HC Deb 16 February 1944 vol 397 cc292-5
Mr. Bartle Bull (Enfield)

I beg to move, in page 9, line 27, after "which," to insert, "and to any local authority who."

There are a number of other names above mine to this Amendment, and I cannot understand why those hon. Members are absent, except it be that the Government propose to accept the Amendment. I have heard a lot of Members say to-day that they do not wish to hold up the Bill, but still they speak at great length. I do not propose to do that. If my hon. Friends whose names appear to this Amendment above mine and I can understand something of what the Amendment means, I think that the President and the Parliamentary Secretary can equally well understand it. The Parliamentary Secretary said a little time ago that he did not accept an Amendment moved by one hon. Gentleman but that he would accept another one. If he will accept this or the next Amendment in my name I shall be grateful.

Mr. Ede

I regret that we are not able to accept the Amendment in the form in which it is moved. It covers a wide range of authorities because, in addition to the county district councils, whose numbers I enumerated on a previous Amendment, it includes every parish council in the country. We are sincerely desirous of affording the localities an opportunity of making their views known and we will consider whether it can properly, be done on the First Schedule. If not, we will endeavour on the next stage of the Bill to submit words that will ensure that the appropriate bodies in the localities shall be in a position to express views with relation to this Clause.

The Deputy-Chairman

Before we leave this Amendment, I should say that the next Amendment, in line 31, after "proprietor," insert "or by such local authority," can be discussed with it. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman would like to ask the Government if they will accept the second Amendment. We shall have to deal with them separately, but they can be discussed together.

Mr. Bull

I will ask the Government whether they will accept that Amendment.

Mr. Ede

The answer on the second Amendment is the same as on the first.

Mr. Bull

In view of that satisfactory assurance, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Sir J. Mellor

I beg to move, in page 9, line 32, at the end, to add: (3) If a local education authority inform the Minister that they are aggrieved by an order or by an amendment of an order made under this Section the order or amendment shall be laid before Parliament as soon as may be thereafter and if either House of Parliament within the period of forty days beginning with the day on which any such order or amendment is laid before it resolves that the order or amendment be annulled the order or amendment shall cease to have effect but without prejudice to anything previously done thereunder or to the making of any new order or amendment. In reckoning any such period of forty days no account shall be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than four days. The purpose of the Amendment is to provide that where a local education authority is dissatisfied with the local education order or an amendment of an order which has been made by the Minister, and expresses that dissatisfaction to the Minister, the Minister will lay the order before Parliament, and if either House so resolves the order or the amendment shall be annulled. This Clause enables the Minister, by a local education order, to give effect to a plan which he has approved under the preceding Clause. Under that Clause the Minister can approve a plan after making such modifications as he considers necessary or expedient. Under this Clause he can, having given effect to a plan by a local education order, proceed to alter the plan by an amendment to the order. In each case he has to consider objections made by the local education authority, but he has complete and absolute power to make any alterations in the plan, either before or after making a local education order. In these circumstances, as his powers are dictatorial, it is only right that there should be an appeal to Parliament in cases where the local education authority is dissatisfied with the changes he has made in the plan. The Minister has, with respect to many previous Amendments, raised objections that they would involve delay and that he desires that unnecessary delay shall be avoided. This proposal would not involve any delay unless one or other of the two Houses of Parliament considered that the chances in the plan were undesirable. In those circumstances the delay would prove to be justified.

Mr. Ede

The hon. Gentleman has moved his Amendment in the most convincing style. We have had to resist every other Amendment that has been moved by his group of Members, but in view of the way in which this has been moved, my right hon. Friend has been moved and I am instructed to accept it.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.