§ Mr. Bevan
I beg to move, in page 3, line 6, to leave out from "upwards," to "for," in line 9.
Members of the Committee will remember that on the occasion of the Second Reading of the Bill, I made a definite promise that I would consider a request which had been made from several parts of the House that we should not insist on the figure of a population of 100,000 below which it would not be possible for a non-county borough to apply for county borough status.
I should like to make it quite clear now, having regard to some of the opinions that have been expressed about this, that the substitution of 100,000 for 75,000 was an act of the Coalition Government which set up the Boundary Commission. It was not my figure at all. I inherited that figure from my prede- 1320 cessor. The reason it was put in, I understand, was that it was necessary to have some restriction on the number of applications that might be made to the Commission for alteration of status, otherwise the applications would be made from a vast variety of local authorities. It was therefore agreed that in the meantime, in order to try to limit the number of applications, it was necessary to fix the figure. The 100,000 was fixed for reasons best known to those who framed the figure.
However, apprehensions have been expressed—and I sympathise with them—that 100,000 might appear to point to something which was not in our minds at all. It might give the impression that a local authority had to have a population of 100,000 before it could be an all-purpose authority. I do not attach any sacrosanctity to 75,000 or 100,000. I do not believe that it is possible at this stage to express any view at all about it. It was quite correct that many hon. Members in all parts of the House feared that any review which the Government are making about the reorganisation of local government might be influenced by the existence of the higher figure. It is in order to remove that apprehension that I am moving to substitute the original figure, 75,000. I have had an undertaking from some of the representatives of non-county boroughs affected by this matter, who say that in the meantime, while the review of local government is being conducted by the Government, they will not appeal to Parliament for an alteration of status. In view of all the fears that have been expressed, I am proposing this alteration.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
We naturally welcome the proposal which has been made by the Minister and which I think is an improvement of the Bill. I am not quite sure why the whole paragraph is being retained at all. The Minister will remember that in the discussion that went on during the Second Reading, apprehensions were expressed by hon. Members representing several boroughs that the figure 75,000 was too high.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
That may be, but the Minister is now saying that he desires to sweep away the figure of 100,000. I should have thought from the 1321 line of argument which he pursued that it would be better to leave the Bill without a figure inserted. The hon. Members for Cambridge (Mr. Symonds) and Swindon (Mr. T. Reid), and indeed my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer), pointed out that their towns were round about 70,000, and feared that they might be prejudiced by this proposal. As for 100,000, it is true that it was inserted during the time of the Coalition Government, but the Minister of Health and I were both fortunate. Neither of us was a Member of that Government, and therefore our withers are unwrung by its action or inaction. We approach these matters with virgin minds, a clean slate and an absolutely unbiased attitude on both sides. This is no doubt an advantage to the Committee. I hope it is. It is temporarily an advantage to the Minister.
The other point on which I thought the Minister might have been able to say a word, was to pursue further the allaying of anxiety, which he set himself as his objective in his winding-up speech. I think he has been perhaps more successful on this occasion than he was on that, for, as the Committee will remember, we had a somewhat difficult exchange of views as to whether the Minister had really succeeded in allaying anxiety when he met the local authorities on the previous occasion. It may be within the recollection of the Committee that the Minister then passed certain strong strictures upon the provincial Press which turned out subsequently not to be fully justified by the facts.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman need not go on with that line of argument. I would remind him that we are upon a rather narrow Amendment to change the figure 100,000 to the figure 75,000. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman should not go along his present line.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I do not desire to go far along that line, Mr. Bowles, but I thought that an excellent opportunity was afforded to the Minister to clear up some certain further anxieties and to allay further harassed feelings that I am sure he would not wish should be perpetuated.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
There is nothing that I would like more, but I bow to the Ruling of the Chair. There are certain aspects of the matter to which I would like to refer, more particularly the remarkable part played by the Parliamentary Private Secretary, and the Labour Party's regional officer for Birmingham, Mr. Underhill.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I ask the right hon. and gallant Gentleman to confine his remarks to the Amendment, and to say whether he prefers the number in the original Measure or the number proposed by the Minister.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I am sticking very strictly to the Amendment, Mr. Bowles. I am saying that I prefer the Amendment because it gives further opportunity to allay anxiety which, as I say, was the objective which the Minister set before himself in his winding-up speech and in which, I am sure we will all agree, he was not so entirely successful as he might have hoped. This proposal goes some distance towards allaying anxiety, but I should have hoped that it might have been possible to go a little further and to remove the figure altogether, as the Minister has indicated. The figure still tends to give a pointer. Figures were given during the Second Reading—for instance the number of county boroughs which are already below the proposed figure. There are five counties and four county boroughs already under 50,000, and 10 counties and 20 county boroughs under 75,000. There is a certain menace to their future in the inclusion of the strict 75,000 and upwards which is proposed here.
The difficulty in which we are is that the Minister has said that a review is proceeding. We allow that point, that the review is proceeding and that it is unwise to allow any considerable number of changes to go forward. The present proposal is by way of being a limit, a turnstile to the gate so to speak, in order to limit the rush which otherwise might occur.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
That is what the Minister has said, but we must remember that King, Lords and Commons are going to say that the figure shall be 75,000 and upwards. The Minister was speaking of what might happen as the result of his review. I am going to repeat a French proverb that nothing lasts like the transitional. The Minister has said that he did not wish to put into force the findings of the 1947 Report because they were likely to be contentious. When the Minister of Health shrinks from legislation because it is likely to be contentious, then it must be very contentious indeed. That is not the Minister's normal attitude towards contentious legislation. If the legislation is likely to be as contentious as that, it will find itself deferred for a considerable period, and during all this time this transitional Measure that we are now passing will be on the Statute Book.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
It is quite true that it was there while I was Minister of Health, and, as the right hon. Gentleman will know, I had some very extensive work to put through at that time; there was some very extensive reorganisation of boundaries of one kind or another. I had to put through a complete medical service as a sort of pastime, during my period of office.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I hope that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will now confine himself to this Amendment and that he will not continue reminiscing. This is the Committee stage of a Bill, and the Amendment under discussion is really quite small, however important it may be.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I apologise for being led away by the Minister. I will do my utmost to avoid doing so again. It was he who referred to the period 1938–39. I merely put a tentative toe into the great ocean which the Minister had displayed for me to disport myself in. I do not wish to follow that out. Naturally we wish to get on and conclude the consideration of this Bill.
1324 I say again that I am sure that the idea that at a very early stage a comprehensive review will have been completed, and that legislation will have been drafted, presented and carried through Parliament, is a piece of very great optimism, and I venture to prophesy that we might find ourselves operating under the terms of this transitional Measure a great deal longer than it occurs to any Member on either side of the Committee. Meanwhile, we consider that this Amendment is an improvement and we shall not divide the Committee upon it.
§ Mr. Symonds (Cambridge)
As I had the privilege of introducing to the Minister the deputation from the nine county boroughs who were anxious that this Amendment should be inserted, it would be rather churlish of me if I did not take up one minute of the Committee's time to thank the Minister for the action he has taken. He has more than fulfilled his undertaking in the Second Reading Debate. All he said there was that he was prepared to consider in Committee the substitution of 75,000 for 100,000. He has done better than that. He has made it unnecessary for us to put down an Amendment. He himself has inserted an Amendment and we are grateful.
The right hon. and gallant Member for the Scottish Universities (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) suggested that paragraph I of the Schedule was now unnecessary, but I do not think so. Without this paragraph the restoration of the status quo would have meant that the provision of Section 139 of the 1933 Act would apply, which would mean a population figure of 75,000 as established at the previous census. The figure now is not 75,000 as at the 1931 census but the figure as estimated by the Registrar-General. In other words, it makes the 75,000 an up-to-date figure and not something entirely out of date and completely irrelevant to the present situation. There is, therefore, a definite purpose in this revised form of paragraph I of the Schedule.
Why we are particularly grateful is that we feared that the 100,000 figure might set a new standard for the future consideration of these matters. As it is, the Minister has restored the status quo 1325 without prejudice to any future action. We were grateful for this, and we said in return that we would not in any way seek to embarrass the Minister by Private Bill activities during the life of this Parliament, and we shall be quite happy to adhere to that undertaking. The Minister's review is now going on and he himself has made it quite clear that it would be his intention for the results of such a review to be introduced very early on in the life of a new Parliament. As the situation is now restored to the status quo and there is no figure to set a new standard, we rest content and express our thanks to the Minister.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In page 3, line 11, leave out "one hundred," and insert "seventy-five."—[Mr. Bevan.]
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
I beg to move, in page 3, line 17, at the end, to insert:and at the end of the said subsection (3) there shall be inserted the words—'Provided that, where the Minister is satisfied after holding a local inquiry that it would be in the public interest, he may nevertheless make an order for giving effect to the proposals even though notice of objection has been received by him.'I am moving this Amendment in the interests of my constituency, the County Borough of Dudley. If the Amendment is not accepted, we shall find ourselves thrown back on the provisions of subsection (3) of Section 140 of the Local Government Act, 1933, which provides that when a county borough seeks to extend its boundaries, a county or county district, merely by objecting, irrespective of the merits of the case, can prevent the use of the special procedure, and it is then forced to undertake the very expensive method of introducing a Private Bill.
The history of Section 140 is rather interesting. It was not until 1926 that a county or county district was in a position to block a boundary extension of county boroughs in this way. In 1922 a Royal Commission was set up under the chairmanship of Lord Onslow, and it was on the recommendations of the Onslow Committee that it was decided that what were regarded as the encroachments of county boroughs should be brought to a halt by a very simple device whereby, by merely making an objection, the 1326 county borough was forced to undertake the cumbersome Private Bill procedure. What I am asking the Minister to do is to permit, after a proper local inquiry and only if it be deemed in the public interest, the use of the special procedure even though an objection has been made.
The position of a county borough such as mine, hemmed in as it is by the neighbouring county of Staffordshire and unable to build a house or a school outside its boundaries without meeting objections by the County of Staffordshire and the county districts, is most unfortunate. That is putting it very moderately indeed. For four years we have marked time hoping that something would come out of the Local Government Boundary Commission. The Minister in his wisdom has decided—and I agree with him; I only wish the action had been taken before—to put an end to that Commission's activities, and now we have got to wait for the comprehensive survey. I agree with the Minister in that approach. The problem cannot be dealt with in a piecemeal way. In the meantime the citizens of Dudley have got to have houses and their children have got to have schools.
Perhaps the Committee will forgive me if I read the Minister's own words:Where local authorities urgently need to alter their boundaries—that is, where they require to have land in order to build houses—then we have said that, as far as the Government are concerned, we are prepared to support proposals of that kind. But we are not prepared to support proposals which are so far-reaching in their character as to make changes that might obviously have to be assimilated in the changes that the Government themselves will propose."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd November, 1949; Vol. 469, c. 517.]8.30 p.m.
I am not asking the Minister to use the procedure set out in my Amendment to attempt, even by a side wind, what might remotely resemble a major change. I am asking him to adopt this procedure in order to simplify and hasten the methods whereby the County Borough of Dudley can have access to land on which to build houses. That and nothing more. The person who has to be satisfied that the procedure I have outlined is not abused is the Minister himself. He can see that there is an adequate local inquiry giving opportunity for the county or the county district to make representations, 1327 to air grievances, and to represent their points of view.
Having done that, however, the Minister has the overriding duty then to see that the public interest is served and that what I would regard as abuses of procedure are not allowed to prevent an authority such as Dudley from getting the land it must have. Dudley is intimately tied up with the export drive, and if we want workers in that area they must have somewhere to live. Dudley cannot get the land and will not get it unless the Minister will do what he promised to do on Second Reading and, in addition, simplify the procedure.
It may well be that the Minister can think of simpler ways in which it can be done. If he can do that, I shall be more than satisfied, but he ought to explain to the Committee in some detail what he meant when he said on Second Reading that the Government are prepared to support a proposal to make land available for houses. We do not want support after we have drawn up a Private Bill; we want support to enable us to obviate that expensive and slow procedure. In other words, we want land, we want it quickly, and I am quite sure that the name of the Minister, which is greatly honoured in the Midlands, will be honoured even more if he will accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham)
In his able speech on Second Reading the Parliamentary Secretary made this statement:Some changes may, however, be urgently necessary and ought not to be postponed; for example, where an authority urgently needs extra land for the continuation of its housing programme and cannot obtain the land required except outside its own boundaries."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd November, 1949; Vol. 469, c. 410.]I am quite sure that represented the feeling of the House and of the Minister, and that it was on that undertaking that many of us felt that the Bill could be supported with more alacrity than perhaps we otherwise should have done.
Since then I have looked at the legal position, and as far as I can understand it—I do not pretend to understand the Local Government Act, 1933, completely—the position is that that undertaking cannot be implemented fully as the Bill is drawn, and it cannot be implemented as 1328 I understand subsection (3) of Section 140 because, if any of the authorities concerned lodges an objection and does no more, then the thing is held up and the Minister will have no power to make a special Order. If I am wrong, I am quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman will correct me.
We have to deal with what I might call the facts of life as we know them, although in the strictly limited sense of this Amendment. Authorities do object to losing territory. It is a standard thing to put in a notice of objection, it is a standard thing for every local authority to argue as a matter of course, and once a notice is put in with no other purpose than for the purpose of obstruction, the whole thing may be held up, postponed, inoperative, it may be for years, it may be—[HON. MEMBERS: "For ever."]—As I understand the position—and the right hon. Gentleman will again correct me if I am wrong because I am prone to error—the only remedy available for the local authority intimately concerned is to produce a Private Bill and go through all that procedure. My right hon. Friend, with a felicity of speech that I do not claim to possess, described this procedure in his speech on Second Reading. He said:When those orders are unopposed, when agreement has been established by local inquiry, the procedure is inexpensive and simple, but when objection is taken to the orders of the Boundary Commission the whole paraphernalia of Parliamentary counsel is invoked."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd November, 1949; Vol. 469, c. 510.]I want to put a very simple case. Curiously enough, it affects the town of Oldham, in Lancashire, to which I have directed the attention of the House of Commons on at least one other occasion. It is not an unusual case, but a most serious and important one. Oldham has no building land of its own, and has had none for years. It is one of the worst housed towns in the country and 25 per cent. of its houses would be condemned at once if new houses were available. The whole development of the town has been impeded and obstructed for years by this wretched business of trying to acquire the right to build on land in someone else's territory. Our whole housing programme has been held up since the war for that reason. We had all the difficulties of negotiation with other authorities and the 1329 whole of the houses we have built have been built in an adjoining rural area—a country district for the purposes of this Measure.
Naturally, Oldham wants to give decent services to those houses, but the whole question of servicing is left to the adjoining authority, who obviously have no special interest in the matter. I am not criticising their conduct—so far as I know, they are a properly and decently conducted authority. The whole matter then goes before the Boundary Commission, who consider it in detail and make recommendations which would have adjusted this state of affairs; and then, at this moment, when the whole matter has reached the stage when we had hopes at least of realising our legitimate ambitions, the Boundary Commission goes.
We now find that if we are to make the progress which we must make, and which is absolutely vital for the overcrowded inhabitants of Oldham—people are still living in back to back houses with no water supply—it is really vital that we should be able to tackle this matter at once. Because of the question of the Private Bill which, I understand, is now under consideration, I have not had an opportunity of ascertaining exact details and cannot forecast precisely what the attitude of the authorities concerned will be, but on the information I am given I think I am justified in saying that the indications are that the Lancashire County Council will not oppose it, and that they will regard the proposal as eminently proper. I have seen references to the minutes of the Lancashire County Council in which they have envisaged this thing happening, and so far as I know they have lodged no objection to it. I am not in a position, however, to say what will be the attitude of the county district.
Suppose we hold our inquiry and give notices under Section 3, and suppose the clerk of the county district, for no other purpose than, quite rightly, to protect their own purposes, says, "We must put in an objection, for the time being at any rate: that would give us an opportunity of considering the matter." I am not entitled to say that in the sense that I have guaranteed information about it, but so far as I can see that is the indication. If the adjoining county district for the purpose of the Bill—the rural dis- 1330 trict council, as we call them—lodge an objection to protect their position, the whole of our scheme of housing development is held up, together with the erection of schools for the area, and we must come to Parliament with a Private Bill.
§ Mr. Hale
If my right hon. Friend were to allay my anxieties now, I would have the opportunity of telling him whether they were fully allayed by his intervention.
I do not suggest that this problem does not affect many other towns, but let us consider what the Amendment is intended to do. My right hon. Friend may, quite properly, say that it is too wide or needs a little re-drafting on the Report stage. All we are saying is that where a formal objection is lodged on this inquiry which, in the view of the inspector holding the inquiry, has no fundamental merit, where it is a mere question of saying, "We object constitutionally to losing a bit of our land or territory," where the inspector having held the inquiry has come to the conclusion that in the general interests of the people in the district this thing should go through, all we are asking is that the Minister should have a chance of again considering the matter and the report of the inquiry and saying, "I am so satisfied of this and it is so important that I will let it go through. It will stop the whole paraphernalia of Parliamentary counsel being employed and the whole business of this wretched procedure upstairs." I implore the Minister to say that he will accept this important Amendment and I express my gratitude to the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) for moving it.
§ Mr. Blyton (Houghton-le-Spring)
I am sorry to bring a discordant note into the arena where so many cheers have been given for the last speech, but I suggest that, while many hon. Members are speaking for the county boroughs, at least the rural, urban and county councils ought to have some say in the matter. This Amendment is asking that the Minister should make an Order and that the right of Parlia- 1331 ment should not enter into the matter at all. I live in a peculiar constituency; 75 per cent. of it is in the county area and the other 25 per cent. is in two county boroughs and the two county boroughs intended promoting Private Bills to take 75 per cent. of the county part of my constituency. The towns are fighting to take the urban areas, and also fighting to take the rural areas.
Sunderland Corporation have the grandiose idea of making Sunderland the metropolis of Durham. Representatives of the county boroughs of South Shields and Sunderland have sat complacently in their town halls and allocated the rural district of Boldon between themselves and settled the lines of demarcation they will take when they promote any Private Bill for extension, but they have no regard for the feelings of the rural people. The two boroughs say "You take this and we will take that and we will unite when it comes to a fight."
I think it unfair that the responsibility should be placed on the Minister, as is suggested by this Amendment. That would create great trouble between the County Councils Association and the Association of Municipal Corporations. The county councils are bound to protect themselves from the ambitions of the big towns stretching their tentacles into the counties. That may seem a huge joke to those who live in boroughs, but it is viewed with seriousness by the county councils. In view of what the Minister said last week, the county councils are entitled to use the procedure of the Local Government Act, 1933, to defend their interests in the various areas of County Durham. I ask the Minister not to be led away by speeches of hon. Members who have spoken before me, but to stick to what he said last week and to let the procedure of the 1933 Act operate. The people of the rural areas are as proud of their areas and their civic capacity as those in the towns. They should be given an opportunity of expressing their opposition to the advancement of the towns in trying to take over the areas which at present they administer.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
I have great sympathy with the speeches of the hon. Members for Oldham (Mr. Hale) and Dudley (Mr. Wigg), but of 1332 course the remedy is not this Amendment but the withdrawal of this Bill. If the Boundary Commission were in operation to deal with these small but very important matters, the whole matter could be quickly settled.
§ Mr. Turton
That is another story, and you would probably not wish me to respond, Mr. Bowles, to the invitation to say why there has been a waste of four years in this matter. The Boundary Commission would surely have been the best body but if there is not an independent body such as the Boundary Commission, I should have thought it wholly undesirable to allow the Minister to decide after a local inquiry. I should also have thought that would be a very invidious position for the Minister to be in.
The hon. Member for Oldham talked about the problems of the extension of Oldham. That, as he mentioned, involves the absorption of a county district. If this Amendment were allowed, the position would, as I understand it, be that no county district could have its boundaries reviewed or altered until 1952 unless it was being absorbed by a neighbouring county borough. That would seem to be an unfair and unequal position for county districts. The proper method of dealing with these county districts is in those cases to have a county review under Section 146 of the Local Government Act, 1933. It would be wrong for Oldham to have this advantage of being able to absorb a county district under the proposed local inquiry procedure whereas every other urban district in the country would not be allowed to have its boundaries altered because the county revision was being postponed until 1952.
§ Mr. Turton
That, I understand, involves the absorption of a part of a county district. I think the hon. Gentleman misunderstands the position; it may not follow that opposition makes an 1333 inquiry abortive. There may be cases in which the county may be the objector but will not object to the quicker procedure which we are adopting under this Bill. I should like to ask the Minister what would be the position if such an objection were received. I am not clear what is to be the procedure. Two or three previous speakers have said that it will be by Private Bill, but the next sub-paragraph of paragraph 2 of the Schedule repeals Section 140 (4) which lays down the procedure by Private Bill. I should have thought, and I wish the Minister to explain this when he replies, that if subsection (4) is repealed the procedure by way of Private Bill will no longer be possible. In other words, there will be the quick procedure which will be open to the county council which wishes to proceed in that way, and if objection is taken to that quick procedure, the matter will be postponed sine die.
It seems to me a rather odd conclusion of this matter and one rather different from what we originally thought when we considered this Bill on Second Reading. I hope that the Minister will give us guidance on this matter. It is an added reason why the Boundary Commission should not have been dissolved but should have been retained for these small purposes of boundary adjustments.
§ Mr. Swingler (Stafford)
A very simple way for the Minister to deal with this Amendment is to turn it down. The Minister had better do that if he wishes to maintain his high reputation in the Midlands. I quite understand what has prompted my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) to put down this Amendment. I think I understand the problem of Dudley almost as well as I understand the hon. Member for Dudley. But when I see the representatives of South Staffordshire county boroughs conspiring with the hon. Member for Dudley I begin to wonder, because there appear to be some people who are hoping that the Minister of Health will deliver the knock-out blow to the County of Staffordshire and the representatives of South Staffordshire county boroughs are hovering like vultures to descend on the corpse. But Staffordshire is not going to become a corpse. It will kick against any such proposal or manœuvre by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley and his hon. Friends to try to get some kind 1334 of piecemeal reform—which was the one thing everybody turned down when this Bill was read a second time.
I think everybody agreed, when they discussed the question of the Boundary Commission or its dissolution, and how to deal with local government, that we cannot go on any longer with piecemeal reform, either in relation to boundaries or functions. But here is the hon. Member for Dudley proposing that there should be a bit of piecemeal reform for Dudley; and it is proposed that there should be a bit of piecemeal reform for Oldham and a bit of piecemeal reform for—well, quite a number of hon. Members want a little bit of piecemeal reform so long as it suits them. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton)—what about a little piecemeal reform for the counties at the expense of the county boroughs? The truth is that we cannot go on in this way and we agree with the Minister that there must be a speedy and comprehensive review, and that nothing should be done to prejudice in advance that speedy and comprehensive review.
That is why I say that the proposals behind this Amendment should be turned down, because if such changes are made they will inevitably prejudice the review of local Government which we want to get on with and to see implemented as a whole. There is a simple solution for my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley and his friends. They should make some constructive proposals, which will be received sympathetically by my friends on the Staffordshire County Council, and try to get some agreement in order to alleviate the problem which I know exists in Dudley. But do not let us have any further tinkering about with boundaries in South Staffordshire until we have a comprehensive review of the local government problem.
§ Mr. H. D. Hughes (Wolverhampton, West)
The hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Swingler) is the representative of a sated Power. He has no territorial ambitions. I am sorry that this little civil strife has broken out in Staffordshire. The submission which I would make to the Minister is in regard to the serious problem facing one or two county boroughs. I am speaking on behalf of county boroughs which are very reasonable county boroughs, unlike, as I under- 1335 stand, some county boroughs in Durham which want 75 per cent. of the county—
§ Mr. Hughes
The county borough which I represent is taking a very reasonable view indeed. The hon. Member for Stafford says that we should put forward constructive proposals. As he well knows, the county boroughs in South Staffordshire put forward constructive proposals months ago. They have received very little serious consideration from the county council. I am not for the moment discussing our long-term problem, but I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Stafford that, so far as the ultimate solution is concerned, it cannot be done piecemeal, but has to be done comprehensively.
What we are concerned with in this Amendment is the short-term issue. I want to put this point seriously to the Minister. The County Borough of Wolverhampton, like the County Borough of Dudley and places in other parts of the country, must get on with their immediate and pressing housing problems, and the present structure of local government makes it impossible to do so. My county borough, faced with this problem, have dropped temporarily their long-term proposals and have put forward a short-term proposal for a slight alteration in order to enable them to get on with their immediate housing schemes, as the Minister invited them to do during the Second Reading of this Bill. But already the county district and other authorities involved are going through the matter of form of raising objections. Therefore, even on the most narrow short-term issue, we are faced with the question of a Private Bill—not from the point of view of our long-term needs or of a comprehensive review, but from the point of view of our immediate needs.
My hon. Friend the Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Blyton) talked about not putting the responsibility on the Minister. I do not think that the 1336 Minister will shirk his responsibility tonight. I have never known him not to welcome a little responsibility, and I am sure that he will welcome the responsibility put upon him in the proposal now before the House. The hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring talked about Parliamentary control. Of course, the Private Bill procedure will not bring this matter before the democratic forum of the House of Commons. In view of tonight's discussion, perhaps that is as well. However, the alternative procedure involves expensive legal costs and long legal argument on both sides; and in the last resort it is very doubtful whether the public interest will be served any better than it would be if the Minister would agree to this other simple procedure which would enable the county boroughs to get on with their immediate job.
§ Mr. Harold Roberts (Birmingham, Handsworth)
This Debate is a foretaste of what will await the Minister. I defy the right hon. Gentleman or any Minister to create a policy which would command general acceptance. It is not for me to "make a book" or to try to predict on which side the Minister will come down tonight. But whether he accepts the Amendment or rejects it, the result cannot be very satisfactory, because by accepting the Amedment a makeshift policy would result and by rejecting it and maintaining a status quo an intolerable position would arise. The real solution might be for the Minister in the next Session to promote a Bill to set up a Boundary Commission. That would enable him to carry on pending further legislation. That is a legislative project which the Minister might consider.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Bevan
Perhaps it might be as well if I intervened in this family quarrel at the earliest possible stage, because I know that when family quarrels start they may begin in an amiable atmosphere but they can end very bitterly indeed. First, I should like to answer for the purpose of elucidation the question asked by the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton). I think that the situation is clear. If objection is taken by a county council or a county district to the procedure of a proposal, then the proposal can only proceed by way of Private Bill. If, however, the objection 1337 is not to the procedure but to the proposal itself independently of the procedure, then it may be done by special Parliamentary procedure.
May I point out to my hon. Friend behind me that the discussion we have had is a perfect illustration of what is almost certain to happen when we bring forward permanent proposals for the reorganisation of local government? Indeed, this controversy which has broken out this evening is one of the reasons why the reorganisation of local government has been postponed from time to time, and the reason why we have not been able to create any piece of machinery which would be acceptable to all local authorities together. The Boundary Commission itself was not machinery acceptable to all local authorities. Many of them took exception to it, and, indeed, we shall never be able, nor indeed ought we to seek, to prevent any local authority having access to the House of Commons. It is impossible to ask that Ministers or bodies appointed by Parliament should stand between a local authority and the right of appeal to the House of Commons. We share the administration of the country with local government, and we are not entitled to deprive local government of the right of appeal to Parliament.
Therefore, it must be quite clear at once that I will be most anxious to be divested of responsibility for deciding between the different claims of competing local authorities. Parliament itself is the final court of appeal, and we ought not to take any other view about it. That is the reason why some of my hon. Friends, and in particular the mover of this Amendment and the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hale), made a special plea on behalf of county boroughs as if county districts have no rights. County councils and county districts have rights, and it is the duty of Parliamentary procedure to enfranchise those rights. If county boroughs are enfranchised, so must the objectors to the proposals of county boroughs be enfranchised.
§ Mr. Hale
I am not following the argument of my right hon. Friend, and I am most anxious to do so. Is not the appeal to the council of the nation, which he describes in such moving terms, really an argument which comes from upstairs, comes down here and appears on the 1338 Order Paper and enables hon. Members to say "Object," and, if they do it long enough, leads to a couple of hours' discussion here? The main point, as I understand it, is that there is bound to be a row at some time, and all we have suggested is a simple way out of the difficulty.
§ Mr. Wigg
Will my right hon. Friend allow me? He is most unfair. We are not asking to be favoured. The Amendment we have put forward deals with procedure, and all we are trying to get for the county boroughs is a fair crack of the whip after inquiry, and we are asking the Minister, in the absence of a Boundary Commission, to arbitrate to prevent a county district from objecting in the way in which they have always objected. One can see after listening to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Swingler) what will happen.
§ Mr. Bevan
If my hon. Friend will look at the consequential Amendments, he will see that that is not what he is asking for at all. What he is suggesting is that the Minister himself should be armed with power for holding a local inquiry and then overruling all objections and himself deciding what alterations are to take place. I am quite certain that no Minister of Health would ever accept a position of that sort. He cannot be made the arbitrator between contending local authorities and he ought not to be put into that position.
That is not the proposal before the Committee at the moment. If my hon. Friend will look at the Amendment and the consequential Amendments, he will see that what he is suggesting is that the Minister can hold a local inquiry and then proceed by order under special Parliamentary procedure. But there is no particular advantage in that at all because special Parliamentary procedure also involves the paraphernalia of Parliamentary counsel. Perhaps some of my hon. Friends will try later this evening to show that the special Parliamentary procedure 1339 has not all the advantages which most of its protagonists have claimed for it. Special Parliamentary procedure involves, in exactly the same way as a Private Bill, the right of the petitioners to be represented. Indeed, if the claims are contested, it can be an extremely expensive and protracted procedure. Therefore, my hon. Friends are not exempting themselves as much as they think by the Amendments which they have put down on the Order Paper.
§ Mr. Hale
My right hon. Friend really must not accuse us of depriving them of their right of representation and then say that there is no difference because there is still the right of representation in this procedure. In point of fact, the procedure is certainly simpler, cheaper, and more expeditious.
§ Mr. Bevan
My hon. Friend must not try to score such a slick debating point as that. What I said was that if my hon. Friend meant what he said he meant by his Amendment, that would then be depriving the authorities of their right to appeal to the House of Commons, and I would be bound to resist it. But, in fact, that is not what his Amendment says. His Amendment suggests that we should proceed by special Parliamentary procedure, and, as I have said, that procedure involves the employment of counsel in exactly the same way as it does in the case of a Private Bill where it is contested. Where it is not contested, then no difficulties arise at all because the Minister can make the change by order.
§ Mr. Bevan
If my hon. Friend persists in his objection, then his proposal is all the more objectionable because, if it is 1340 not going to be reinforced by the second Amendment, all the proposal means is that the Minister shall by order determine between a number of conflicting local authorities. I am quite sure that, on reflection, no hon. Member would ask for that to be granted; it would be an absolutely impossible position to take up. I would point out that the earlier procedure was found so objectionable that it was changed. A Royal Commission on local government recommended the procedure which is now being adopted, and we are not proposing to go back on that.
It is not correct to say that county boroughs cannot obtain land upon which to build. Indeed, that is entirely incorrect. The picture which my hon. Friends drew of massed populations, cribbed, cabined and confined within the narrow frontiers of a local authority, unable to expand, unable to move, back-to-back houses, has nothing to do with the facts of the case. Hundreds of local authorities are building outside their boundaries, so that this ridiculous situation, as it was called, does not prevent housing progress going on at all. It is going on all the while and, indeed, authorities like the London County Council are all the time building well beyond their boundaries. It is not right to say that we have a constitutional constriction of physical activities.
§ Mr. Awbery (Bristol, Central)
But when they provide houses in areas outside their boundaries another authority has to provide the social services.
§ Mr. Bevan
We cannot have it both ways. We can start with common ground—that, in fact, they can do it. The houses are there. I have heard county councils complain that county boroughs have built outside their frontiers but that the very expensive educational costs fall upon the county council, so there is an entirely different side to the picture. Some of the county councils also have a complaint here, so we are not dealing with a black and white situation; we are dealing with half-tints and semi-tones and nuances of all kinds. There is no black and white position here at all.
What I said on Second Reading was that where the local authority had acquired land outside its boundaries, and was building houses upon it, there was no 1341 reason at all why that local authority should not obtain an extension of its boundaries. I have said that and I should have thought that a protesting local authority would not have very much sympathy in the case of small changes of that sort, where the changes are urgently required in order to comprehend within the boundaries of the parent authority the physical activities it is compelled to undertake outside its own boundaries. I think my hon. Friends ought to be satisfied with that assurance. I think we have had a most interesting discussion which probably has been merely a prelude to a series of stormy debates which will occur in this House when the final proposals for the re-organisation of local government come forward.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
I think the Committee has greatly enjoyed having been present at a Labour Party meeting. It is an illuminating experience and one which we on this side of the House greatly enjoyed. It explains the hold-up and ham-stringing of vigorous, constructive action which has resulted in the present financial plight of this country, but the really important thing is, of course, that it reinforces a thousand times every argument that we have advanced about the desirability of proceeding by means of the Boundary Commission and not delaying everything until a comprehensive solution of all of our problems can be brought about.
I greatly sympathise with the Minister; this is an affair, as he said, of half-tints, semi-tones and nuances, differing greatly from the bold, bright colours which, as a Celt, he recommended to the House on the Bill dealing with blitzed sites at an earlier date this week. The Minister enjoys these bold, bright colours; he likes primary colours and he likes to lay them on with a broad brush. But the trouble is that at the end it always comes down to just this sort of problem. At the end of the day it is this sort of intricate, detailed problem which has to be met and, although naturally I do not wish to develop the argument at this stage, again we say that an adjustment, a fitting of the shoe to the foot, will be better in the long run and infinitely more practicable than the hope of a widespread reconstruction, covering the whole country, which the Minister mentions. I agree with him that along that line we shall find stormy 1342 Debates—and worse, not only stormy, but also inconclusive Debates. The arguments brought forward by hon. Members on one side have been countered by arguments brought forward by hon. Members on the other, and at the end of the day it is inevitable that they will have to be determined by the blunt axe of a Parliamentary majority.
I only say that the more the thing can be shaped beforehand the better, and that is what the original conception of the Boundary Commission was for. On the merits of the Amendment, we on this side of the Committee consider that, having swept away, or being about to sweep away, the Boundary Commission, it would undoubtedly be unfair if a limited power were given to one set of authorities which was denied to another set of authorities. That is the proposal before us, and therefore, we are opposed to that proposal.
Certainly the Minister has much justice on his side in the case he has made. The arguments are, for all that, sometimes a little conflicting and confused. The Minister argued that it was not necessary for local authorities to get land outside their boundaries because they could build houses, and were in fact building houses, there; but the Parliamentary Secretary argued that, where an authority urgently needs land for the continuation of its housing programme, the Government would not oppose strictly limited extensions. There seems to be a certain divergence of views. In practice the thing will have to be worked out by what appear to be minor adjustments.
The Minister has said the House of Commons should return to special Parliamentary procedure. He says it should return to the arguments of counsel and the discussion upstairs in Committee, against which so many speeches have been made, and on which so many eloquent perorations have terminated. That is a sound Tory conclusion, which we as Tories strongly support, and we say that if the Minister proceeds in this way there is no saying where he will end. For the moment we welcome this sign of grace, and certainly, if it comes to a Division, we shall support him in the Lobby.
§ Mr. Wigg
I am very glad the Debate has taken place, if only to provide the Conservative Party with an object lesson 1343 of democracy in practice—of how men who hold fundamental differing views can yet debate with good temper, and, without trying to take an unfair advantage of one another, can argue basic differences and still be friends at the end. That is an object lesson. Perhaps hon. Gentlemen opposite will become more proficient if they follow our example.
However, I am extremely grateful to my right hon. Friend for the assurance he has given me. I note hon. Members laugh; so do I. I shall be even more grateful when he has used his great influence to extend the boundaries of Dudley. For the little I have got, I am extremely thankful. But I am even more grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Swingler), because he has promised to go back to the Staffordshire authorities to try to persuade them to put forward constructive and reasonable proposals and to listen to Dudley's proposals.
§ Mr. Wigg
It will be the first time in the history of Staffordshire that they will have ever adopted such a course. I am extremely glad that I did not have the opportunity of speaking immediately after my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford, because I am quite sure that, if I had done so, some of my remarks would have been quite unparliamentary. However, having said that, I am grateful for the assistance he promises, and grateful to the Minister, and I beg leave of the Committee to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Mr. Awbery
We have been discussing the question of two authorities being in disagreement, but there are cases where a county authority and a county borough are in agreement as far as an extension of the borough boundaries are concerned. What we are trying to do is to avoid the expense of a Private Bill when there is agreement. Can the Minister tell us whether there is any other procedure that can be adopted besides the Private Bill procedure where agreement has been arrived at between the authorities?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
Leave was not asked by the Chair. The hon. Gentleman asked for leave. I saw that the hon. Member for Central Bristol (Mr. Awbery) wanted to get up, and I did not ask leave of the Committee. I think that I may do so now.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Schedule, as amended, be the Schedule to the Bill."
§ Mr. Turton
The Parliamentary Secretary promised in the Committee stage to explain in greater detail the provisions of this Schedule. I should like to ask him in particular why paragraph 2 (3) repeals Section 140 (4) of the 1933 Act. I put that question earlier to the Minister, who very courteously replied to another question which I put to him, but not to this question. Will it be possible to use the notice for the special procedure and to ask leave to bring in a petition for a Private Bill? If not, why has the provision of Section 140 (4) of the 1933 Act been taken out?
I think that generally in this Schedule the position is very unequal. Certain alterations are to be deferred until 1952. In other cases, we are told that as a result of a gentleman's agreement no application for incorporation of a county borough is to take place until this Parliament is ended. I gather that in other cases under Section 141 there is no time-limit at all. The people who fare worse out of this are the ones who are to have their county districts reviewed but who cannot do it until 1952. I think they have been more harshly treated. In my view, there is more urgency for a review of many county districts than there is for the many sad cases which we have heard today from Dudley, Oldham and Stafford. I ask the Minister to give a further explanation of the Schedule because, on first sight, it is very complicated and it does not appear to be a fair arbitration of the rights of these different local authorities to have a proper adjustment of boundaries.
§ Mr. Bevan
The Amendments proposed in sub-paragraphs (2) and (4) are cones- 1345 quential, and sub-paragraph (3) proposes to repeal subsection (4) of Section 140 as it will now be unnecessary in view of the special procedure under the Act of 1945. Subsection (4) provides that where a county borough council made an application for a provisional order extending the area of the county borough and the Minister declined to entertain it, the application for the order should be deemed to be a petition for leave to bring in a Private Bill, and that notices and deposits made should, so far as they complied with the Standing Orders of both Houses of Parliament relating to Private Bills, be held to have been made for that purpose. The object of this was to save time, since the promotion of both Private Bills and Provisional Orders was subject to a time-table and similar procedure. The procedure for obtaining a Special Procedure order is quite different from that for obtaining a Private Bill, and subsection (4) of Section 140 is no longer of any value.
§ Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, considered.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ Lieut.-Colonel Elliot
We have now reached the concluding stages of this Bill, which had a somewhat rough passage in its latter stages, due to the procedure adopted by the party opposite. We are still quite unshaken in our conviction that this is a reactionary step. The dissolution of the Boundary Commission is not a step in progress but a step in reaction;
§ it is shelving a problem which, as we have seen even tonight, is one of the most difficult problems any Parliament will have to face; and it is shelving it without proposing any constructive line of advance. Hon. Members opposite, who have inveighed against the method of Private Bill promotion of one kind or another, now find themselves faced with that and nothing more—and for an indefinite time. It has not been possible for the Minister at any stage to give any indication of the principles upon which he was proceeding.
§ Furthermore, at an earlier stage of the Bill we had a difficult time, to which naturally I should not wish to refer now. But I think it might have been possible for the Minister to say a few words of apology to some whom he undoubtedly traduced. I will only say in conclusion that we on this side do not wish to prolong the proceedings on this Bill. We divided against it on Second Reading and we intend to divide against it on Third Reading. It is a mistake; it is a wrong proceeding; and it is not solving any of the problems which are before the House today.
§ Question put, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 236; Noes, 84.1349
|Division No. 277.]||AYES||[9.30 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Bramall, E. A.||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Brook, D. (Halifax)||Davies, Edward (Burslem)|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Attewell, H. C.||Burden, T. W.||Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Burke, W. A.||Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Callaghan, James||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)|
|Baird, J.||Champion, A. J.||Deer, G.|
|Balfour, A.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Delargy, H. J.|
|Barton, C.||Cobb, F. A.||Diamond, J.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Cocks, F. S.||Dobbie, W.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Coldrick, W.||Dodds, N. N.|
|Berry, H.||Collick, P.||Donovan, T.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Collindridge, F.||Driberg, T. E. N.|
|Blackburn, A. R.||Collins, V. J.||Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Colman, Miss G. M.||Dye, S.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Cook, T. F.||Evans, John (Ogmore)|
|Boardman, H.||Cooper, G.||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Corlett, Dr. J.||Fairhurst, F.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Cove, W. G.||Farthing, W. J.|
|Bowen, R.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Fernyhough, E.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)||Cullen, Mrs.||Field, Capt. W. J.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Daines, P.||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)|
|Follick, M.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Scollan, T.|
|Foot, M. M.||Longden, F.||Scott-Elliot, W.|
|Forman, J. C.||Lyne, A. W.||Sharp, Granville|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||McAdam, W.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Freeman, J. (Watford)||McAllister, G.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||McGhee, H. G.||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Gallacher, W.||Mack, J. D.||Smith, C. (Colchester)|
|Gilzean, A.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||McKinlay, A. S.||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Maclean, N. (Govan)||Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)|
|Gordon-Walker, P. C.||McLeavy, F.||Solley, L. J.|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Grey, C. F.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Grierson, E.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Mann, Mrs. J.||Stokes, R. R.|
|Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)||Mathers, Rt. Hon. George||Swingler, S.|
|Gunter, R. J.||Messer, F.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Guy, W. H.||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Symonds, A. L.|
|Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Hale, Leslie||Morley, R.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Hardy, E. A.||Moyle, A.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Haworth, J.||Murray, J. D.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Kingswinford)||Nally, W.||Tiffany, S.|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Timmons, J.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Hobson, C. R.||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)||Tolley, L.|
|Holman, P.||Noel-Buxton, Lady||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Oldfield, W. H.||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Horabin, T. L.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Viant, S. P.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Palmer, A. M. F.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Hoy, J.||Pannell, T. C.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Hubbard, T.||Pargiter, G. A.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Parker, J.||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Pearson, A.||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)||Popplewell, E.||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Jay, D. P. T.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Wilkes, L.|
|Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S. E.)||Price, M. Philips||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Jenkins, R. H.||Pritt, D. N.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)||Proctor, W. T.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Pryde, D. J.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Kenyon, C.||Pursey, Comdr. H.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|King, E. M.||Ranger, J.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Rankin, J.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Kinley, J.||Reeves, J.||Willis, E.|
|Kirkwood, Rt. Hon. D.||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Lang, G.||Rhodes, H.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Lavers, S.||Richards, R.||Woods, G. S.|
|Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Leonard, W.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)||Mr. Snow and Mr. George Wallace.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Gage, C.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Granville, E. (Eye)||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cmdr. J. G.||Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Head, Brig. A. H.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Nicholson, G.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Nield, B. (Chester)|
|Byers, Frank||Hollis, M. C.||Odey, G. W.|
|Challen, C.||Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Channon, H.||Hurd, A.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Prescott, Stanley|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Lambert, Hon. G.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Low, A. R. W.||Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness)||McFarlane, C. S.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Drewe, C.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter||Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Strauss, Henry (English Universities)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.|
|Touche, G. C.||Ward, Hon. G. R.||York, C.|
|Turton, R. H.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)||Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)|
|Tweedsmuir, Lady||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|Vane, W. M. F.||Williams, C. (Torquay)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Walker-Smith, D.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)||Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.