HC Deb 27 July 1954 vol 531 cc230-1
46. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Prime Minister whether he will move to set up a Select Committee, with wider terms of reference than the Select Committee on Statutory Instruments, to investigate the methods of acquisition and disposal of land by Government Departments, and to recommend where necessary that public inquiries be held.

The Prime Minister (Sir Winston Churchill)

No, Sir. The Government have just announced a new policy on the disposal of compulsorily acquired land, and there is to be a comprehensive inquiry into the Ministry of Agriculture's methods of dealing with transactions in agricultural land. We must await the result of the inquiry and see the effect of these measures before instituting wider investigations.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the Prime Minister aware that the revelations in the Crichel Down and Woollett cases now show that the Crichel Down disease is spreading to other Departments, and will he take drastic action to protect the rights of Her Majesty's subjects, to stop this Communist technique of trying to govern by bureaucracy and to set the people free?

The Prime Minister

I think that point is covered by my answer.

Mr. G. Thomas

In view of the fact that the Prime Minister's letter addressed to the Joint Parliamentary Secretaries and published in the Press makes it quite clear that the right hon. Gentleman does not share the opinion that there was any grievous offence caused over Crichel Down—[HON. MEMBERS:"No."]—and since the Prime Minister said he does not think there was an offence, will he please take no notice of the hon. Gentleman opposite?