§ Mr. Reynolds
I beg to ask leave, Mr. Speaker, to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of calling attention to a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,the imminent consideration by the Ealing Borough Council of an application for planning consent to extend their foundry at Long Drive, Greenford, submitted on behalf of Allied Iron Founders Ltd. soon after the payment by that company of at least £150 towards the expenses of a political party to which several members of the Council belong.I submit that this is a definite matter by referring to one single specific issue. The facts, to the best of my knowledge, are not in dispute. They are that in the Guardian for Wednesday, 15th April, information was published of the fact that this company had made a donation of at least £150 to the North Ealing Conservative Party. On Thursday, 16th April, I had a look at the statutory register of planning applications kept by Ealing Borough Council, to which any member of the public has access, and I found that on 2nd April last planning application was submitted by the company for the erection of a single-storey extension to its foundry to provide an additional enamel shop and storage space.
The last piece of information I obtained only a few moments ago, when, in view of the fact that the cash payment and the application for consent were only five weeks apart, I asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government, in order to avoid any note of suspicion falling on the company or the Council, to deal with it under Section 22(1) of the 1962 Act, by which he can call in an application.
The Minister having refused to call in the application, the matter remains for Ealing Borough Council to consider it. The Planning Committee of the Council is to consider it on Monday evening of next week. There would not appear to be any opportunity in the House between now and next Monday evening for this matter to be raised in the ordinary course of business, the Adjournment debates having been 1102 announced and the ordinary debates in the House having been fixed.
As the Minister has the power to call in such an application if he desires, it is a matter of public importance and it deals with more than the ordinary administration of the law. If the matter is considered by the Ealing Borough Council, in view of the close proximity of a considerable cash payment to a political party in the majority on the Council, it will bring the law into contempt and the right of the public to trust in impartility in overseeing planning applications on the part of a local authority.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely,the imminent consideration by the Ealing Borough Council of an application for planning consent to extend their foundry at Long Drive, Greenford, submitted on behalf of Allied Iron Founders Ltd. soon after the payment by that company of at least £150 towards the expenses of a political party to which severa members of the Council belong.I cannot accede to the hon. Gentleman's request to leave that matter to the House. The underlying implication is dependent upon a number of speculative matters.