§ Lords amendment: No. 38, in page 87, line 22, after "office)" insert "(a)".
With this it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 39 and 40. I inform the House that these three amendments involve privilege.
§ Mr. Ridley
I shall explain these amendments more fully, because they could be misinterpreted. The House will remember that I agreed in Committee that if any member of the existing board of London Transport Executive was displaced on the appointed day it would be wrong to ask the GLC to pay any compensation that was due to him. I agreed, and the House has accepted, that we cannot make the GLC responsible for that compensation.
We neglected to examine the position of the chairmen of the two existing passenger committees: the Transport Users Consultative Committee for London and the London Transport Passengers' Committee. Those bodies will be amalgamated in the new committee. I am not mentioning any names or making suggestions about what might happen, but it is possible that one or other of the chairmen might lose his office prematurely as a result of the Bill. It seemed only fair in the circumstances to agree that the GLC should not be required to pay the due compensation and that it should be met by the Secretary of State. The effect of the amendment is to put these matters on a par with the amendments that I conceded in Committee.
§ Mr. Snape
I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman. I have not often had the opportunity of doing so during our long and protracted debates on the Bill. In Committee, he said almost exactly the opposite of what he has said tonight, but, if it is any consolation to the right hon. Gentleman, I must say that he said it with equal sincerity.
I am bound to say that any change of heart by the right hon. Gentleman is welcome to the Opposition. I shall not ask him which of the chairmen whom he mentioned in the TUCC or the LTPC will get the job. Such matters are more suitable to correspondence between Ministers and the person involved. No doubt, knowing the right hon. Gentleman, he will take to himself the task of signing the letter re-appointing the lucky person and leave the letter dismissing the other chairman to the Minister of State, if precedent in the Bill is anything to go by.
777 Let me ask the right hon. Gentleman one final question. We have heard about what he is going to do. When will he do it? The people to whom he has referred have a right to know about their future. We have heard a lot about the day in which the legislation will come into force and we know full well the reasons behind the semi-indecent rush that we have had today to get the legislation on to the statute book, but perhaps the Secretary of State will tell us when the lucky and the unlucky chairmen are likely to receive a letter from the right hon. Gentleman to reappoint them or to put them out of work.
§ Mr. Ridley
With the leave of the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker, perhaps I might reply to what has been said. I can hardly describe today's proceedings as a semi-indecent rush. The hon. Gentleman came in rather heavily towards the end of the afternoon and has delayed our programmes with his usual long, rather offensive and meaningless speeches.
Once the Bill receives the Royal Assent—I should not dream of anticipating that—events will move rather more quickly than they have as a result of the hon. Gentleman's tactics during the Bill's many stages. Then, we shall go about our business in a workmanlike fashion. We shall be able to show that we do not waste time or indulge in undue haste when we start on the important task of reconstructing London transport.
§ Question put and agreed to. [Special entry.]
§ Lords amendments Nos. 39 and 40 agreed to. [Special entry.]
Lords amendment: No. 41, in page 89, line 13, after "to" insert
any service or services provided in pursuance of
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Paul Dean)
With this it will be convenient to take Lords amendments Nos. 42 and 43.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Lords amendments Nos. 42 and 43 agreed to.