HC Deb 02 February 1965 vol 705 cc874-6
16. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government on how many occasions he has consulted the Minister of Land and Natural Resources before coming to a decision on a planning matter; and what proportion this represents of the decisions he has reached on such matters since 16th October, 1964.

Mr. Crossman

My right hon. Friend and I are in constant contact over policies relating to the supply of land. With regard to particular planning decisions I do, of course, consult my right hon. Friend on cases involving national or regional planning considerations, and in particular on any case affecting a National Park or other like area of countryside of sea-coast.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Would the right hon. Gentleman now be good enough to answer my Question, which was as to the number of occasions on which he has consulted his right hon. Friend?

Mr. Crossman

The right hon. Gentleman was in Government long enough to know that he may ask me whether I consult but that to ask me to give him a list of occasions when I consult is an impertinence which I do not take seriously.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that characteristically courteous answer, may I ask him whether he is aware that his answer makes it clearer than most of his answers do that there has been no such consultation, and that in those circumstances his answer makes a nonsense of the Prime Minister's statement that the Minister of Land and Natural Resources has responsibility for decisions on the use of land?

Mr. Crossman

The implications which the right hon. Gentleman draws from my answer—

Sir H. Nicholls

On a point of order. Since the Table approved a Question which contained the words "on how many occasions", is one to presume that the Table connived at impertinence?

Mr. Speaker

One of the good fortunes of the Table is that they do not have to discuss such matters.

Hon. Members


Mr. Crossman

If the House would like me to continue my answer, I would only say to the right hon. Gentleman that the implications which he drew from my answer are as irrelevant as many of the implications which he draws from answers in the political world.

Mr. Graham Page

Does not the necessity for consultation between two Ministries mean that this will lengthen still further the time for these town planning decisions to be made? Would the Minister consider hiving these off to an independent tribunal, by using the powers in the 1947 Act?

Mr. Crossman

I can assure the hon. Member that we are cutting the time of consultation as short as possible.