HC Deb 07 April 1964 vol 692 cc788-9
21. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs how many local authorities have failed to comply with the Public Lavatories (Turnstiles) Act, 1963; and how many turnstiles still remain in municipal lavatories.

Mr. Corfield

My latest information is that of the 87 authorities which earlier refused to do anything or had not reached a decision, all but 14 have now removed their turnstiles; 7 of these will remove theirs within the next few weeks. I do not know the exact number of turnstiles still remaining.

Mrs. Castle

Is the Minister aware that the deadline for the removal of these turnstiles was two months ago and that these 14 local authorities are breaking the law with impunity? Can he say whether any private citizen would be allowed to break the law in that way without being called to account by the Government or the courts? Will he, therefore, issue immediate instructions to these 14 local authorities to open the doors at the side of the turnstiles to give free and unrestricted access for women to these conveniences without further delay?

Mr. Corfield

My right hon. Friend has no power to take the action suggested by the hon. Lady. I can assure her that my right hon. Friend will use the enforcement powers in the Act where that is appropriate. I am sure that she will appreciate that High Court action which is envisaged is not necessarily appropriate in every case when a delay is likely to be a matter of only a few weeks?