HC Deb 20 March 1951 vol 485 cc2285-7
30. Mr. Bossom

asked the Minister of Works, as he is not prosecuting the Yorkshire Electricity Board, who have overspent their building allowance by £39,000, if he will in future treat all other firms or individuals who transgress in the same way with the same leniency.

Mr. Stokes

As explained in the reply given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General to a Question on this subject yesterday, I am not responsible for the application of the Defence Regulation to an electricity authority. Furthermore, it is not for me to decide whether or not proceedings should be taken. As regards work which is licensed under the Regulation, I take full account of the particular circumstances in which an apparent breach of the Regulation has occurred when considering whether I should report the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr. Bossom

Did not the Minister himself say in this House that he was not going to prosecute in this instance, and, in the circumstances, will he treat private people in the same way?

Mr. Stokes

It is really quite impossible for me to make any further comment. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General explained yesterday, the matter is under examination, and it would be improper for me to comment on any remark that I may have made previously.

36. Mr. Kaberry

asked the Minister of Works what advice he has tendered to the Minister of Fuel and Power upon the question of the prosecution of the Yorkshire Electricity Board and its officials and others arising out of an admitted contravention by the Board of the building regulations, Defence Regulation 56A, to an amount of at least £42,000; upon what facts that advice was based; what inquiries he caused to be made; and what reports he called for.

Mr. Stokes

In view of the inquiries which my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General has instituted, as indicated in his reply to a Question on this subject yesterday, I think the hon. Member will agree that it would be inappropriate for me to discuss these matters by way of Question and answer at present. I must not, however, be taken as accepting any of the allegations or implications in the Question.

Mr. Kaberry

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that on two occasions in the House the Minister of Fuel and Power has said that his right hon. Friend had advised him that no proceedings should be taken——

Mr. Paton

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Is it desirable that Questions of this character should be put in connection with this case in view of the statement made yesterday?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

If they are in order from the point of view of the Table. I am afraid that I have no option but to accept them.

Mr. Kaberry

The Minister of Fuel and Power has stated that he looks upon the right hon. Gentleman as expert in these matters. Upon what evidence does the right hon. Gentleman work in giving expert information?

Mr. Stokes

I suspect that my right hon. Friend is being misquoted, but, anyway, it is quite impossible for me to explain in detail what happened without prejudicing what is now under consideration. The matter is quite simple and perfectly clear, and the truth will out in the end.

Colonel Stoddart-Scott

If there is no prosecution in this case, would the Minister assure the House that there will be no prosecution in the case of the Ilkley War Memorial being completed without a licence?

Mr. Stokes

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is not correct. The Attorney-General stated yesterday that immediately following the Adjournment debate he had asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to institute inquiries. Whether a prosecution follows or not depends entirely upon what the Director of Public Prosecutions finds.