HC Deb 28 June 1966 vol 730 cc1582-4
Q1. Mr. G. Campbell

asked the Prime Minister why, in view of the fact that a Royal Commission on Local Government has not been appointed for Wales owing to the existence of alternative bodies studying the subject, he has recommended the appointment of a Royal Commission for Scotland where the Scottish Office and local authorities began a major review in 1963.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

Because it had become clear that an authoritative independent inquiry was needed before the differences of opinion which had emerged in Scotland could be resolved.

Mr. Campbell

Why was Scotland not treated in the same way as Wales, especially as Scotland was two years ahead of both England and Wales with the existing machinery?

The Prime Minister

Scotland had gone ahead in the appointment of the working party and the steering committee of elected councillors. It was because it became clear last year that there were deep differences within these bodies, and apparently irreconcilable differences, and that it was not possible to proceed by agreement that it was thought necessary to have this looked at.

Mr. Birch

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any idea when there will be a decision on Wales?

The Prime Minister

I did not quite hear the right hon. Gentleman's question.

Mr. Birch

Can the Prime Minister say when an announcement will be made about boundaries in Wales?

The Prime Minister

I think that the hon. Gentleman must have missed my previous announcement about the establishment of a Royal Commission to deal with this question. I said at the same time that if there were any urgent cases they could be dealt with ahead of the report.

Mr. W. Baxter

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a certain amount of misgiving in Scotland about the composition of this Royal Commission? Why is it that there is one Labour Member, one Conservative Member and one Liberal Member on the Commission in view of the numbers in this House representing the different political complexions?

The Prime Minister

I was not aware that there was concern in Scotland about the composition. All persons appointed to a Royal Commission are chosen in relation to their inherent and intrinsic qualities rather than any representational capacity.