HC Deb 22 January 1957 vol 563 cc3-6
4. Mr. Gower

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) what representations he has received concerning a town meeting convened by Liverpool City Corporation on Monday, 17th December, 1956, to consider the project affecting Treweryn, Merionethshire;

(2) if he has yet investigated the extent to which a town meeting convened by Liverpool City Corporation on Monday. 17th December, 1956, to consider the project affecting Treweryn, Merionethshire, contravened the statutory requirements for such a meeting; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. H. Brooke

I have received letters from 17 individuals, and a telegram and a memorial from the Treweryn Defence Committee, complaining of arrangements alleged to have been made for Corporation employees to attend the Liverpool town meeting. I am advised that this meeting was held in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act, 1933.

Mr. Gower

While expressing my best wishes to my right hon. Friend in his new duties as Minister for Welsh Affairs, may I ask him whether, in view of the suggestions that corporation officials were cajoled or advised to attend this meeting, it would not be a good thing to clear the air by ordering an inquiry into the circumstances?

Mr. Brooke

I am very grateful for good wishes from Wales, where I was given a very pleasant welcome yesterday. I do not think that I have any power to inquire into what happened on the occasion of the meeting to which my hon. Friend refers. I am merely concerned to see that the provisions of the Act were complied with, and I have received assurances of that.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Since, quite apart from the question of the ratepayers' meeting, I understand that the House itself may be called upon to make a decision on this important matter, will the Minister consider the suggestion made to his predecessor that, in order that the implications, not only for Merioneth but for the whole of North Wales, may be fully in possession of Members of the House, he will ask the Council for Wales and Monmouthshire to examine the matter and make a full report, which will be available to the House before we come to a decision on this matter?

Mr. Brooke

I will certainly consider all these matters. I have, of course, to be careful of what I say in the case of a subject such as this which, I understand, is the subject of a Private Bill to be introduced in another place.

23. Mr. Gower

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government the total number of protests and representations he has now received against the proposals of the Liverpool City Corporation affecting Treweryn in Merionethshire; and what action he has taken.

Mr. H. Brooke

Up to yesterday, 65 letters had been received in my Department protesting against this proposal, which forms the subject of a Bill deposited by the Liverpool Corporation. I will certainly bear these representations in mind.

Mr. Gower

In considering the suggestion made by the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), surely my right hon. Friend is not prevented from referring this matter to the Council for Wales and Monmouthshire simply because a Private Bill may or may not pass through this House on a future date.

Mr. Brooke

I will consider that. All I was trying to say at an earlier stage was that, although I am new and inexperienced in my job, I fancy that I should be creating a rather had precedent if I made any kind of policy statement in this House about a Bill which was awaiting consideration in another place.

Mr. Mitchison

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that the supply of water ought to be made a national—or, shall I say, an international—responsibility?

Mr. Brooke

At the moment, I am glad to say, I have no international water responsibilities.

Mr. Llewellyn

Will my right hon. Friend be guided in all this by the needs of humanity and not by the selfishness of Welsh nationalism?

Mr. G. Thomas

While bearing in mind the Minister's statement that he is new and inexperienced, may I ask him to remember that there is quite a depth of feeling on this matter in Wales, a great deal of it, possibly, without real information, and that if he would refer it for consideration by the advisory council, as suggested by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), he might indeed render good service to Liverpool as well as to Wales?

Mr. Brooke

I certainly assure the House that I understand the depth of feeling that exists in certain quarters about this matter. I am very anxious that the House should come to right decisions about it, and I am ready to make any contribution in my power to that end.

Mr. T. W. Jones

Would the Minister agree that most of the letters which he has received are from secretaries of organisations representing hundreds and even thousands of people?

Mr. Brooke

In fact, the great majority of the 65 letters have been sent by individuals, and reading them I can perfectly understand that many of them express feelings from the bottom of the writer's heart. I have also received a number, but a minority, of representations from local authorities and organised bodies.