HC Deb 21 May 1968 vol 765 cc205-41

Question again proposed, That the Clause be read a Second time.

10.0 a.m.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Skeffington.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Arthur Skeffington) rose

Mr. Geoffrey Rippon (Hexham)

The Minister of State had just finished speaking last night—or, at least, there was some indication that he had finished— and I would like the opportunity to reply to what he said before the Joint Parliamentary Secretary deals with this matter.

Last night, at an early hour, the Minister of State, dealing with this new Clause, said that it was a complicated and difficult matter and that we would all benefit from the opportunity to sleep on it. He said, … partly for that reason, and partly for others, I beg to move, That the Proceedings of this day's Sitting be suspended. I well understand that this is a difficult and complex matter. So are all the Clauses brought before the House on this Bill. That is what I was complaining about yesterday afternoon.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I cannot accept that Motion at this stage.

Mr. Rippon

There is no Motion, Mr. Speaker. I am simply talking about the new Clause. The Minister of State last night suspended the Sitting while we were in the middle of discussing the new Clause. He said that he was moving the suspension partly because it was a difficult and complicated matter and partly for other reasons. I wish to deal first of all with the idea that it is a complicated and difficult matter and his suggestion that we should sleep on it. I accept that view, but I complained bitterly yesterday about the way in which 52 pages of new Clauses and Amendments were brought before the House without adequate opportunity to discuss them. Then I had not the slightest idea that the Government would outrageously curtail discussion last night—not because the matter was difficult and complicated but for other reasons.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We cannot debate now something that could not debate last night. We must get on with the debate on new Clause 14.

Mr. Skeffington

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I thought that you called me on the resumption. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I courteously gave way to the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) because I thought he was raising a point of order. May I ask whether you did call me to continue the debate?

Mr. Speaker

I called the hon. Gentleman the Joint Parliamentary Secretary and he gave way to the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon).

Mr. Rippon

We do not know what other reasons the Minister of State had in mind. What are they? I believe that the Government simply had to give way to the payroll vote on which they depend.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We suspended the Sitting on a Motion which was undebatable. We cannot debate on new Clause 14 this morning a Motion which was undebatable last night. The right hon. and learned Gentleman must address himself to the new Clause.

Mr. Rippon

The Minister of State said that he had other reasons for allowing us to sleep on the matter. I think that we are entitled to know what these other reasons were. This has nothing to do with the Motion to suspend, which we could not debate. What the hon. and learned Gentleman really meant was that his hon. Friends did not want to sit late to continue the debate. Right hon. and hon. Members on this side did.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The right hon. and learned Gentleman must take note of what the Chair has said. Under the Sessional Order, the suspension last night was undebatable. We cannot resume the Sitting by debating what was undebatable last night. The Question before the House is, That the Clause be read a Second time, and that is what we are debating.

Mr. Rippon

I still wish to discuss this new Clause and the way in which the Government have dealt with the matter. It is an extremely complicated and difficult position. I hope, therefore, that the Government will allow a very long debate on the matter now so that we can keep things going until those hon. Members who find it inconvenient to be here this morning because they imagined that the debate would go on last night are able to come and explain why they think the matter should be dealt with at the present stage. I am sorry that I find such difficulty in containing my indignation at the way in which the Government treat the House and I appreciate the difficulty you are in, Mr. Speaker. We get no help on this side of the House from the Leader of the House or from the Patronage Secretary. They are concerned with suppressing the rights of minorities.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I have no opinion on the views the right hon. and learned Gentleman seeks to express but he cannot express them on this Motion. We are debating whether the Clause should be read a Second time.

Mr. Rippon

I apologise, Mr. Speaker. I understand that, under the Standing Orders which the Government have imposed, not even the Chair can protect minorities in this Parliament.

Having registered the strongest protest I can at the way in which we have been treated, I come to the new Clause. My hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) dealt at some length with the complications which have arisen as a result of recent legal decisions. Perhaps I may follow the matter up by quoting from the Solicitors' Journal of 10th May, 1968 at page 361. The article is headed, "Permission or nothing". It says: The decision of Lyell J. in Kingsway Investment (Kent) Ltd. v. Kent County Council, which we report on p. 379, seems to have caused a good deal of alarm and despondency, and many people may be wondering whether they hold a good planning permission or just a piece of paper worth nothing. In this case the council had granted in 1952 outline planning permission for developing Trosley Towers Estate subject to a condition that the permission would cease to have effect if approval of the details had not been notified within 3 years, the reason for the condition being to prevent the accumulation of permissions in respect of which no details had been submitted. Lyell J. held the condition to be void because it made no provision to cover the time required for an appeal to the Minister of Housing and Local Government if the council refused approval, and he further held that the permission was not severable, so that it too was void and fell with the condition. The decision is subject to appeal. It appears that a similar condition had been imposed on all outline permissions granted by Kent since 1950. The same may have happened elsewhere. It goes on to put a number of questions which we hope the Joint Parliamentary Secretary will be in a position to answer: Do people who have developed on the faith of such a permission now have unauthorised development? If they have such a permission but have not yet developed what should they do? Is liability to betterment levy effected? Not to worry, seems the answer to all these questions. First, as long ago as 1950 the then Ministry of Town and Country Planning issued a circular, No. 87, saying that it would be reasonable, in appropriate cases, to impose a condition requiring the submission of details for approval within, say, 3 years to prevent the accumulation of permissions. Such a condition, probably used by many planning authorities, simply requiring submission, as distinct from approval, in three years is good under the Kent decision. Secondly, if development has been carried out under a 'bad' Kent type permission it is inconceivable that enforcement proceedings would be taken, or, if taken, would be successful (the words of Lord Denning M.R., referred to in the article 'Planners Estopped' at p. 304 ante seem appropriate). Thirdly, if one has such permission, there seems no reason why one should not submit the details within the specified period and, if granted, start work; the authority could hardly be heard to say the permission was void, and the court, in its discretion, would surely not grant them a declaration that it was. The decision could not affect betterment levy; in cases A and B it is governed by the consideration, not planning permission; in case C the market value is calculated on the basis that planning permission is in force for the relevant development whether or not it has actually been granted. Planning law seems to get curiouser and curiouser. That is from the legal point of view. The ordinary citizen is affected in an absolutely deplorable way from his point of view as a result of the present state of the law. The new Clause is designed to take the first possible opportunity to cure this mischief.

It is not enough under this Government to rely on any advice that might be given in circulars. I have warned local authorities and I warn them again today not to bow down meekly to circulars of exhortation from Whitehall issued by a Government who are without authority and whose actions are arbitrary, dictatorial and bloody-minded, as I said last night. It is not good enough for them to be asked to accept the advice contained in circulars issued by the Government because the word of the Government is not trusted anywhere in Britain. The electors have shown clearly that they despise and distrust this Government, who are kept in office simply by a pay-roll vote. I therefore—

Mr. Speaker

Order. That may or may not be true, but I remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman that we are discussing the new Clause.

Mr. Rippon

I apologise, Mr. Speaker. I was again carried away.

It is no good the Government trying to deal with these matters by way of circulars. If they want to impose their will on the country, they must do it clearly by statute. This new Clause is vital and we will not be satisfied merely with assurances about the Government's intention to look at the matter further. They promised that when we were debating the Countryside Bill and they said it about the Gosling Report. We do not trust assurances given by this Government, particularly when they say that they will look at a matter and do something about it.

Sir Gerald Nabarro (Worcestershire, South)

Does my right hon. and learned Friend recall that there was a good deal of disputation a few days ago about increases in solicitors' charges? Is not that the real reason for the Clause, in that we must be more precise and definitive in our planning law, rather than leave the matter to specious circulars of the Ministry which solicitors find it near impossible correctly to interpret?

Mr. Rippon

I entirely agree. As the Solicitors' Journal explains, this branch of the law is getting "curiouser and curiouser." That may be a nice view to express in an editorial, but for the practising solicitor and his client the law is, in fact, becoming more and more complex. As the Dail Mail said today, one must be a legal wizard as well as a memory man to understand what one must do today to protect one's rights under the laws which are manifestly completely obscure and likely to be extremely detrimental to a large number of citizens, as my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby made clear last night. There is no doubt that the time of a great many members of the legal profession is taken up to an incredible extent by having to study this complex and difficult legislation which we are given so little time to debate in the House and—

Mr. Speaker

Order. From what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said earlier, we are debating an apparently simple Clause.

Mr. Rippon

It is true that we are debating a single Clause, but it affects the rights of the citizen—

Mr. Skeffington

Mr. Speaker said "simple" rather than "single".

Mr. Rippon

It is not really simple. As the Minister said last night, so complex is the matter that we should sleep on it. We have slept on it and our indignation is now unbounded, and the more we study the Clause and the Minister's unsatisfactory answer the more we are determined to do everything in our power to see that it is incorporated in the Bill. We will not be satisfied with assurances from the hon. and learned Gentleman that the issue will be looked at elsewhere. The position of many citizens under existing planning permissions will remain obscure, their rights will be undetermined and their financial position may be seriously affected if we do not press this matter.

10.15 a.m.

As the Solicitors' Journal went on: If the condition had required the work to be started within the three years it would have been good, even though this would necessarily have required the details to be approved within this period (s. 18(3) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1962); That is, unless words are to be implied into the section requiring the period specified to commence with any decision of the Minister on appeal from an approval of details. The Solicitors' Journal did not deal with a matter of equal importance; the difficulty that will arise in regard to the payment of compensation when planning permission is revoked. Normally when a planning permission is revoked the applicant has a right to compensation. His position will be intolerable in the light of the Trosley Towers decision because where a condition is found to be void and the planning permission void as well, no question of revocation will arise and there will be no question of the payment of compensation.

These matters should be dealt with urgently by the House. They are causing great concern to my hon. Friends and we demand that the Government take action without delay. The Minister has now had an opportunity of sleeping on the matter. I presume, from what he said last night, that he meant that he had been taken aback, as it were, by the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby, had been surprised by his argument and needed to consult his advisors on the full legal implications of what he admitted was, and what we concede to be, a complicated matter. I hope, therefore, that we will receive firm assurances from the Government on this subject.

There is a report in the Solicitors' Journal about the case to which I referred. It would not be right for me to go into detail about the legal complexities involved in this matter, although some of my hon. Friends may wish to discuss the points further. This case is a very good illustration of how, with the best will in the world, loopholes can emerge and difficulties arise when drafting legislation. That is why we cannot afford to let these matters simply pass. The Clause is short and straightforward and the Government should have no difficulty in accepting it. Their acceptance of it would represent their intention to deal with the issue expeditiously. Having accepted it, they could later deal not only with the simple proposition in the Clause but with other legal and ancillary matters.

In a complicated matter of this kind it is not easy for the Opposition to draft a new Clause which does much more than draw attention to the mischief. It will, therefore, not be satisfactory for the Minister simply to say that the Clause does not cover everything because we admit that it does not deal with all the implications of recent judicial decisions. The case of Kingsway Investments (Kent) Ltd. v. Kent County Council has spotlighted a real difficulty that should be dealt with at once. Other matters of concern arise out of it and a careful study of the judgments in the case shows that probably a considerable amendment of the law may be necessary if we are to deal not only with the validity of a planning permission and a condition which may be attached to it—and the extent to which the two matters must be considered together—but also fully consider the effect on compensation if a planning permission which would otherwise have had to be revoked is simply found to be void.

We certainly would give every help to the Government, here or in another place, in any effort they may make to draft a new Clause in rather fuller terms. We ought not to let slip the opportunity which is afforded by a Measure of this kind to tidy up the law on town and country planning to the fullest possible extent. With the best will in the world a Government can give assurances that they will introduce legislation at the earliest opportunity, but with this Government the legislative programme is so grossly and scandalously overcrowded that it could be some time before the Leader of the House and the Patronage Secretary could allow the Minister to bring forward another Measure on this subject.

It may be several years before a new Town and Country Planning Bill is introduced. That Bill would be introduced by a Conservative Government, but we too would have problems in clearing up the mess left behind by this Government. We could not promise that all the Measures to repeal or amend Acts passed in this Parliament could be dealt with in the first Session. Therefore, it might be some time before we have a legislative opportunity to put forward this type of Clause again.

While we are waiting for the Government to draft a Clause to meet the situation satisfactorily, we shall face a number of other cases of the Trosley Towers type. As my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby pointed out yesterday, so long as this law remains on the Statute Book the local authorities have no discretion in the matter. If no compensation is payable because a planning permission has been voided instead of simply being revoked, they will not be able to pay compensation. That will be according to statute because no compensation will be payable.

They might apply to the Minister to make ex gratia payments, but we know the difficulties which would then arise. The Treasury would bring forward the old argument and doctrine about ex gratia payments. There might be a number of payments of a similar kind which local planning authorities would request permisison to make, but the Government would be reluctant to allow a local planning authority to incur an open-ended payment which would be difficult to evaluate.

All this makes it imperative that we should deal with this matter under this Clause. We cannot leave the position as it is. As my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby said yesterday—and I have only the report in The Times this morning from which to quote: However unfair it may seem that a public authority should take advantage in that way, a public authority is a trustee for all its citizens and should act according to the law and for their best benefits. If it thinks it is for the benefit of all the citizens that a planning permission should be treated as invalid and revoked, it should do so regardless of what may seem unfair to the individual. But if the law was on the side of the public authority it should not act to the detriment of the majority of its citizens. At this stage Parliament should step in and put the law right. The Minister of State concedes that there is force in my hon. Friend's argument. He said: It would be wrong for developers to lose the benefit of this outline planning permission merely because of the defect in the condition. But then he went on to qualify what is a simple and straightforward problem and said: It does not follow from that that they should have the benefit of such permissions without any conditions at all and I think that would be the effect of his new clause. But it is a complicated and difficult matter and we would all benefit from the opportunity to sleep on it. We have to take great care in drafting a new Clause of this kind and putting it into the Bill to see that we do not create a situation in which we remedy a mischief which has been found to exist in the present law and which the courts have revealed but at the same time create a situation in which we cannot have conditions attached to planning permissions at all. There are many cases in which a planning permission is given with conditions attached to it. Those conditions which are attached relate to a number of matters which I need not go into in detail because the last thing I want to do is to weary the House in any way on this matter.

The condition we are worried about is the condition as to limitation of time. No doubt, there will be other opportunities, as we consider other new Clauses and Amendments, to talk more about the limitations on time which should be attached to planning permissions. I hope the Minister of State understands—although he did not appear to last night— that we are not suggesting that under no circumstances should there be any limitation on time. This has to be operated very flexibly. Whatever limitation there is on time or otherwise, it should not void the planning permission itself and so leave the applicant in a wholly unsatisfactory position. Then, not only would the development be stopped and he would have incurred a great deal of abortive expenditure, but as the law stands there is a real danger that he would not get compensation at all. He cannot get it on the condition that the permission will be revoked if the permission is voided. That is a very serious matter and it has to be faced.

I do not want to go into the merits of the Trosley Towers decision as a decision of the local planning authority in the first instance. It has been a very controversial matter over a long period. It has bothered a series of Governments and a series of Ministers who sought to deal with a situation in which there was genuine feeling that a planning permission had been given which perhaps ought not to have been given but where the cost of revoking it would be extremely high. Therefore, all the pressures from the Treasury and others have perhaps been, "We had better hold off it because it is costly to revoke it."

Where something which is believed to have been detrimental to the ratepayers has been done the local planning authority, whatever the expense, has a clear duty to revoke that decision in the public interest. It may be that the Government ought to find some way of giving the local planning authority a much more substantial grant to help it in a situation of that kind. This Clause might be adapted to make provision whereby any costs of revoking permissions could be borne partly by the Government and partly by the local authority.

We are not disputing the merits of this decision or others of a like kind which may arise. We are saying that the local authority must have power to revoke and that if this gives rise to compensation which is paid on a proper basis there can be no complaint from anyone. But no one foresaw a situation in which the discussion on the argument of the validity of the planning permission would fall to the ground because of the success of the argument that the condition relating to time was void. It was a shocking situation to have arisen.

In this case the difficulty was that Kent County Council granted outline planning permission in 1952 and that permission had a condition attached that it should cease to have effect if approval had not been granted within three years. The council decided not to extend beyond 1952. Certain difficulties arise when a county council or other planning authority imposes conditions as to time and frustrates a development by adhering to that or other conditions attached to the planning permission.

All these matters have to be looked at carefully. I do not think there is anything in this new Clause which undermines the fundamental town and country planning policy which we, equally with hon. Members opposite, wish to uphold to the utmost of our ability. We do not want to create a situation in which we so amend the law that a local planning authority cannot attach conditions to a permission. We do not want to deprive a local planning authority of the right, if it thinks it has made a mistake, to revoke a permission, provided always that it pays proper compensation for having made the mistake in the same way as ordinary members of the community if they make mistakes in their business or private lives have to pay for them. If one makes a bad bargain, one has to pay the cost.

10.30 a.m.

This we perfectly well understand. It may, therefore, be said that the new Clause is directed to a comparatively limited problem. This is not so. What I fear is that there may be a number of other cases which will immediately arise as soon as local authorities or planning authorities read the law report. They have always been afraid that some of their conditions were void and therefore they have not pressed them, but from time to time applicants, particularly those without much money, have accepted those conditions, and therefore the matter has not arisen in the courts. As soon as local planning authorities realise that now, if they have attached a void condition, they can rely on the invalidity of the condition which they themselves have attached to the planning permission, simply in order to cancel that planning permission without compensation, an absolutely intolerable situation might arise.

Now that the majority of local authorities are in good and proper Conservative hands, and there is a bare minimum of Socialist local authorities, the opportunities for injustice are thereby, I hope, considerably removed, but this is a very technical matter. In the case of the Kent County Council the members of the council, who of course had no idea of the way in which this case would be decided, and who, no doubt, were perfectly prepared to pay, if only the permission were revoked, the proper rate of compensation, now find themselves, as my hon. Friend says, in the position that, with the best will in the world, the planning permission having been voided at the same time as the condition, they have no right to pay compensation. Therefore, the vast majority of authorities, which are in good and proper Conservative hands, even if they want to do justice, are prevented from doing so. One reason why it may be necessary to have this Clause is in order to protect local authorities against charges that may be made against them by malicious hon. Members opposite that they are refusing to pay compensation in proper cases out of malice, whereas, of course, they will be refusing to pay compensation, not out of malice, but out of the state of the law.

The Government cannot have it both ways. They cannot say laughingly that the Kent County Council was Conservative, and then refuse to accept the Clause which will enable the Kent County Council and all other local authorities to deal with a difficult case in a right and proper manner. I am sure the Minister of State and the Parliamentary Secretary, who are both reasonable men, will see the force of this argument and yield to it.

I certainly hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will explain in some detail what the Minister of State meant, while conceding the main point of my hon. Friend's argument, when he went on to say: Equally, on the other hand, it does not follow from that that they should have the benefit of such permissions without any condition at all and I think that would be the effect of his new Clause. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will explain whatever defect he and his colleagues and the officials in the Ministry think are in the Clause. We would quite readily accept any advice that they can give us on a matter of drafting. We find some difficulty in seeing what problem arises, but evidently the Minister of State has had some discussion, otherwise he would not have been in a position to say that he thought this difficulty arose. I hope that we will have the benefit of those discussions which the Minister has had with his colleagues, both in the Government and in the Ministry, so that we will know what is their thinking on that matter.

It would also be helpful to know what further difficulties the Minister envisages will arise out of this case. It is a matter which has given us on this side of the House deep concern. As soon as we read the judgment, we realised the full implications and I would be astonished if the Ministry did not as well.

I will indicate one or two of the matters which arise out of the case and which may be the reason why the Minister of State said that our Clause did not take into account the full effect of the situation and might result in our creating a legal situation where planning permissions could not have any conditions at all attached to them. The Solicitors' Journal at page 379 on 10th May summarises the position rather well. Rather than that I should try to do this myself, I will give what is a reasonably authorised version and a reasonably short report of the case. There will be available lengthier reports in The Times Law Reports and subsequently, no doubt, in the Law Reports, but I do not think anyone will suggest that what I shall now refer to is in any way inaccurate or fails to summarise the position reasonably well.

The heading is: Outline planning permission: condition that permission ceases to have effect after stated time unless grantor's approval of detailed plans obtained: no provision preventing time elapsing pending Minister's determination of appeal on question of approval: whether condition and permission void. The facts of the Trosley Tower case were apparently these: In 1952 an application for outline planning permission of an estate was granted by a local planning authority subject to conditions that (i) details of proposed buildings and means of access should be submitted to and approved by the authority before any works were begun, and '(ii) the permission shall cease to have effect after the expiration of three years unless within that time approval has been notified to those matters referred to in condition (i) above'. By successive agreements in writing the time was extended; details were submitted but not approved, and extension of time beyond September 1962 was refused. By writ in January 1966 the freeholders of part of the estate began an action for declarations that condition (ii) was void (as being ultra vires and unreasonable), and that the permission still subsisted. They contended inter alia that no time being limited by S.16 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947 and the Town and Country Planning General Development Order, 1950. (S.I. No. 728) for the Minister to determine an appeal on the question of approval, and condition (ii) not making provision for what was to occur if an appeal was pending when the time elapsed, on the strict wording of the condition an appeal would fall with the condition, because the subject matter was at an end so that the condition derogated from a right of appeal given by S.16 and nullified the effect of a successful appeal by robbing the grantee of a right given by the 1950 Order. The defendants contended inter alia that condition (ii) contained, after 'three years', the implied further words, 'and such time thereafter as is necessary for the Minister to determine any appeal', and conceded that they had made a mistake, so that, unless it could be corrected by implication of the further words, the condition was ultra vires." That makes it clear that the Minister of State was perfectly right when he said that this was a difficult and complex matter. It is a difficult and complex matter, but it is one that must be resolved in view of what Mr. Justice Lyell had to say. He found, if I may summarise the position broadly: … that condition (ii) could not be construed to imply the further words; had they been contained in the condition it would have been valid, but solely on the ground that no provision was made to coyer the time required for an appeal to the Minister condition (ii) was ultra vires and void. Taking into consideration, Pyx Granite Co. Ltd. v. Minister of Housing and Local Government [1958] 1 Q.B. 554, Hall & Co. Ltd. v. Shoreham Urban District Council [1964] 1 W.L.R. 240, and Allnatt London Properties Ltd. v. Middlesex County Council [1964] 62 L.G.R. 304, condition (ii) was incapable of being severed and the permission was void in toto, so that the declaration that the permission still subsisted would be refused. It was in those circumstances that the declarations were made accordingly.

It is true that the matter came before the courts only very recently. But there is no doubt of the astonished reaction in legal and planning circles to the decision. It has caused considerable consternation at the town planning Bar. The Town and Country Planning Association and other bodies have been considering its implications. But we all look, as we must in matters of this kind, to the Government to redress the mischief that has been created. We do not blame them for it. I am perfectly prepared to concede that defects in Conservative as well as Socialist legislation led to the problem.

There has been no ill-will or malice on the part of the Kent County Council. We are not suggesting that the local planning authority acted improperly in resisting the matter in the courts or trying to establish what the law is. All concerned behaved throughout as they see it in accordance with their public or private duties.

We want to establish the law in the best way we can. When a mischief such as this is discovered which strikes seriously at the rights of individuals, Parliament must take the first opportunity to put the matter right. Even at a late hour last night, with hon. Members opposite so jaded that they need a little sleep, I should have thought that the Minister of State, who has clearly been studying the matter for some time and has had discussions with his officials, could say that the Government accepted the Clause. He could have said that they had certain difficulties over its drafting but would be happy to discuss it with us to see if we could arrive at a solution. We should have been happy to stay here all last night in a private room with the Minister of State and the Parliamentary Secretary trying to work out a solution to what is admittedly a complex and difficult problem.

I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will not say, as his hon. and learned Friend did last night, that it is a complex and difficult problem and that the Government see the force of my hon. Friend's argument and are prepared to study it. The way in which the Clause is drafted is complex and difficult, but its purpose is simple—to remedy an injustice and a difficulty which the courts have exposed. It is very fortunate that we have an opportunity so soon after the case was decided to put the matter right. If we had not had it, and if there were a number of similar cases in the rest of the country, the Government might have had to introduce a Miscellaneous Provisions Bill to deal with the problem and any ancillary problems which might appear to arise from the decision.

Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary could read out to us a draft of the Clause which the Government have in mind to overcome the sort of problem to which the Minister of State referred last night. We should certainly consider any such drafting very sympathetically. We do not want to make the problems of the local planning authorities any more difficult. We do not want to create a situation in which bad development is allowed to continue where a mistake is made. But we want to protect the public and the applicant. In the case to which I have referred rights of individuals are very seriously affected.

The Parliamentary Secretary has great connections with Kent and knows very well the circumstances of the Trosley Towers case. He may be able to tell us that it is not likely to arise again in that form, that he can think of no other case that is likely to arise anywhere else in the country. It would be helpful if he could tell us that, and that the Government were prepared to deal with it and any problems of compensation payment on an ex gratia basis. That might justify some delay on the Government's pant, but I can only think that it would be justified in such very special circumstances.

We cannot justify it if there is any possibility of local planning authorities feeling that they must revoke permissions because they think that a mistake has been made, and must then accept under the present Government that the law as it stands means that they cannot pay compensation. It is certainly their duty to their ratepayers to carry out their town and country planning functions under the Statute as strictly as the law requires. It is our business in Parliament to see that the law is so drafted that justice is done and a proper balance can be achieved between the rights, duties and responsibilities of the local planning authority and the developer's right to carry out the development in a sensible and orderly way.

10.45 a.m.

The Minister's objections that the Clause would limit to some extent the rights of local planning authorities to impose conditions with which it is very difficult for an applicant to comply, or which the local planning authority can use as an excuse to delay the development to the point where it can avoid the planning permission, are not well-founded. Perhaps we should take the opportunity in a Clause of this kind to delineate more particularly the sort of conditions a local planning authority could properly apply to a planning permission. The sort of conditions I have in mind are those related to the design of the building—not in too detailed a sense, but in a general sense—lay-out, tree planting and matters of that kind—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I am following the right hon. and learned Gentleman with interest, but he cannot discuss some other Clause with this one.

Mr. Rippon

I was dealing not with another Clause, Mr. Speaker, but the Government's objection last night that the Clause, as drafted, might give a developer the benefit of permission without any conditions at all. I deny that. Perhaps I should have dealt with this matter rather more fully. I do not think that the effect of the Clause will be to interfere in any way with a local planning authority's right to attach proper conditions to a planning permission. We on this side of the House are not complaining about appropriate conditions. If the Minister says that the Clause has the effect that there will be no conditions, I agree that an Amendment might be necessary either now or in another place. But we do not trust the Government so much that we shall accept an assurance. We want them to accept the Clause as it stands, though we would expedite, so far as is in our power, the introduction of Amendments to it later.

Do the Government believe that the Clause has the effect of eliminating the right of a planning authority to impose any conditions or simply to eliminate certain conditions? If it eliminated a condition of the sort which arose in the Trosley Towers case—a limitation of time by which the local planning authority might frustrate development in such a way that it could then void the planning permission instead of revoking it, and thereby avoid payment of compensation —our Clause should stand in any event. If it has simply that effect of dealing with the mischief revealed in the Trosley Towers case, the Minister's argument is not valid.

I do not think that it follows from anything I say this morning that we need any new Clause other than that we are now considering. It deals with all the matters which arose in the Trosley Towers case. It deals with the mischief so manifestly revealed by the courts without detracting in any way from the statutory rights, duties and responsibilities of the local planning authorities to strike the proper balance between the interests of the general public in good planning and the interests of the individual applicant who, in all good faith, makes a planning application which is accepted by the local planning authority and goes ahead with the work in the belief that nothing the local planning authority does will so frustrate him by the application of any conditions attached to it as to deprive him of all right to compensation in the circumstances which arose in that case. As I said, I do not dissent from the Minister's view that it is a complicated and difficult matter. I hope, therefore, that the House will understand why—

Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)

On a point of order. Is not the right hon. and learned Gentleman repeating arguments at least three times? He has referred, in one form or another, to the balance between local authorities and the central Government. Is it not obvious that he is now guilty of undue repetition of the arguments involved in the Trosley Towers case?

Mr. Speaker

The Chair has to decide when an hon. Member not only repeats arguments, but has become tedious. The Chair must decide when an hon. Member is engaged in tedious repetition.

Mr. Rippon

I am grateful for your ruling on the matter, Mr. Speaker. I have done my best, given that the Minister of State says that it is an extremely difficult and complex matter, not to go into too much detail. We are discussing matters of grave importance to the individual citizen. It may ruin some people who have acted in good faith concerning planning permission who find, when it is voided, that they get no compensation for the action of the local planning authority, and the local planning authority cannot do anything about it because the law does not enable it to do so.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The right hon. and learned Member is now repeating an argument which he has made several times.

Mr. Rippon

It must not be thought that we are trying to hold up the work of the House in any way. We are doing our best to simplify and explain a detailed matter. I have not dealt with a fuller report of the case. Perhaps I should have done. I thought that it would be sufficient for our purposes to deal with the report of the case in The Solicitors' Journal which gives the main facts and considerations of law which apply. If, by doing that, I have not succeeded in convincing hon. Gentlemen opposite of the importance of the matter, I am very distressed. We must accept, and I certainly accept, that in—

Mr. T. L. Iremonger (Ilford, North)

On a point of order. I am glad to hear my right hon. and learned Friend say this. I think that a fuller exposition of this case would be very welcome. It is extremely complex, and we have not had the benefit of hearing the argument before. We have merely had this brief report from The Solicitors' Journal. A fuller explanation would be helpful.

Mr. Speaker

I can understand the interest of the hon. Member, but his right hon. and learned Friend will conduct his speech in his own way.

Mr. Rippon

I am grateful both to you, Mr. Speaker, and to my hon. Friend who was trying to be helpful. I apologise to him and to the House if I have failed to go into the matter in sufficient depth. I can assure the House that we will try to get a fuller report of the case. I am trying to present the broad statement of policy for the Opposition. I will leave my hon. Friends subsequently to raise some of the more specific points of detail which necessarily arise in considering this difficult and complex matter.

Sir G. Nabarro

Does my right hon. and learned Friend realise that, to laymen like myself, his somewhat attenuated explanation of what occurred in the courts did not make the position abundantly clear? The Liberal bench was empty and that party did not, therefore, have the benefit of his advice. The sole occupant of the Liberal bench has just arrived. I am sure that he wishes further and better particulars of the court proceedings. Will my right hon. and learned Friend be more expansive in this context?

Mr. Speaker

Order. If the hon. Member's right hon. and learned Friend were more expansive, the Chair would be a little more contractive.

Mr. Rippon

I understand your view in this regard, Mr. Speaker. It certainly would be out of order, wearisome and tedious repetition if I informed the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) of all that I had said before he came into the Chamber. It is fair to say that he has been most assiduous in his attend-dance. He represents a higher proportion of the Liberal Party attending our discussions than the Government, who are thinly represented on these matters. The Liberal Party tries, as we do, to defend the rights of individual citizens against the over-mighty Whitehall machine.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The right hon. and learned Member must come back to the Clause.

Mr. Rippon

I apologise for the diversion, but I felt it was fair to the hon. Member for Orpington that his position should be clarified. I will not repeat what I have said about this matter. However, I hope that the hon. Member for Orpington and other right hon. and hon. Members will have an early opportunity to study the case of Kingsway Investments (Kent) Ltd. v. Kent County Council.

I hope that others of my hon. Friends will follow up and reinforce the points I have made. I am not one lone Member raising a point about which I happen to feel some interest. It is a matter which raises widespread interest on these benches. I had hoped that more of my hon. Friends would be here by now. They were all waiting to speak last night, but they have other engagements this morning. I apprehend that they are trying to create a situation whereby they can come back and carry on with the proceedings.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The right hon. and learned Gentleman must resist temptation..

Mr. Rippon

One thing I cannot resist is temptation, Mr. Speaker. That is a defect which I will try to remedy. I apologise.

We must try to elucidate these matters as quickly as possible. We will do our best, but I am bound to say that I was very disappointed in the Minister's reply last night. I hope I have raised enough questions for the Minister to give a full reply and to state in particular what he thinks is the effect of the recent decision of the courts, what action the Government propose to take, why he thinks that our Clause is defective, and, if it is defective, whether the Government will accept it as it stands. That will be the best possible assurance of their good faith in the matter, because there will be nothing to prevent them providing the necessary elaboration at a later stage.

Mr. Skeffington

It may be for the convenience of the House if I reply to some of the points which have been made. The House will not expect me to follow the rather melodramatic and histrionic parts of the introductory portion of the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon). There were points in the latter part of his argument which require a reply, and I shall deal with those points in the course of my remarks.

Whatever the situation may be, this debate has given us the opportunity of hearing the right hon. and learned Gentleman speak for 55 minutes this morning—24 minutes longer than he spoke on Second Reading. The House will be able to weigh up the two contributions he has made and decide which is the more valuable. I have no doubt about which was the more valuable contribution.

First, I will deal with the important points put by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page). To get the record straight, I should say that the condition which was inserted into the planning permission, the subject of the action which has given rise to the new Clause, was not a condition that derived directly or in terms from any circular issued by the Ministry. The hon. Member for Crosby thought that it was. The relevant paragraph of Planning Circular No. 87, issued in May, 1950, reads: It is, however, suggested that it would be reasonable, in order to prevent the accumulation of permissions in respect of which no plans have been submitted for approval, to attach a condition to permissions of this type requiring that the plans shall be submitted within a period, e.g. three years. The word there is "submitted", not "approved". The submission of the plan is within the control of the developer. I have little doubt that had those words been used in the case to which reference has been made, we should have been saved a good deal of consideration. Submission is a matter which a developer can control, but the approval is a matter within the control of the local planning authority. I should get this straight, because local planning authorities may have felt that the Ministry's guidance was wrong, whereas it was not. The High Court decision—

11.0 a.m.

Mr. Robert Cooke (Bristol, West)

Before the hon. Gentleman leaves the question of the Circular, would he not agree that it would be easier if these things were embodied in a Statute so that there was no difficulty?

Mr. Skeffington

The hon. Gentleman, who has a great interest in these matters, will surely realise that the amount of detail which can be put into legislation is limited. If there is to be any flexibilty in applying planning, there must be general guidance. Anyone with experience in planning matters realises that though one must include in a Statute those provisions which confer rights and obligations on parties, conditions, because of their infinite variety, are a matter for guidance.

What the hon. Gentleman has not appreciated is that, if a condition is put in a planning permission but is felt to be onerous or unfair, the applicant can appeal to the Minister on the condition itself. This matter is better left like that. Hon. Gentlemen may complain about the length of planning Statutes but if one were to try to cover every conceivable factor, there would be no limitation at all upon them—

Sir G. Nabarro rose—[Interruption.]: Perhaps the Minister of State would stop mumbling when his colleague has given way to me.

I want to ask a perfectly explicit question. How can a would-be developer possibly know the contents of a Ministerial circular to a local authority?

Mr. Skeffington

I have great respect for the knowledge of the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) in many fields, but he is probably not aware of the procedures followed here. There are issued, by the Ministry and other bodies advising developers, bulletins, decisions on planning cases and helpful guidance, which the practitioners tell me that they find of the greatest assistance.

Several Hon. Members rose

Sir G. Nabarro

It is not good enough—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)

Order. The Parliamentary Secretary is not giving way.

Sir G. Nabarro

Well, would he give way now? Why is he being so dogmatic?

Mr. Deputy Speaker


Mr. Skeffington

It would probably be convenient to the House and fair to myself if I were allowed to answer the points seriously put by the hon. Member for Crosby. I have dealt with his reference to the circular which might have been thought to mislead either this authority or others.

He next suggested that, as a result of this case, a large number of permissions are jeopardised or subject to uncertainty. We have made some inquiries about this. I cannot yet say precisely what the conclusion will be, because we are still receiving information, but the number of cases which might be vulnerable to the enforcement procedure—this is the crux of the new Clause—appears to be very small. I will not go beyond that, because inquiries are still going on, but up to this moment that would appear to be the position. In other cases, of course, development has taken place and the circumstances have changed, and there is probably only a very small number of such instances.

This does not mean that, even in those cases, it is not right and proper in consideration of the factors to introduce legislation to deal with the changed situation. This is one of the matters which my hon. and learned Friend said last night that we were considering. But, in relation to such cases which might have been affected, there is a fairly simple way in which the matter can be corrected. The developer could ask for a new planning application and, if the local authority refused, he could appeal to the Minister. Therefore, if there is any difficulty in the interim, it can be dealt with in this way.

Both the hon. Member for Crosby and the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham based their arguments on the assumption that Mr. Justice Lyell's judgment was a final definition of the law. I do not know whether this will be so. I understand that the plaintiffs are considering appealing. So another situation may then arise. It may be found that the condition or the permission was not invalid and there could be a reversal of those two elements. This must be taken into account because it is important to any consideration of whether to legislate now, as well as of the form which that legislation should take.

The hon. Gentleman realises, I think, that this new Clause must be retrospective and I know that hon. Members opposite normally show signs of horror when one talks about retrospection. If there were no retrospective elements, there would be no point in having the new Clause, and no doubt both Front Bench speakers accept this. However, if retrospective legislation of this sort were introduced now, whether or not the matter goes to appeal, it would be an odd practice in a matter affecting a particular case. It would certainly be so if we adopted this proposal. This consideration must weigh with the House and the Government.

Is the new Clause to deal only with the allegedly invalid time condition, as found by the Queen's Bench court, or is it to deal with other, similar conditions which may also be held, if the judgment is upheld, to be invalid? One needs to take further advice and consultation. This is of wide import. While one wishes to put matters right, particularly on the compensation point—and I find it difficult to imagine circumstances in which a local authority could so act, although it is theoretically possible—one also wants to consider those circumstances. At the same time, are we then, as the new Clause states, to suggest that these planning permissions, given before the introduction of the Bill and allegedly invalid because of the time condition, are then to be granted without further conditions?

This could be extremely damaging to other developers and interests. For that reason alone, the new Clause does not commend itself to the Government. The hon. Member for Crosby has certainly made a valiant effort to deal with the situation as a result of the Kingsway Property case. It is a serious point, particularly in relation to the possible use of this judgment, if upheld, to avoid compensation in certain cases. We do not know what the final state of the law will be. We do not think that there are a great number of cases involved, and there is an immediate remedy for those, as a fresh planning permission can be secured.

If the hon. Gentleman will withdraw this new Clause my hon. and learned Friend will undertake, between now and its stages in another place, to have further consultations about possible legis- lation in the light of the circumstances I have mentioned. We must take into account what the final determination of the law will be. I am not giving an undertaking that inevitably the Government will introduce a new Clause. We might find that the anomalies that would be created by the introduction of a Clause with retrospection of this kind may be much greater than if we did not act, particularly as I have indicated, there are ways in which the difficulties can be overcome.

11.15 a.m.

Mr. Rossi

First, I would apologise to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for not being in my place when the debate resumed. I had other arrangements made for this morning, and had a certain amount of telephoning to do in order to cancel them. In common with many hon. Members, I had been ready to be here all night to debate this very important matter, but the Minister was tired and wanted to go to bed.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

If the hon. Gentleman had been in his place he would have heard Mr. Speaker say that the Motion we carried last night was not debatable then, and is not debatable now.

Mr. Rossi

I am not complaining. I hope that the Minister feels much better as a result of his rest. Certainly my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) felt much better, and had obviously benefited from his night's rest. He was in splendid form this morning. We were delighted to hear him analyse this new Clause and the circumstances that had given rise to it. The House is indebted to him for the very full way in which he has explained what is behind it. There are one or two other matters which gave concern in the Kingsway case. It is evident from the report that the original planning application was made in 1952, but it was not until 10 years later, after a number of detailed plans had been submitted, that the planning authority finally said that it would not extend the applicant's time any further. It is quite wrong that such a period of time should be allowed to elapse in this way. The Joint Parliamentary Secretary has said that he will look into this very carefully.

Mr. Skeffington

I know of this case very well. There were two or three public inquiries in the interim period, and the application was not proceeded with.

Mr. Rossi

The country is anxious that development should go forward rapidly, and this situation underlines the defect in our system. Land here has remained undeveloped for 10 years while planning applications were submitted and public inquiries held. Will the Joint Parliamentary Secretary also look at the question he raised concerning the misinterpreting of Departmental circulars by local authorities? This case apparently arose because the word "submission" was transposed by the word "approval". Would he ask local authorities to indicate what kind of conditions they are attaching to planning permissions?

Forgive me, Mr. Deputy Speaker, if I pause until I have the attention of the Joint Parliamentary Secretary. We have a very important matter before the House. The Joint Parliamentary Secretary has raised a point of principle. He has admitted that this is a question that is giving him great concern. Hon. Members are trying to be helpful and to put forward suggestions for his consideration. He may not value them very highly, but it is a matter of common courtesy for him to pay a little attention to the suggestions we are making, otherwise the Parliamentary procedure in the House is valueless.

Mr. MacDermot

The hon. Member must not think that we are not listening to him. He raises such interesting points that we want to discuss them immediately among ourselves, but we can listen to his argument at the same time.

Mr. Rossi

I am most grateful. I forgot that the Minister had two ears.

I was asking the Minister whether they would consider asking local authorities to send to them details of the types of conditions which are attached to outline planning permissions and, having collated that information and examined the conditions, giving still further advice to local authorities so that there may be a uniform system throughout the country. This would possibly involve the Minister and his Department in a considerable amount of work but, if it would prevent cases such as the present Kingsway case coming before the courts, that time might be well spent.

The Parliamentary Secretary stated as one of the main points of his reply that there were very few cases affected by this decision of the courts. He qualified his statement by saying, "cases vulnerable to enforcement procedure." Presumably, he meant cases in which developers have already started work under an outline planning permission subject to a condition of this kind and where the planning permission now falls to the ground because it is rendered void by the court decision. It may well be that there are few cases in which the work is in hand at the moment, but it is not merely that narrow range of cases which the Minister has to consider; it is also cases in which the work has long since been completed under planning permission of this kind and cases in which work has not yet been started.

It is true that he said that where this happens the applicant can make a fresh planning application. He regards what he has been given as a scrap of paper, absolutely worthless, he cannot proceed with it, and, therefore, he applies to the local planning authority for fresh planning permission. The local authority may change its mind and, where before it gave conditional planning permission, on this occasion it will give none at all.

This raises the considerations that my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) put forward concerning escape from liability for compensation, but I do not intend to pursue that particular aspect of the matter. I am concerned with the matter of procedure. Where an applicant is refused planning permission which he had before, he can then appeal. Perhaps the Minister will be very generous to appellants in such circumstances.

I do not know what his policy will be, but it may well be that he will consider that where this situation has arisen it would be inequitable for a person to be denied planning permission which he has had for many years merely because of a technical fault which the courts have decided invalidates the whole of that permission. The local authority might object and there might be public inquiries.

I am concerned with the enormous waste of time and effort this would involve for the developers, the local authorities, the Minister, his Department and all the professional advisers who assist the developers. This could be avoided very simply by a new Clause to meet this difficulty here and now. The Minister must decide whether he should make a real effort—as he promised to try to do, although he has not given the undertaking we should like to have from him—to find a suitable form of clause to incorporate in the Bill which would save him, his Department, local authorities, private developers and all their various advisers the waste of time and expense that would arise from putting in fresh applications and possibly going to appeal to replace planning permissions which the courts have decided to invalidate.

I ask the Minister to consider that aspect of the matter extremely seriously, because people have enough to do without having to contend with the paper and bureaucratic work which will be involved unless he is prepared to be definitive and purposeful now and bring in legislation to correct the present position.

The Parliamentary Secretary has said that he might be saved work by a reversal of the decision in the Court of Appeal. This is perfectly true, but he would also be doing a great service to the ratepayers of Kent if he took a firm decision on this matter so that there would be no need for further litigation. The Minister has said that the Kent County Council would be obliged to defend the decision if the developers decided to appeal. This again would inevitably lead to expense for the county council and the ratepayers. A simple decision on a point which the Minister acknowledges to be right concerning something which needs remedying would save the ratepayers of Kent the expense of further litigation. I feel sure that they would be extremely grateful if the Minister could see his way to doing this.

I have tried not to trespass too much on the time of the House and to deal only with points which my right hon. and learned Friend had not already mentioned, and I am grateful to the House for its indulgence.

Mr. Iremonger

I must join my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi) in apologising to the House for not having found it possible to be here sharp at 10 o'clock as I would have wished. Hon. Members have pressing duties to fulfil and when arrangements are made in advance and then, at a few hours' notice, the House has to meet at 10 o'clock, it is not always possible to throw the whole thing into reverse. Therefore, we may be slightly delayed.

I wish to make some comments on the debate so far, which I have followed very closely. I was particularly impressed by the powerful and incontrovertible case made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) on the merits of the new Clause. I listened very carefully to the answer which the Parliamentary Secretary gave to his powerful appeal that the House should give the Clause its blessing.

11.30 a.m.

It seemed to me that the Joint-Parliamentary Secretary, in perfect good faith, and with his usual courtesy and good sense, based his resistance to the Clause on principles of legislative procedure rather than on the merits of the Clause as it called for an amendment to the law. He said that if we were to pass the Clause it would be retrospective in effect. He prayed in aid the proper abhorrence which is felt, more passionately on this side of the House than on the other, against retrospective legislation, but he revealed that he had not really got the spirit of the objection that we have to retrospective legislation. Retrospective legislation, which the hon. Gentleman prayed in aid, is acceptable when it remedies an injustice to an individual. It is objectionable only when it punishes action de novo which was lawful at the time when the action was performed.

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman's first objection on the ground of retrospection stands, because if it did all acts of Government with regard to ex-gratia payments would be objectionable in principle because they are by definition retrospective. Therefore, I would not mind the House passing a new Clause which was going to have beneficial retrospective effects.

Secondly, if I understood the hon. Gentleman aright, he said that we should not legislate while the case which has given rise to the Clause is sub-judice to the extent that it is susceptible to appeal to the House of Lords. I do not think that that is sound. Whether or not the appeal has what the House would regard as a satisfactory effect on the case, what is certain now is that the law is not clear, and surely if the law is not clear no harm can be done to any parties to litigation by clarifying the law so that the expense of the appeal may be avoided, and future cases will not arise. Therefore I cannot feel that the House ought to be persuaded by the second leg of the hon. Gentleman's argument.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) was supported by the authority of town planning Bar and the whole professional town planning field. There is no question but that an injustice has been done. Private interest has been hugely damaged because of a court's decision on the meaning of the law which was made by this House. It is, therefore, surely our duty to clarify the law without delay, first so that those who are at present victims of it are not further penalised, and secondly so that it cannot happen again.

Thirdly, in replying to my right hon. and learned Friend, the Joint Parliamentary Secretary gave an assurance that between now and the consideration of the Bill in another place he and his right hon. Friend would consider the matter again. I should have thought that it would have been better, and the House would have been more fully reassured, if. as an earnest of his good intentions he had said that he would introduce a new Clause now, making the best meal of it that he could to remedy this injustice somehow or other, and then it would still have been open to the Government, when the Bill with the new Clause was introduced in another place, to have had the benefit of second thoughts and made it even more perfect if, possibly by risking a slightly hasty judgment, they had not made the most perfect Amendment here.

Having listened carefully to my right hon. and learned Friend, and having, in all fairness, given the benefit of every possible doubt to the hon. Gentleman, I do not think that he made out a sub- stantial case against the Clause, either on its merits, which he did not challenge, or on its desirability as being necessary for incorporation in the Bill in its present or slightly different form. I hope that the House will take the opportunity very shortly to divide against the rejection of the Clause. I can see no objection to it either in form or in principle, and if there were any objection in form it could be remedied in another place.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Deputy Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Silkin) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put: —

The House proceeded to a Division

Mr. Rippon

(seated and covered): On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, can you give the House guidance on this matter? As the Minister of State said, we have been dealing with an extremely complex and difficult matter. We have had a debate which has not been of great length. My hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) has been deprived of his normal right of reply. Has the House no protection against the Patronage Secretary and the deplorable way in which he conducts our affairs?

Mr. Speaker

The right hon. and learned Member cannot question the acceptance of the Closure by Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Rippon

On a point of order. Is there any way in which we can question the right of the Patronage Secretary to change the business in a way which creates the maximum discomfort and difficulty for hon. Members, and then, having changed the business, he prevents us from having another opportunity of discussing a matter of grave public importance? What can we do about a Government who are sustained simply by the payroll vote?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is a point of argument, not a point of order. The right hon. and learned Member must raise it in other ways; not at this stage.

The House divided: Ayes 157, Noes 86.

Division No. 152.] AYES [11.35 a.m.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Harper, Joseph Pavitt, Laurence
Archer, Peter Haseldine, Norman Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Armstrong, Ernest Heffer, Eric S. Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Henig, Stanley Pentland, Norman
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice Hooley, Frank Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Horner, John Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Barnett, Joel Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.) Price, William (Rugby)
Baxter, William Hoy, James Randall, Harry
Bidwell, Sydney Huckfield, Leslie Rankin, John
Blackburn, F. Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.) Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hunter, Adam Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St.P'c'as)
Booth, Albert Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak) Robinson, w. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Bray, Or. Jeremy Kelley, Richard Roebuck, Roy
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Kenyon, Clifford Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Rose, Paul
Buchan, Norman Lawson, George Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Leadbitter, Ted Ryan, John
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Ledger, Ron Shaw, Arnold (llford, S.)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton) Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Davidson, Arthur (Accrington) Lestor, Miss Joan Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford) Lough[...]in, Charles Skeffington, Arthur
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Slater, Joseph
Dell, Edmund McBride, Neil Small, William
Dempsey, James MacDermot, Niall Snow, Julian
Dewar, Donald Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen) Spriggs, Leslie
Dickens, James Mackintosh, John P. Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Doig, Peter McNamara, J. Kevin Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Dunnett, Jack MacPherson, Malcolm Symonds, J. B.
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Thornton, Ernest
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Mapp, Charles Tinn, James
Eadie, Alex Marks, Kenneth Urwin, T. W.
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Marquand, David Varley, Eric G.
English, Michael Maxwell, Robert Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Ennals, David Mayhew, Christopher Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley) Mendelson, J. J. Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Faulds, Andrew Millan, Bruce Wallace, George
Fernyhough, E. Miller, Dr. M. S. Watkins, David (Consett)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Milne, Edward (Blyth) Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Moonman, Eric Whitaker, Ben
Fowler, Gerry Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Whitlock, William
Fraser, John (Norwood) Norwood, Christopher Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Freeson, Reginald Ogden, Eric Willis, Rt. Hn. George
Galpern, Sir Myer O'Malley, Brian Winnick, David
Gardner, Tony Orbach, Maurice Woodbum, Rt. Hn. A.
Gourlay, Harry Orme, Stanley Woof, Robert
Gregory, Arnold Oswald, Thomas Yates, Victor
Grey, Charles (Durham) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Owen, Will (Morpeth) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Paget, R. T. Mr. Walker-Harrison and
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Park, Trevor Mr. J. D. Concannon.
Hamling, William Parker, John (Dagenham)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Eden, Sir John Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Elliott, R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Astor, John Emery, Peter Monro, Hector
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Montgomery, Fergus
Biffen, John Gower, Raymond More, Jasper
Biggs-Davison, John Grant, Anthony Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Boardman, Tom Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Murton, Oscar
Bossom, Sir Clive Gurden, Harold Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Onslow, Cranley
Brewis, John Hill, J. E.B. Page, Graham (Crosby)
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Holland, Philip Pardoe, John
Burden, F. A. Hutchison, Michael Clark Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Carlisle, Mark Iremonger, T. L. Pink, R. Bonner
Clark, Henry Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Pounder, Rafton
Clegg, Walter Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Pym, Francis
Cooke, Robert Kershaw, Anthony Quennell, Miss J. M.
Costain, A. P. Kirk, Peter Rees-Davies, W. R.
Crouch, David Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Currie, G. B. H. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Dalkeith, Earl of Lubbock, Eric Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.) McAdden, Sir Stephen Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.) Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty) Russell, Sir Ronald
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Mawby, Ray Scott, Nicholas
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley) Wright, Esmond
Sinclair, Sir George Ward, Dame Irene Wylie, N. R.
Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William Younger, Hn. George
Steel, David (Roxburgh) Williams, Donald (Dudley)
Temple, John M. Willis, Rt. Hn. George TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy Winstanley, Dr. M. P. Mr. Timothy Kitson and
Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick Mr. Reginald Eyre.

Question put accordingly, That the Clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 87, Noes 155.

Division No. 153.] AYES [11.44 a.m.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Gurden, Harold Pounder, Rafton
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Pym, Francis
Astor, John Hill, J. E. B. Quennell, Miss J. M.
Biffen, John Holland, Philip Rees-Davies, W. R.
Biggs-Davison, John Hutchison, Michael Clark Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Boardman, Tom Iremonger, T. L. Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Bossom, Sir Clive Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Brewis, John Kershaw, Anthony Russell, Sir Ronald
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Kirk, peter Scott, Nicholas
Burden, F. A. Kitson, Timothy Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Carlisle, Mark Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Sinclair, Sir George
Clark, Henry Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Clegg, Walter Lubbock, Eric Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Cooke, Robert McAdden, Sir Stephen Temple, John M.
Costain, A. P. Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross & Crom'ty) Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Crouch, David Mawby, Ray Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Currie, G. B. H. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)
Dalkeith, Earl of Mills, Peter (Torrington) Ward, Dame Irene
Davidson, James(Aberdeenshire, W.) Monro, Hector Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.) Montgomery, Fergus Williams, Donald (Dudley)
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) More, Jasper Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Eden, Sir John Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Winstanley, Dr. M, P.
Elliott, R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Murton, Oscar Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Emery, Peter Nabarro, Sir Gerald Wright, Esmond
Eyre, Reginald Onslow, Cranley Wylie, N. R.
Farr, John Page, Graham (Crosby) Younger, Hn. George
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Par doe, John
Gower, Raymond Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Pink, R. Bonner Mr. Anthony Grant and
Mr. Humphrey Atkins.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) English, Michael Kenyon, Clifford
Archer, Peter Ennals, David Kerr, Russell (Feltham)
Armstrong, Ernest Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley) Lawson, George
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Fernyhough, E. Leadbitter, Ted
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Ledger, Ron
Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)
Bagier, Cordon A. T. Fowler, Gerry Loughlin, Charles
Barnett, Joel Fraser, John (Norwood) Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Baxter, William Freeson, Reginald McBride, Neil
Bidwell, Sydney Galpern, Sir Myer MacDermot, Niall
Blackburn, F. Gardner, Tony Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Gourlay, Harry Mackintosh, John P.
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Gregory, Arnold McNamara, J. Kevin
Booth, Albert Grey, Charles (Durham) MacPherson, Malcolm
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J. Mapp, Charles
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Marks, Kenneth
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Marquand, David
Buchan, Norman Hamling, William Maxwell, Robert
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Harper, Joseph Mayhew, Christopher
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Haseldine, Norman Mendelson, J. J.
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Heffer, Eric S. Millan, Bruce
Davidson, Arthur (Accrington) Henig, Stanley Miller, Dr. M. S.
Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford) Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret Milne, Edward (Blyth)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hooley, Frank Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Dell, Edmund Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Norwood, Christopher
Dempsey, James Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.) Ogden, Eric
Dewar, Donald Hoy, James O'Malley, Brian
Dickens, James Huckfield, Leslie Oram, Albert E.
Doig, Peter Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.) Orbach, Maurice
Dunnett, Jack Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Orme, Stanley
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter) Hunter, Adam Oswald, Thomas
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)
Eadie, Alex Jones, Dan (Burnley) Owen, Will (Morpeth)
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Kelley, Richard Paget, R. T.
Park, Trevor Rote, Paul Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valey)
Parker, John (Dagenham) Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.) Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Pavitt, Laurence Ryan, John Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Pearson, Arthur (pontypridd) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.) Wallace, George
Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford) Watkins, David (Consett)
Pentland, Norman Silverman, Julius (Aston) Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)
Perry, Ernest C. (Battersea, S.) Skeffington, Arthur Whitaker, Ben
Price, Christopher (Perry Barr) Slater, Joseph Whitlock, William
Price, Thomas (Westhoughton) Small, William Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Price, William (Rugby) Snow, Julian Willis, Rt. Hn. George
Rankin, John Spriggs, Leslie Winnick, David
Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.) Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.) Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Robertson1, John (Paisley) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Woof, Robert
Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St.P'c'as) Symonds, J. B. Yates, Victor
Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.) Thornton, Ernest
Rodgers, William (Stockton) Tinn, James TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Roebuck, Roy Urwin, T. W. Mr. Walter Harrison and
Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Varley, Eric G. Mr. J. D. Concannon.
Back to
Forward to