§ The Minister of Transport (Mr. Ernest Marples)
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I wish to make a personal statement.
During Wednesday's debate on the Hyde Park (Underground Parking) Bill, the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) advocated a total ban on private cars in the centre of London. When replying, I asked whether he himself drove a car to London, and made some remarks which may have been construed as a reflection on his driving ability.
The hon. Gentleman has written me a letter in which he says:I assume that your remarks were intended to be some kind of joke and that you had no intention of doing any serious damage.Mr. Speaker, that is correct, and if the hon. Gentleman had been present during my winding-up speech he would, I think, have realised that the remark was jocular, and received as such by those Members present.
I apologise to the hon. Gentleman if anything I said has been taken as a reflection on his driving ability, and I withdraw unreservedly any remark which has been interpreted in that way.