HC Deb 30 May 1945 vol 411 cc278-9

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Turton

I beg to move, in page 12, line 12, leave out "or expedient."

This is a very important matter. The House will remember that we inserted the words "in the public interest," during the Committee stage and that it was the now Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works who, before he reached that high office, suggested that the words were meaningless unless we left out the words "or expedient." The Government undertook to reconsider the drafting of this matter, and I hope that they are now satisfied that the words "or expedient" should come out.

Lieut.-Commander Joynson-Hicks

I beg to second the Amendment.

The Attorney-General

My hon. Friend is correct. It was myself who undertook that the words should be considered. The words have been considered, and I am afraid that I am still of the same opinion that the Clause would be too narrow if those words were left out. I appreciate the dialectical point of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works who, as the hon. Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller), raised this point during the Committee stage, but it seems to me that there may well be a broad and clear distinction between what a Minister would be prepared to say was necessary in the public interest and what was expedient. One has to look at a phrase like this in accordance with the subject matter. When one is considering the stopping up of some highway, for instance, which may be concerned with some other hereditament, factory or the like, it may be difficult to say that it is absolutely necessary, while it is clear that it is expedient for the better use of the other properties involved. I am sorry that I cannot meet my hon. Friends on the point, because I know the attention that they have given to it, but those who have to deal with the actual administration have considered the proposal from their point of view. We have all considered it from the point of view of the legal effect, and we now ask the House to allow us to have the wider form of words.

Mr. Turton

In view of the explanation given by the Attorney-General, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.