§ Mr. Nally
I am deeply sorry to stand between the House and the business it has ahead, but with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I wish to ask your guidance and to make a brief submission.
The matter to which I wish to refer, although small in itself, is of some ultimate importance not only to hon. Members but to their constituents, and particularly to the local authority units which make up their constituencies. As you are aware, there are, at the moment, proceedings being conducted upstairs, before a Private Bill Committee of this House on a Bill entitled the Dudley Extension Bill. This Bill, which is of great importance, seeks to secure very substantial boundary extensions involving the taking over by Dudley—which is in Worcestershire—of an area lying within the present administrative area of Coseley Urban District Council which is in my constituency. Both my constituent council and the Staffordshire County Council are opposing the Bill, which is of very great potential significance and which may well have important repercussions.
It would be grossly improper, and, indeed, quite out of order, as I well understand, for me to refer in any way to the merits or demerits of the Bill now being considered upstairs on behalf of this House by four of our colleagues. What I desire to raise with you, Sir, is the question of the elementary rights of Members of Parliament to secure available reports of matters proceeding under the authority of this House, carried out by Members of the House acting on our behalf, and whose conclusions are subject to the decision of the House. I have, of course, been in close touch, during the proceedings of this Bill, in the normal way, with those representatives of my constituent local authority and of the county council, who are here as a consequence of the Bill.
Yesterday I was anxious to secure one or, if possible, two copies of the verbatim reports of these important proceedings in order that during the proceeding of the Committee I could discuss certain important matters with representatives of my local authority. I was aware 2104 that not only were such reports available but that they had been prepared by the highly competent members of our HANSARD staff upstairs, had been printed, and were available.
Yesterday morning, therefore, I rang up the Private Bill office asking that at least one copy of the verbatim report might be made available to me. Needless to say, Mr. Drennan, the Clerk of Private Bills, was, as usual, not only courteous but, without any obligation upon him so to do, was at particular pains and trouble to try to secure a copy, or the two copies that I needed for important discussions later in the afternoon. Last evening I received this letter from Mr. Drennan, which, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I propose to read:
§ "Dear Mr. NALLY,