement from him—that the Government would not object to the Bill going further because, after that Clause had been modified, as it was in the Salford Bill, the rest of the Bill was sound.
I support the Bill in every way. I remember that the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) raised many objections in the Salford Debate, and I believe he has much to do with the raising of objections now. I would, therefore, appeal to him and his friends, because I know that, with his brain, which is a logical, level-headed, inquisitive and acquisitive brain, he and they in their hearts see that they cannot refuse to Cardiff what Salford had achieved.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Douglas Hacking)
Hon. Members have to-night been mainly concerned with Clause 76 of this Bill, and, as the House knows, I can in fact only speak with authority on that particular Clause. My hon. Friend the 2031 Member for Llandaff and Barry (Mr. Munro) said that he hoped to hear from me to-night a similar statement to that which I made less than 12 months ago in connection with the Salford Corporation Bill. He ought to know by this time that I would never contradict myself, and in fact my hon. Friend who moved the rejection of this Measure paid me the compliment of saying that I was right. If he knew me better he would know that I was always right, or, shall I say, perhaps nearly always right.
Before I deal with Clause 76 may I say a word in connection with the water Clauses which were raised by the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall). May I also say a word about his hon. Friend and colleague the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Wallhead), on whose behalf he was speaking. We all regret to hear of the very serious illness of the hon. Member. Although many of us hold very different political views from him, nevertheless the whole House will wish him a speedy recovery to complete health. With regard to the water Clauses, the hon. Member made special reference to Clause 38 dealing with the compensation water. I know that he does not expect me to give him any answer at all on that matter. The points will, I am sure, be considered in Committee, and he has already received an undertaking from the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Cardiff South (Captain A. Evans), and I think that we may leave the matter at that.
Now for Clause 76. It has been copied, not in detail, but in principle, from the Salford Corporation Bill, and when we discussed that Bill last July I took exception to the by-law procedure. I cannot do better than quote the exact words I used on that occasion, because my hon. Friend says that he will be happy if I hold the same views to-night as I held when the Salford Corporation Bill was being discussed. What I said then was that:My right hon. Friend does not like the by-law procedure at all in respect of a matter of this kind. The question as to whether advertisements are prohibited in a particular area is much more suitable for the decision on the spot by persons familiar with local conditions. Any decision which may be made should be made on the spot, and be subject to the right of appeal to a court—perhaps the court of quarter ses- 2032 sions."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th July, 1933; col. 2903, Vol. 280.]Then I went on to say something else about that particular Bill. In fact, I said that if a certain Amendment were accepted to the Clause under discussion in connection with the Salford Corporation Bill which would make clear that the power to prohibit advertisements was to be limited to the consideration of the amenities of the district—and it was accepted—then the Home Office would not ask the House to reject the whole Clause. That, of course, would have meant, as the House will recollect, the rejection of the whole Bill, for it was before the House for its Report and Third Reading at such a time when, if the Clause had had to be recommitted to the Committee upstairs, there would not have been time for it to have been discussed again by the House of Commons during that Session, and the whole of the procedure would have had to be gone through again from the very commencement at very heavy expense.
I repeat that my right hon. Friend did not then, and does not now, like the by-law procedure, and I submit that it is not a sound argument to say that because we accepted that procedure on the Salford Corporation Bill we must accept it again now. As I have said, the Salford Bill had been through Committee. It had had a long discussion in Committee at very heavy expense to all those concerned, and if the procedure which we dislike, and of which we expressed our dislike, had been resisted on the Report stage, many months of labour on that Bill would have been wasted, and the Bill, as I have said, had to be accepted with the by-law procedure or the whole Bill would have been lost. We were not then prepared to carry our resistance so far and to have inflicted in those circumstances such a heavy expenditure upon the Corporation of Salford.
To-night the position is surely somewhat different. This is the Second Reading of the Cardiff Corporation Bill. There is plenty of time to amend the Bill by taking out the by-law procedure if it is thought necessary in Committee. To-night I simply wish to make the position clear that the Home Office is not opposed in principle to the protection of residential amenities. We are not opposed to that at all. We are only 2033 opposed to the method which is contained in this particular Clause. We are not, however, prepared to support the deletion of the Clause at this stage. I think that that would be somewhat harsh treatment before it has had an opportunity of being discussed in greater detail upstairs. The matter can well be dealt with when the Bill goes upstairs in Committee, and I therefore suggest—it is only a suggestion—to the opponents of this particular Clause that they should not press their Amendment to a Division to-night. Their views, and those which I have attempted to express, can, and no doubt, will be repeated during the Committee stage. The views of my right hon. Friend will certainly be put forward by the Home Office representative who will attend before the Committee, and, if after that further expression of opinion, the Committee decide to keep the Clause as it is at present drafted, then I submit to the House there will be a further opportunity provided here on the Floor of the House for hon. Members to convince the House that their line has been the right one. I therefore respectfully suggest to my hon. Friends who are the opponents of this Clause that, while reserving the right to press on other occasions the arguments which have been brought to bear with so much force to-night, the Bill might this evening with advantage be given a Second Reading by the House.
§ 9.14 p.m.
§ Mr. H. WILLIAMS
After the very important statement we have just heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department my friends and I who have been concerned with the criticism of the Bill feel that we must take obviously very serious notice of the suggestion which he has made. I hope that I am not misinterpreting the right hon. Gentleman's views when I gather that he does not himself like the Clause as it stands. He made some reference to the by-law procedure to-night of which I did not gather the significance.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
I am very interested to have a definite statement from the representative of the Government who 2034 speaks on behalf of the Home Office, and with all the experience in the matter that they do not like the Clause in its present form. That is a very important indication to the Committee which will consider the Bill upstairs if it receives a Second Reading. I think that in those circumstances the duty of my hon. Friends is clear and that we ought not to press to a Division the Amendment "That the Bill be read a Second time upon this day six months," and, moreover, that we ought not to move the Instruction. There is on the Order Paper a Motion standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for East Lewisham (Sir A. Pownall) who once before this Session was deprived of his opportunity, and we hope therefore, that the remainder of this discussion will not occupy more than a few minutes.
Last summer some of us, at the end of the Session, discovered that the general law of the land was being altered in the Salford Bill, which had already been through Committee. We had a very interesting Debate, and I believe that if we had gone to a Division the Salford Corporation would have lost their powers, but we recognised that they had been to all the expense of the procedure upstairs and that in the past they had had certain legislation. Therefore, somewhat reluctantly but out of consideration for all the circumstances, we agreed to allow the Clause to go through, with an Amendment of some considerable importance. I was responsible on that occasion for announcing the compromise, as, in one sense, I am responsible to-night. We definitely reserved our powers to oppose any other Bill that came forward containing the provision to which we then agreed, and we are now asserting our rights. We say that what was done then should not create a precedent.
In agreeing to the suggestions of the Under-Secretary I should like to make it clear that, if the Clause is not amended in the way which we think, on balance, is reasonable, and there is not introduced what I call a general alteration in the law of the land, which, if it is to be made, ought to be made in a Government Bill amending the Acts of 1907 and 1922, we reserve our rights later to move the deletion of the Clause on further consideration of the Bill. I do not know how this Bill was constructed. Some of us have looked at it very carefully. Clause 14, which I understand is 2035 to be abandoned, if it had gone through would have given the corporation power to clear out a statutory tenant under the Rent Restrictions Act. Part VI, which is also abandoned, would have given them power in respect of a wireless relay station, which this House denied to Middlesbrough last year. Clause 79 proposes to alter the Local Government Act in respect of the compounding limit. Honestly, I do not understand why a corporation, when it desires particular powers, searches the world to find out what powers it ought not to have, shoves them into a Bill and brings them here, and when the Debate comes along we have an announcement that these things are withdrawn.
Captain A. EVANS
May I remind the hon. Member that so far as compounding of the rates is concerned that concession was made in response to an appeal of the ratepayers, who are concerned in the introduction of the Bill. The abolition of the wireless Clause from the Measure was done with respect to the expressed wish of Parliament on the Middlesbrough Bill.
§ Mr. WILLIAMS
There was no concession to the ratepayers. The ratepayers turned it down. I am criticising the corporation for putting into a Bill a Clause so absurd as that. I am also criticising the corporation for putting into the Bill a wireless Clause which Parliament had rejected in the case of Middlesbrough. I do not think that the Cardiff Corporation have been too intelligent. Their one act of intelligence has been to ask my hon. and gallant Friend to make a very able and eloquent speech in defence of an almost impossible case. I suggest to the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. Levy) that he should ask leave to withdraw the Amendment, and that he should not move the Instruction standing in his name.
§ 9.20 p.m.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I should like to crave the indulgence of the House to say a few words, inasmuch as one of the Clauses of the Bill affects the bottom part of my constituency indirectly. I refer to the water Clause, to which the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall) referred. Having had a general assurance from the hon. and gallant Mem- 2036 ber for Cardiff, South (Captain A. Evans) I agreed to leave the matter until we saw what the nature of the general discussion might be at a later stage. I am not quite sure that I am justified, having regard to the fact that he has graciously indicated an intention to withdraw his opposition, temporarily, in engaging the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) in a controversy as to whether some of his remarks in regard to the Cardiff Corporation were justified or otherwise. The hon. Member will forgive me for saying that the Lord Mayor and Corporation of a city like Cardiff have to do their best, according to their lights, in order to serve the interests of the citizens in their municipal charge. I think the hon. Member was a title unfair in suggesting that they had shown less intelligence than would perhaps have been shown if he had been in charge of the Cardiff Corporation. If he knew as much about the City of Cardiff from the municipal point of view as I do, I think he would feel that he was justified in withdrawing his somewhat unkind observation. There is really only one Clause to which the opposition have taken objection.
§ Mr. JONES
For all practical purposes one Clause alone has been discussed in detail. Whatever the case against the Cardiff Corporation may be, and I admit that there may be a case from the point of view of hon. Members opposite, although I do not accept it, surely hon. Members would not suggest that, because there is one Clause, which might be amended in Committee, which is unacceptable, the whole of the 97 Clauses should be thrown out?
§ Mr. JONES
Those who are on the Committee can examine the case against Clause 76 in detail, when the full case in relation to it has been put, for and against. I agree with the praise that has been expressed with regard to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson), and I think he will agree with me that, because of the development of business in relation to township with township, it is the more necessary that a city like Cardiff, so well known for its aesthetic achievements, should preserve its personality, and that we ought to enable the city to develop its case fully at a later stage. I suppose we may take it that the opposition to the Second Reading is withdrawn and also the Motion for the Instruction to the Committee. I am sure that the promoters of the Bill will be only too willing to give every possible consideration to the arguments advanced against any particular Clause when the Bill reaches the Committee stage.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time, and committed.
The following Notice of Motion stood upon the Order Paper:
That it be an Instruction to the Committee to leave out Clause 76."—[Mr. Croom-Johnson.]
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
I understand that the hon. and learned Member for Bridgwater (Mr. Croom-Johnson) does not wish to move the Instruction; is that so?