HC Deb 14 January 1975 vol 884 cc310-5

9.15 p.m.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I beg to move Amendment No. 46, in page 14, line 29, leave out from 'representations' to end of line 31 and insert 'and the Secretary of State shall afford to any person who has made any representation an opportunity of appearing before and being heard by a person appointed by the Secretary of State for the purpose'.

Mr. Speaker

With this amendment, we may discuss Amendment No. 47, in line 32 after 'representations', insert 'and the report of the person appointed to hear representations'. also standing in the name of the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith).

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Amendment No. 47 is consequential, Mr. Speaker.

The purpose of Amendment No. 46 is simple. I am seeking to write into the expedited acquisition order procedure the opportunity for those who object to their land being acquired or who are affected by the procedure to make written representations to the Secretary of State and to make it obligatory on him to give them the opportunity for their objections to be heard.

I do not expect the Government to accept the amendment because, I imagine, they will say that it cuts across the expedited acquisition procedure. We rehearsed many of the arguments in Committee, and I will not repeat them all. I merely put two brief points.

First, many of us doubt whether this procedure is necessary. Even if it is necessary, we do not believe that the form proposed in the Bill gets to the root of the problem. If the procedure is not necessary, we should write into the Bill as much protection as possible for those affected, and the amendment would give people the right to be heard in cases where their individual rights and property may be affected.

Secondly, I contemplated putting down such an amendment in Committee but did not do so because I accepted that it would drive a big hole through the Government's intentions. On reflection since then, however, I am less worried about driving a hole through the Bill. I have had representations on the matter not only from the Scottish Landowners' Federation and other such organisations, but also from the Law Society of Scotland. The Law Society feels that the expedited order procedure cuts across the rights of individuals, and it commends the amendment. I have respect for the opinions of such a body, and with the strength of its support I have considerable confidence in moving the amendment.

Mr. Skeet

Paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 should be withdrawn and remodelled, particularly as similar words appeared in Schedule 2 of the Land Commission Act 1967, that ill-fated measure which was subsequently repealed. But the wording in that Act had an addendum— … unless in the circumstances of the case that Minister considers it expedient to do so. One would have thought that if the Minister wished to use such terminology again, he would at least have given the individual the right to be represented and to express his case.

I see no justification, in this age of so-called participation, particularly when special powers are being utilised, for such opportunity to individuals not to be afforded. The only other parallel we have is in the Emergency Powers Defence Regulations 1939. In that far greater emergency, the Minister, under Regulation 51, could … take possession of any land, and may give such directions as appear to the competent authority to be necessary or expedient in connection with the taking of possession of that land. In an emergency such as war we confer on the Government of the day all the powers needed to act with expedition. In a situation like this, which is to facilitate North Sea oil operations, these extreme powers are not required. I suggest that the Minister looks at this provision again. This is a special procedure which should be used only rarely. I hope that he will delete it and insert the words suggested in the amendment or devise better words of his own.

Mr. Millan

The hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) mentioned incidentally that he thought I would resist this amendment on the grounds that it cut into the purpose of having expedited acquisition orders. I am afraid that it does and for that reason I must resist the amendment.

The procedure for representations to be made on expedited acquisition orders is laid out in Schedule 1. There is the planning procedure which will have been gone through before an order can be made. That is the most important safeguard in terms of giving full ventilation to the planning arguments. The order will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure in this House and the other place.

In those circumstances to add what would amount to a public inquiry procedure would destroy the purpose of the Bill. We would no longer have an expedited acquisition order procedure but something strictly comparable to the ordinary compulsory purchase procedure. This matter is so basic and has been argued so frequently that I do not believe that I need say more. I could not accept the amendment because it would mean the acceptance of a wrecking amendment. The whole purpose of the Bill on this question of expedition would be lost.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 159, Noes 195.

Division No. 48.] AYES [9.22 p.m.
Aitken, Jonathan Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Beith, A. J. Hannam, John Rathbone, Tim
Benyon, W. Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Rees-Davies, W. R.
Biffen, John Hawkins, Paul Reid, George
Biggs-Davison, John Hayhoe, Barney Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Henderson, Douglas Rifkind, Malcolm
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Hooson, Emlyn Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Brittan, Leon Hunt, John Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Brotherton, Michael Hurd, Douglas Scott, Nicholas
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hutchison, Michael Clark Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Shelton, William (Streatham)
Budgen, Nick James, David Shepherd, Colin
Bulmer, Esmond Jessel, Toby Shersby, Michael
Burden, F. A. Jopling Michael Silvester, Fred
Carlisle, Mark Kaberry, Sir Donald Sims, Roger
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Skeet, T. H. H.
Churchill, W. S. Kershaw, Anthony Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Spence, John
Clark, William (Croydon S) King, Tom (Bridgwater) Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Knight, Mrs Jill Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Cockcroft, John Lamont, Norman Sproat, Iain
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Lane, David Stainton, Keith
Cope, John Lawrence, Ivan Stanbrook, Ivor
Cormack, Patrick Lawson, Nigel Stanley, John
Corrie, John Lester, Jim (Beeston) Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Costain, A. P. Lloyd, Ian Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Crawford, Douglas Loveridge, John Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Crowder, F. P. Luce, Richard Stokes, John
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Macfarlane, Neil Stradling Thomas, J.
Dodsworth, Geoffrey MacGregor, John Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Tebbit, Norman
Durant, Tony McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Mates, Michael Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Elliott, Sir William Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Thompson, George
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Mayhew, Patrick Townsend, Cyril D.
Eyre, Reginald Meyer, Sir Anthony Trotter, Neville
Fairgrieve, Russell Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Farr, John Mills, Peter Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Fisher, Sir Nigel Moate, Roger Viggers, Peter
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Monro, Hector Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Fookes, Miss Janet Montgomery, Fergus Watt, Hamish
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Weatherill, Bernard
Fox, Marcus Neave, Airey Welsh, Andrew
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Nelson, Anthony Wigley, Dafydd
Gilmour, Sir John (East fife) Neubert, Michael Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Goodhart, Philip Nott, John
Goodhew, Victor Osborn, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Mr. Hamish Gray and
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Pardoe, John Mr. Spencer Le Marchant.
Grist, Ian Parkinson, Cecil
Hall, Sir John Pattie, Geoffrey
Allaun, Frank Boothroyd, Miss Betty Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen
Archer, Peter Bray, Dr Jeremy Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)
Armstrong, Ernest Broughton, Sir Alfred Cox, Thomas (Tooting)
Ashton, Joe Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill)
Atkinson, Norman Buchan, Norman Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Buchanan, Richard Cryer, Bob
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)
Bates, Alt Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Dalyell, Tam
Bean, R. E. Campbell, Ian Davidson, Arthur
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Cant, R. B. Davies, Bryan (Enfield N)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Carmichael, Neil de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Bidwell, Sydney Carter-Jones, Lewis Dempsey, James
Blenkinsop, Arthur Cartwright, John Doig, Peter
Boardman, H. Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Dormand, J. D.
Booth, Albert Coleman, Donald Douglas-Mann, Bruce
Duffy, A. E. P. Kinnock Neil Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Dunn, James A. Lambie, David Robertson, John (Paisley)
Dunnett, Jack Lamborn, Harry Roderick, Caerwyn
Eadie, Alex Lamond, James Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Edge, Geoff Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Lee, John Rooker, J. W.
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Roper, John
Ennals, David Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Rose, Paul B.
Evans, loan (Aberdare) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Evans, John (Newton) Lipton, Marcus Rowlands, Ted
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Litterick, Tom Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Faulds, Andrew Lomas, Kenneth Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E Loyden, Eddie Sillars, James
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Lyon, Alexander (York) Silverman, Julius
Flannery, Martin Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Skinner, Dennis
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Small, William
Foot, Rt Hon Michael McCartney, Hugh Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Ford, Ben McElhone, Frank Spearing, Nigel
Freeson, Reginald MacFarquhar, Roderick Spriggs, Leslie
Garretl, W. E. (Wallsend) Mackintosh, John P. Stallard, A. W.
George, Bruce Maclennan, Robert Stewart, Rt Hn M. (Fulham)
Gilbert, Dr John McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Stoddart, David
Golding, John McNamara, Kevin Stott, Roger
Gourlay, Harry Madden, Max Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Grant, John (Islington C) Magee, Bryan Swain, Thomas
Grocott, Bruce Mahon, Simon Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Marquand, David Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Hamling, William Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Harper Joseph Meacher, Michael Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Tierney, Sydney
Hooley, Frank Mendelson, John Tinn, James
Horam, John Millan, Bruce Tomlinson, John
Hoyle, Douglas (Nelson) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Urwin, T. W.
Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Murray, Ronald King Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Newens, Stanley Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Noble, Mike Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Ogden, Eric Ward, Michael
Hunter, Adam O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian Watkins, David
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Orbach, Maurice Weitzman, David
Janner Greville Orme, Rt Hon Stanley White, Frank R. (Bury)
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Ovenden, John White, James (Pollok)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Park, George Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
John, Brynmor Parry, Robert Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Johnson, James (Hull West) Pavitt, Laurie Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Perry, Ernest Wise, Mrs Audrey
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Prescott, John Woodall, Alec
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Price, C. (Lewisham W) Woof, Robert
Judd, Frank Price, William (Rugby)
Kaufman, Gerald Radice, Giles TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Kelley, Richard Richardson, Miss Jo Mr. John Ellis and
Kerr, Russell Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Mr. James Hamilton.

Question accordingly negatived.

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