HC Deb 18 October 1944 vol 403 cc2418-23

1.1 p.m.

Sir John Mellor (Tamworth)

I beg to move, in page 4, line 42, leave out "five," and insert "two."

As the next Amendment which stands in my name and those of my hon. and gallant Friends—in page 5, line 7, leave out "or under Sub-section (2) of this Section"—is consequential upon this Amendment, perhaps it may also be considered with the present Amendment. It is clear that the purpose of Sub-section (2) of Clause 2 is to deal with matters which are both exceptional and urgent. The Sub-section provides that a local planning authority may, in certain circumstances, be authorised to purchase land compulsorily, notwithstanding that no order under Section 1 of the Act is in force. But that can only be done if the Minister is satisfied, among other things, that the postponement of the acquisition would be prejudicial to the public interest. It must also be that the order authorising purchase should be submitted to the Minister before the expiration of five years from the appointed day.

The purpose of this Amendment is to reduce the period from five years to two years and, having regard to the fact that this procedure is intended for urgent purposes only, it is an Amendment which my right hon. Friend may be able to accept. When a similar Amendment was moved during the Committee stage the Minister said: I stated that the intention is to use these exceptional powers in the early years of reconstruction. If the thing is urgent and it is clear that the land ought to be acquired, it is in the early stages that that would be most readily ascertainable."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th October, 1944; Vol. 403, C. 1026.] He went on to explain that he could not there and then accept the Amendment but would have to wait and see how the proposals which he was making in other parts of the Bill for expediting procedure were received by the Committee. He has the procedure which he was seeking virtually intact, and that being so, I hope very much that he will now be able to accept this Amendment so that the Order must be submitted by the planning authority to the Minister within the period of two years from the appointed day.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

I beg to second the Amendment.

1.4 p.m.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I propose to accept the Amendment in accordance with the undertaking I gave in Committee. We have introduced, in this Bill, a very great acceleration of the procedure for the compulsory acquisition of land, and I then said if I emerged from the Committee with that intact, I would accept the Amendment. The point is really that this procedure under Subsection (2) will really, as I apprehend, be of value in the early stages of reconstruction. The first two years will enable the land to be acquired that could be acquired under the procedure, and thereafter, under the accelerated procedure provided by the Bill for the new objects regarding public undertakings and other matters, it should be possible, in subsequent years, for land necessary to be acquired to be acquired and, therefore, I accept the Amendment.

1.5 p.m.

Mr. Silkin

I am astonished. This provision was the basis of all the discussion which took place between the local authorities, and the whole planning proposals were accepted subsequently because it was assumed that we were promised that for five years this accepted proviso would be available too. Now, without any warning whatever, my right hon. and learned Friend accepts an Amendment which knocks the bottom out of the whole Bill. If I had known that my right hon. and learned Friend was going to accept the Amendment I should unhesitatingly and undoubtedly have carried my opposition to the Bill right through and, in fact, I propose to vote against the Third Reading if he decides to accept this Amendment. He has just knocked the bottom out of the whole thing. I really cannot say anything more than that. The whole thing was on the basis that at least for five years the procedure would be accepted when local authorities would be able to carry out their acquisition under certain terms, and so on, and suddenly the whole thing is taken away, and I am really left speechless.

1.7 p.m.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

I cannot agree with the complaint of the hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin) with regard to what the Minister said on this Amendment. Surely, it was within his recollection. I cannot agree with him at all that the reduction of the period to two years in any way destroys or affects the main structure of the Bill. Whatever may have been the agreement come to with local authorities, that does not affect the jurisdiction of this House, nor does it justify the House in over-riding the interests of private individuals, and having regard to the accelerated proviso with reference to public inquiries, a strong case has been made out for reducing the unnecessarily long period from five years to two years.

1.8 p.m.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I would like, with the leave of the House, to reply to the remarks of the hon. Member for Peckham (Mr. Silkin) which, I confess, surprised me greatly. He seemed to proceed upon the basis that Sub-section (2) of Clause 2 was the basis of the whole Bill. It is nothing of the kind. The real reconstruction procedure is the Clause I procedure, under which at any time thereafter the land can be acquired. There is one public inquiry into the whole subject and thereafter when the land is declared under Clause 1, Clause 2 comes in and the land can speedily be acquired. That is the position and it is the main point of the Bill to get these reconstructions areas acquired speedily. Incidental to that and supporting it are all the new provisions about accelerated procedure.

The original Sub-section (2) of Clause 2, with its limit of five years, was intended to meet the exceptional circumstances where you could not wait to declare your intention to reconstruct and where it was obvious from the start that this was land which could be acquired straight away. The main structure of the Bill on Clause 1 and the procedure remain intact. I really was surprised at the hon. Member saying that this was taking the whole thing out of the Bill. It is Clause 1 procedure which is important. This proviso to meet an absolutely obvious and cleared site can well be exercised in two years.

Mr. Woodburn (Stirling and Clackmannan, Eastern)

I recall the Minister saying when some of the Amendments were under discussion—I am not sure whether it was this one—that he would have considered this if he was sure that all the other procedure would remain unaltered. Could he quote from HANSARD to show whether that statement refers to this particular part of the Bill? I was under the impression that it referred to another part altogether.

Mr. Morrison

I can reply to my hon. Friend by saying—though I have not

HANSARD by me—I could pledge my recollection absolutely on that discussion. It was an Amendment of this kind referring only to Sub-section (2) of Clause 2 and not to the general provisions of the Bill. I said that if I get away with the rest of the accelerated procedure intact I would accept precisely this Amendment.

Mr. Bowles (Nuneaton)

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. This Amendment was moved in Committee and refused by the Committee—[An HON. MEMBER: "It was withdrawn."]—because of the feeling of the Committee. I am clear in my mind that the view was held in Committee that five years was the right period and two years was the wrong period. The hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir J. Mellor) has moved the same Amendment again, it has been accepted and it rather seems that the House is now being asked to take a different view from the view taken by the Government on the Committee stage.

Mr. Speaker

That often happens. On the Report stage we often reverse a decision taken on the Committee stage.

Question put, "That 'five' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 66; Noes, 177.

Division No. 39.] AYES. [1.15 p.m.
Acland, Sir R. T. D. Green, W. H. (Deptford) Manning, C. A. G.
Barr, J. Grenfell, D. R. Montague, F.
Beaumont, Hubert (Batley) Griffiths, J. (Llanelly) Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)
Bevan, A. (Ebbw Vale) Hayday, A. Mort, D. L.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Muff, G.
Brown, W. J. (Rugby) Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Naylor, T. E.
Burden, T. W. Horabin, T. L. Neal, H.
Charleton, H. C. Hubbard, T. F. Oldfield, W. H.
Chater, D. Hughes, R. Moelwyn Riley, B.
Cluse, W. S. Hynd, J. B. Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Cocks, F. S. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Shinwell, E.
Daggar, G. Kendall, W. D. Sloan, A.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Key, C. W. Smith, E. (Stoke)
Dobbie, W. Kirkwood, D. Stewart, W. Joseph (H'gton le Spring)
Douglas, F. C. R. Lawson, J. J. (Chester-le-Street) Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Driberg, T. E. N. Leonard, W. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich) Leslie, J. R. Walkden, E. (Doncaster)
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) McEntee, V. la. T. White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
Edwards, Walter J. (Whitechapel) McGhee, H. G. White, H. (Derby, N.E.)
Foster, W. Mack, J. D. Windsor, W.
Frankel, D. McKinlay, A. S.
George, Mogan Lloyd (Anglesey) MacLaren, A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:—
Glanville, J. E. Maclean, N. (Govan) Mr. Bowles and Mr. Silkin.
Granville, E. L.
Albery, Sir Irving Beamish, Rear-Admiral, T. P. Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Beattie, F. (Cathcart) Bower, Norman (Harrow)
Apsley, Lady Beaumont, Maj. Hn. R. E. B.(P'tsm'th) Boyce, Sir H. Leslie
Astor, Visc'tess (Plymouth, Sutton) Beechman, N. A. Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Benson, G. Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith)
Balfour, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. H. Blair, Sir R. Bullock, Capt. M.
Baxter, A. Beverley Blaker, Sir R. Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A.
Campbell, Dermot (Antrim) Horsbrugh, Florence Raikes, Flight-Lieut. H. V. A. M.
Campbell, Sir E. T. (Bromley) Hewitt, Dr. A. B. Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury)
Cary, R. A. Hudson, Rt. Hon, R. S. (Southport) Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Hulbert, Wing-Commander, N. J. Richards, R.
Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.) Hume, Sir G. H. Robertson, D. (Streatham)
Clarke, Colonel R. S. Hunter, Sir T. Robertson, Rt. Hon. Sir M. A. (M'ham)
Clarry, Sir Reginald Hutchinson, G. C. (Ilford) Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)
Cobb, Captain, E. C. Hutchinson, Lt.-Com. G. I. C. (E'burgh) Ross, Taylor, W.
Colegate, W. A. Jarvis, Sir J. J. Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.
Colman, N. C. D. Jeffreys, General Sir G. D. Russell, Sir A. (Tynemouth)
Conant, Major R. J. E. Jewson, P. W. Salt, E. W.
Cook, Lt.-Col. Sir T. R. A. M, (N'flk,N.) John, W. Savory, Professor, D. L.
Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.) Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. (St'l'g & C'km'n) Shephard, S.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Jones, Sir L. (Swansea, W.) Shepperson, Sir E. W.
Crowder, Capt. J. F. E. Keatinge, Major E. M. Shute, Col. Sir J. J.
Cundiff, F. W. Keeling, E. H. Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Davidson, Viscountess (H'm'l H'mst'd) Kerr, H. W. (Oldham) Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Yeovil) Lamb, Sir J. Q. Smith, T. (Normanton)
De Chair, Capt. S. S. Leach, W. Snadden, W. McN.
Doland, G. F. Levy, T. Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir D. B.
Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. Lewis, O. Spearman, A. C. M.
Drewe, C. Liddall, W. S. Stanley, Col. Rt. Hon. Oliver
Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury) Linstead, H. N. Storey, S.
Duckworth, W. R. (Moss Side) Little, Dr. J. (Down) Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Duncan, Rt. Hon. Sir A. R. (C. Ldn.) Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.) Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. (Kens'gton, N.) Loftus, P. C. Strickland, Capt. W. F.
Dunglass, Lord Lucas, major Sir J. M. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Eccles, D. M. Lyle, Sir C. E. Leonard Studholme, Major H. G.
Edmondson, Major Sir J. MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Elliot, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. W. E. Macdonald, Captain Peter (I. of W.) Suirdale, Colonel Viscount
Emery, J. F. McKie, J. H. Summers, G. S.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Magnay, T. Tasker, Sir R. I.
Etherton, Ralph Makins, Brig.-Gen. Sir E. Tate, Mrs. Mavis C.
Evans, Col. Sir A. (Cardiff, S.) Mander, G. le M. Taylor, Major C. S. (Eastbourne)
Fildes, Sir H. Manningham-Buller, R. E. Thomas, Dr. W. S. Russell (S'th'm'tn)
Galbraith, Comdr. T. D. Marlowe, Lt.-Col. A. Thorineycroft, Maj. G. E. P. (Stafford)
Garro Jones, G. M. Mathers, G. Tinker, J. J.
George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Lloyd(P'broke) Mayhew, Lt.-Col. J. Tomlinson, G.
Gibbins, J. Mellor, Sir J. S. P. Walkden, A. G. (Bristol, S.)
Gibson, Sir C. G. Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.) Ward, Col. Sir A. (Hull)
Greenwell, Colonel T. G. Mills, Colonel J. D. (New Forest) Waterhouse, Captain Rt. Hon. C.
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Mitchell, Colonel H. P. Watkins, F. C.
Grimston, R. V. (Westbury) Molson, A. H. E. Webbe, Sir W. Harold
Harris, Rt. Hon. Sir P. A. Morgan, R. H. (Stourbridge) Wells, Sir S. Richard
Hely-Hutchinson, M. R. Morris-Jones, Sir Henry Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.
Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.) Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's) White, Sir Dymoke (Fareham)
Herbert, Petty Officer A. P. (Oxford U.) Morrison, Major, J. G. (Salisbury) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. (Blaydon)
Hawlett, T. H. Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Higgs, W. F. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Petherick, M. Woolley, Major W. E.
Hogg, Hon. Q. McG. Pilkington, Captain R. A.
Holdsworth, Sir H. Prescott, Capt. W. R. S. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:—
Hore-Belisha, Rt. Hon. L. Procter, Major H. A. Major A. S. L. Young and
Captain McEwen.

Word "two" there inserted in the Bill.

Further Amendment made: In page 5, line 7, leave out "or under sub-section (2) of this section."—[Mr. H. Strauss.]