HC Deb 11 February 1959 vol 599 cc1198-253
Mr. J. N. Browne

I beg to move, in page 1, line 15, after "burgh", to insert: and for any burgh constituted after the commencement of this Act". This Amendment meets a point raised by the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser), who, I am sorry to say, is not able to be here, through indisposition. As drafted, the Bill does not provide that a new burgh—and a new burgh would have a dean of guild court under existing Acts—should be the building authority.

Mr. Rankin

Surely the Joint Under-Secretary of State will say a little more than that. I hope that this sort of thing will not continue throughout the Report stage. Having had a scanty series of speeches during the Committee stage, we are now entitled to more than a few words in explanation of Amendments on Report.

I should like to say a word about dean of guild courts in the new towns. The Joint Under-Secretary knows perfectly well that we on this side are opposed—and for all we know, despite the muted support which the hon. Gentleman is getting from the assembled legions behind him, there may be some unexpressed opposition on the other side—to the composition of the dean of guild court, which is the important thing. The hon. Gentleman has said nothing at all about that.

About two or three years ago, in this House, it was made clear to the Govern- ment that the majority of opinion in Glasgow is against the composition of the dean of guild court. That can be said for many places in the west of Scotland. Perhaps it can be said for one of the towns which will be affected, East Kilbride. I do not think that opinion in East Kilbride widely differs from opinion in Glasgow.

I take it that Cumbernauld and Glenrothes will be affected, and, if I follow the explanation which the Joint Under-Secretary gave, the dean of guild court in these areas, when they are declared towns in their own right, will be composed of unelected persons who, however estimable their personal qualities may be, are, nevertheless, not the type of person we want to see occupying these offices.

If I am wrong, then I hope that in due course the Under-Secretary will tell us exactly, as far as he can, what will be the composition of the dean of guild court in these new areas. That is something which he might have told us in the first place. It may be that he was anxious to have the pleasure of listening to me again, but he can avoid that by giving fuller explanations when he moves further Amendments.

Mr. Willis

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) has raised an important point, namely, whether we should continue something which many people in Scotland think ought to come to an end so far as burghs which are being newly created are concerned. Surely we ought to aim at getting rid of this system. It is understandable that there might be quite good reasons why that was not possible, under the Bill, in respect of dean of guild courts which already exist. Many of these courts have powers and functions which are not covered by the Bill, and one appreciates, therefore, that in those circumstances it may be necessary to continue the dean of guild court system where it already obtains.

Surely that argument, however, does not apply to newly created burghs. It is now proposed to create dean of guild courts for the new burghs and to give them powers contained in the Bill. Will it also be made possible for newly constituted dean of guild courts in new burghs to acquire for themselves other powers outside this Act as have been gathered to themselves by other dean of guild courts? If so, that is a deplorable tendency. The people to whom I have spoken think that a building committee, composed of three members, would be a far better body to attend to these matters.

We should hear from the hon. Gentleman what is intended in the case of new burghs. My own opinion is that we should not continue this system for them. There is a great deal of support in Scotland for that view. I can understand the argument for maintaining those that already exist because of the difficulties which might otherwise be created, but that leads to the question, which should be answered, whether it is intended to allow newly created dean of guild courts to gather unto themselves duties, jurisdictions and powers such as those which other dean of guild courts have which are not covered by the Bill. If so, this is a very retrograde step which we are taking.

Mr. Hannan

The real purpose of the Amendment is not so much to give new burghs a building authority as it is to inflict upon them a dean of guild court. If the Government were anxious to give new towns or new burghs a building authority, why did not they table an Amendment to subsection (3)?

Mr. Willis

There is no need to amend subsection (3). Does it not, as drafted, cover new burghs?

Mr. Hannan

My hon. Friend is quite right. Indeed, that was the point to which my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser), whose absence we all regret, was addressing himself in Committee. In the course of the argument, he said: …the Joint Under-Secretary is not providing in the Bill for the possibility that a burgh, however big or small, which has not a dean of guild court should ever have one. I repeat the example which I gave the other day, of East Kilbride. The same can be said of other new towns in Scotland which are to become large burghs in a few years.…Those large burghs will never have dean of guild courts, but will always have a building authority such as is provided for the county areas as set out in subsection (3)."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 27th November, 1958; c, 5.] It is deplorable that the Government should, by this Amendment, seek to maintain the principle of dean of guild courts knowing the strong opinions which are held and the growing opinion that they should not only be modified but, if the Amendments in Committee had been accepted, would have been abolished.

4.30 p.m.

The Government have gone behind the spirit in which my hon. Friend moved the Amendment in an attempt to achieve a purpose which I cannot understand. Clause 1 (3) states: For a burgh not falling within the last foregoing subsection and for the landward area of a county the buildings authority shall consul of not less than three persons … Had the Bill been left as it was, that would have covered the point, which was to establish a building authority and not a dean of guild court. If my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) had been here, he would have been very wroth at the twist which has been given to his argument. He was not arguing for a dean of guild court. He was arguing in the opposite direction and happened to use that phrase. Indeed, the Joint Under-Secretary of State, in the course of his speech, thanked my hon. Friend for drawing attention to the omission of the Government.

At this late stage I ask the Government to withdraw the Amendment, because the power to establish a buildings authority already lies within the Bill. If the Government wish to make sure of it, let it be done by subsection (3), but certainly not by subsection (2).

Mr. J. N. Browne

There is a little misunderstanding. There is no question of doing anything about the rights of the burgh to have a dean of guild court. Under Part XVIII of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1947, any area becoming a burgh automatically has a dean of guild court. I remember the reason for the Amendment quite well, because we were discussing the position of the new towns when they became burghs. The Bill then did not allow for the position of any future dean of guild court being a building authority. A new burgh automatically has a dean of guild court under the 1947 Act. By the Amendment that dean of guild court automatically becomes the building authority. That, and that only is the purpose of the Amendment.

Hon. Members mentioned elected councillors on the dean of guild court, but that has nothing to do with the Bill. Under the 1947 Act there have to be not less than two, nor more than four, elected councillors on the dean of guild court of the burgh. If East Kilbride becomes a burgh, under the 1947 Act it will automatically have a dean of guild court, which will consist of councillors. By the Amendment that dean of guild court becomes the building authority.

Mr. Rankin

Precisely what will be the functions of the dean of guild court in these circumstances?

Mr. Browne

Its functions will be the same as in virtually every other burgh in Scotland, bar seven. They will be as laid down in the 1947 Act.

Mr. Woodburn

The argument in Committee was, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) pointed out, that unless something of this kind was done East Kilbride might become a burgh but still be subject to the county building authority and, therefore, unable to govern its own affairs. If a provision of this kind is put in, it will enable it to become a burgh on the same basis as other burghs.

The Under-Secretary of State has now given explanations. He has said that it is not necessary that there should be outsiders on a dean of guild court. In places like Falkirk it is composed entirely of councillors. The misfortunes of Glasgow will not necessarily by the Bill, the hon. Gentleman assures us, be visited upon any new burgh. We reserve the right to consider whether it would not have been proper to have a uniform type of building authority extending over the whole country, rather than these two systems.

Naturally, we should not like to deprive any new burgh of its rights under the Local Government (Scotland) Act. Therefore, we do not object to the Amendment, although we hope that the arguments will be taken into account when the larger question is discussed.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Rankin

I beg to move, in page 1, line 16 at the end to insert: which shall include not less than three persons appointed by the local authority from among their own number".

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Gordon Touche)

This Amendment goes with the next one, in page 1, line 16 at end insert: which shall consist of not less than three persons appointed by the local authority from among their own number".

Mr. Rankin

I shall confine myself mainly to the first Amendment. The second will be dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Maryhill (Mr. Hannan).

The Amendment seeks to have three persons appointed by a local authority from among their own number so that out of the eight members, four from the Merchants' House and four from the Trades' House, who at present constitute the dean of guild court in Glasgow there will be three members of the local authority.

We are trying to meet the criticism, which has been expressed so often, that the dean of guild court is an undemocratic body. We want to bring amongst them elected persons. It may be said that, to do that properly, it will require an Act of Parliament in itself. If the Government accept the Amendment, it will be an Act of Parliament. The argument may be that these bodies are constituted under statutes that are very ancient—in some cases they go back 300 years—and we should need a separate item in the Amendment. I shall not argue that point, because I believe that Parliament is wise. If it is the will of Parliament today that an Amendment of this nature should become law, it is up to the Government to find a way in which that will can be expressed.

It may also be said that the dean of guild court is a group of assessors and that the only person who matters at the court is the dean of guild, who is a member of the corporation. The corporation is represented on the dean of guild court by the dean of guild, and the other persons, who come from the guilds, are assessors and are not members of the court, which means that the corporation has one member on the dean of guild court. If there is one member, there is no argument against having four members who would be assisted by the assessors.

It may be that there is a counter-argument to what I am putting forward, but I have tried to find the best approach to the matter and it seems to me to be perfectly feasible. To assume that it cannot be done would be to assume that, since an Act of Parliament was passed 200 or 300 years ago, there is no possible remedy and that because it is sanctified by age, the existing position must remain. I hope that we shall not hear this ridiculous argument from the Government today.

In my view, there is no argument against the case that we are trying to make. These bodies are out of keeping with the times in which we live, whether we call the persons members of the dean of guild court or assessors to the court. In my view knowing one or two of them, they have no peculiar qualities by reason of their job in life to fit them for this function any more than a member of the city corporation has.

Mr. Ross

This is somewhat confusing. I come from a burgh and I represent yet another—for that matter, two or three burghs—in which all the members of the dean of guild court, including the dean of guild, are members of the local authority. Will my hon. Friend make it clear that his reference is purely to Glasgow?

Mr. Rankin

Yes. I apologise to my hon. Friend and to the House if I did not make that clear. I am well aware that "dean of guild court" is a comprehensive term and that in many of our burghs the dean of guild court is composed of people who are already members of the local authority. The argument may be advanced that that is also true of Glasgow, where the dean of guild himself constitutes the court and the other persons in it are not members, but assessors. The dean of guild, however, gets on to the council not because he stands for election before the people, but because he is a member of a guild and is selected to represent it on the dean of guild court; and by virtue of these ancient statutes, he becomes a member of the corporation.

Democratic opinion is hostile to that method of putting people into public life. We do not object to them being in public life, but if they are to be there, let them be elected by the free vote of the public. That is what we seek to achieve. I can see almost an expression of dawning agreement on the face of the Joint Under-Secretary.

Mr. Willis

What is "dawning agreement"?

Mr. Rankin

We can see the dawn. Surely, at some time or other, we have all seen the dawn.

Mr. Willis

Not on the face of the Under-Secretary.

Mr. Rankin

The Joint Under-Secretary looked as if he was beginning to think along lines not dissimilar to those which I was seeking to express. Therefore, there is reason to be hopeful of his reply, unless, of course, it is the Secretary of State himself who is to reply. We will welcome his initiation in the debate. We hope that we will hear something from him. If he chooses to come in on this Amendment and accept the views I have sought to express, we shall welcome him warmly.

4.45 p.m.

Mr. Hannan

I beg to second the Amendment.

I should like to refer also to my related Amendment, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, in page 2, line 4, at end insert: (4) The local authority shall have power to appoint to the buildings authority under the last two foregoing subsections any person whom the local authority thinks fit notwithstanding that such person is not a member of the local authority.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Yes. That would be for the convenience of the House.

Mr. Hannan

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) has pointed out the position in Glasgow, in which, contrary to what happens in many other areas, the dean of guild court consists of only one individual and the seven other members who sit with him are assessors. It is by virtue of that office that the dean of guild is a member of the local authority.

We need not go into the history of what happened some years ago; we discussed it upstairs and it would be improper and out of order for me to do so. It will, however, be seen that whereas my hon. Friend suggests that three members of the local authority should be added to the dean of guild court, my proposal goes much further and would have the effect of saying that the dean of guild court would consist of three members of the local authority appointed by the local authority.

The Bill proposes two different kinds of buildings authority. Clause 1 (2) indicates that in some burghs the dean of guild court will be the buildings authority, but in the landward areas and other burghs which do not have dean of guild courts the authorities will appoint three parsons from among their own number.

On Second Reading, the Secretary of State for Scotland made the strong point that one of the main purposes of the Bill was to introduce uniformity to coordinate our affairs in the matter not only of the building code, but in its administration. We had the opportunity upstairs, where Amendments were moved, to dispense with the dean of guild courts; but since we lost on that occasion we are now making another attempt, to use the Secretary of State's own words, to bring uniformity into the administration and the machinery through which the national building code will be operated. That is the simple effect.

My hon. Friend has suggested that if dean of guild court must remain, we must accept them. In the case of Glasgow, however, surely the least we can expect is that three members of the local authority should be added to the assessors. The reply of the Government may well be that the assessors would simply sit there and say nothing and that the great Pooh-Bah operates. The members of the local authority can sit as quiet and dumb as the assessors. They can be either as active or inactive as the assessors who are already there. There is at least merit in the proposal, and that the least we can expect out of this discussion is that the Government will accept our very reasonable request.

I can understand that, with regard to the second proposal, wherein we are asking that the dean of guild court should consist of not less than three persons appointed by the local authority, that would only be in keeping with the position outlined by my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross). Why cannot we at least have uniformity in this business?

If I may make reference to the proposal in the Amendment to page 2, line 4, let me frankly say that this Amendment was put down in the hope that the Government would see that, if they conceded our proposal in my Amendment that the dean of guild court should consist of three members of the local authority, as a quid pro quo, we were quite willing to offer that the local authority should have the power to appoint to the building authority, under the two preceding subsections, any person whom the local authority thinks fit, notwithstanding that such person is not a member of the local authority. We were willing to go to that length as a compromise, and that was the principal reason for that Amendment.

Indeed, to keep our discussion strictly logical, if I may suggest it—though I do not question the authority of the Chair —it would be more pertinent, merely from the point of view of logic, to consider, along with my proposed Amendment to line 16, the other Amendment in my name to page 2, line 4.

These are the two simple proposals. We should have the building authority, and, if there is to be a dean of guild court, it should consist of three members of the local authority. If that were to be accepted, we would be willing to accept that that court should be able to co-opt someone outside. The Government take the opposite view that someone outside the local authority altogether should be dean of guild, the body which handles the building code, and they have eight assessors, but the local authority is excluded.

I have a shrewd suspicion that both the Secretary of State and the Joint Under-Secretary know that our case is a good one, but that what is wrong is that they are afraid to agree to, in this Bill, alterations which, in their hearts, they know will come sooner or later. It was only in the last Amendment that they perpetuated it by saying that new burghs will have dean of guild courts. Why have they done this? They must know that it will have to be tackled at some time or other. Here is the opportunity.

I am, therefore, supporting this Amendment, though with faint hope, I must say, that the Government will agree that the dean of guild court should consist of three elected members of the local authority, failing which the least they can do is to give us the consolation of accepting the proposal of my hon. Friend that at least three members of the local authority —it is known that this matter relates particularly to Glasgow—should be added to the dean of guild court in that city.

Mr. Willis

I rise to support these Amendments, and particularly the second one, though I do not know whether the third is being discussed or not.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

It will be convenient for the House to discuss the three Amendments together.

Mr. Willis

So far as the Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) is concerned, that seems to me to be the least that the Government could accept. It is a very small thing. Only one local authority is concerned, as I understand the matter, and that is Glasgow. Even in the cases of the other local authorities which have this antiquated piece of machinery, the dean of guild court, which consists of members who are not local authority members, appoints a dean of guild, who becomes a member of the local authority, but all these courts include local authority members.

In Edinburgh, I think that the numbers are even, but we have local authority members and it therefore seems to me that the very least that the Government can do is to say that in Glasgow three members of that court shall be local authority members. This is a reactionary, back-door method of exercising power and influence in a democratically elected body, which ought to be abolished. As we have seen in the history of Glasgow, it has resulted in appointments being made—in fact, the most important appointment in the City of Glasgow—as the result of the vote by a person responsible to nobody. He might even be a person who is not even living in Glasgow. That is surely an utterly intolerable position for any local authority to be in today—that its leading citizen, its provost, should be appointed—or could be appointed—by a man who does not even reside in the burgh. There cannot be any justification for that at all. It is like saying that all our Prime Ministers ought to be appointed by Khrushchev.

Mr. Rankin

Maybe that is what he is going for.

Mr. Willis

This is intolerable and ought to be changed.

Mr. Rankin

The Prime Minister may be going to Moscow for a renewal of his term.

Mr. Willis

Even the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Govan will not do away with it, but at least there would then be some semblance of democracy in this body.

So far as the other two Amendments are concerned, they seek to remedy this position by making the dean of guild court properly democratic. They seek, in the first place, to make it a body consisting of local authority members, plus other members who are nominated by the local authority, co-opted members, if we like, which is the generally accepted practice when we accept, as members of one of our sub-committees, people whose knowledge, skill and experience we think will be of value. That is the democratic thing to do.

I should like to see it done in Edinburgh, because I can visualise a situation in Edinburgh in which we might one day find ourselves in exactly the same position as Glasgow, whereby it may be that, by the vote of the dean of guild, a non-elected member, the question as to who shall be the Provost of Edinburgh would be decided. That to me, and certainly to most people in Edinburgh, would be an intolerable position.

Certainly, most of the people in Glasgow have supported those who are against it, but the interesting thing is that it is a minority of people in Glasgow who are maintaining this system, supported by a Tory Government. That. surely, is a shocking state of affairs, and the people who suffer this have expressed their dislike of it. They want a change, and, in my opinion, they ought to get a change.

The proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) is eminently reasonable. He says, in the first place, that if we must have a dean of guild court, let us put it on the same footing as the building authorities in the county areas and other bodies. Next, my hon. Friend says that if we wish to have the skill, experience and wisdom of people who are not members of the local authority—and this is always the argument to which we are treated when we discuss this matter, namely, that we can benefit considerably by using the knowledge of these people and their desire to serve the community—if that is so, let them be co-opted, in the same way as are members of an education committee. What is the difference? That is the proposal of my hon. Friend.

5.0 p.m.

What is wrong with that? It is apparently a good principle to apply to education, and, after all, providing education is a very much more important function than dealing with buildings and deciding whether buildings are being put up in accordance with a certain set of rules or standards previously laid down. If it is good enough for education, why should it not apply here? It works well in connection with education. Nobody complains about it. In education, we have the assistance of experienced people outside the local authority, but the democratic control of the body rests with the local authority, where it should. After all, this Bill is about local authority functions. This is a local authority responsibility. Why should it not be carried out by local people, aided, if necessary, by able people willing to assist?

The Amendments suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Maryhill are exceedingly good. As an Edinburgh Member, I should like to see them adopted in Edinburgh. If the Government cannot accept that, the least they can do is to accept the Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin), which really asks for practically nothing. It is but a crumb from the table, a little consolation prize. It is a very modest request, and I should have thought that the Government would be ready to accept it. In fact, judging by the look on the Joint Under-Secretary's face, I think that he is really prepared to go much further, and I hope that he will accept the Amendments suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Maryhill.

Major Sir Guy Lloyd (Renfrew, East)

I think I am right in saying that, in Committee upstairs, we had the benefit of, at any rate, the gist of the arguments to which we have just listened. They are not new to those of us who have been interested in this question. If I remember aright, the Secretary of State or the Joint Under-Secretary, after listening to those arguments powerfully presented, as they have been again now, said that he would consider the whole issue and examine the case very thoroughly, coming back on Report to give us the benefit of his judgment and to say whether he would concede the arguments or not. I take it, therefore, that he has had the opportunity in the meantime thoroughly to study the matter and to hear representations from all sides. I take it that, as a result of all that, his decision is that, as regards Glasgow, the status quo shall remain.

Mr. Rankin

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Is it the Secretary of State who is replying or the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrew, East (Sir G. Lloyd)? Who is the authority? Are we now having the answer of the Secretary of State?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I do not know who is to reply. I certainly am not.

Sir G. Lloyd

I was sure that you would not think that that was a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and I should have thought that it was a rather specious and unworthy suggestion. I am entitled to a view. We have listened to the views of hon. Members opposite, and I am now saying that, in my view, it is obvious that the Secretary of State has made inquiries into the matter. He told us that he would do so, and I assume that he has. That is the only interest I have in the matter on that particular issue.

I am interested in this question because I feel that it would be a great mistake to underrate the value of our old traditions. There are those who would despise and spurn them, who would trample upon them and take joy in doing it. I say quite frankly that I am not one of those. There is something to be said for traditions. They should be respected and should not be trampled upon, spurned and mocked at without extremely good reason.

In Glasgow, this tradition has continued for at least 300 years. During that time, succeeding generations have supported it, approved of it and respected it.

Mr. Willis

Not in Glasgow.

Sir G. Lloyd

On the other hand, there are some who have not. There have been those who, all the time—at any rate, since 1832 when the Reform Act was passed and democracy reared its head—have tried to do just what hon. Members opposite are now trying to do. They have repeatedly tried to have this practice changed in order to achieve practically the same end as that which hon. Members opposite are now proposing. On every occasion, the proposal for a change has been turned down. Democracy has grown and grown since 1832, and universal franchise, with full-blooded democracy, has come in. In spite of that, efforts to overthrow this ancient tradition of the dean of guild court in Glasgow have not succeeded.

Today, we are witnessing another such effort. Again, I hope that it will not succeed. I hope that the Secretary of State feels that it should continue, that the court has justified itself, and that we ought not by legislation to overthrow its present practice and status.

If I remember aright—he will correct me if I misquote him—the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin), in presenting arguments in his speech, said that everybody in public life should be elected by the public. If that is what he said, it is a very strange doctrine suddenly to expect the House of Commons to accept. It is really carrying democracy too far. Are there to be no appointments of responsible men of integrity, efficiency and impartiality to public life and public responsibilities of all grades, unless they are compelled to be elected representatives? Is there anything so sacrosanct about an elected representative as all that? I am an elected representative, but I do not on that account consider myself to be any better or to have any more integrity, efficiency or ability to fulfil a public duty. It is a theory which, for my part, I completely reject.

Mr. Rankin

The hon. and gallant Gentleman said that, if he misquoted me, I was at liberty to put him right. He has heard the debate since it began, and he knows quite well that I was dealing with the composition of public bodies. I was referring to publicly elected authorities, and the dean of guild court, in effect, is a sort of adjunct of the Corporation of Glasgow, doing work which, in my estimation and the estimation of many people, should be done by publicly elected authorities. That is what we are disagreeing about, and I am sure that the hon. and gallant Gentleman knows that very well.

Sir G. Lloyd

I take the hon. Gentleman's point, but it is not a publicly elected authority. That is the whole argument. I know that he wants it to be, but it is not. It is a judicial appointment, a judicial body carrying out judicial functions. I see no necessity for election in this case whatever. We have managed for 300 years without it.

The dean of guild court in Glasgow is widely respected. Its decisions are widely accepted. As a matter of fact, 90 per cent. or more of the criticism is made for purely political ends. I urge my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to stand firm. We are considering here a highly respected body with great traditions. Let us maintain it.

Mr. Ross

The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Renfrew, East (Sir G. Lloyd) is more than a wee bit mixed up. He has been mixed up for a long, long while. It was easy to gather from his continual references, with a measure of malice in his voice, to the Reform Act of 1832 that he has not got over the passing of that Act yet. If there is anything he regrets at all in the political progress of Great Britain, it is that we ever gave anyone any votes at all.

Sir G. Lloyd

I never said anything of the kind.

Mr. Ross

The hon. and gallant Gentleman talks about old traditions. Age is not synonymous with virtue. We are quite prepared to accept old traditions provided that they are good and they fit in with modern needs. I wonder that the hon. and gallant Gentleman did not oppose the Bill itself because of what it proposes. The Bill is intended to apply all over Scotland new building standards to be laid down by the Secretary of State for Scotland, the matter being administered, with certain exceptions, by the local authorities of Scotland in every case. Of those certain exceptions I gather there are five which have a partial representation from local authorities on them. In the City of Glasgow, with the biggest building problem in the country, not a single elected representative can sit on this authority which, under the Bill, is being given the stamp of statutory acceptance by the Government.

The hon. and gallant Member has spoken of old traditions. I feel sure that when he was talking about 1832 he remembered also 1835 when a Royal Commission made the recommendation that the dean of guild court in Glasgow should be wiped out. Not a single Scotsman who has any respect for democracy is prepared to justify the continuing existence of that situation and set-up in Glasgow. [Interruption.] We do not want any Englishman telling us exactly what we think in Scotland. The hon. and gallant Member has a grand Scots name, or has he?

Can the Secretary of State for Scotland justify this position? I hope he will not try to justify the proposition put forward by the Joint Under-Secretary in Committee. He said that what was required of this dean of guild court was men of common sense and impartiality. The hon. Gentleman said: the two necessities for persons serving on these courts are impartiality and common sense.…I could argue that the quality of impartiality is not as great in an elected councillor as it is in a non-elected councillor". What shocking and disgraceful words to use. In addition to all the powers which under various Acts of Parliament have been given to local authorities and all the functions he has laid on elected representatives, he is prepared to tell us on this twisted bit of legislation: I could argue that the quality of impartiality is not as great in an elected councillor as it is in a non-elected councillor."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 27th November, 1958; c. 45.] In a city election in Glasgow there was a completely even balance on the local authority; in fact I believe there was a majority of one on the Labour side, elected by the people. A member of the dean of guild travelled back from Paris to elect a Lord Provost. I think it was the late Lord Inverclyde. I do not know whether he was a "napper" a "hammer-man" or what he was. [Interruption.] I am told he was a bonnet maker, but I am sure he never made a bonnet in his life. With another non-elected representative, he voted for the new Lord Provost.

These members of the dean of guild are appointed by merchant houses and represent about 9,000 people who do not necessarily live in Glasgow and have no connection with the trades they assume to represent. As a bonnet maker and a dean of guild, Lord Inverclyde came back to Glasgow with his friend to decide who should be the Lord Provost. These men of "impartiality and common sense" made the trip back to vote for a Tory. I should have thought that if they wanted to show their impartiality they would have stayed away. Why do not we drop this farce?

5.15 p.m.

Instead of coming to the Dispatch Box and talking about the traditions of Glasgow in 1605 and these phoney mediæyal trappings which exist only in the names of "hammermen" and "nappers", the Joint Under-Secretary, who happens to be an Englishman, should deal with the problem of building standards. He is prepared to leave that to all the other 180 local authorities in Scotland. He leaves that with confidence to them, but he should apply it equally to the No. 1 local authority in Scotland, the City of Glasgow. I cannot think how any person can justify the anachronism that people with these strange names, "nappers", "hammermen", "skinners", and the like, should get themselves on to this body and decide exactly how the building regulations in Glasgow shall apply.

I represent a burgh which has been in existence for 1,100 years. We have a dean of guild court, but all we have retained from medieval days is the name, and that applies in practically every burgh in Scotland. I think that is all we need. The burgh from which I come was probably a burgh before Glasgow was made a burgh, in the year 1,202. We value our traditions in Ayrshire, but we value them with a certain measure of commonsense. For modern conditions and the application of modern building standards we do not go back to this phoney mediaævalism of deans of guild courts under assumed and quite unreal conditions on which there is no elected representative. How can that be justified in Glasgow?

I gather that the Secretary of State for Scotland is to make his maiden speech on this Bill. He does not deign to come to Standing Committees now. He has got rid of the Scottish Grand Committee and, although we can have three Standing Committees sitting, the Secretary of State for Scotland never appears at any of them. I gather he is to make his maiden appearance since the Second Reading of this Bill. Probably he will tell us that he is a member of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. I do not know what he is—well, I know, but the use of Parliamentary language forbids me saying it. Surely he cannot justify this kind of thing.

Of the two Amendments in the names of my hon. Friends I should find it difficult to support the first, which merely gives a semblance of democracy to an out-dated institution. If the Secretary of State accepts this Amendment we shall miss out some of the further criticism we might have to direct towards him, but I suggest that he should accept the second Amendment. That would wipe out all the anachronism while retaining the old lingering tradition which the bon. and gallant and retiring Member for East Renfrewshire loves so much. We should leave that with the name of dean of guild courts, but there would be vested in them new democracy, something from 1832 which the hon. and gallant Member so much regrets.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. John Maclay)

I take it, from listening to the speeches that have been made and from studying the Amendments, that the object of hon. Members opposite is not to ask that the relatively few dean of guild courts concerned should include at least three councillors appointed by the local authority, but to secure that all dean of guild courts should include at least three such councillors. They are not saying that there should be no outside members, but that where they exist they should be appointed by the local authorities. The reason I point this out is that it is difficult going from one Amendment to the other to pick out the basic fact of the whole lot.

This whole matter was very fully discussed in Committee. I confess freely that I might not be completely word perfect about everything that happened in Committee, but, as the hon. Member for Kilmamock (Mr. Ross) must realise, the range of my responsibilities is very wide and that is why I was unable to attend the sittings of the Committee. However, this is rather outside the subject.

Mr. Ross

The right hon. Gentleman will remember that by his ruling on the Scottish Grand Committee he cut me out from attending and participating in this debate. That is why I insist on having my say here today and on his answering the matter fully.

Mr. Maclay

The hon. Member insists on a number of things, and his arrogance is beyond belief.

Mr. Ross

Did the right hon. Gentleman say my arrogance and his ignorance?

Mr. Maclay

I am quite prepared to accommodate the hon. Gentleman, and I think that is "fair does" all round.

The point is that this matter was discussed in Committee very thoroughly, and I have also discussed it at great length with my hon. Friend since the Committee proceedings were concluded. I read very carefully indeed the point that was made. I took particular care over this point because it was one of considerable importance.

The first of the Amendments proposed would, in practice, appear to concentrate on the Glasgow dean of guild court since, according to all the information that we have—the Committee realized this very well—this is the only dean of guild court which does not have at least three councillors among its members. It was pointed out repeatedly in Committee and again this afternoon that the Glasgow dean of guild court is the exceptional one, that it consists of the dean of guild sitting with four assessors from the Trades House and from the Merchant House.

I want to get this cleared up so that there shall be no confusion. The effect of the Amendment would be to alter the whole basis of the court so as to bring local authority members on to it. It is not a minor but a major Amendment. It would, if accepted, change the whole basis of the constitution of the court. I am setting out the facts as they are; I am not arguing the case, and I am saying what I understand the effect of the Amendment would be.

In Committee my hon. Friend, without giving an undertaking, promised that the Government would consider carefully all that had been said and the extent to which within the framework of the Bill it might be possible to contemplate a change in the constitution of the Glasgow dean of guild court. In a letter to me of 12th December, 1958, the Corporation said that it supported the proposal that the local authority should be entitled to appoint members to the dean of guild court.

In the light of what the Corporation said and of the points made in Committee we undertook informal consultations with the interests concerned to see whether there might be a satisfactory basis for bringing about some kind of change at this time. Quite honestly, I do not think that it is possible to do that without a reasonable measure of agreement. For our part, we have approached the question quite objectively, our concern being to secure a workable and administrative machine which has regard to the Guest Committee and to the various interests, and, of course, to the proceedings of this House.

I must, however, tell the House that our consultations have made it clear that there is at present no sufficient basis of agreement between those concerned in Glasgow to warrant a change in the constitution of the court in the Bill. This is not a Bill to deal with the constitution of dean of guild courts.

Mr. Rankin

The right hon. Gentleman says that we cannot make progress in the matter unless there is some reasonable agreement among those in Glasgow who are concerned with it. Who are the people with whom the right hon. Gentleman consulted?

Mr. Maclay

I say that the Glasgow Corporation, the Trades' House and the Merchant House are the people primarily concerned and who were consulted.

Mr. Rankin

Who are the three?

Mr. Maclay

They are the main people concerned.

In the absence of the necessary measure of agreement, I am satisfied that it would not be right to take the matter further in relation to a Bill of this kind. I know that that is an arguable point, but that is my view.

The dean of guild himself sits with members and not assessors. The assessors can advise, but do not vote. Had town councillors been included, their status, as hon. Members have realised and accepted, would not have been that of members as in the case of other dean of guild courts. They would have been additional assessors. That underlines the fact that to make any alteration in that status in order to bring it into line with other dean of guild courts would have involved the alteration of a body which has functioned in the city for a long period, and has functioned well. As my hon. Friend has said, it has been an important body, and I have never at any time heard any criticism of that body functioning in this capacity.

I am very conscious of some of the points made by hon. Gentlemen opposite on the question of representation on the Glasgow Corporation, but that is another question. I have never heard a word of criticism of the admirable work done over a great many years by the court in Glasgow on this matter of building regulations. I am quite certain that it would be wrong to contemplate a change, even after the most careful consideration—

Mr. James H. Hoy (Edinburgh, Leith)

Surely the right hon. Gentleman did contemplate making a change as otherwise he would not have had discussions with a view to making a change.

Mr. Maclay

The hon. Gentleman has taken the words out of my mouth. After the discussions I had it was clear that there was no basis of agreement among the people concerned.

Mr. Hoy

That is something different.

Mr. Maclay

It is exactly as I say. If the hon. Gentleman had not interrupted he would have heard how my sentence would have ended.

That is the first Amendment which would bear, in practice, only on the constitution of the Glasgow dean of guild court.

The second Amendment, of course, would go further and would involve the reconstitution of several dean of guild courts since it would exclude members who were not councillors. This would strike at the basis of these dean of guild courts as at present constituted, members appointed by bodies other than the local authority, because the second Amendment, as we are agreed, is governed by the words appointed by the local authority. There are five courts of this kind including the Edinburgh dean of guild court as well as the Glasgow dean of guild court. The others are Paisley, Perth and Rutherglen.

It is quite clear that to reconstitute these courts in this way would go beyond the purpose of the present Bill. I have examined the whole matter very carefully and paid close attention to the arguments put forward by both sides of the House and, in particular, by hon. Members opposite. Hon. Members oppo- site emphasised certain points which at first sight may not appear to be completely logical in the present set up. I am not going to argue that they are, but, equally, I am not going to accept that complete uniformity, which may be necessary in regard to certain matters in the Bill, necessarily exists.

I am not proposing to dispute whether the decision of the party opposite to do away with university seats was a wise decision in the interests of Parliament or the country, though I should like to see that type of Member back in the House. I quote that matter only as an example of the kind of logic which can lead one to the wrong conclusion. My own view is that there may be a lack of logic and that certain things about this dean of guild court may not be completely in line with modern practice, but I have never heard its work criticised. It has done the work extremely well. I do not think, after mature consideration, that it would be right to deal with the matter straight away and lacking a measure of agreement as to how it should be done.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Hoy

As this matter primarily concerns Glasgow I had not intended to intervene, but I must say that we have just had one of the weakest replies we have ever heard from the Secretary of State for Scotland. It is true that we have had lots of weak replies from him but this is just about the weakest. It was so completely illogical.

In the main, we are concerned with the position of the City of Glasgow, the greatest city in Scotland, with fully one-fifth of the country's population. We are seeking to give that city the representation on the dean of guild court that is common to other Scottish cities. This was argued with great persuasion, force and logic in Committee. So much so, that the Joint Under-Secretary, on behalf of his right hon. Friend, said that, before the Report stage, he would have consultations to see if anything could be done to give the city the representation sought.

The Secretary of State has just said that he has had consultations with the Trades' House and the Merchant House, and that, because those two private institutions have dissented, the opinions of the elected representatives of the people of Glasgow have to be pushed aside. Surely, that is intolerable. One would have thought that, in decency, the right hon. Gentleman would have insisted on conveying to those private institutions the opinions of Glasgow's public representatives.

The Secretary of State has made an appalling decision. It is just one more concession to what, even using the term in its best sense, are vested interests in Glasgow non-elected people there who claim the right, on occasion, to appoint the Lord Provost, and to deny the people, through the dean of guild court, a voice in the future building of Glasgow. I would certainly not allow this to go unchallenged, and I hope that my hon. Friends will show their dissent by going into the Division Lobby.

Mr. Woodburn

The Secretary of State was most revealing in his disclosure that he was convinced of the necessity to have something done. It then transpires that, being convinced, he goes to this body in Glasgow—which represents no one but itself—and because it is not prepared to play, the right hon. Gentleman says that this House must not do what the House is convinced of, and what the Secretary of State himself is convinced of—simply because of a few busybodies in Glasgow who object to giving no the power they hold without any authority at all—

Mr. Maclay

The right hon. Gentleman is not correct in saying that I indicated that I was convinced that something ought to be done. What I said was that, having studied the debate, I realised that there was an argument—valid, as an argument—that the matter should be looked into further. I therefore decided to have further consultations to see what, if anything, could be done, but that is not to imply that I was convinced that something ought to be done. Where we have an ancient body such as this, which is performing its function well, there must be more than a prima facie case for a change.

Mr. Woodburn

The right hon. gentleman indicates that had the dean of guild court agreed, he would have made a change. It is true that it is ancient, and it has an ancient name, but it represnts nothing that it represented originally. If it is thought desirable, we have not the slightest objection to retaining the name. There is something to be said for the view that when a court exercises judicial functions it should be called a court, but it should not be called a building authority. I am sure that, but for the fact that it would have interfered with this vested interest in Glasgow, the right hon. Gentleman would have had uniformity throughout Scotland.

What is the position? This body elects someone as its chairman, and that person automatically becomes a member of the Glasgow Corporation—and the same holds good for Edinburgh. Therefore, an organisation that is not elected to represent anyone at all in the City of Glasgow has someone on the Corporation, taking part in the city's administration—and that includes decisions affecting the domestic affairs of the city, including the selection of its Lord Provost. On the other hand, the City of Glasgow has no voice on building within its own boundaries. Nothing could be more ridiculous. It may be that people not living in Glasgow can decide the city's building regulations.

The right hon. Gentleman said that the Bill is not the proper vehicle for what is proposed, but the Bill sets up building authorities throughout Scotland and, for the first time, creates a uniform code. What could be a more suitable vehicle than this for constituting the bodies to administer the code? The Bill specifies the building authorities and the Secretary of State is bound to admit that, had it not been for the existence of Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Bill in this respect would have tidied up everything all over Scotland.

It is disgraceful that this sort of thing should be perpetuated. It is a scandal that the greatest city—I would not necessarily say the greatest, but the biggest—in Scotland has no share in the authority that controls its building. Can anyone justify that in a democracy? We are told that the Glasgow dean of guild court is an ancient body. My hon. Friend the Member for Govan (Mr. Rankin) said that it might become sacrosanct but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) pointed out, when something goes on too long there may be something more than sanctity.

Some things decay with time. The Glasgow dean of guild court no longer represents the historical court at all. To be a member of it is regarded as an honour in Glasgow, but that honour is now bestowed on people who can buy their way into the Trades' House. It is the back door to the Glasgow Corporation, and that back door should be closed as soon as possible.

We are told that the court has never done anything to bring dishonour on its work, but the fact that through its representative on the Glasgow Corporation, it used its political power to put in a Tory Lord Provost, so turning the balance against another political party, for ever deprives it of the right to claim impartiality—

Sir G. Lloyd

I hope that I am wrong, but what the right hon. Gentleman is now saying gives me the impression that the whole of this business is a vendetta.

Mr. Woodburn

Democracy means that those on the Glasgow Corporation who represent the majority of the people of the city should choose their own Lord Provost. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the abolition of the university seats, but when a university seat is used for the purposes of party politics, the university automatically loses the right to representation. That was the justification for abolishing the university seats—that they were used as pocket boroughs for the Tory Party to send people to the House to give them extra votes here. They were no longer used to represent university views.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I know that the Secretary of State started this ball rolling about the university seats, but I hope that nobody else will follow him.

Mr. Woodburn

The balloon—or the ball—has been punctured, and I need not continue.

The Secretary of State has given no answer and has not justified his refusal to put this situation right. We have put down alternatives to give him the opportunity to see that Glasgow has representation on the dean of guild court as a first step or, alternatively, that the situation is tidied up, but that in either case the local authority has representation on the body which controls the building arrangements in its own town. We propose to vote for both our alternatives and to see whether, by a vote, the House will overturn the decision of this outside body that the House of Commons should not alter the position of the dean of guild court in Glasgow.

Mr. Rankin

On a point of order. Two Amendments were taken together. Will the Questions on them be put separately?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The Questions need not necessarily be put on both Amendments but in this case they will both be put. I understand that it is the wish of the House to divide on both Amendments in line 16, but not to vote on the subsequent Amendment in page 2, line 4.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 176, Noes 214.

Division No. 37.] AYES [5.42 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Chapman, W. D. Fletcher, Eric
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Chetwynd, G. R. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.
Bacon, Miss Alice Clunie, J. George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then)
Balfour, A. Coldrick, W. Gibson, C. W.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Corbet, Mrs. Freda Grey, C. F.
Benson, Sir George Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Enow Vale) Cronin, J. D. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)
Blackburn, F. Crossman, R. H. S. Griffiths, William (Exchange)
Blenkinsop, A. Cullen, Mrs. A. Grimond, J.
Blyton, W. R. Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Boardman, H. Darling, George (Hillsborough) Hamilton, W. W.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Hannan, W.
Bowles, F. G. Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Hastings, S.
Boyd, T. C. de Freitas, Geoffrey Hayman, F. H.
Braddook, Mrs. Elizabeth Dodds, N. N. Healey, Denis
Brockway, A. F. Donnelly, D. L. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Herbison, Miss M.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Edwards, Rt. Hon. New (Caerphilly) Holman, P.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney. C.) Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Holmes, Horace
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Holt, A. F.
Champion, A. J. Fitch, Alan Howell, Denis (All Saints)
Hoy, J. H. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Oliver, G. H. Sparks, J. A.
Hunter, A. E. Oram, A. E. Spriggs, Leslie
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Oswald, T. Steele, T.
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Owen, W. J. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Palmer, A. M. F. Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Janner, B. Parker, J. Swingler, S. T.
Johnson, James (Rugby) Paton, John Sylvester, C. O.
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Peart, T. F. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Jones, Rt.Hon.A. Creech(Wakefield) Pentland, N. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Popplewell, E. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Prentice, R. E. Thornton, E.
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Timmons, J.
Kenyon, C. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Tomney, F.
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Probert, A. R. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Lawson, G. M. Proctor, W. T. Usborne, H. C.
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Randall, H. E. Viant, S. P.
Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Rankin, John Wade, D. W.
Lewis, Arthur Reeves, J. Warbey, W. N.
Logan, D. G. Reid, William Watkins, T. E.
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Reynolds, G. W. Weitzman, D.
McAlister, Mrs. Mary Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
MacColl, J. E. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Willey, Frederick
McLeavy, Frank Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Mason, Roy Ross, William Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Mellish, R. J. Royle, C. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Mikardo, Ian Short, E. W. Winterbottom, Richard
Mitchison, G. R. Shurmer, P. L. E. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Monslow, W. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Woof, R. E.
Moody, A. S. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Zilliacus, K.
Morrison, Rt.Hn.Herbert (Lewis'm.S.) Skeffington, A. M.
Mort, D. L. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Moss, R. Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Mr. John Taylor and Mr. Deer.
Mulley, F. W. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Agnew, Sir Peter Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Aitken, W. T. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Alport, C. J. M. Crowder, Sir John (Finehley) Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Cunningham, Knox Hesketh, R. F.
Arbuthnot, John Currie, G. B. H. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.
Armstrong, C. W. Dance, J. C. G. Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Atkins, H. E. D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Deedes, W. F. Hill, John (S. Norfolk)
Baldwin, Sir Archer de Ferranti, Basil Hirst, Geoffrey
Barber, Anthony Digby, Simon Wingfield Hornby, R. P.
Barlow, Sir John Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence
Barter, John Doughty, C. J. A. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Batsford, Brian Drayson, G. B. Howard, John (Test)
Baxter, Sir Beverley du Cann, E. D. L. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Beamish, Col. Tufton Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Duncan, Sir James Hughes-Young, M. H, C.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh.W.)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Errington, Sir Eric Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)
Bidgood, J. C. Erroll, F. J.
Bingham, R. M. Farey-Jones, F. W. Iremonger, T. L.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Fell, A. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Bishop, F. P. Finlay, Graeme Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)
Black, Sir Cyril Fisher, Nigel Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Body, R. F. Fletcher-Cooke, C. Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Bossom, Sir Alfred Freeth, Denzil Kerby, Capt. H. B.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Gammans, Lady Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Boyle, Sir Edward Garner-Evans, E. H. Kershaw, J. A.
Braine, B. R. George, J. C. (Pollok) Kimball, M.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Gibson-Watt, D. Kirk, P. M.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Glover, D. Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Bryan, P. Glyn, Col. Richard H. Langford-Holt, J. A.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Godber, J. B. Leavey, J. A.
Burden, F. F. A. Goodhart, Philip Leburn, W. G.
Campbell, Sir David Cower, H. R. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Carr, Robert Graham, Sir Fergus Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Cary, Sir Robert Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside) Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Channon, P. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Chichester-Clark, R. Green, A. Longden, Gilbert
Cole, Norman Gresham Cooke, R. Loveys, Walter H.
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Cooke, Robert Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. McAdden, S. J.
Cooper, A. E. Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Macdonald, Sir Peter
Cooper-Key, E. M. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Harris, Reader (Heston) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Powell, J. Enoch Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Price, David (Eastleigh) Teeling, W.
Maddan, Martin Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Temple, John M.
Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Ramsden, J. E. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Markham, Major Sir Frank Rawlinson, Peter Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)
Marlowe, A. A. H. Redmayne, M. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E. Rees-Davies, W. R. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Marshall, Douglas Remnant, Hon. P. Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Maudling, Rt. Hon. R. Renton, D. L. M. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Mawby, R. L. Robertson, Sir David Tweedsmuir, Lady
Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.) Vane, W. M. F.
Nabarro, G. D. N. Robson Brown, Sir William
Nairn, D. L. S. Roper, Sir Harold Vickers, Miss Joan
Neave, Airey Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.
Nicholls, Harmar Russell, R. S. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Noble, Michael (Argyll) Sharples, R. C. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Nugent, G. R. H. Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Wall, Patrick
Oakshott, H. D. Spearman, Sir Alexander Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Speir, R. M. Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Page, R. G. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.) Webster, David
Partridge, E. Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.) Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Peel, W. J. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Peyton, J. W. W. Stevens, Geoffrey Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Woollam, John Victor
Pitman, I. J. Storey, S.
Pitt, Miss E. M. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Pott, H. P. Studholme, Sir Henry Mr. Brooman-White and
Mr. Whitelaw.
Mr. Hannan

I beg to move, in page 1, line 16, at the end to insert: which shall consist of not less than three persons appointed by the local authority from among their own number".

Mr. Hoy

I beg to second the Amendment.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 174, Noes 221.

Division No. 38.] AYES [5.52 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Lawson, G. M.
Bacon, Miss Alice Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Balfour, A. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Fitch, Alan Lewis, Arthur
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Fletcher, Eric Logan, D. G.
Benson, Sir George Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then) McAlister, Mrs. Mary
Blackburn, F. Gibson, C. W. MacColl, J. E.
Blenkinsop, A. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. McKay, John (Wallsend)
Blyton, W. R. Grey, C. F. McLeavy, Frank
Boardman, H. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mason, Roy
Bowles, F. G. Griffiths, William (Exchange) Mellish, R. J.
Boyd, T. C. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mikardo, Ian
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton, W. W. Mitchison, G. R.
Brockway, A. F. Hannan, W. Monslow, W.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hastings, S. Moody, A. S.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hayman, F. H. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Healey, Denis Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Mort, D. L.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Herbison, Miss M. Moss, R.
Champion, A. J. Hobson, C. R. (Keighley) Mulley, F. W.
Chapman, W. D. Holman, P. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)
Chetwynd, G. R. Holmes, Horace Oliver, G. H.
Clunie, J. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Oram, A. E.
Coldrick, W. Hoy, J. H. Oswald, T.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Owen, W. J.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hunter, A. E. Palmer, A. M. F.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Cronin, J. D. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Pargiter, G. A.
Crossman, R. H. S. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Parker, J.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Paton, John
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Janner, B. Peart, T. F.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Johnson, James (Rugby) Pentland, N.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Popplewell, E.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield) Prentice, R. E.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Dodds, N. N. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Donnelly, D. L. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Probert, A. R.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Kenyon, C. Proctor, W. T.
Randall, H. E. Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Usborne, H. C.
Rankin, John Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Viant, S. P.
Reeves, J. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Warbey, W. N.
Reid, William Sparks, J. A. Watkins, T. E.
Reynolds, G. W. Spriggs, Leslie Weitzman, D.
Robens, Rt Hon. A. Steele, T. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall) Willey, Frederick
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Robinson, Kenneth (St, Pancras, W.) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Williams, W R. (Openshaw)
Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Swingler, S. T. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Ross, William Sylvester, G. O Winterbottom, Richard
Royle, C Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Short, E. W. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Woof, R. E.
Shurmer, P. L. E. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.) Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Silverman, Julius (Aston) Thornton, E. Zilliacus, K.
Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Timmons, J.
Skeffington, A. M. Tomney, F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn Mr. John Taylor and Mr. Deer.
Agnew, Sir Peter Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Aitken, W. T. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Alport, C. J. M. Errington, Sir Eric Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Erroll, F. J. Longden, Gilbert
Arbuthnot, John Farey-Jones, F. W. Loveys, Walter H.
Armstrong, C. W. Fell, A. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)
Atkins, H. E. Finlay, Graeme Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Fisher, Nigel McAdden, S. J.
Baldwin, Sir Archer Fletcher-Cooke, C. Macdonald, Sir Peter
Barber, Anthony Freeth, Denzil Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Barlow, Sir John Gammans, Lady Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Barter, John Garner-Evans, E. H. Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Batsford, Brian George, J. C. (Pollok) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Baxter, Sir Beverley Gibson-Watt, D. Maddan, Martin
Beamish, Col. Tufton Glover, D. Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Glyn, Col. Richard H. Markham, Major Sir Frank
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Godber, J. B. Marlowe, A. A. H.
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Goodhart, Philip Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Gower, H. R. Marshall, Douglas
Bidgood, J. C. Graham, Sir Fergus Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.
Bingham, R. M. Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside) Mawby, R. L.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Bishop, F. P. Green, A. Nabarro, G. D. N.
Black, Sir Cyril Gresham Cooke, R. Nairn, D. L. S.
Body, R. F. Grimond, J. Neave, Airey
Bossom, Sir Alfred Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Nicholls, Harmar
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan
Boyle, Sir Edward Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Noble, Michael (Argyll)
Braine, B. R. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Nugent, G. R. H.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Harris, Reader (Heston) Oakshott, H. D.
Brooman-White, R. C. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Henderson, John (Cathcart) Page, R. G.
Bryan, P. Hesketh, R. F. Partridge, E.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Peel, W. J.
Burden, F. F. A. Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Peyton, J. W. W.
Campbell, Sir David Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Carr, Robert Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Pitman, I, J.
Cary, Sir Robert Hirst, Geoffrey Pitt, Miss E. M.
Channon, P. Holt, A. F. Pott, H. P.
Chichester-Clark, R. Hornby, R. P. Powell, J. Enoch
Cole, Norman Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Price, David (Eastleigh)
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Cooke, Robert Howard, John (Test) Ramsden, J. E.
Cooper, A. E. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Rawlinson, Peter
Cooper-Key, E. M. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Redmayne, M.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Remnant, Hon. P.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Renton, D. L. M.
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Iremonger, T, L. Robinson. Sir Roland (Blackpool. S.)
Cunningham, Knox Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Robson Brown, Sir William
Currie, C. B. H. Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Roper, Sir Harold
Dance, J. C. G. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Davies,Rt.Hon.Clement(Montgomery) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Russell, R. S.
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Kerby, Capt. H. B. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Deedes, W. F. Kerr, Sir Hamilton Sharples, R. C.
de Ferranti, Basil Kershaw, J. A. Shepherd, William
Digby, Simon Wingfield Kimball, M. Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Kirk, P. M. Spearman, Sir Alexander
Doughty, C. J. A. Lambton, Viscount Speir, R. M.
Drayson, G. B. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)
du Cann, E. D. L. Langford-Holt, J. A. Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Leavey, J. A. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Duncan, Sir James Leburn, W. G. Stevens, Geoffrey
Duthie, W. S. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Storey, S. Tweedsmuir, Lady Webster, David
Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray) Vane, W. M. F. Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Studholme, Sir Henry Vickers, Miss Joan Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Teeling, W. Wade, D. W. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Temple, John M. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.) Woollam, John Victor
Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin Wall, Patrick TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.) Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth) Colonel J. H. Harrison and
Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold Mr. Hughes-Young.

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Hannan

I beg to move, in page 2, line 5, to leave out subsection (4) and to insert: (4) Without prejudice to the provisions of subsection (2) of section two of this Act, the jurisdiction and functions conferred by this Act on a buildings authority, which is a dean of guild court, shall be in addition to any jurisdiction or functions exercisable by that court immediately before the commencement of this Act whether by custom or by virtue of any enactment: Provided that—

  1. (a) where any local act contains any provision providing for any matter which is also provided for by any provision of this Act or by any regulations having effect by virtue of this Act, the Secretary of State by order made by statutory instrument before the commencement of this Act may repeal any such provision of a local act as may be specified in the said order; and
  2. (b) where it appears to the Secretary of State that any provision of any local act is inconsistent with any provisions of this Act or is no longer required or requires to be amended having regard to any provision of this Act, he may by order repeal or amend the provision of the local act as he may consider appropriate.
(5) The power of making orders conferred by the last foregoing subsection shall be exercisable by statutory instrument and any order made under that subection shall be subject to special parliamentary procedure.

Mr. J. N. Browne

Would it be convenient, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to discuss this Amendment with several later Amendments?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)

There are consequential Amendments to Clauses 28 and 30 and the First Schedule which could be taken with this Amendment. Is that agreed?

Mr. Browne

Yes, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. They are, in page 25, line 38, at the beginning to insert: Subject to the next following subsection". In page 26, line 2, to leave out: before the commencement of this Act". In line 26, after "twenty-two" to insert "and"; in line 26, to leave out "and twenty-eight"; and in page 27, line 1, to leave out Schedule 1.

Mr. Hannan

I hope that I understand which Amendments from both sides of the House are now being discussed. They are all related to the Amendment which I have moved and deal with Clause 1 (4) and the proposals in Clauses 28 and 30 and in the First Schedule. The very fact that the Joint Under-Secretary has referred to further Amendments to Clause 28 and other parts of the Bill shows the uncertainty in the Government's original proposals. It adds further point to the argument which we on this side of the House put forward in Committee and have repeated today that this is a most unsatisfactory way of dealing with the principle of the Bill.

This is particularly so in relation to Clause 1 (4) which provides that: The jurisdiction and functions conferred by this Act on a buildings authority which is a dean of guild court shall be in lieu of any jurisdiction or functions exercisable by that court immediately before the commencement of this Act … In short, the subsection says that all local authority Acts and enactments which have hitherto prevailed shall be washed out and dispensed with when the Bill becomes an Act and then shall be restored by the Act, by regulations under it and by the proviso in the present Clause 28.

In Committee, it seemed to many of us that the Government failed to appreciate the effect of subsection (4). The jurisdiction and functions conferred by the Bill on the dean of guild court replace those already held by that court, whether by custom or by virtue of any enactment, except for those conferred by enactments specified in the First Schedule. The position is that local enactments are cancelled except for those outlined in the First Schedule.

We on this side of the House think that that is not entirely satisfactory. I would draw the attention of hon. Members to the exceptions made to Clause 1 (4) by the First Schedule. The Schedule deals with some aspects of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892, and also with the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1903, which relates to warrants for laying out new streets, the use of roofs and platforms for sitting and standing accommodation, infringements in the construction of streets and other related matters.

These things are placed outside the provisions of the Bill, but all other functions and duties are swept away. This proposal has given rise to grave apprehension on the part of the two principal local authorities in Scotland, the Glasgow and Edinburgh Corporations. The officials and public representatives of these two great cities fear that many of their powers will be swept away and will be lost irretrievably as a result of the way in which the Bill has been handled. No machinery is provided to replace these powers in respect of two local authorities whose areas account for almost one-third of the population of Scotland.

The Government seem to be unaware that Edinburgh and Glasgow dean of guild courts have been exercising functions which the Bill does not touch at all. My hon. Friends are in favour of the Bill. The principle behind the proposal for a national building court is good, but our fears and apprehensions arise from the manner in which the Government propose to achieve that aim.

Some aspects of local Acts remain and are covered by the Bill, but all others are to go, and then the Secretary of State for Scotland, by means of the proviso in Clause 28, takes power to restore them. The position is that some local provisions are cancelled and that the right hon. Gentleman takes power to cancel the cancellations, which is just daft. Would not the sensible way of doing this be to make these provisions in the Bill in addition to the existing local provisions and then to cancel the local provisions piecemeal, instead of cancelling them all first and then restoring them under that proviso? Indeed, so unsatisfactory is the position that the Government, in the course of debate in Committee, no doubt impressed by arguments put forward by my hon. Friends, tabled an Amendment to Clause 1 (5) which partially restores the situation.

Some of these dean of guild courts have powers which lie outside the Bill, to deal, for example, with pavement lights, sewers, chimney stacks, disused fireplaces and the lighting and repair of common stairs. The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, who represents a Glasgow constituency, knows the value to his local authority of these local enactments, because his constituency and that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) are the two in Scotland which have suffered most from the existence of these disused buildings. They have found these local enactments, which are now going by the board of tremendous value.

Mr. Rankin

If I may interrupt my hon. Friend, he referred to me as "right hon." Is he anticipating?

Mr. Hannan

I will take that to avizandum. I indicated, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that Clause 1 (4), even with the Amendment of the Government, will mean that a local authority which wishes to observe its dean of guild functions, which it now enjoys in matters outside the Bill, will have to make representations to the Secretary of State for Scotland for an Order which will keep its present local enactments alive. The procedure does not commend itself to serious examination. The local authorities will have to scrutinise all their local enactments to ensure that none has been missed. If, by some mischance, one is missed in the examination it will be irretrievably lost, and, as I understand it, the local authorities will have to seek to restore it by getting a provisional Order through this House.

Edinburgh and Glasgow each has such provisions and I will give an example. Section 76 of the Glasgow Streets, Sewers and Buildings Order, 1937, provides that no one shall construct a sewer without the consent of the dean of guild court What happens in practice is that if a sewer is constructed the local authority takes over the responsibility for that in their drainage system, but such a sewer is not a building within the meaning of this Measure. Nevertheless, under Clause 1 (4) the sewer will be abolished. Why should the Glasgow Corporation be put to the trouble at a later date of having to seek to get a provisional Order through this House when it already has the power? Both those cities have codes which enable them to enforce repairs to dangerous buildings, a subject with which the Bill does not concern itself.

In Committee, when this point was argued, the Solicitor-General for Scotland said: The procedure is not a new one. It was used, for example, in the Police (Scotland) Act, 1956, in which the Secretary of State had similar powers to save the provisions of local enactments. An Order was made under that Act—the Police (Local Enactments) (Scotland) Order, 1956—in which that very thing was done. We are, therefore, following quite a good precedent."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee, 16th December, 1958; c. 248.] With all due respect, and depending as we usually do for the best advice on the Solicitor-General for Scotland, I suggest that this was not an accurate analogy. It is said that there is a precedent for this method of dealing with the situation in the Act described, but because that Act referred only to provisions of local Acts which corresponded with those of the principal Act, the Act of 1954 only corresponded with the provisions of the existing Act. That is not so with this Bill, which does not correspond with the present local provisions, but only corresponds with some which will be retained. The rest are dispensed with. This has given rise to apprehension on the part of the local authorities.

6.15 p.m.

If this Amendment were accepted it would reverse the procedure. It is in addition to the local authority provisions. Clause 28 becomes unnecessary. Orders by the Secretary of State restoring some of the things which have been cancelled become unnecessary. Clause 1 becomes unnecessary. In Committee the many Amendments which the Government put down as a result of the points raised there would be unnecessary. Clauses 7, 8, 9 and 12 are the best testimony, as are the 79 Amendments on the Order Paper today, to the inefficiency and inefficacy of the Bill.

I will conclude by referring to what was said by the Guest Committee on Building Legislation in Scotland on this matter. That is the Committee to which the Government appeal so often in justification of what they are doing. I refer the House to page 101 of that Report in which, in the summary of conclusions and recommendations, the Committee said: Local Act requirements should be repealed in so far as they are covered by or are inconsistent with the new building code. That was all the Committee said, but this Bill goes much further. In that second recommendation the Committee refers to paragraph 19 of the Report, and since I know that many hon. Members do not like long quotations, I will paraphrase it: Broadly speaking, most of the detailed structural requirements (whether at present in an Act or a Schedule or in byelaws) would be superseded by some up-to-date requirement serving a similar purpose (possibly expressed very differently) in regulations; and the provisions laying down the machinery of building control would be replaced by the provisions of the new Act itself. As for requirements in local Acts, we recommend that they should be repealed to the extent that they are covered by, or are inconsistent with, the building code drawn up under the new machinery. If the Guest Committee is to be quoted to us in extenuation of the Bill, then the Government must have regard to what this expert Committee said in these matters. That was not all, because at paragraph 191 the Committee stated: On the question whether the subordinate legislation should take the form of locally-made byelaws or centrally-made regulations, we have, after careful consideration, decided to recommend that in future the principal code of building requirements should be laid down in regulations applicable to the whole of Scotland. For the cities and other authorities having their own Building Acts we recommend that there should be savings for any requirements therein not dealt with in any way in the Regulation. I submit that the case for my Amendment is unanswerable. I submit that the subsequent Amendments can be made without any ill effect to the Bill. I submit that the procedure would be much easier. The local authorities, particularly Glasgow and Edinburgh, which have the bulk of these houses—not merely new houses going up but which are troubled week in and week out with houses in disrepair and partial demolition and partial construction—ought with their experience in this important matter to receive some attention.

Before I sit down I want to acknowledge that the wording of this Amendment is not my own. I was asked, as were some of my hon. Friends, to submit this Amendment on behalf of the City of Glasgow. If the wording does not meet with the approval of the Solicitor-General for Scotland we shall be happy if the spirit of the Amendment can be accepted.

Mr. Rankin

I beg to second the Amendment.

I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) will agree with me that the Amendment was submitted to hon. Members on this side of the House by Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Mr. Hannan

I am sorry that I did not mention both cities.

Mr. Rankin

It was drawn up by them—guided by their experts who have studied this matter carefully—much more carefully, I suggest, than it has been studied by the Government and their advisers.

The Amendment ought to be accepted by the Government, because it will enable them to save face in a very difficult situation. The Bill is generally welcomed by all interests—trade unions, local administrations and political bodies—in Scotland because it gives us uniform building regulations. However, the Government, in their usual ham-handed fashion, are making a mess of trying to give expression to the almost universal desire.

The Bill does something unique. It repeals existing provisions where they cover the provisions laid down in the Bill. Every local authority in Scotland accepts that, and my hon. Friends and I do not quarrel with it because we say that where the provisions of the Bill deal with functions and jurisdictions which are already expressed in local Acts the provisions of the Bill should prevail. There is no argument about that. Then the Government go on to do something which is unbelievably stupid. They repeal provisions with which the Bill has no concern. That is fantastic. I put it to levelheaded Conservatives—

Mr. Ross

That is a contradiction in terms.

Mr. Rankin

There are three Conservative Members opposite at the moment. I put it to them that the Bill cuts out provisions with which it has nothing to do, which is daft. Then it goes on to do something still dafter, for it does not put anything in place of the provisions which it repeals. Who outside Bedlam would believe that any Government could do a thing like that? The Mental Health Bill is going through its Committee stage. Why the Government are not being considered in relation to that Bill and its provisions, I do not know.

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. M. Clark Hutchison) could give us an example from Edinburgh. The Government are rescinding a valuable Edinburgh provision dealing with non-dangerous buildings. The Bill has nothing to do with non-dangerous buildings. I invite the Solicitor-General for Scotland, who misguided us with his usual eloquence on many occasions in Committee, to tell us where the Bill deals with non-dangerous buildings. In fact, it does not mention them. Yet the Bill does away with provisions which Edinburgh uses to deal with gutters, roofs and other things.

When one takes the feet from under someone in a football game it is a foul and the offender may be sent off the field. The Government are taking the feet from under Edinburgh. It is dirty play, and people will be indignant about it.

Mr. Michael Clark Hutchison (Edinburgh, South)

It depends which game of football it is.

Mr. Rankin

In the hon. Member's estimation, no holds are barred.

Glasgow and Edinburgh think that what the Government are doing is wrong, but they are so generous that they have gone to the trouble of trying to save the Government's face. I thought that the Bill was like an expression of Tory foreign policy. It has become a loaded missile, and the Secretary of State has gone about dropping it all over the place in Scotland, blowing things up. It is supposed to have the objective of putting provisions in place of other provisions, but the Secretary of State is dropping his loaded missile everywhere and destroying everything in the process. In the case of some enactments, nothing will be left.

When the Secretary of State looks at what he has done, and sees the bits and pieces lying around, he will say to the local authorities, "If you want some of the provisions which I destroyed, although I had no need to destroy them because the Bill does not deal with them, come along to me in Edinburgh and establish a case for getting new provisional orders to deal with the jurisdictions which I have taken away from you. "That is so fantastic that I wonder what we shall be told on behalf of the Government. There is no defence for this sort of thing.

Why should the Government take away something which they did not need to touch, something which has served the needs of both Edinburgh and Glasgow for a long while? These provisions have proved effective. Yet out of sheer wanton destructiveness the Government say, "We are making changes and have to destroy one or two provisions. We will just blow the whole lot up." That is what they call policy.

6.30 p.m.

Nothing in what I have said has been in the least exaggerated. It is all true. Local authorities, who have to bear the brunt, will once again require to go to the trouble of looking at the wreck and picking out the things which they used to carry on the functions of local government. If they find that there is an Order which has been taken away but which they need, they will have to pack up and go to Edinburgh and ask the Secretary of State, "Please restore what you did not need to destroy".

These things were argued out years ago, in some cases thirty years ago, and yet the authorities may once again have to go to the Secretary of State, who will have power to refuse to introduce a provisional Order. I am not suggesting that he will necessarily use that power, but it is wrong that the corporations should be in that position. That is a wrong which we are seeking to remedy. It is the function of Parliament when it sees the Government doing something wrong to tell them what is wrong and to show them, as we are showing them, where they are wrong.

It is all right for the Government to take away powers which are to be replaced, but why should they touch those powers with which the Bill has nothing to do? That is the situation which will be remedied if the Amendment is accepted. I hope that for the sake of the decent functioning of local administration in the two great cities of Scotland the Government will see their way to accept the Amendment.

Mr. Willis

I support the Amendment, since Edinburgh Corporation is also greatly worried about this matter. It is difficult to understand why the Government have adopted this procedure, because it is not that recommended by the Guest Committee. The relevant paragraphs of that Committee's Report have been read, and I do not propose to read them again, but they suggest precisely the opposite of what the Government are doing. It is exceedingly difficult to understand why the Government should have set out on this course.

The Government are saying that they will wipe out all that they have done in the past and will start to rebuild on the basis of the Bill. However, for many years local authorities have found it necessary to have certain powers and jurisdictions to lay down certain standards of control over this, that and the other. They have successfully persuaded Parliament to grant them those powers, which are the powers they now use.

All of those powers are to be revoked by the Bill and replaced by powers covering only certain aspects of local government work. The argument of the Secretary of State is that if a local authority wishes to retain any of those powers, it must persuade him that it should retain them. It is a case of persuading not the House of Commons, but the Secretary of State, because it is the Secretary of State who will be able to introduce regulations, or not introduce regulations. In other words, the Secretary of State is being vested with a power which used to be vested in the House of Commons.

That cannot be a correct method of proceeding. The method suggested by the Guest Committee is far better. That method was to say that the Bill would replace certain functions and powers of local authorities. All the powers replaced would be revoked, but the remaining powers would be left in force. Why should we not leave what remains? If it becomes necessary as a result of further regulations to revoke some powers, then those powers would then be revoked. That is a workmanlike and perfectly constitutional way to proceed.

In other words, the course proposed by the Guest Committee was to say to local authorities, "The additional powers which you have found valuable, and which are not covered by the Bill, you will retain. We thought that they were necessary and you have found them necessary and we will allow you to continue to use them. If, however, we issue further regulations or prescribe further standards which will cover those powers, then those powers will be revoked." That is the commonsense way to proceed.

However, the Secretary of State has rejected that method. Under the procedure now proposed, local authorities will have to search through all the Orders and provisions made in the last forty or fifty years, compare each with the provisions of the Bill to see whether it is covered, and, if it is not covered by the Bill, go to the Secretary of State and ask for power to continue the provision, a request which the Secretary of State has power to refuse.

That is the wrong way to treat responsible authorities. These powers would never have been given to local authorities if they had not been necessary. Mention has been made of the powers of the Edinburgh Corporation concerning the maintenance of buildings which are not dangerous, that is, the maintenance of roofs, drains, common stairs, and all those things with which the Edinburgh Corporation deals every day in preserving property in the city. The Corporation sends out thousands of orders to owners of property drawing attention to the need for repairs under those provisions.

That power will be wiped out and Edinburgh Corporation, which spent money obtaining that power, will now have to ask the Secretary of State, "Please, may we continue to have these powers?" We do not know that the right hon. Gentleman will continue to allow the corporation to continue with those powers, and that seems to us to be wrong. Edinburgh Corporation is perturbed about this provision, because there will be a sort of hiatus in its work which will lead to all sorts of additional difficulties.

Nor does the corporation know what its future position will be. For instance, what happens if the Secretary of State says, "You will not require any of these powers again"? Will it be possible for the corporation to promote a provisional Order and to include a Clause to get some of those provisions back? I do not think so. I think that it is the aim of the Government to have a common standard, and I imagine that the Government would frown upon such an attempt. Powers which we thought to be necessary and which the local authority thinks to be necessary might be discontinued for good, with no guarantee that the pieces which my hon. Friend spoke about will, in fact, be gathered up or, if they are gathered up, the local authority will be allowed to keep the pieces.

I think that anyone examining this matter objectively must realise the tremendous difficulty and unfair position in which it places these two large local authorities. I trust that the Government will consider this sympathetically.

I see that the Solicitor-General is sitting on the Front Bench, and I presume that he will reply. It is not legalities that we want as a reply; we want arguments. We do not want a few legalisms thrown at us; they will not help us. I hope that we shall not get some legalistic interpretation on this and be fobbed off in that way. We would far rather have the common sense of the Joint Under-Secretary because we might then at least get somewhere.

I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will look at this matter objectively and try to appreciate the very difficult position in which the local authorities are placed and the tremendous difficulties which will be created for them in future if this Bill becomes law. I trust that he will realise that these Amendments are really quite just. There is nothing outrageous being asked for; it is simply a procedure which will preserve the corporations having to do certain things and also facilitate them in their work. I suggest that such a procedure would not interfere with the Secretary of State in carrying out his duties under the Bill.

6.45 p.m.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland (Mr. William Grant)

I think that we are agreed that certain local Act provisions should be preserved. The real question between us, despite certain rather belligerent remarks of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin), is how best we should do that.

If we look at the Amendment as it stands, the first difficulty about it—and it is a serious one—is that we know that the Guest Committee Report recommended, in Recommendations 3 and 43. [THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND.] that the dean of guild courts should continue to exercise their jurisdiction in regard to building standards, but should deal with applications to build by reference only—and the operative word is "only"—to statutory building requirements.

Recommendation 43 says that the building control body—that is, the buildings authority—should be obliged to give permission to build if the proposals did not contravene the building regulations. If we were to accept this Amendment it would leave untouched common law jurisdiction of the dean of guild courts, with the result that even if the application came within the building requirements, and, according to these recommendations, ought to be granted, the dean of guild courts could still refuse the recommendation because of some common law power which they had in the past.

Mr. Willis

Such as?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. M. Clark Hutchison) raised the question in regard to people building garages, I think in the Grange district. Under its existing powers the dean of guild court could stop them being erected even though these garages are, or will be, entirely within the building regulations which are to be laid down. The Guest Committee's recommendations say that the dean of guild courts should have this jurisdiction, that if the application comes within the building regulations it shall be granted and that if it does not, it shall not be, apart from the question of private rights. This Amendment would leave the matter as it is today.

Mr. Woodburn

The question of whether or not a garage in the Grange is erected is, first of all, controlled by the planning authority. Someone must give permission for it to be built, so that the dean of guild court is the only body that has a veto on the erection of an ugly building in the Grange.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I cannot quote from memory the particular regulation concerned, but the right hon. Gentleman will remember that there are certain extensions of buildings, and the like, for which planning permission is not required. I think that I discussed this with the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South. He may remember the regulation which I looked at some time ago. There are cases where a building can be extended or a bit put on to it, such as a garage, without the need for planning permission. The only sanction against that being done in Edinburgh at the moment is the dean of guild court.

Mr. Willis

That is quite right.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

If that is right, we cast aside completely Recommendations 3 and 43, because they say that if the building is within the building regulations, as these garages normally are, then permission ought to be granted. The weakness of this Amendment is that it does not deal with that particular matter, but leaves the existing common law jurisdiction of the dean of guild court, which it is the object of this Bill to repeal.

Mr. Willis

We have been asking not that the dean of guild court may be left necessarily with these common law rights but left with the powers which have been obtained by the local authorities, not as a result of common law but by orders obtained by the local authorities from Parliament.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I am coming to that. I am pointing out that, despite the skill with which the Amendment was drafted, it in fact leaves that common law power to the dean of guild court.

Mr. Willis

The right hon. and learned Gentleman has heard the argument.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I have heard the argument, but I am pointing out that if we were to accept the Amendment we would be preserving for the dean of guild courts in Edinburgh and Glasgow their old common law powers.

With regard to the question of private enactments, which I think the debate has turned on and to which I want to address myself particularly, the position is this. We are agreed on both sides that certain of those should be preserved. The question is how we are to do it.

Mr. Willis

That is the issue.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I think that our objective on both sides is the same. It is really our method of doing it which is between us. First of all, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East, and. I think, the hon. Member for Govan, both raised the question of the time that it would take for local authorities to go through their enactments to find out which ones they wanted to preserve. If we take it on the basis of this Amendment we have even a greater task put on the Secretary of State, because he would then have to go through every local enactment to find out what ought to be repealed. That would be a far greater task than for the local authorities, which know to begin with to which particular provisions they attach value and want to preserve, and the result would be that this Bill could not be brought into operation until the Secretary of State had gone through all the local enactments and decided which ought to be repealed. That is a major practical difficulty which would arise if we accepted the Amendment.

Mr. Willis

There is a time factor here. Surely local authorities can be left with these powers until such time as the Secretary of State finds it possible to consider them. If this will be a big job for the Secretary of State, what is wrong with leaving these powers with local authorities until the right hon. Gentleman is able to consider them? They have already got these powers, having persuaded us that they were necessary. In that case I can see nothing wrong with leaving them with the local authorities until they can be considered by the Secretary of State in good time.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

That cannot be done, because unless the question is sorted out before the Measure comes into operation we may have two inconsistent sets of powers running side by side. That may lead to confusion.

Mr. Willis

That is not true. We are dealing with powers and functions which are covered by the Bill and with other powers which are not covered by it. If the Secretary of State draws up his regulations under the Bill and frames his codes and standards for all Scotland we shall know what they are. All we suggest is that the present powers should be alowed to continue. They will not be running parallel with anything because the two sets of powers will be dealing with different matters.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

Under proviso (b) of the Amendment the Secretary of State has, in effect, to examine the provisions of all local Acts, decide whether they are inconsistent with any of the Bill's provisions, and then make an Order repealing or amending them accordingly. That is a major task, which would take a great deal of time, and if the Measure began to operate before that job was completed we should have two sets of law running in parallel, with inconsistent provisions. Until an Order was made under proviso (b) the old law would run equally with the new, and they would be completely contradictory.

The Bill retains the jurisdiction and functions of dean of guild courts in matters of private right, and I do not think that any of us has any worries about that. Secondly, paragraph 4 of the First Schedule leaves in force provisions of local enactments which correspond to the first three paragraphs of the First Schedule. Thirdly, paragraph 5 of the First Schedule gives the Secretary of State the right to preserve any local enactment. That point was considered in Committee.

This is not a question of resuscitating something. We are preventing local enactments from dying. Before the Measure begins to operate the Secretary of State can make an order saying, "These provisions shall continue in effect as though the Bill had never become law." That is the easiest way to deal with the matter. Local authorities know which provisions they want to preserve, and can inform the Secretary of State to this effect. He will consider the matter sympathetically and the provisions which the local authorities wish to retain, and which he thinks should be retained, will be retained. That is a far better system than the one provided for in the Amendment, which would result in two parallel and conflicting systems of law running at the same time.

Mr. Rankin

The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that we could have a situation where two statutory regulations were running together. How could a statutory Order such as the one that I have indicated, dealing with non-dangerous buildings—with which the Bill has nothing to do—run counter to any regulation made under the Bill?

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I was dealing in this case with proviso (b) of the Amendment, and not with proviso (a).

Mr. Woodburn

I have listened with considerable interest to what the right hon. and learned Member has said, and in the case of Edinburgh and Glasgow I would say that it was possible that the two methods would have the result of sweeping everything away, with local authorities being asked to justify what they wanted to retain and the Secretary of State's Department going through all the local Acts to verify what was desirable to retain and what ought to be repealed, and drawing up a schedule repealing many local Acts.

From the point of view of the division of labour there is a good deal of sense in asking local authorities, who know there own business better than does the Secretary of State, to tell him what they want to retain. He can then see that it is retained. In that case, instead of the Secretary of State taking four or five months to get the job done it could be done in as many weeks, with each local authority working on its own. There is sense in that, because local authorities will know their local enactments better than anybody else. If this is an argument between local authorities and the Secretary of State as to who should do the job, the Government are probably right in passing the buck to the local authorities. I have no doubt that the Edinburgh and Glasgow authorities very much object to this job being put on their shoulders and would much prefer it to be done by the Secretary of State.

The right hon. and learned Member alarmed me when he suggested that if the Amendment were not accepted nobody would have any control over any sort of building that was erected in the Grange, so long as it was erected according to the best building standards.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I did not say "any building." I referred only to certain small buildings or extensions for which planning permission would not be needed. With an ordinary building planning permission is generally needed, but there are certain extensions for which planning permission is not needed under the regulations.

Mr. Woodburn

I live in the City of Edinburgh, and if I wanted to build a garden shed or something similar the dean of guild court would not only see whether it was built according to the best building standards, but also whether it fitted into the amenities of the district, and people would have the right to object. It would be quite intolerable if, to have a tidy Bill, that kind of building should return in any form to Edinburgh, Glasgow and similar areas, whose authorities are trying to keep their areas as beautiful as possible after 100 years of neglect. Unless the Solicitor-General for Scotland can assure me that some other provision will be made I shall not be prepared to give up the fight without a struggle. Whether or not Lord Guest said it, the people of Edinburgh will insist on having some control of what is to be built in their city.

The point raised by the right hon. and learned Gentleman in connection with procedure is an admission that the Bill has been rushed through without proper consultation with local authorities, as we have been saying all along. Surely local authorities could have been persuaded to agree to this method of dealing with the matter. Surely they could have been asked to inform the Secretary of State about matters which conflicted with the provisions of the Bill, but in respect of which they wanted to retain their powers 7.0 p.m.

That would have achieved the same result as the Secretary of State will obtain by his method, only in that case the job would have been done in a tidy way. It would have come before the House in the form of legislation with the repeal of Acts as agreed with the local authorities. The trouble with this Bill has arisen because there has not been proper consultation with the local authorities. The Edinburgh and Glasgow authorities have brought their complaints to hon. Members on this side of the House, and it is our business, as the Opposition, to put them before the House and to try to ensure that the Secretary of State does this job properly.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland said that before the Bill becomes an Act what I am suggesting will have been done; local authorities will have given to the Secretary of State information about the regulations which they wish maintained and all these regulations and powers will be preserved before general powers are abolished by the provisions in the Bill. So all that is happening is that the tidying up of the Bill is to be done after it has become an Act instead of before, which is the normal way. We on this side consider it a most untidy way to deal with legislation of this kind. It has caused perturbation to two great local authorities in Scotland, and probably to a number of smaller authorities which have no means of making representations here. I must ask my hon. Friends to

register disapproval of this method in the Division Lobby.

Mr. Rankin

May I ask the Solicitor-General for Scotland a question? He has seen some merit in the Amendment Would it be possible to get in touch with the Glasgow and Edinburgh authorities to see whether some common agreement can be reached on this matter before it is too late?

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 194, Noes 157.

Division No. 39.] AYES [7.4 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Finlay, Graeme Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Aitken, W. T. Fisher, Nigel McAdden, S. J.
Alport, C. J. M. Fletcher-Cooke, C. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Gammans, Lady Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Arbuthnot, John Garner-Evans, E. H. Maddan, Martin
Armstrong, C. W. George, J. C. (Pollok) Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)
Atkins, H. E. Gibson-Watt, D. Markham, Major Sir Frank
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Glover, D. Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.
Baldwin, Sir Archer Glyn, Col. Richard H. Marshall, Douglas
Barber, Anthony Goodhart, Philip Mawby, R. L.
Barlow, Sir John Gough, C. F. H. Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Barter, John Gower, H. R. Nabarro, G. D. N.
Batsford, Brian Graham, Sir Fergus Nairn, D. L. S.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside) Neave, Airey
Beamish, Col. Tufton Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Nicholls, Harmar
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Green, A. Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Gresham Cooke, R. Noble, Michael (Argyll)
Bennett, F. M, (Torquay) Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Oakshott, H. D.
Bevins. J. R. (Toxteth) Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Bidgood, J. C. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Bingham, R. M. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Page, R, G.
Bishop, F. P. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Partridge, E.
Black, Sir Cyril Henderson, John (Cathcart) Peel, W. J.
Body, R. F. Hesketh, R. F. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Bossom Si Alfred Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Pitman, I. J.
Boyle, Sir Edward Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Pitt, Miss E. M.
Braine, B. R. Hirst, Geoffrey Pott, H. P.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Hornby, R. P. Powell, J. Enoch
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Price, David (Eastleigh)
Brooman-White, R. C. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Browne, J. Nixon (Cralgton) Howard, John (Test) Ramsden, J. E.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Rawlinson, Peter
Burden, F. F. A. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Redmayne, M.
Campbell, Sir David Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Rees-Davies, W. R.
Carr, Robert Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.) Remnant, Hon. P.
Cary, sir Robert Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Rippon, A. G. F.
Channon, P. Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Conant, Maj. sir Roger Iremonger, T. L, Roper, Sir Harold
Cooke, Robert Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Cooper-Key, E. M. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Russell, R. S.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Sharples, R. C.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Shepherd, William
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Kerby, Capt. H. B. Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Cunningham, Knox Kerr, Sir Hamilton Spearman, Sir Alexander
Currie, G. B. H. Kershaw, J. A. Speir, R. M.
Dance, J. C. G. Kimball, M. Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir p. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Deedes, W. F. Kirk, P, M. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
de Ferranti, Basil Lambton, Viscount Stevens, Geoffrey
Digby, Simon Wingfield Langford-Holt, J. A. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Leavey, J. A. Storey, S.
Doughty, C. J. A. Leburn, W. G. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
du Cann, E. D. L. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Studholme, Sir Henry
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Duncan, Sir James Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Temple, John M.
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Longden, Gilbert Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Elliott, R.W. (Ne'oastle upon Tyne, N.) Loveys, Walter H. Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)
Errington, Sir Eric Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Farey-Jones, F. W. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Tweedsmuir, Lady Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Vane, W. M. F. Wall, Patrick Woollam, John Victor
Vickers, Miss Joan Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F. Webster, David TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.) Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater) Mr. Chichester-Clark and
Mr. Whitelaw.
Ainsley, J. W. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Reg.) Probert, A. R.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Herbison, Miss M. Randall, H. E.
Bacon, Miss Alice Hewitson, Capt. M. Rankin, John
Balfour, A. Holman, P. Reeves, J.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Holt, A. F. Reld, William
Benson, Sir George Howell, Denis (All Saints) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Hoy, J. H. Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Blackburn, F. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Blenkinsop, A. Hunter, A. E. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Panoras, N.)
Blyton, W. R. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Boardman. H. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Ross, William
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. C. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Royle, C.
Bowles, F. G. Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Boyd, T. C. Janner, B. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Brockway, A. F. Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Skeffington, A. M.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Champion, A. J. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Chapman, W. D. Kenyon, C. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Chetwynd, G. R. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Snow, J. W.
Clunie, J. Lawson, G. M. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Coldrick, W. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Sprigs,Leslie
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Steele. T
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
Cronin, J. D. Lewis, Arthur Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Crossman, R. H. S. Logan, D. G. Swingler S. T.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Mahon, Dr. J. Dickson Sylvester, G. O.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. McAlister, Mrs. Mary Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) McCann, J. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Davies, Rt. Hon. Clement (Montgomery) MacColl, J. E. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) McKay, John (Wallsend) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Deer, G. McLeavy, Frank Thornton, E.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Mason, Roy Timmons, J.
Dodds, N. N. Moody, A. S. Tomney, F.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewls'm,S.) Usborne, H, C.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mort, D. L. Viant, S. P.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Moss, R. Wade, D. W.
Edwards, w. J. (Stepney) Mulley, F. W. Warbey, W. N.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.) Watkins, T. E.
Fitch, Alan Oram, A. E. Weitzman, D.
Fletcher, Eric Oswald, T. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Gibson, C. W. Owen, W. J. Wilkins, W. A.
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Palmer, A, M. F. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Grey, C. F. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Parker, J. Willis, Eustaoe (Edinburgh, E.)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Paton, John Winterbottom, Richard
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Pearson, A. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Grimond, J. Peart, T. F. Woof, R. E.
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Pentland, N. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Hamilton, W. W. Popplewell, E. Zilliacus, K.
Hannan, W. Prentice, R. E.
Hastings, S. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hayman, F. H. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Mr. Holmes and Mr. Short.

Amendment made: In page 2, line 7, leave out from "functions" to "this" in line 8, and insert: which would be exercisable by the court apart from".—[Mr. J. N. Browne.]

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

I beg to move, in page 2, line 12, at the end to insert: and in relation to the area of any such buildings authority the provisions of this Act shall be in lieu of any enactment or rule of law in force immediately before the commencement of this Act making it unlawful to erect, alter, repair or otherwise deal with a building, or occupy a building in any particular way, without the sanction of the dean of guild court for that area". It might be for the convenience of the House, Mr. Speaker, if we took with this Amendment the three consequential Amendments to Clause 6, namely, in page 7, line 15, to leave out "Nothing in this section shall prevent" and insert: Notwithstanding anything in this section it shall be competent for". In line 16, to leave out "from refusing" and to insert "to refuse".

In line 24, to leave out "from refusing" and to insert "to refuse"

The Amendment, which appears rather long and complicated, is a drafting Amendment and seeks to make it absolutely clear that the common law powers, as intended, have been abolished, so far as the dean of guild court is concerned. That having been done, we come to the three consequential Amendments in which, having taken away the common law powers, we must confer power of refusal under the Bill, to make assurance doubly sure. The Amendments—I speak as a lawyer—do not do very much. They merely make the Bill a little clearer than it was before.

Mr. Woodburn

Would the Solicitor-General take the opportunity of clearing up a point he made which gave the impression to me that, when the Bill is passed, all control over buildings which are related outwith the planning Acts will be simply a matter of building standards?

It gives the impression that neighbours and people in the vicinity of a building would have no right to object to a building, even though it will interfere with their rights, obstruct their view, or otherwise cause loss of value to their property by being unsightly in some way. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had better put it on public record that that will not he the case and that, if the Bill takes away common law rights, something effective will be put in their place before the Bill becomes law.

The Solicitor-General for Scotland

With leave of the House, perhaps I might speak again to deal with that point. The right hon. Member will remember that in Clause 1 (4, b) the dean of guild court still has jurisdiction in relation to matters of private right. That will not necessarily cover an unsightly building within view; it would have to be something a little more than that. I will confirm that the dean of guild court will not, under the Bill, have its former powers, which it had in Edinburgh of, as it were, attaching not merely a building standard but a planning and amenity standard to the cases before it.

Amendment agreed to.