§ 5. Mr. Leo Abse
asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he is aware of public concern that issues of policy are being decided by an official of the Cwmbran Development Corporation without reference to the members of the board; and whether he will give a direction that no official of the corporation in his public capacity will express controversial political opinions purported to be made on behalf of the board to the constituents of the hon. Member for Pontypool.
§ 4. Mr. Anderson
asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he is aware of the concern of residents of Cwmbran New Town about a decision taken by an official of the corporation refusing permission for an exhibition to be staged in the town centre; whether he will give a direction to officials of new town development corporations concerning their discretionary power; and whether he will further require officials in their public capacity to refrain from an expression of their political views to the constituents of the hon. Member for Monmouth.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Ifor Davies)
This is a matter for the corporation and not one on which my right hon. Friend can issue a direction.
§ Mr. Abse
Does not my hon. Friend appreciate that that is a most unsatisfactory reply? The official concerned—zealous, enthusiastic and dedicated as he is to his work—has written to the politically mature constituents in my area in a way which is not only politically naïve but which they find politically offensive? It is surely the duty of the Minister to control officials so that they do not indulge in public political controversy?
§ Mr. Davies
I assure my hon. Friend that my right hon. Friend fully appro. ciates the concern of my hon. Friend in this matter, but there is no provision under the New Towns Act whereby my right hon. Friend can issue directions concerning the duties or conduct of officials of the corporation. The corporation is responsible for the appointment of staff, including the general manager, and the conduct of officials is essentially a matter for the corporation.