§ 39. Mr. Bottomley
asked the Minister of Transport why after a delay of five months he is not able to receive a deputation of seven Members of Parliament and their constituents to discuss a highways programme for Tees-side.
§ Mr. Hay
My right hon. Friend was asked just before Christmas to receive this deputation. He suggested that we should await the outcome of another meeting, about the problems of Tees-side generally, which a similar deputation was shortly to have with my noble Friend the Lord President of the Council and representatives of departments, including the Ministry of Transport. Later my right hon. Friend was again asked to receive a deputation. As he has explained to the right hon. Member, it is 219 not practicable for him to receive it. He has asked my noble Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to do so, and I understand this is now being arranged.
§ Mr. Bottomley
Will the Minister ask his right hon. Friend when he thinks it important enough for him to receive a deputation? Is he aware that in addition to aldermen, there were councillors, seven M.P.S, town clerks and borough engineers? Surely the Minister himself ought to receive a deputation of this kind?
§ Mr. Hay
I think that the House as a whole will acquit my right hon. Friend of being idle. He is one of the most active of Ministers, as I know only too well. He has a great many deputations to see and a great many things to do. He replied in detail to the right hon. Gentleman on this point. I should have thought that, in all the circumstances of the great consideration which is being given to the problems of the North-East, the deputation would have been quite happy to see my noble Friend the Parliamentary Secretary.