HC Deb 06 February 1951 vol 483 cc1542-3
71. Commander Noble

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the fact that the owner's agents did not appreciate from the informal discussions that four London hotels would be derequisitioned if any hotel keeper was willing to take them over and that offers have now been made for at least one of them, he will now reconsider the whole position.

The Secretary for Overseas Trade (Mr. Bottomley)

As my right hon. Friend informed the hon. and gallant Member in his letter of 23rd January, it is no longer possible to carry on with the arrangements for releasing these premises from requisition since there is not time to find alternative hostel accommodation for the 500 young people who live there, and to rehabilitate the premises in time to house visitors for the Festival of Britain.

Commander Noble

As the Minister has himself admitted in this House that these discussions were informal, and I have produced evidence given in good faith that the owner's agents never appreciated that these hotels would really be derequisitioned, does not the hon. Member think that he could again reconsider the matter?

Mr. Bottomley

We might be able to reconsider it again for next year, but clearly there would not be time to do so for this year.

Mr. Keeling

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that the attitude of his Department has created an exceedingly bad impression?

Commander Noble

In view of the way in which this matter was originally handled, and in view of the answer today, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.