§ Mr. Raphael Tuck
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,SI 1977 No. 1781, which is entitled The. Town and Country Planning General Development (Amendment) Order 1977.This order amends the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1977. It removes control by the local authorities to such an extent that it would almost be possible, Mr. Speaker, for your neighbour to build a factory in his back garden. It has caused dismay and alarm up and down the country, and the Association of District Councils is horrified at the prospect.
Early-Day Motion No. 110 has been signed by 30 hon. Members on both sides of the House, and a Prayer to annul the order—No. 76—has been signed by 58 hon. Members on both sides of the House. I am asking for leave to move the 295 Adjournment of the House because the order comes into operation on 1st January 1978 and no time has been allowed by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House to discuss it and, if necessary, to negative it. This is, therefore, the only chance that hon. Members will have to avert this disaster.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Watford (Mr. Tuck) gave me notice before 12 o'clock this morning that he might seek to make an application under Standing Order No. 9 this afternoon.
The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely.SI 1977 No. 1781, which is entitled The Town and Country Planning General Development (Amendment) Order 1977.I listened carefully to the hon. Gentleman's arguments but fear that I cannot accede to his request.
§ Mr. Tuck
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to ask your guidance on the general issue, without any reference to the particular issue I raised when I was last on my feet.
There are two types of order: one is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, the other to the negative resolution procedure. The affirmative resolution procedure raises no difficulty, because if an order is not affirmed, it dies. But when an order is subject to the negative resolution procedure, how can Members of Parliament negative it when no time is allowed for it by the Leader of the House? That is the subject on which I should like your guidance.
§ Mr. Powell
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am aware that you do not technically cause matters to be referred to the Select Committee on Procedure, but very often observations on the subjects addressed to and falling from the Chair are taken note of. Therefore, perhaps one might be permitted, on a point of order, to say that it is an absurdity that we should pass statutes 296 providing an opportunity for the annulment of subordinate legislation but that then our procedure should deny hon. Members the opportunity to do so.
§ Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. If the recommendation which I made to the last Select Committee which examined this question had been accepted—namely, that the 40 praying days should not include Saturdays and Sundays, when the House does not sit, and Fridays, when Standing Orders do not allow Prayers to be taken anyway—we should have had more opportunities to pray against a measure of this kind. Might I suggest that this should again be referred to the Procedure Committee so that Members not familiar with the intricacies may not be under the mistaken belief that they have 40 days in which to pray when, in fact, they have substantially fewer?
§ Mr. Speaker
I am much obliged to the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. Tuck) for the way he presented his point of order, to the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) and the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop), to whom I always listen with respect on these matters. It pays me to do so.
The right hon. Member for Down, South is correct in that this is a matter for a Select Committee. It concerns the arrangement of the business of the House and, therefore, I have no power in the matter The House will appreciate that the problem is one which has concerned us over a long period of years. It has been considered by no fewer than three Select Committees—namely, the Select Committee on Delegated Legislation of 1952–53, the Procedure Committee of 1970–71, and the Joint Committee on Delegated Legislation of 1971–72. Successive changes were made in the Standing Orders and the procedure of the House, following the reports of these Committees. If further changes are required, it is for the House to make them. I have no power at all to do so.