HC Deb 12 April 1960 vol 621 cc1054-5
4. Mr. C. Pannell

asked the Minister of Works whether, in view of the delays which will be involved in acquiring premises in the Bridge Street area for the future use of this House through the medium of the planning powers of the London County Council, he will proceed instead by special Act of Parliament.

The Minister of Works (Lord John Hope)

While my present view is that little or no time would be saved by special legislation, I would be prepared to consider it later if it appears advantageous.

Mr. Pannell

Would the hon. Gentleman, when he thinks again about this matter, bear in mind the history of such legislation? I believe that until the London County Council was in being, this Parliament always proceeded by special Act in order to increase its precincts. The hon. Gentleman may remember that Parliament Square was altered by special Act in 1949. I am advised that the deliberations in the London County Council might well take up to three years. Above all, will the hon. Gentleman think about the dignity of this House? Generally speaking, this House should plan the precincts around it and not necessarily leave that matter to a special committee of a local authority?

Lord John Hope

Of course, all these factors will be taken into account, but whichever way we do it there must inevitably be a lot of other people to be considered. Whatever we do, it will take time.

Mrs. Castle

Will the hon. Gentleman bring this suggestion before the ad hoc Committee which, I understand, the Government have agreed to set up to pilot through this new development in our accommodation so that the Committee can decide which procedure it thinks would be advantageous to the interests of the House?

Lord John Hope

That is rather a quick one. I will certainly think it over. I doubt whether it will be right to put this point to that Committee.