HC Deb 20 January 1949 vol 460 cc331-2
47. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Lord President of the Council whether it is his intention to arrange for any of the meetings of the new Council for Wales to be held in public; whether the Council will have power to co-opt additional members; and whether the Council will be able to decide when and where it will meet.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

As I told the House on the 24th November, the intention is that the Council for Wales and Monmouthshire shall meet in private. It is not proposed that it shall have co-opting powers, but it will, of course, be free to decide when and where it will meet.

Mr. Freeman

May I ask the Lord President whether he would give permission to the Council so that it could decide itself whether it should meet in public or in private, in view of the desire of many people to have the opportunity of speaking in public?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think that is desirable as a general practice. There might conceivably be exceptional occasions when there could be public sittings, but I think that if there were very full discussions we should have the Council in danger of being in a little competition with Welsh Members of Parliament in Parliament assembled.

Mr. Freeman

Will my right hon. Friend consider leaving it to the Council itself to decide if it wishes to meet in public?

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir.

Mr. Price-White

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of the reasons for the considerable opposition to the proposed Council for Wales, even amongst local authorities, is that it should meet in private, and will he reconsider the point if he wishes the Council to be a success at all?

Mr. Morrison

There are various reasons for such criticisms of the proposal as exist, and a number of these reasons for criticism cancel themselves out, like this one does. Many people are apprehensive about the Council in case it should become, in certain respects, a rival of the House of Commons.

Mr. Emrys Roberts

Is the Lord President also aware that, amongst local authorities which expressed approval of this proposal, disapproval was expressed of the provision that it should meet in private?

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