HC Deb 25 January 1961 vol 633 cc161-2
14. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Minister of Transport which organisations have asked him to make the Stedeford Committee Report public; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hay

We are aware of none, Sir. As my right hon. Friend made clear when the Special Advisory Group waft set up and in subsequent statements, it is not intended to publish the Group's recommendations.

Mr. Spriggs

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that hon. Members will be in a far stronger position to debate the Government's White Paper within the next two days if this Committee's report is made available to the House?

Mr. Hay

As has been stated before, the Government take full responsibility for the proposals in the White Paper, which is really the point with which the House is concerned. The process by which we have reached the conclusions presented in the White Paper is, in our view, something which we are quite entitled to keep to ourselves, particularly as all the way through the story we made it perfectly clear that the advice of the group would be confidential to the Government.

Mr. Mellish

Whilst recognising that some of the evidence may be very private and confidential to the Government, surely the House is entitled to have the main Stedeford recommendations? Let us have those in detail and, at any rate, let the House know what were the final conclusions of that Committee?

Mr. Hay

Once again, the hon. Gentleman has fallen into the trap of saying that this was a committee, as though it were a committee of inquiry. It was not. It was a special group of four advisers, with particular knowledge and experience, reporting jointly both to the Minister and the British Transport Commission.