HC Deb 01 June 1960 vol 624 cc1514-5
The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. John Hay)

I beg to move, in page 9, line 36. at the end to insert:

with the consent of the highway authority.

The right hon. Gentleman pointed out that it would be possible, in devolving the power to make a designation order upon the local authority, for the Minister, if he so desired, to modify the code and leave out that requirement for the local authority to act only with the consent of the highway authority. We undertook to look at that point. This Amendment is intended to meet it, and it deals satisfactorily with it. I need say no more in explaining it. It looks complicated, but that is its intention. Perhaps it will help the right hon. Gentleman if I say that we are willing to accept the Amendment which he has tabled to my Amendment.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

I thank the hon. Gentleman the Joint Parliamentary Secretary not merely for the way in which he has explained this Amendment, but also for the courtesy he showed in writing to me and indicating how much better a draftsman a professional draftsman is than any amateur who attempts to wander into his province. I accept the words that he proposes, but, inasmuch as this is a matter which might give rise to friction between local authorities, I should be obliged if he would carry this courtesy a little further and accept my Amendment, which would mean inserting the words "in writing". If that requirement were present, there should be no chance of the mere courtesy of asking permission being overlooked. I again thank the hon. Gentleman very sincerely for the way in which he has met the point which I raised in Committee.

Mr. Hay

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman did not quite catch what I said. I stated that we would have no objection to accepting the Amendment which he has tabled to our Amendment.

Mr. Benn

We are getting so complicated with Amendments to Amendments that the House will be glad to hear that I am not rising to move a manuscript Amendment to the Amendment to the Amendment. I rise to say that although this exchange of courtesies is very pleasing, all this is subject to the limitation in Clause 7. Supposing a local authority makes a designation order affecting another local authority and forgets to seek its consent in writing within six weeks, that oversight will be indemnified by the statutory limitation in Clause 7. Before there is too much congratulation, I must remind the House that there are certain risks even in this Amendment as accepted.

Mr. Ede

If an authority which had not been informed in writing allowed this operation to go on for six weeks without any protest, it would deserve all that was coming to it.

question proposed, That those words be there inserted the Bill.

Proposed words amended in line 4, by inserting after "consent", the words "in writing".—[Mr. Ede]—and, as amended, there inserted in the Bill.