HC Deb 24 February 1953 vol 511 cc1914-5
57. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what proportion of the houses built by local authorities in 1952 were three-bedroomed houses; and what proportion were two-bedroomed.

Mr. Marples

As the reply contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT

Following is the statement:

It was addressed to the Foreign Secretary and concerned the objection raised in a court in Germany to an application by counsel for Dr. Naumann to interview his client. The question was rejected on the ground that the matter is sub judice. In my submission, the question of the Foreign Secretary's connection, if any, with the objection taken in the court is not a matter awaiting the adjudication of the court, and, therefore, should not be excluded by the rules. Nor, in my submission, can a Question and answer on this subject prejudice the trial or hearing of the matter. A further consideration that weighs with me is that a Question on this topic is, I understand, being asked today in another place. I should be grateful for your guidance, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker

>: The hon. Gentleman was good enough to tell me that he was going to raise this point. The question was, in fact, submitted to me last night. I made such inquiries as I could, and I understood that both parties to the hearing before the judge of first instance have entered appeals against the judge's decision on the matter, and these appeals are coming on shortly. In those circumstances, I judged that the matter was sub judice. In so far as there is any administrative question involved in the matter, that can be raised when the court has given its decision, and the hon. Gentleman is not prejudiced by the delay. As to the Question in another place, I have no knowledge of the procedure in another place, but they have no rules of order as to Questions such as we have, and I think that before adducing that in argument, the hon. Gentleman should wait and see what reply is given in the other place in regard to the matter.

Mr. S. Silverman

On that point, may I ask, Mr. Speaker, whether you have considered in connection with this matter that the question that is sub judice only arose because of instructions given administratively to the counsel appearing in court. There is no judicial question to determine. It was determined administratively that the right should be denied, and then, on objection by the defence, the court is determining whether or not to uphold the application of the prosecution. I apprehend that what my hon. Friend was asking about was the source of the instructions, that is to say, the withholding of permission in the first place That surely is not sub judice.

Mr. Speaker

In this case both sides have appealed and, therefore, clearly the court must be allowed to come to a decision on this matter first. If, as I say, there is an administrative question in. volved, that can be dealt with later.