HC Deb 30 November 1936 vol 318 cc955-91

9.30 p.m.


I beg to move in page 21, line 28, at the end, to insert:

"LONDON—KING'S LYNN London —Tottenham —Ware—Buntingford—Royston (fork right)—Cambridgec—Downham Market—King's Lynn. A10."

I have been asked by the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. G. Williams) whether in his unavoidable absence I would move this addition to the Schedule. The point he wished to make was that this is essentially the type of road which should be a main trunk road under the authority of the Minister. It would have to come into play in the case of the defence of the country and particularly the defence of London. From the national point of view and from the defence point of view it is an essential road.

9.31 p.m.

Captain HUDSON

This is the first of a number of Amendments to the Schedule in which hon. Members suggest that we should add certain roads to those which are now in the Bill. While I sympathise very much with hon. Members who have particular roads which they wish to be added, I would ask the Committee to remember what my right hon. Friend said when moving the Second Reading of this Bill—that all the roads which we have included, or the vast majority of them, are essential roads, and he used the illustration that they are the roads which would have to be constructed should something happen like an earthquake and the whole of the roads of this country were wiped out. Therefore, in replying to the various Amendments suggesting additional roads I have to consider that and consider the merits of the road suggested. Let us take this road. It lies midway between the Great North Road and the road from London to Norwich, and until it reaches Cambridge at no point is it more than 15 miles from one or other of these roads. It then passes through the Fen country to King's Lynn and joins the cross-country trunk road to Birmingham. In that part of the road, beyond Cambridge, there is no point at which it is more than 20 miles from a trunk road. East Anglia is well served, as anybody can see by looking at the map, by trunk roads, and I am afraid that we cannot see any justification for adding this road more than any other to the Schedule. I am sorry to have to refuse my hon. and gallant Friend, but at the same time I feel that the Committee will agree that there is no sufficient justification for adding this road.

Amendment negatived.

9.35 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 27. line 22, at the end, to insert:

EXETER—MAID STONE Exeter (junction with A. 30)—Chard—Ilminter—Ilehester— A. 303
Wineanton—Amesbury—Andover—Basingstoke— A. 287
Farnham A.31
Guildford —Redhill —Wrotbam A.25."

I move this addition to the Schedule with less enthusiasm than I would have felt if I had not listened to earlier parts of the Debate, because I really thought, when I read the exterior of this Bill, that it was a Bill to provide a national system of roads for through traffic. But after listening to the Debate I fear that this is merely a Bill to make financial adjustments with the county councils an d on the whole to do very little more, and I am bound to say that the Minister will surprise me a good deal if at the end of five years these so-called trunk roads have taken on a very different appearance from that of many of the roads which are not trunk roads at all. Nevertheless, turning to this route which propose to include in the Bill for whatever it may be worth, I divide it into two parts.

It was the route between Exeter and Basingstoke via Stockbridge which first made me doubt whether this Bill was really a trunk road for through traffic, for anyone living in the West of England knows that the road Exeter (junction with A.30) Chard, Ilminster, Ilchester, Wincanton, Amesbury, Andover and Basingstoke is to-day very, very much nearer to being a through trunk road than the other. It has far fewer towns on it. It is far straighter and it runs through land which is agriculturally, I believe, less valuable. It could have been widened and made into a trunk road at less expense, and it is the road which almost everybody in the West of England uses for approaching London. I think it is regretted by many in the West of England that that road was not selected as a trunk road. I put separately the ease of Basingstoke, Farnham, Guildford, Redhill, Wrotham and Maidstone, and that is the road which connects the West of England with the channel ports, particularly with Dover, without passing through London.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman envisaged the case of an earthquake which wiped out all the roads, but may I put to him the much more likely though, as we hope, not too pressing case of a disaster which wiped out the great meeting of roads in London? If such a thing were to happen the road which I propose, connecting the Channel ports, including Dover, with the rest, and with the Middle-West of England, would become one of the most vital routes in our system; and in my submission on those grounds it ought to be a trunk road, particularly as those parts of the road between Basingstoke and Maidstone do not appear to any of the county authorities, through any of whose areas they pass, to be as important as those roads really are in the national structure of main roads.

9.39 p.m.


I have very much pleasure in strongly supporting the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Mr. Acland). I am bound to say that I shared his astonishment when I saw the extraordinary line that the right hon. Gentleman included in his Bill to get to the South-West of England, because he stuck to A.30 until it really became what a trunk road should be, and then he deserted it for the road that goes south of Dartmoor instead of the road A.30 north of Dartmoor through Okehampton. But I want to support it not so much for that part of the road as for the part that runs eastward from Basingstoke. That is a road of very great importance for the country, as the hon. Member for Barnstaple said, in the event of the route through London being destroyed or made impossible, because then it would be the natural line of traffic proceeding from Dover, Chatham and the great military centres through to Aldershot and Salisbury Plain and Plymouth. If any regard at all is had to the Defence of the Realm in the Schedules of the Bill, this particular road is the one which a mechanised army would have to use if it were being moved south of the Thames from either West to East or East to West. A very considerable sum of money has been spent by the county councils in Surrey and Kent on improving this road, and I know that they share the astonishment which was expressed by the hon. Member for Barnstaple at this route not being included.

I beg that if the Minister's mind is still open to conviction on the matter he will seriously consider the inclusion of this road in the Bill, because it supplies a much needed route which does the greatest thing of all: it enables a great deal of traffic to by-pass London, and that I should think is in itself a very great recommendation indeed to a route. I know from personal experience the great amount of traffic that uses it now, and if it were made more useful for traffic I am quite sure that a very considerable amount of traffic that now enters London merely to go out of it again, would be deflected to use this road for the purpose of getting from the Channel ports to the West of England or vice versa.

9.43 p.m.


When the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) supports an Amendment it is a guarantee to me that that Amendment is a serious one. Not that I would object to an Amendment if my hon. Friend the Member for Barnstaple (Mr. Acland) moved it. On the contrary; but he has put down so many Amendments on the Paper that it is a little embarrassing to decide which of them is really to be conceded as important. What the hon. Member for South Shields says is that one section of the road is entitled to be made, in time to come, a trunk road. But that applies to only one section of it. I have the full map of the road here and, as the hon. Member will appreciate, from Chard it passes to the North of the existing London—Penzance road and parallels it for a distance of 15 miles. A great section of this road comes within 15 miles of the existing trunk road, and I can conceive of nothing more wasteful than that part of the road. The other part on the map, I candidly admit, has more attraction, but so have a great many roads which one can draw on the map. But I am not proposing to accept any of these, because I have accepted 4,500 miles, all of which have been discussed with the county councils, and all of which, or practically all, were selected in the past without having anything to do with this Bill at all as being a central trunk road.

I do not mean to say that that exhausts the list of all the important roads in the country. It does not, and it will be quite possible for every one of the 615 Members of this House, myself included, to propose additions to that list. If there is one circumstance that seems to me to justify the rejection of any desired route, and any power vested in me to amend the Schedule, this is the Amendment I prefer. By taking a map the number of proposals which you could make would be interminable and at the same time would appear quite logical.

The greater portion of the proposed roads, as can be seen on the map, runs parallel to the road which we have selected. The other portion of it has, possibly, the advantages, economic and strategic, which the hon. Member for South Shields mentioned, but I do not propose at this stage or at any stage, if the House will permit me to take this course, to lump roads into this Bill without prior discussion with the county councils whose finances are involved. All these proposals involve financial readjustments which I should have to discuss with those who are vitally and monetarily concerned. I hope the hon. Member for Barnstaple does not think that I reject his Amendment for the pleasure of doing so. I am compelled to take the course and any Minister here would be compelled to take the course of rejecting proposals to add new roads. The hon. Member is kind enough to offer to present me with between 700 and 1,000 miles of new roads or about a quarter of what I have in the Bill already. Where should I be if I began accepting these Amendments? I do not reject them because they have no merit but because they have less merit than the scheme in the Bill.

Amendment negatived.

9.47 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 28, line 14, column 2, to leave out from the first "Wells," to "Newtown," in line 17, and to insert:

" Builth Wells—New-bridge-on-Wye—Rhayader A.479
Rhayader —Llangurig (Felin-Fawr) A. 44
Llangurig (Felin-Fawr) Llanidloes —Llandinam℄Penstroed —Newtown A. 492."

I hope the Minister will not be as adamant in regard to this Amendment as he has been in regard to some of the others, because I am not really proposing to add a new road to his list, but I am suggesting an alternative to the route which has been chosen in the Schedule for the proposed trunk road from Swansea to Manchester. The position shortly is that this is the road chosen by the Minister for the route from South Wales to the North and unfortunately at some time or other—I think some time before this Bill was conceived—while the possibilities of trunk roads were being considered, somebody advising the Ministry suggested a deviation from the route usually followed and suggested going along what was until a few years ago a mere mountain track, involving a climb over about 1,200 feet to go to a very delectable, but rather expensive, place known as Llandrindod Wells which has the honour of being the birthplace of the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Garro Jones). That is the road which has been chosen instead of following the old road along the valleys of the Severn and Wye. Why this was done passes one's comprehension. If you go along the road laid down in the Schedule you pass over 20 miles of mountain land which has not the attraction of heather and gorse, but is rather bare agricultural lard where a very poor living is obtained by Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire farmers. It passes through no village and it benefits nobody. Its only advantage is that there are excellent views from it but then there are excellent views from every road in Wales and good as the views are on this road they are as nothing compared to those on the old road which I suggest in my Amendment.

I do not know whether any Members of the Committee know that part of Montgomeryshire where there is a small town called Newtown on the banks of the Severn. The old road follows the Severn on to a branch where one road turns down towards the Dovey estuary while the other turns left towards Llanidloes until it reaches the pass of Llangurig where it turns right and goes down to Aberystwyth. That is the main road to the Cardigan coast, the one usually followed and the one that is most popular, certainly with people from the Midlands. The road which turns left from Llangurig follows the valley of the Wye and passes a. place called Rhayader near which are the reservoirs which supply Birmingham with fresh water, and then goes on towards Builth Wells. It passes within two miles of this little place Llandrindod Wells which sprang into existence during the past 30 or 40 years and consists of about 10 expensive hotels and a delightful golf course. There are several approaches. You can approach it also from Shropshire and from South Wales. The problem before the Committee is whether the road chosen in the Schedule is the right route to follow. I understand that the cost of straightening the proposed road, strengthening bridges and so forth will cost at least £70,000 whereas, on the old road, the total cost would only be about £7,000 because three county councils have already spent money on making these roads good sound roads, which could be taken over by the Minister without any addition. That is on the question of cost.

On the question of user, there is no comparison between the number of vehicles that pass along the old road as compared with the number that pass along what is known as this mountain road, which is to be a trunk road—no comparison in tonnage, in the number of vehicles, or in anything else. Moreover, that mountain road, which is the one mentioned in the Schedule, is probably better known to me than to any other Member of the House, for the very good reason that I have had to travel it at all times. There are times when it is impassable. It is an exposed road, and in order to attend meetings the ear has had to stop, and I have had to make my way through the snow to get to them. There are only one or two scattered schools and chapels along the whole length of it. Then what is the purpose of making it into a trunk road? Compared with the other road, which passed along sheltered valleys all the way, undoubtedly it reaches a high point at one point, about 900 feet—it rises, to 1,284 feet, and all the time passes along an exposed escarpment. That is the difference between the two roads. I ask the Minister to change his mind, or rather to change the Schedule with regard to this, because I hope he still has an open mind on the matter, and to give a preference to this older road.

There are one or two other matters about which I must trouble the Committee. The whole of the Montgomery- shire County Council are in favour of the old road. It might be said against me that that is only natural, because the old road is in Montgomeryshire, and, therefore, they would be relieved to that extent of a certain mileage. Anyone can make that point. At any rate, it serves more people, it serves at least two small towns, it serves a number of villages on the way, and in addition it largely serves the Cardiganshire coast, and so I have the full support of the Montgomeryshire County Council. I have also the full support of the Cardiganshire County Council. They were asking that the road should be further prolonged and taken down the coast, but they recognised the strength of the case that we put forward that this should be the road. On the other hand, I understand that the Radnorshire County Council are now very much divided, because, whereas they thought it was going to be a great saving to them to have this new trunk road made, they now recognise that when they have that road made they will still have a large stretch of road along the old route which they will have to look after and repair, so there are divided counsels now in Radnorshire. Those are the three county councils involved, and the Minister said, quite rightly, that in all these matters the county councils should be consulted. That is my case, and I ask the Minister to say that it is better to follow the route that all Welsh people have followed throughout these hundreds of years and that that should be the route for him to follow from North to South.

10.0 p.m.


I must ask the Committee to extend to me the indulgence which is usually granted to a Member addressing the House for the first time. I must say that I find myself in complete disagreement with everything that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Montgomeryshire (Mr. Clement Davies) has just said with regard to the alternative route to that one which is in the Schedule to the Bill, and I think it is a fact that this is the only Amendment on the Paper that proposes an alternative route to the one which the Ministry in their wisdom have put in the Schedule. It is very difficult for the Committee to follow what is rather a local question without a map and without local knowledge, but the Amendment, briefly, asks the Minister to substitute for the route in the Schedule a route some eight or nine miles longer and a route which it is estimated, and, I think, very conservatively and impartially estimated, will cost £62,000 more than that scheduled in the Bill. It is eight miles longer and would mean £62,000 more for the taxpayer to find.

I do not wish to weary the Committee with the technical and engineering arguments which I could bring forward in order to oppose the Amendment, but it should be noted that on this alternative route which has been suggested there are two towns, namely, Llanidloes and Rhayader, which are practically impossible to by-pass. Rhayader is an extremely tortuous town, and it would present considerable difficulties to a first-class trunk road. The road from Builth Wells to Llangurig is an extremely difficult engineering problem. On the one side you have what has been estimated to be the hardest rock in Great Britain, and on the other side you have sometimes a railway, sometimes a river, and very often both. On that alternative route there are also no fewer than five places where the railway crosses the road. Those five bridges would all of them have to be reconstructed at a very great cost, and there is also quite a substantial proportion of the route which is liable to flooding.

My hon. Friend made some remarks with regard to snow and the height of the road. It is true that the road in the Schedule is certainly a great deal higher than the alternative route suggested by the Amendment, but as a matter of fact, on account of the very open country through which it passes, that particular road, the one in the Schedule, is far freer from snow than the road that my hon. and learned Friend proposes to ask the Minister to substitute for it. He also made a certain amount of play with statistics of road users, but he admitted that most of the road users went on to Cardiganshire, and I presume to Aberystwyth. We are not discussing the road to Aberystwyth, which is an east to west road; we are discussing a road that goes from north to south, and I do not think those particular figures of traffic are of any real importance in this discussion.

May I point out the advantages of the road as it is in the Bill? It is eight miles shorter and is one of the best graded roads in that part of the country. It is possible, I am told, to bicycle from Builth Wells to Newtown and back without getting off. It passes through one considerable town, Llandrindod Wells, which offers no difficulties to through traffic, and which could, if necessary, be easily by-passed. The road is winding, I admit, but so are the majority of roads in that part of the country. It presents no engineering problems at all. The soil which would have to be cut through in order to widen the road is soft and easily worked, and there is, I am convinced, no engineering difficulty in making that road into a first-class trunk road. So far as the finances of Radnorshire are concerned, it makes no difference whether the road goes from Builth Wells or Rhayader on the alternative road. The milage is practically the same. Therefore, it is not a scheme of the county council to relieve their rates.

I refuse to accept my hon. and learned Friend's statement that Radnorshire is divided. The whole of the county council feel definitely that it would be in the interests of the county and of the road from north to south to adhere to the road as it is in the Bill. If the Minister accepts the Amendment it will mean that that little town to which my hon. and learned Friend referred but which I refer to as an important town, namely, Lland drindod Wells, would be cut off. As hon. Members will know if they have been there for their health or for other purposes, Llandrindod Wells is the most important town in mid-Wales. It is a great postal centre and the natural meeting place of north and south Wales and it would be a great pity if it were not afforded, in a country where transport is difficult, the very facilities that it wishes. Therefore, I hope that the Minister will adhere to the road which he and the Ministry have thought out, which for the last 12 years has always been considered a trunk road, and which has the blessings of the County Councils Association and of the county councils concerned.

10.8 p.m.


The hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. I. Guest) has, in his maiden speech, given a lucid and convincing rejoinder to the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) who tried to persuade the Minister to alter the route as laid down in the Schedule. The Minister must be much moved at the spectacle of so many Members trying to persuade him to take over the management of the trunk roads, but this is the only case among all the Amendments which have been proposed which seek to deflect one of these trunk roads and to substitute a new road for it. The hon. Member who proposed its substitution has charged the Committee with a difficult task if he is asking it to adjudicate between the merit of two roads running through the counties of Radnor and Montgomery. If it is to be judged on that ground I would submit one or two points in which the hon. Member was not quite accurate. He sought to tell the Committee that the road as laid down in the Bill, which I will call the original trunk road, was not in fact the normal route between Newtown and Builth Wells. It has, however, been the main, if not the only, road between these two places for 100 years. [Horn. MEMBERS: "No."] If that is not the case, all I can say is that we are asked to judge the merits of an internicine controversy as to what is the best road for the Minister to choose, but I hope the Minister is not going to judge this matter on arguments of that kind. This was the trunk road selected by the council of local authorities as long as 12 years ago, and what new reason has been adduced to change it now I am at a loss to understand. The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery said that the road he proposes will cost less. I am advised, and I believe the Minister has been provided with most conclusive arguments on this point, that his proposal would cost at least 40 per cent. more The hon. Member made a great point about snow which he said occasionally blocked the original trunk road as laid down in the Schedule. I am informed that the road which he wishes to substitute runs through territory far more liable to flooding than the new road. At any rate, he cannot deny that there are five bridges which would have to be reconstructed.


On the contrary, on the road laid down in the Schedule at least six or seven bridges will have to be made. That is why I am asking for the alternative.


This difference between the hon. Gentleman and me only indicates the difficulty of judging a question like this in debate across the Floor of the House. I am informed that the expense in regard to the reconstruction of bridges will be considerably greater on the proposed new road than on the old road, and the Minister has in his possession facts which, I believe, will bear that out. The hon. Member will not deny that on the proposed alternative there will be two level crossings and that on the road in the Bill there are no level crossings. Level crossings are an annoying obstacle to road users, and that is a factor which the Minister ought to take into account.

My final point is this. It is said there is less traffic on the road as laid down in the Bill than on the proposed new road. There are two reasons for that which have not yet been brought out. The first reason is that a part of the trunk road now in the Bill comes under the jurisdiction of the county council represented by the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire and all the information which I have goes to show that that road has been neglected in its upkeep until it has become so bad that traffic from south to north deliberately avoids it. That being so, it is a strange thing that now that the Montgomeryshire County Council see that they are going to have this road kept up at the expense of the Ministry they are, for the first time, eager to have it taken over by him. Therefore, I would say that on every ground of efficient jurisdiction, on geographical grounds and from the point of view of economy of distance and of cost, as well as on the major principle of not making alterations in the Bill as the outcome of arguments across the Floor of the House in preference to judging on the opinions of those whom the Minister has to advise him, in consultation with the county councils, there is every reason why the Minister should adhere to the proposal in the Schedule.

10.16 p.m.


I should like to say a few words as one who represents a South Wales constituency. It seems to me that both suggestions fall short in one particular of what is desirable. There is something to be said for the Minister's proposals for the new road from Swansea, shall we say, to the neighbourhood of Llandrindod Wells, because as things are now there is no main road connection between that part of South Wales and Central Wales. The eastern part of Glamorganshire has its road, because people can pass up by Abergavenny, but when we come to the neighbourhood of Llandrindod Wells we get to a locality where we ought to continue the road so as to connect South Wales with Manchester or to connect South Wales with North Wales. That is where, I think, the Ministry of Transport have fallen short of what is necessary. People who travel along the new trunk road from Swansea to Llandrindod Wells can quite easily go across country to join the main road up through Hereford, but there is no connection between South Wales and North Wales except by going up through Chester, which is a long and roundabout journey. I beg hon. Members to realise how very important this may become. There is a strong demand in South Wales, though it is true that it has been rejected up to now by the Ministry of Transport, for a new bridge over the Severn. Some day that may come, and when it does that scheme will, in my judgment, be incomplete unless it can link up with a road which will run up through Central Wales, coming out somewhere near Carnarvon, so that the whole of Wales shall have a central artery running from south to north.

Another point is that the industries of North Wales are not now so very flourishing. The main industry is quarrying, and that is menaced by foreign competition in various ways. Apart from quarrying North Wales, as I think, will be compelled more and more to develop itself as a summer resort, and in that case there ought to be better facilities for connecting North and South Wales. The right hon. Gentleman has seemed to take the view that South Wales wants its connection with Manchester and nothing more. I am all for that, but it is provided already by taking just a short run from Central Wales to the Hereford road, but there is no connection of a direct character between North and South Wales. I am inclined to accept the first part of the proposal, because I think it is desirable, but the second part, namely, the connection of Mid-Wales with North Wales is, I think, a proposal which the Minister of Transport ought to re-examine, because I am one of those who are proud to claim in this House that the scenery not only in North Wales but in Central Wales is second to none in the country. It would make it easier for the people of North Wales to go to those parts of the country than is now the case. A road of that character would be an enormous contribution to that end, and it would, in addition, stimulate to some degree the revival of interest in the North country, and the flow of visitors in the summer months.

This is a form of assisting industry which none of us can afford to overlook or to undervalue, and I ask the Minister whether he will not consider once again the propriety of building, if you like, another fork to that road from Llandridnod Wells, north-westward to Caernarvon, or thereabouts. This is a point which people from South Wales would immediately propose against the Minister's proposition.

10.21 p.m.

Captain HUDSON

The first thing I would like to do is to have the very pleasant duty of congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. I. Guest) on his very excellent maiden speech. The whole Committee will agree that he acquitted himself quite nobly in a battle of words with that distinguished K.C. of his own party who is sitting below him. I am l0th to intervene in what is, to all intents and purposes, a local Welsh controversy, particularly as I am unable to pronounce the names correctly. The controversy about this road became so acute that I went down to this place myself and inspected the road. I also received deputations representing both sides. I may admit now, as I think the Committee who have listened to this Debate must admit, that the arguments of each side are so equal that it is extremely difficult, even after seeing the place myself and receiving those deputations, to say which route this read should take. Briefly, to summarise, the direct route goes through Builth north to Llandridnod Wells, where it is comparatively wide, and then on to where it crosses, not a trunk road, but a main road going from east to west; then all the way up to Newtown, it goes through a sparsely populated area, is very narrow arid is extremely tortuous. I think it has something like five hairpin bends in it. It is also some 200 feet higher, as was stated by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies).

On the other hand, the alternative route is longer by some eight miles, and it forms two sides of a triangle of which the direct road forms the third side. At the apex of the triangle, the road to Aberystwyth goes off. It is undoubtedly true that more traffic uses the alternative road, the two sides, but chiefly because it is going to Aberystwyth, either from the south, Builth, or from the north, Newtown. It is a wider road and has the most wonderful views over the Wye Valley. I agree with what the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) has just said as regards tourist traffic. It is no use telling the Committee that on this particular trunk road we are primarily considering industrial traffic. We are considering the tourist traffic through Wales, and, because of that, I asked the opinion, as we often do, of representative motoring organisations, namely, the Royal Automobile Club and the Automobile Association, but the Committee will understand the difficulty when I say that both gave me alternative advice. The cost is about the same on both routes to make the roads reasonably safe and some 30 feet wide.

That is the case which has been put to us. A strong argument, as I think the Committee also thought, is that the direct route was the old trunk road, and it has been considered to be the trunk route for some 12 years. Whether the Minister of Transport of that time was right or wrong is not for us to question, but it is a fact that that was considered to be the trunk route, and for that reason certain work was put in hand which otherwise would not have been. Having heard the arguments, having viewed the road, and having received deputations on the subject, I feel that the arguments are so close that I am going, with the Minister's concurrence, to do what I believe you, Captain Bourne, sometimes do as Deputy-Chairman of Committee. If you get a Division in which both sides are equal, you decide that the Amendment is not carried; I believe that that is the custom. I think that on the whole we must ask the Committee to decide to keep the route as in the Bill, and not to adopt the alternative route. There is only one more point, and that is as to what was said by the hon. Member for Caerphilly about the road to the north of Wales, but of course we cannot do anything in that regard, either under this Amendment or under the present Schedule to the Bill.

10.28 p.m.


After what the Minister has said, I do not think it would be fair to ask the Committee to decide between Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire without knowing all the facts. I realise that this matter has given the Ministry great concern, and I was hoping that they would come down on my side, but I congratulate my hon. Friend on his speech and on the success of the appeal which he has made. In the circumstances, I would ask the leave of the Committee to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

10.29 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 29, line 15, at the end, to insert:

"LEEDS—SCARBOUROUGH Leeds—Tadcaster —York—Malton—Norton—Spital House—Seamer— Scarborough A.64."

This Amendment proposes the addition of the road from Leeds to Scarborough. The Members who support it are drawn, not only from every part of the House, but from every part of the country, including Members representing London divisions who are equally clamorous with myself that this injustice should be remedied. I submit that the exclusion of this road discloses a very grave omission on the part of the Minister in erecting the framework of his Bill. In his very eloquent speech introducing the Bill, he said that the roads he was selecting were roads intended for through traffic, as against roads mainly serving the needs of the neighbourhood. This is a road dividing England. It runs from Preston to Scarborough. He went on to explain how he was taking over these roads because of the different authorities that had charge of them, how he wanted one uniform authority and how one road varied from a maximum of 40 to a minimum of 20 feet. This road varies from a maximum of 120 feet down to 30. You can imagine traffic being rushed along a broad highway of 120 feet, traffic of the density of 8,000 to 9,000 vehicles a day. You suddenly come to a bottleneck in a little town, then to a narrow country lane of 30 feet, and then a wide section when it gets within seven miles of Scarborough. If that is not a trunk road I seriously suggest that there is no other trunk road in the Schedule. It has as great a claim as any other road that is included. On the Second Reading Members on all sides of the House stressed that it should be included.

I regret to say that the Parliamentary Secretary poured scorn on our suggestion and dismissed it with very few words. In fact, he only referred to myself and not to the eight other Members who had spoken. He showed sublime ignorance of the geography of the road. He was under the impression that I represented the East Riding and that most of the road was in that Riding. It is half in the North Riding and half in the East Riding. I represent a North Riding constituency, but my hon Friends who represent West and East Riding constituencies are all involved. The only answer he addressed to me was to point out that Yorkshire has not been badly treated. Yorkshire is not one county but three. There are three Ridings. To say that Yorkshire is well treated is like saying that East Anglia is well treated. There are 55 miles in the North Riding, 37 in the East Riding and 155 in the West Riding. But you cannot really go by mileage. You have also to consider the poverty or the richness of the area involved. It is a far greater injustice for a poor county to have to pay for trunk roads which other people go on than for a rich county. A penny rate in Surrey produces a contribution towards the maintenance per mile of county roads of —24 6s. 3d. The product of a penny rate in the North Riding is —1 19s. 3d. There is a very great injustice in the fact that a road which has cost us in the last few years —250,000 should not be taken over, when in Surrey, a far richer county, roads are being taken over. If roads are taken over in Surrey, why is not this road taken over?

The Parliamentary Secretary said that 247 miles of trunk roads were being taken over in Yorkshire, but he should pay more attention to the county roads in Yorkshire. In the three Ridings there are 9,242 miles of county roads, and he proposes to take over only 247 miles. If you work that out it comes to some 2.6 per cent. Take our rival, the county of Lancashire. Out of 3,000 miles of county roads, he is taking over 188 miles, not 5.6 per cent. but 5.9 per cent. I will give him the case of Surrey, the percentage of which works out at 3.6. If he attaches any importance to the question of how many miles in each county, I would labour the point, because it was the only argument he put against my contention. The hon. and gallant Member shakes his head. He did also say this, and I will read it, so that the Committee can judge how valuable this argument was against our contention. 'He said that The hon. Member mentioned that the Brighton road is included in the Schedule, but I would observe that the Brighton road carries a large volume of traffic all the year round and Scarborough does not carry so much in the winter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th November, 1936; col. 2053, Vol. 317.] Neither does Brighton. If the hon. Member uses the Brighton road in the winter lie will find that there is far less traffic on it than in the summer. I was on the Scarborough road during the last 10 days, and there was a continuous stream of traffic along that road. It is true, I admit, that in summer there is more traffic; there is so much traffic that there is a queue through Malton two miles long. I have given the information to the House before, and I am going to repeat it, that the number of vehicles on this road is, according to the Minister's own census, 17,000 a day. That is the peak figure. At Malton there were 6,900 motor vehicles alone, and that was at a place where the vehicles going along the road were proceeding to Whitby instead of to Scarborough. I have the figures which bring in another 1,900 motor vehicles. The Great North Road is a trunk road, but we find the density of traffic on the Scarborough Road is double the amount on that road. I should have thought that the most important question about these trunk roads is where they are large, wide highways in one area, suddenly coming to a narrow bottleneck. The Minister cannot have a better example than the Scarborough road. At his behest it was made into a 120-feet double-carriageway, and then suddenly came down to a country lane 30 feet wide.

If this road is not taken over, what is going to happen? The Minister will say to me that the East Riding will bring out that 30 feet of country lane to 120 feet. But will they? I understand from the information I have received in Yorkshire that that is not the case. There is no justification for saying that. The East Riding have a perfectly common-sense point of view. They say that of the traffic which goes- along this road none stops in the East Riding, but goes rushing through to Scarborough. They are Leeds people pushing out of Leeds in order to get to Scarborough for some enjoyment. They say that this is not a concern of the East Riding and will not pay for this work. This bottleneck will be perpetuated unless the Minister takes over this trunk road.

There is a further argument which affects me deeply, as it concerns the town of Malton, where you sometimes have a queue two miles long. It takes one hour to get through Malton in the summer. Most planners would say "By-pass Malton," but the difficulty is that to bypass Malton you would have to go right through the East Riding, and the East Riding County Council will have nothing to do with that. If we cannot get this road taken over as a trunk road, it will mean a by-pass through a residential area on the north of Malton, and traffic dangers will be greatly increased, because you will have a 120-foot highway going through new council houses where there are many children, whereas if the road was taken over as a trunk road you would not have to go through an area where there are many buildings.

Earlier on the Minister said that he could not accept the Amendment, that he had consulted the council and must abide by the result. I am afraid that I must ask him to correct that statement. He has consulted the County Councils Association but not the county council. Speaking for my own council, the North Riding County Council, he has not consulted them on this matter. Not only that; they take extreme objection to the roads that have been put in the Schedule. They say that if there is any road in the North Riding which ought to be put in it is this road. They go further and say that if one road has to be left out it is not this road.

Rather than lose this road they would be willing to have the PenrithMiddlesbrough road not included. An equal mileage is affected in both cases—about 25 miles. I know the Middlesbrough-Penrith road, and I can ace the North Riding point of view.

If you ask lorry-drivers coming down from Scotland to say which way they will come they will say that it is not over the Penrith-Middlesbrough road, as it is most unsuitable for their vehicles. The only people who use this road are those driving light private cars for pleasure. I am authorised by the North Riding Committee to say that they are willing to make this exchange if the Minister is adamant and will not take over both roads. We do not want to give anything away, but that is a way out of the difficulty. I submit that the exclusion of this road demonstrates the ignorance of the Ministry of Transport about the highway system in the North of England, and that this Schedule is wrong. It was the Minister's duty not merely to go to the County Councils Association and then say that they have worked out this plan, but to have gone to each county council and asked them which they regarded from their knowledge of the roads as trunk roads. If he had done that, this road would have been included.

10.45 p.m.


The hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) has made a very good case for the whole of the road Leeds-York-Malton-Scarborough, but I would like the House for a few minutes to consider the position of Scarborough in this matter. The greatest industry of Scarborough is that of a great holiday resort, and it is therefore essential to the people of Scarborough that the means of transport to Scarborough should be good. The people of Scarborough are willing to pay a very high road rate if they can get a good road from the Midlands to Scarborough. At the present time, they get an extremely bad road for many miles. It is not the fault of the North Riding County Council in which Scarborough is situated, because the road is a main road running from York to Scarborough. It goes roughly to Malton, which is half way, then there is the boundary of the North Riding County Council, and for the next 20 miles, it goes about 17 miles or so within the precincts of East Riding County Council. It is quite unreasonable for the East Riding County Council to pay for an immense road for people going from York to Scarborough. They get no benefit from this expenditure, and it is unreasonable to ask that authority to spend a large sum of money on that particular road.

The Minister has said that he realises that: With modern developmenets in the means of conveyance and the progressive growth in the volume and range of traffic it has not been within the capacity of all highway authorities to make these roads meet the demands ever more insistently placed upon them. "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th November, 1936; col. 1950; Vol. 317.] In that case, he realises that this is one of the roads which proves that point. Indeed, the Parliamentary Secretary suggested that the East Riding County Council might be persuaded to bring the Scarborough Road up to a reasonable standard of width and safety."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th November, 1936; col. 2054, Vol. 317.] The Parliamentary Secretary said that, so that I will not bore the House with long details of the corners, twists, turns, bridges and so on in that particular road. Moreover, the Minister said that those bad roads had arisen from various reasons, and first he said it was because some of the authorities are poor. The East Riding is a poor authority, and when I suggested last week that this road was a suitable road to be taken over, I was told: We did not find it possible to include the Eastbourne road, the Hastings road, the Southend road, the Blackpool road and others."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th November, 1936; col. 2053, Vol. 317.] The Parliamentary Secretary took no notice whatsoever of the fact that all the roads he mentioned are in the richest counties in England. Every one of those roads, according to the figures given by the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton, shows at least a mile and I think the Blackpool figure is fourth on the list. The figure in the case of the East Riding, which is even lower than that of North Riding, is £1 5s. The East Riding comes fortieth in the list. Nothing was mentioned by the Parliamentry Secretary about the difference that was made by those roads being in very rich counties, whereas the road to Scarborough goes through a poor county. I may add that I happen to live on the Eastbourne road tend that neither in the height of summer nor at any other time is the traffic in any way comparable as far as difficult driving and the impossible conditions are concerned. I believe that if the Minister would go down the road to Scarborough on a Sunday he would feel as we do about the conditions there.

The next point the Minister made was that the multiplicity of authorities controlling contiguous strips of what, after all, may be the same line of communication is itself an obstacle in the way of uniformity. I quite agree; that is the obstacle, and we have it on the Scarborough road. This road running through the North Riding to one place, then to another place in the North Riding, and then through the East Riding, is a case which ought to suit the Minister. Further, I asked whether there was a sporting hope of anything happening in the future. After all, the people of Scarborough do not really care very much whether the North Riding, the East Riding, the nation or anybody else does it as long as they. get a good road, and there does not seem to be any chance at present of getting a good road from anybody. I cannot see, therefore, why the Minister could not step in and put pressure on the local authority or else himself take over the road. The Minister said: Recognised arrangements have been evolved—and my Ministry was appointed to facilitate them—whereby in return for our assistance towards expenditure some pressure can be exerted in favour of better canons of construction and upkeep."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th November, 1936; col. 1949, Vol. 317.] The Parliamentary Secretary said: Now that the Selby Road is a trunk road and is taken off their shoulders, I would press my hon. Friends to see whether they cannot do their part, as the North Riling are doing."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th November, 1936; col. 2053, Vol. 317.] We have been pressing for years. Surely this is the very moment when we should come to the Minister and say, "You are talking about pressure; what pressure are you going to put on? "It should not be local members for distant areas who should try to get county councils to do swops. If the right hon. Gentleman believes that the East Riding has been relieved of the expense of the Selby Road, that is a bargain for him to drive —not us. We have nothing to bargain with; he has. He should say, "If we take the Selby Road will you give us a guarantee to do that other road?" The House should see that it is obviously a through road and a road where there is great danger to many people travelling along it. This is a good case and I hope the Minister will be charming and not adamant, as he pretends to be up to the moment.

10.53 p.m.


As representing the East Riding of Yorkshire I think it is about time I had something to say. We have been accused by my hon. Friend the Member for Malton (Mr. Turton) of being a poor authority, a poor agricultural community. We have been accused by the hon. Member for Scarborough (Sir P. Latham) of being reactionary in the case of this road. I should like to say exactly what the situation is. In my constituency 25 miles of this road join on to Malton and Scarborough. On this road is carried the traffic of 5,000,000 people who live in the West Riding. There is a good deal of through traffic which goes right away up to the east coast into Scotland. Twenty-five miles of this road, the bulk of it, goes through my constituency, a division which has no interest in it except that these motorists go through my villages at an excessive speed and do a great deal of damage.

One-sixth of the rates of the East Riding are paid by the town of Bridlington, which is in direct competition with the town of Scarborough. We are supposed to pay for the cost of this road to run visitors to a competing seaside resort. There is not much logic in that. At the same time we feel the contribution which we have continually had to put up to maintain this road, which is one of the hardest used roads in the country. I want to ask the Minister this question: Who has paid for these roads? The motorists have paid for them and the motorists should have them where they want them. The motorists require this road. They are the revenue-producers for his Ministry, and if he is careful and considerate to them, he will see that they have the roads provided where they can properly use them.

The people of the West Riding do not want to be dashing up and down the Great North Road all the time. That is not their idea. They have their motorcars for pleasure and want to get to places of beauty. We have heard the Parliamentary Secretary say that Wales had some claims to have a main trunk road because it was passing through beauty spots but I can make a similar claim for East Yorkshire. I want to make this other point. In the future, with aerial development coming as it is, East Yorkshire is going to be to England what Southampton is now. The fact that we have Flam-borough Head there makes it all the more important that we should have a proper road to the great distinguishing mark of our east coast. From a tactical point of view, from a military point of view and from a defence point of view there is every reason to expect consideration of this road. There is a very great claim made that if a road has a main trunk road within 15 miles of it, there is no need for another trunk road to be made. The nearest trunk road to this road which carries all this traffic is 30 miles away, and I can assure the Minister that we in East Yorkshire want to be as helpful as we can.

We are glad to see that he has had the courage to introduce a Bill of this sort, but we also ask him to give us the full facilities to which on figures it cannot be denied we are entitled. For myself I put this road as a, road which the House of Commons would wish to see made into a main road and maintained at the national expense, because of its geographical position. I hope the Minister will not use that attitude which he used on the earlier part of the Amend-merit, but that he will give proper consideration to this proposal, because we have in Yorkshire one of the largest industrial areas in the whole of our country, and they with their 5,000,000 to 6,000,000 population do expect the same consideration as is given to southern roads. Down here, they are having a very great deal more of the gross money from the motorists than we are getting in the north of England. My hon. Friends from other parts of Yorkshire know the importance of this road and will, I hope, take steps in this Debate to see that full representation is given to the claims of this road.

10.58 p.m.


I am not going to enter into the differences of the East and North Ridings, because I am one who represents that portion of Leeds through which a great portion of the traffic passes, and I think the only solution is for the Government to take over the whole road. We in the East Riding take equal pleasure in trips to Scarborough and trips to Bridlington, and we are happy to support the hon. Member who has spoken in support of the Amendment. But I want to know on what principle the Ministry are deciding these matters? Are they deciding as to which road shall be made a trunk road on the question of the amount of traffic? If so, as the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) has said, that there is no road in the north of England that has a greater claim to be treated as a trunk road than the road from Leeds to Scarborough. On the other hand, if the matter is to be treated as one of strategic importance we ought to remember that Scarborough was bombarded in the last war and goodness knews what will happen to it in the next war. I am afraid that the point which is appealing to the Ministry is the taking-over of easy roads in the county between the large towns. I should like to see them take over all the roads running from coast to coast, even those which pass through county boroughs. As it is there are going to be a number of anomalies and difficulties. I can imagine that in Leeds for example there will be cases in which a few hundred yards will be taken over by the Ministry and another few hundred yards by the borough council—


I think that point has already been dealt with by the Committee.


I agree. I would only ask on what principle are the Government acting? I submit that a case has been made out, which the Minister, with all his adroitness will find difficulty in meeting. I hope that he will take the matter back and consider the inclusion of this road on which it is a positive purgatory to drive at week-ends and even at other times.

11.3 p.m.


This particular road seems to dominate all the discussions on this Bill. Even on Second Reading an Amendment appeared on the Paper inviting the House to reject the Bill, unless the Leeds to Scarborough road was included. Certainly a large measure of support has been enlisted in favour of the proposal of the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton). We are dealing with a part of the country which is particularly well served by trunk roads.




I agree that no hon. Member is going to admit that his constituency is doing well, but I shall give the Committee the mileage. The loads from Leeds to Hull, the connection between Middlesbrough and the Great North Road at Darlington and the road from Middlesbrough to Hull are each, approximately, 35 miles from Scarborough. In the West Riding there are 160 miles of trunk roads; in the North Riding, 56 miles, and in the East Riding 31 miles, an average of 80 miles for each Riding compared with the average of approximately 50 miles for each of the other 83 counties of Great Britain. Therefore we are dealing with a part of the country which does not come off extremely badly, let us say, in regard to trunk roads.


I think the figures which the Minister has given as to the distance from Scarborough to Middlesbrough are extremely misleading. The distance is nearer double that.


The figures which I give to the Committee, I endeavour to make accurate and the mileages I have given I think are accurate.


I assure the right hon. Gentleman they are not. I live there and I know.


If my hon. Friend has measured all the mileages of trunk roads and has some correction to make in my speech, I am sure I shall be happy to consider it, and if I have misled the Committee it has been inadvertently. I do not think, however, that the point is of real importance to my argument, and we do not want to quibble over every detail of the mileage. What is the case for the inclusion of this road? My hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough (Sir P. Latham), who is at the critical point, the place to which the proposed road would lead, says that Scarborough is an important seaside resort. I do not think that will be disputed, but there happen to be a large number of important seaside resorts.


In the North of England.


My hon. Friend will not allow his opponents to have anything. Blackpool is in the North of England, and Blackpool has just as much traffic as Scarborough and has made no request to come in. We will agree that Scarborough is an important seaside resort, but we must also agree that there are other important seaside resorts which are not included in the Bill, and the fact that a town is an important seaside resort is not a justification for its inclusion in the Bill. I have stated the principles of the Bill, which are to hand over to the Minister of Transport as the highway authority the main through roads of the United Kingdom connecting the important industrial centres. Scarborough does not happen to be one of them. It is an attractive seaside resort, and I should be the last to detract from its merits, having stayed there myself, but nobody could say that it is one of the focal points of the country. That, I think, demolishes the first argument produced by my hon. Friend. I have just had the figures that my hon. Friend questioned checked, and I find that from Hull to Scarborough is 25 miles. I said 35, so I understated the case. From Scarborough to Middlesbrough is 35 miles, so I stated it accurately there.

The next argument produced by my hon. Friend was that the East Riding is a poor county. Trunk roads are not included in this Bill because counties are rich or poor, but because they are trunk roads connecting important centres, and the richness or poverty of a county has nothing whatever to do with the case. Does the road on its merits justify inclusion or does it not? My hon. Friend concludes with a third argument, which is an argument of despair, and he says, "Well, I do not mind whether the East Riding pays for it, or the West Riding, or the State, as long as somebody pays for it." That is not a valid test to apply to this Bill, because anybody could come here and say, "We cannot afford to maintain this road, so we propose to neglect it, and perhaps you will thereby be persuaded to take it over as one of the important through roads of the country." That is not an argument to which for one moment we can assent.

Then I am asked, "Even if the road has not the merits which we claim for it and our arguments are not true arguments, will you do a deal? Will you swap "—as the phrase was, in inverted commas—" this road for the Penrith-Middlesbrough road? "Part of the road that I am asked to abandon in favour of the Scarborough-Leeds road happens to be in Westmorland, and the Westmorland County Council are not to be consulted. An important road going right across England is to be taken out in order that Scarborough can come in, and that affects other counties beside the Ridings of Yorkshire and is a transaction which, although I would be prepared to examine it, I cannot be expected to agree to by any reasonable person. Therefore, I am at a loss to understand on what grounds I can be expected to agree to the inclusion of this road. I am extremely sorry that the East Riding has not continued the work of the other Ridings. One Riding has improved the road and the other Riding has left it in a more primitive condition. I am very sorry about that, and I have offered on behalf of the Government a very substantial grant to the East Riding to improve it. With that grant they could not improve it because they had on their hands also the Selby by-pass scheme. We have now relieved them of the trunk road on which Selby is, and that being the case they will have more resources released.

Whether this road ought to be in or not, no county has cause of complaint. They are all being relieved of something, and I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton will on reflection appreciate that he does little service to the county which, after all, has received something, to come down to the Committee and complain in almost every sentence of the great ignorance of everybody in the Ministry of Transport and of everybody who disagrees with him. He made a very severe attack upon my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, who does happen to know this road and who has studied the conditions. He actually made it a complaint that my hon. Friend, in answering his speech, made no reference to anybody else who had spoken in the Debate on this road. For the purpose of greater accuracy I have provided myself with a copy of the OFFICIAL REPORT, and I find that my hon. Friend, with his usual courtesy, went out of his way to congratulate all the supporters of this road upon the eloquence with which they had argued their case. It is indeed indisputable that great eloquence has been displayed in this case. This is a short road, but it has given rise to some long and interesting speeches.

11.12 p.m.


We are in some difficulty to know how to vote on this matter. It was said some time ago that the Mother of Parliaments in becoming the mother of protection was becoming the mother of log-rolling. The more we see of this Bill the more we are inclined to think that it may lead to something of the same kind, because of all the talk we hear about swopping roads and doing a deal with the Minister in order to get more money out of the State. Our difficulty is to see any principle in this Bill at all. There is nothing in it to define what a trunk road is. The purpose of the Bill is very largely to relieve the financial burdens of the counties outside London, and it cannot be grumbled at, when the Government seek to help their friends who are running the county councils, if their own political supporters try to help themselves to more money. The argument of the hon. Members for Yorkshire is that these roads are very expensive to maintain because they carry a lot of traffic. The purpose of the Bill is to relieve the county councils, and no county councils more than the Tory councils, and they are out to get more money from the State.

We do not seem to be having this Debate on the matter of principle at all. The Minister has capitulated to the argument of the hon. Members for Yorkshire by saying that the East or North Riding of Yorkshire ought not to grumble at him because he is relieving them of some expense. Directly you begin to argue as if the purpose of the Bill is to relieve county councils you get away from the question of what a trunk road is. I am in a difficulty to know what the difference is between the London-Brighton road and the Leeds-Scarborough road. It is arguable what a trunk road is. The London-Southampton, London-Dover and London-Portsmouth roads are certainly trunk roads because they lead to important termini and go through important towns. But it cannot be argued that the London-Brighton road is a trunk road in that sense. The great bulk of the traffic is not trunk road traffic but sheer pleasure traffic. In the main people do not come from Scotland to get to Brighton. The Minister has put in the London-Brighton road, and I cannot see any difference in principle between that and the Leeds-Scarborough road, except that the amount of traffic on the London-Brighton road is probably the greater, but in both cases they are roads from a great urban district to a seaside resort.


Will the right h on. Gentleman tell us the populations respectively of Brighton and Scarborough?


That really is irrelevant. Brighton is the larger and relatively more important seaside resort --that is a fact—but then we have to admit the other fact that, relatively to the population of Yorkshire and the

population that uses Scarborough as a seaside resort, Scarborough is just as important to that area as Brighton to London. The Minister seems to me to have fallen into it and to have lost whatever principle there was in his Bill. I do not know whether the principle was to help certain county councils, or to help in military preparations, or to provide a cry for the winning of the next election, or what it was, though when I notice how many Tory Members are returned from that district I begin to think that the roads cannot be decent enough for the voters to get to the poll, otherwise those Members would not be here. Frankly, I say it is difficult to see the principle on which we are working; one sees a difficulty in deciding what one ought to do. We should all, I suppose, do as we like according to our municipal point of view, or the point of view of our constituencies, but as I am in doubt about it and other hon. Members are in doubt, and my hon. Friends from the county of Yorkshire tell me that this Amendment is right, I personally propose to vote for it, and I think that on balance that is what we ought to do.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 98; Noes, 157.

Division No. 24. AYES. [11.18 p.m.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Sir F. Dyke Harris, Sir P. A. Price, M. P.
Acland, R. T, D. (Barnstaple) Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Pritt, D. N.
Adams, D. M. (Potar, S.) Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Qulbell, D. J. K.
Adamson, W. M. Hills, A. (Pontefract) Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Hollins, A. Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Amnon, C. G. Jagger, J Ridley, G.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Riley, B.
Barrens, A. J. Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Ritson, J.
Bellenger, F. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Rawson, G.
Benson, G. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Seely, Sir H. M.
Broad, F. A. Kelly, W. T. Sexton, T. M.
Bromfield, W. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Simpson, F. B.
Brooke, W. Kirby, B. V. Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Brown, Rt. Hon. J. (S. Ayrshire) Lathan, G. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Burke, W. A. Law, R. K. (Hull, S.W.) Smith, E. (Stoke)
Dagger, G. Lawson, J. J. Sorensen, R. W.
Dalton, H. Leach, W. Stewart, W. J. (H'ght'n-le-Sp'ng)
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Logan, D. G. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lunn, W. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Dobble, W. Macdonald, G. (Ince) Tinker. J. J
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) MacLaren, A. Turton, R. H.
Ede J. C. Mainwaring, W. H. Watkins, F. C.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Mender, G. le M. Watson, W. McL.
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Mathers, G. Welsh, J. C.
Fool, D. M Messer, F. Westwood, J.
Gardner, B. W. Mller, Major J. White, H. Graham
Garro Jones, G. M. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Ha'kn'y, S.) Whiteley, W.
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
George, Megan Lloyd (Anglesey) Muff, G Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Gibson, R. (Greenock) Noel-Baker, P. J. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Graham, D. M. (Hamilton) Oliver, G. H.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Pallng, W TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Grffith, F. Kingsley (M' ddl' sbro, W.) Pthick-Lawrence, F.W. Sir Paul Latham and Major
Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Potts, J. Braithwaite.
Agnew, Lieut.-Comdr. P. G. Ganzonl, Sir J. Patrick, C. M.
Albery, Sir Irving Gluckstein, L. H. Penny, Sir G.
Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S. Goldle, N. B. Perkins. W. R. D.
Apsley, Lord Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Petherick, M.
Aske, Sir R. W. Gridley, Sir A. B. Plugge, L. F.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Fulham, E.) Gritten, W. G. Howard Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Baldwin Webb, Col, J. Guest, Maj. Hon. O.(C'mb'rw'il, N.W.) Procter, Major H. A.
Balniel, Lord Guy, J. C. M. Raikes, H. V. A. M.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'h) Hannon, Sir P. J. H. Ramsbotham, H.
Bird, Sir R. B. Harbord, A. Rankin, R.
Blair, Sir R. Haslam, H. C.(Horncastie) Rathbone, J. FL (Bodmin)
Blindell, Sir J. Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton) Rayner, Major R. H.
Bossom, A. C. Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Reed, A. C. (Exeter)
Boulton, W. W. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P. Remer, J. R.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buchan- Rickards, G. W. (Skipton)
Brown, Col. D. C. (Hexham) Hepworth, J. Ropner, Colonel L.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury) Herbert. Major J. A. (Monmouth) Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge)
Bull, B. B. Holmes, J. S. Rowlands, G.
Butler, R. A. Hope, Captain Hon. A. O. J. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A.
Campbell, Sir E. T. Hopkinson, A. Russell, A. West (Tynemouth)
Cary, R. A. Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L. Russell, S. H. M. (Darwen)
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.) Salt, E. W.
Channon, H. Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth) Samuel, M. R. A. (Putney)
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Keeling, E. H. Scott, Lord William
Clarke, Lt.-Col. R. S. (E. Grinstead) Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Selley, H. R.
Cobb, Sir Cyril S. (Fulham, West) Kimball, L. Shaw, Major P. S. (Wavertree)
Colman, N. C. D. Lamb, Sir J. Q. Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Colville, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. D. J. Leech, Dr. J. W. Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.
Cooper, Rt. Hn. T. M. (E'nburgh,W.) Lees-Jones, J. Smiles, Lieut.-Colonel Sir W. D.
Courtauld, Major J. S. Leighton, Major B. E. P. Smith, Sir R.W. (Aberdeen)
Craddock, Sir R. H. Liddall, W. S. Somervell, Sir D. B. (Crewe)
Craven Eills, W. Liewellin, Lieut.-Col. J. J. Southby, Comdr. A. R. J.
Crooke, J. S. Lloyd, G. W. Strauss, E. A. (Southwark, N.)
Crookshank, Capt. H. F. C. McEwen, Capt. J. H. F. Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Cross, R. H. McKie, J. H. Sutcliffe, H.
Crossley, A. C. Making, Brig.-Gen. E. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Crowder, J. F. E. Manningham-Buller, Sir M. Thomas. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Davies, C. (Montgomery) Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Tree, A. R. L. F.
De Chair, S. S. Markham, S. F. Wakefield, W. W.
Dodd, J. S. Maxwell, S. A. Wardlaw-Mllne, Sir J. S.
Dorman-Smith, Major R. H. Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Warrender, Sir V.
Duggan, H. J. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. (Tamworth) Waterhouse, Captain C.
Edmondson, Major Sir J. Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Williams, C. (Torquay)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Mitchell, H. (Brentford and Chiswick) Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Elliston, G. S. Mitcheson, Sir G. G. Windsor-Clive, Lieut. Colonel G.
Elmley, Viscount Morgan, R. H. Wise, A. R.
Emmott, C. E. G. C. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. Womersiey, Sir W. J.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Wragg, H.
Elides, Sir H. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cir'nc'st'r) Wright, Squadron-Leader J. A. C.
Fleming, E. L. Muirhead, Lt.-Col. A. J. Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Fox, Sir G. W. G. Munro, P.
Fraser, Capt. Sir L. Neven-Spence, Maj. B. H. H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Fremantle, Sir F. E, Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert
Furness, S. N. Orr-Ewing, L L. Ward and Mr. James Stuart.

11.25 p.m.


I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress; and ask leave to sit again."

We have had a very long discussion on this Bill, and the Minister cannot complain that there has been obstruction from any part of the Committee. Indeed, the Bill has gone through with very general consent and agreement. We observed, however, the nature of the discussion on the last Amendment, in which a demand was made for the inclusion of a particular road, and it would seem that we are likely to be kept here for possibly another hour or two, which would be very inconvenient for Members on this side, though perhaps less so for hon. Members opposite. In view of the fact that the Minister and the Government have been facilitated to the extent that they have been to-day, I trust that they will see their way to accept this Motion.

11.26 p.m.


I did not know that the right hon. Gentleman was going to move this Motion—


We gave notice.


I can only say that I did not know.


In view of the interruption of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, I must say that I had no notice of this Motion until two minutes ago as I came out of the Lobby.


We gave notice a few moments ago.


The Government have had no notice. I only rise to make it perfectly clear that the Government have had no warning whatever that this Motion would be moved.


We sent notice through the usual channels—I am sorry I cannot say to whom it was sent—that we proposed to move to report Progress, after we saw how long the discussion on the last Amendment had extended. I think it is a very small point, and I am sure the Patronage Secretary cannot complain that any obstruction has taken place. In view of the possibility of further discussions on the lines of that can the last Amendment, I trust that the Government will agree to accept the Motion to report Progress.

11.30 p.m.


It is not a point of major importance. I merely state as a fact that we did not know that the right hon. Gentleman was going to move it, though I do not say that he was intentionally keeping us in ignorance of it. I agree with him that there has been nothing in the nature of obstruction; in fact, on all sides of the Committee there has been a desire to improve the Bill as far as possible. It has gone with the utmost smoothness, and there has been hardly a note of acerbity at all. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not mind my appealing to him. We are at the very last stage of the Bill. There is only one more Amendment to include another road and the other Amendments are purely drafting. It seems to me that if in a quarter of an hour we could finish the Committee stage and come fresh to the Report stage on Thursday, it would be for the convenience of the House. If the next Amendment takes only a few minutes we can dispose of the Bill to-night. In the circumstances, I should be disposed to resist the Motion; hope with the consent of the Committee.


How long is it proposed to ask us to sit in considering the remaining Government business?


If the Committee agrees to finish the Committee stage of the Bill, the Government will not ask the House to take any further business.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

11.33 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 30, line 26, at the end, to insert:

"GRIMSBY—LEICESTER East Coast to West Grimsby —Caenby Corner—Lincoln—Newark—Leicester A.46."

This road is not only of vital importance to my own county, the second largest county in England, but running, as it does, through Lincoln, Leicester, Coventry down to Bath, Exeter and Bristol, it is a direct connection between East and West. The omission of such an important road has caused widespread alarm, especially among members of the Grimsby Development Board, comprising members of the Grimsby Town Council and many leading citizens in North Lincolnshire.

11.35 p.m.

Captain HUDSON

I am afraid that I cannot give the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Liddall) any great hope of our accepting the Amendment. Although we admit that this road has a fair volume of traffic, on balance, and after consultation with the county council, it was decided that other roads should be put in and that this road should not be accepted. There is a trunk road from Birmingham through Derbyshire, Sheffield, Doncaster and Grimsby, and another trunk road through Lincolnshire, Peterborough and Grimsby. I do not think that Grimsby can be affected as it has these two trunk roads going to it. Taking the average traffic, there are some 2,000 vehicles. Although I could give other arguments for leaving out this road, I hope that the Committee will not press to have it put into the Schedule.


In view of what the Parliamentary Secretary has said, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule agreed to.