§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. Beattie
This Clause gives power to the Government of Northern Ireland to interfere with municipal undertakings— water, transport, electricity, and other things of that kind. I understand that the Belfast Corporation, which has the most up-to-date system of transport and also has its own electricity supply, has passed a resolution to oppose this Bill on the ground that this Clause is an undue interference with the municipal services of that corporation. I was opposed to the resolution on the ground that we are about to bring transport under a merger, and I could understand the necessity for including the Belfast Corporation system in that merger. I now understand that this power will not be used for nationalising transport for six months. I am given to understand that the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland gave an assurance to the Belfast Corporation that, although the powers will be given to them under this Bill, they will not be used to bring into a national scheme of transport the municipal transport services of Belfast. Is it not political hypocrisy in the extreme, when people ask for powers to be given to them and, at the same time, tell those who are opposed to such powers that they will not be used?
§ Mr. W. F. Neill (Belfast, North)
On a point of Order. I would like to say to the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. J. Beattie) that what he has said about the Belfast Corporation—
§ Sir P. Hannon
On a point of Order. Mr. Beaumont. I think the reference made in this Committee to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland as being guilty of political hypocrisy in the extreme is—
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)
On a point of Order. Is it in Order for an hon. Member to attack Members of a friendly Government?
§ Mr. Beattie
I will not refer to any leader or particular person by name, but I can say that I think it is wrong that people to whom powers are given under Clause 2 for a particular purpose should say to people who are likely to be opposed to those powers being granted, "Do not be uneasy in your minds; do not make any opposition to the Bill on Clause 2, because we give you the guarantee that, in a Bill likely to be brought before us at a future date, your transport system will be protected within the confines of a Tory administration."
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.