HC Deb 02 June 1954 vol 528 cc1297-8

4.2 p.m.

Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 32, at the end, to insert: similar copies shall be available on sale to the public at reasonable cost. This Amendment was moved by my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) during the Committee stage; the Lord Advocate said that he would look into the point, and, therefore, I do not propose to waste time discussing it. We should like to know whether the Joint Under-Secretary of State has any report to make to the House.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Commander T. D. Galbraith)

The right hon. Gentleman is correct. His right hon. Friend the Member for Greenock (Mr. McNeil) raised this matter in Committee, and my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate undertook that the Government would consult the local authorities on the matter. Consultation did take place on 2nd April, and the local authority associations gave an assurance that copies would be available free of charge to members of the public, including hon. Members, of course, who cared to ask for them. The feeling of the associations was that it was not a matter where there should be the expense of printing and that they would make the facilities available. In those circumstances, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would withdraw his Amendment.

Mr. Hector McNeil (Greenock)

I do not wish to pursue what is not a major point. I am grateful to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman for his reply. I wonder if he would agree to consult the associations on the next appropriate occasion and see whether they would advertise on each occasion that such facilities would be provided.

I think the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has suggested an attractive halfway house, and, provided that the members of the public are aware of the facilities, I would regard this proposal as reasonable. I do not ask him to give such an assurance offhand—the matter will obviously require consideration—but if the local authorities will undertake to make copies available to interested members of the public, and if, on each occasion, they will advertise the availability of such copies, I am sure that my right hon. Friend will be quite happy to withdraw the Amendment.

Commander Galbraith

I will see that that matter is considered when a suitable occasion arises.

Mr. Woodburn

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.