HL Deb 16 November 1954 vol 189 cc1491-2

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, I beg to move formally that this Bill be now read a second time. I understand that the Second Reading is to be taken after the Third Reading of the Town and Country Planning Bill, and that this is being done for the convenience of certain noble Lords.

Moved that the Bill be now read 2a;.—(Earl Fortescue.)


My Lords, I do not object to this course, but I should like to say that there was an agreement, to which I was a party, for at least a fortnight, and probably more, that the first business to-day should be the Overseas Resources Development Bill. I regard that as an important Bill—it affects 65 million of our fellow citizens in the Colonial Empire—and I do not see why, without explanation, it should have been put off. I do not object if it meets the convenience of the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor. My consent is not necessary, but perhaps courtesy should have dictated that I should have been approached on the matter. I have never been asked, and this announcement has come to my notice during the last half hour. I should like to say, further, that I feel that Government business of this kind should take into account the convenience of Members. One often hears from Members who live a long way away that they are inconvenienced by chop-pings and changings at the last moment in Government Bills and in Government business. I certainly feel that a little more notice than this should have been given to noble Lords who may have taken a great deal of trouble in preparing their speeches.


My Lords, I feel it only right that I should say that I think the Government have taken the right course—indeed, the course that I asked them to take. I am sorry that conflicting promises were made here. It was understood that if we were going to take the Third Reading of the Town and Country Planning Bill on the day after the Report stage it was on condition that it was first business. The trouble is that another conflicting promise was made. As arrangements had been made by some of my noble friends, on that basis I put the position to the Government; and they have responded and taken this course at my request. I am grateful to the Government for the course that they have taken.


My Lords, I can only say that I am extremely sorry that, owing to an oversight, the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has been inconvenienced. I can truthfully say that it was only in the last quarter of an hour that I knew that any undertaking had been given to the noble Lord that the Overseas Resources Development Bill would be taken first. I am very sorry, and hope that it will not happen again.


My Lords, in view of the statements that have been made about the convenience of the House, I beg to move that the debate be adjourned until after the Third Reading of the Town and Country Planning Bill has been taken.

Moved, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Lord Lloyd.)

On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly.