§ 3.5 p.m.
My Lords, I desire to ask the noble Earl, the President of the Board of Education, a question of which I have given him private notice—namely, as the Leader of the House declared on June 8, in reply to a question put by the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, that the Government were seriously taking into consideration the decision of this House on June 7 with regard to police motor patrols, can he now inform the House of the steps which His Majesty's Government propose to take to frame a policy which will be in conformity with the views expressed by all the speakers in the debate in question?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (EARL DE LA WARR)
My Lords, the noble Lord, I think, will appreciate that the policy advocated by the House will impose a very substantial burden on the Exchequer. The matter is under consideration by His Majesty's Government, but no decision has yet been reached.
May I, arising out of the very useful question of the noble Lord opposite, ask the Minister for Education whether he can give any indication when some decision will be reached which he will be in a position to announce to your Lordships?
§ EARL DE LA WARR
I am afraid I cannot say when it is likely that any decision will be come to, but of course it will be announced as soon as possible.
There is one other matter. In the absence of the Leader of the House, I take it that Lord Lucan can assure us that there is no intention on the part of the Government to ignore the decision of this House and the vote of this House in the Division Lobby?
§ EARL DE LA WARR
There is nothing in my answer which implies that, and there is no reason which I can see why your Lordships should think that it is so. Of course the noble Lord opposite does know that a colleague of his in another place has questioned our right to control finance, but I do not think there is any question as to our right to discuss the matter.
§ LORD ELTISLEY
This, my Lords, is an urgent matter, and we are reaching the holiday season. I think it is a matter on which a decision might be taken without undue departmental delay.
May I thank the noble Earl for his reply, and at the same time point out, in face of the deplorable figures of road accidents for the month of May, that had this scheme been brought into operation sooner, to quote from our last debate, "this terrible massacre on the roads" might have been saved had there been more police on them?