HC Deb 25 July 1963 vol 681 cc1842-3

Lords Amendment: In page 30, line 35, leave out from beginning to "the" in line 37.

Sir K. Joseph

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in in the said Amendment.

From my own point of view, the less I say about this Amendment, and the Amendments consequential upon it, the better. We can count on the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) to improve on the occasion. The fact is that the Government still believe that the three northern wards of Epsom are part of a continuous town. Their Lordships took a different decision. As the decision was taken at a late stage in the Bill and was the only breach of the peripheral boundary of London, the Government had to decide whether or not to advise the House to agree with the Lords.

In coming to their decision, the Government were pressed very hard, as they had been pressed, I must say, for months past by my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General. After weighing the view that he has always expressed that there was a special factor in the case of Epsom that did not apply to other parts of the boundary, the Government still remain of the opinion that the three northern wards are part of the continuous town, but in view of the strong feelings that have been made known, and the late stage of the Bill, the Government decided, and announced in another place, that they would not seek to reverse that decision. I do not think that it is necessary for me to say more. It would be quite hypocritical for me to seek any credit for what has happened, though I understand that it has given great pleasure in the area.

Mr. Ede

The Minister has moved this Amendment in so disarming a way that I intend to say nothing at this stage on the main object, as I think that reference to the main issue will be more appropriate when we come to the Schedule, and when effect is given to his announcement.

I am, however, a little disappointed. I heard over the wireless, and I think that I subsequently saw in the Press, that line 37 on this page had been deleted, because it was thought, I understood, improper that Chigwell should be left in what was called "solitary isolation". I have had no communication with Chigwell at any time during the Bill's passage through the House, but perhaps the right hon. Gentleman can assure me that the Lords Amendment has been correctly recorded? Or should Chigwell also be deleted from this Clause?

Sir K. Joseph

I think that there was a misreporting at some stage of an earlier Amendment that was not passed. The right hon. Gentleman heard correctly, but what he heard was incorrect. I am verifying that, but I believe it to be true. I will tell him if I am wrong.

Mr. Ede

I find it credible that what I heard was not intended by the speaker.

Question put and agreed to.