HC Deb 24 May 1939 vol 347 cc2420-3

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

9.14 p.m.

Sir J. Anderson

I desire to make a suggestion as to procedure which I hope may suit the convenience of the Committee. The Committee may remember that when we reached Clause 7 I made a suggestion, which was accepted, that the consideration of the Clause should be postponed in view of the fact that the Government desired to consider whether a clause could be framed to supplement the provisions already in the Clause to deal with the case where underground air-raid shelters or air-raid works might be provided in such a way as to involve the disturbance and reinstatement of the surface of the site concerned. The pro- visions of Clause 7 as drafted were limited to the case where the surface was left undisturbed except so far as might be necessary to provide shafts or exits and entrances. A revised draft Clause covering the ground of the existing Clause 7, and a further clause dealing with the additional matter to which I have just referred, are to be found on the Order Paper. One is a clause for dealing with: Powers of local authorities to construct underground shelters and other premises required for civil defence purposes. The other is concerned with: Powers of local authorities to construct underground car-parks suitable for use as air-raid shelters. Those two Clauses, which are interconnected, cover all the ground I mentioned when I suggested originally the postponement of consideration of Clause 7, and they go somewhat further, because they provide also for the construction of works under existing highways. In the process of redrafting, certain Amendments that have already appeared on the Paper in relation to the original Clause 7 have been picked up. The new Clauses cover a considerable field and deal with matters of very great importance which raise a certain number of controversial issues, and what I would suggest to the Committee is that, if they think fit, the existing Clause 7 should be formally negatived, the new Clauses should be formally moved into the Bill, so that when the Bill passes from Committee they may appear in their proper place, and that on the Report Stage, but not before, all the issues that may arise on those Clauses should be thoroughly dealt with.

9.18 p.m.

Mr. Greenwood

Clause 7 is one on which there has been a good deal of difficulty. I am of the opinion myself that, subject to understandings which have been reached through the usual channels, the Clause as it is now drafted should be formally negatived and the two new Clauses formally accepted, on the understanding that on Report stage we shall be enabled to have a pretty full Debate on the issues which are covered. If that be so, of course we shall be glad to accept the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion.

Mr. Ammon

There is one point which I raised earlier with the Lord Privy Seal which I should like to mention. He appreciates that in Sub-section (7) of Clause 49 the same point arises, and I presume that will be dealt with similarly.

Sir J. Anderson

On Report.

Mr. Fleming

I was going to raise the same point as regards Sub-section (7) of Clause 49 and to ask whether that will come in with the new Clauses.

Sir J. Anderson

I suggest that that should be dealt with on the Report stage after the new Clauses have been dealt with.

Mr. R. C. Morrison

May I ask whether you are a party to this arrangement, Colonel Clifton Brown? Some of us may have Amendments to put forward on the Report stage, when discussion is very much more limited, and I should like to know whether the arrangement made through the usual channels has received your blessing.

The Deputy-Chairman

I must make my position clear. I am entirely in the hands of the Committee. If anybody objects to this proceeding the Chair will have to call the Amendments which are upon the Paper, but personally I think the sensible course would be to take the line which the right hon. Gentleman has suggested.

Sir J. Anderson

I think it should be understood that when the new Clauses are reached they will be formally recommitted. That will be the intention of the Government.

Mr. Woods

Can the right hon. Gentleman give us any indication of when the Report stage will be taken?

Mr. David Adams

Shall we be able to put down any Amendments we have in mind?

The Deputy-Chairman

There will be no restriction whatever upon that, but whether they will be selected or not is another matter.

Mr. Fleming

We were given an assurance about certain Amendments that when the new Clauses were reached we should be given an opportunity of discussing them, and on that assurance we withdrew the Amendments in certain cases.

The Deputy-Chairman

The hon. Member puts me into a position of some difficulty. In Committee I am not in a position to give an assurance that a particular matter will be discussed on the Report stage, but I can only indicate that I think it will be extremely likely.

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.