HC Deb 07 December 1949 vol 470 cc1904-7

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this be the Schedule to the Bill."

Mr. R. A. Butler

I understand that there have been one or more alterations in the Schedule, and I wonder whether we could be told about them by the Minister.

Mr. Key

The period of protection for the British Transport Commission, which is mentioned in Part I of the Schedule, has been extended from one year to two years. The other provision is in Part III, and it is designed to give protection by arbitration, so far as existing rights are concerned, not merely to the Commission but to the other undertakers as well.

Question put, and agreed to.

Preamble agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

4.32 p.m.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I think it is satisfactory to be able to state on Third Reading that this Bill has been materially improved. As my hon. Friend the Member for the Abbey Division of Westminster (Sir H. Webbe) said, we are considering a site which may be regarded as the centre of the whole Commonwealth and a site which must be treated with the utmost care and attention. I think it is satisfactory to reflect that in considering this site we have not only considered its beauty but have also made further provision than previously existed for crowds to assemble on suitable occasions and to see ceremonies which take place.

On behalf of the public, I should like to thank the Minister for the consideration of their comfort, which has obviously been his main concern. I should like also to ask two questions. First, about the statues, can he give those of us who are lovers of statues—which is a very rare category—some assurance about where the statues of these distinguished statesmen are to be found in the future? I think that information would be valuable. Some of us have vague ideas about it, but we should like our ideas to be more precise. I have a particular passion for Sir Robert Peel and I should like to know whereabouts I shall find him in the future. I also understand that Canning is to be in the company of Abraham Lincoln. I should like to know how closely these two great men will be able to confer together in the layout as suggested finally under the Bill.

Secondly, what is to be the position of the garden? I must say that I was very disturbed, on reading the observations made by my hon. Friend the Member for the Abbey Division, about the alleged lack of symmetry in the garden. Is the Minister now satisfied that this garden can, in fact, be gardened by gardeners, and that it is not entirely in the hands of those who believe in symmetry and mathematics? Is he satisfied that things will grow in this garden in a beautiful and satisfactory way, that it will be a scene of rest and beauty, and that it will not be satisfactory merely to those who consider that a garden should be planned in the same direction as that in which the traffic goes round? If the right hon. Gentleman can give some satisfaction on those points, I feel that the Third Reading of this Bill will be a memorable occasion.

4.35 p.m.

Mr. Key

So far as the statues are concerned, two of them will be put into what will remain of the Canning enclosure and the other four will be adequately posted along the western side of the island. I am afraid that at the moment I have not in my mind the knowledge of who will be neighbour to whom, but at any rate I think they will be sufficiently separated not to fall out one with the other. So far as the garden is concerned, I think that the point which the hon. Member for the Abbey Division of Westminster (Sir H. Webbe) raised on Second Reading has been met, and there is a definite symmetry in the layout of the garden. The trouble was caused, I think, by a mistaken idea of trying to extend part of the gardens round the trees. The purpose suggested by the hon. Member was not the intention of the people who planned them. I am certain that this improvement will mean that it will be a far more attractive square than it is at present, and I am certain that the gardens will be a credit not only to my own Department, but a joy to all those who visit them.

4.36 p.m.

Sir H. Webbe

Perhaps as I made such very rude remarks about the gardens on Second Reading, I may be allowed to say that I think the position is now very much better. To a great extent the restless features have been subdued. The provision of another way into the square has given point to the paved pathway round the two sides, which in the original plan led nowhere except to the same way back. It now leads out of the square and it has given meaning to the whole design, which represents a great improvement on the original.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.