HL Deb 03 July 1961 vol 232 cc1199-252

Debate resumed.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The Lord AILWYN in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 to 15 agreed to.

Clause 16:

Duties and Powers of the Covent Garden Market Authority

Duty of the Authority to provide market and storage facilities

16.—(1) On and after the vesting day it shall be the duty of the Authority to provide within the Covent Garden Area facilities (hereafter in this Act referred to as "market facilities") for the conduct of a market for the dealing in bulk in horticultural produce and any such other commodities as, immediately before that day, were commonly so dealt in on those parts of the market lands commnoly known as the Charter Market, the Floral Hall, the Russell Street Market, the Flower Market and the Jubilee Market.

3.45 p.m.

LORD STONHAM moved to add to subsection (1): Provided that, if at any time it appears to the Authority that they cannot provide adequate market facilities within the Covent Garden Area, they may recommend to the Minister that they should be allowed to carry out the duty imposed on them by this subsection in some other area or areas specified in the recommendation; whereupon the Minister may by order designate such area or areas as one or more Additional Areas, and this Act shall apply to any Additional Area as it applies to the Covent Garden Area.

The noble Lord said: This Amendment is in the name of my noble friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth and the noble Lords, Lord Molson and Lord Hawke, as well as myself, and it will be clear from the all-Party support that we do not regard it as in any way a Party political matter. This Amendment is put forward objectively as a necessary—indeed, absolutely essential—improvement, if the Bill is to become a workable Statute. We appreciate to the full the procedural difficulty in matters of this kind and we are glad to know that the Lord Chairman proposes to intervene, when I have moved my Amendment, to explain his view of the procedural difficulties. That is something which we warmly welcome.

We hope that the facts of the case, as we present them, will convince your Lordships that this is a necessary Amendment. A few moments ago, the noble Earl, Lord Waldegrave, made a statement with regard to the Amendments moved by the Select Committee. It would have been of advantage to the Committee, if we had had that statement made earlier, and it would also have been an advantage if we had had an opportunity of reading the printed proceedings of the Select Committee. I am sure that this is a great handicap, because we cannot read the reasons which prompted the Select Committee to reach their decision. The whole Committee is under a considerable handicap, and if, in what. I have to say, make any statements which subsequently prove to be incorrect, at least there is the excuse of this handicap. I cannot remember a hybrid Bill in which the Select Committees in both Houses have made so many radical and important Amendments as they have to this Bill. It must be obvious from this that there are grave doubts about the advisability of allowing the Bill to proceed in its present form.

I should like to summarise briefly the arguments, as I see them. Under this Bill, the Covent Garden Market Authority will have two main duties placed upon them. First, in a period of seven years they are required to build, on a 10-acre site in the Covent Garden Area, a market which will offer all the marketing facilities at present enjoyed in Covent Garden, together with sufficient parking space and means of access and exit for the many thousands of road vehicles which use the market at peak periods every day. All that is to be done within the 10-acre site. In order to assist in that task, the Bill imposes on the Market Authority a second duty—that is, to acquire or build outside the Covent Garden Market Area an annex for the purpose of storing empty containers and for the bulk storage of produce.

It is my submission that obviously we cannot have a small market without an annex. We have, in fact, a larger market which would occupy much more than 10 acres, in Covent Garden or elsewhere, or we have what the Bill suggests, a comparatively small market with an annex outside. The Bill insists that these two things shall be provided by the Market Authority, and we say, subject to correction, that the Bill would not give to the Market Authority the object of building in one curtilage a new market providing all services, including the storage of empties and of bulk produce.

In my submission, the Covent Garden Market Authority will be unable to acquire a site within the area which would be necessary to make it functional for an annex, such as is envisaged in the Bill. In the original Bill there were the Finsbury lands, which were struck out by the Select Committee in another place. Before the Finsbury lands were put into the Bill some sixteen or eighteen sites were reviewed, and they were all either rejected or found to be unavailable. It has been made clear in another place by Members of both Parties for metropolitan constituencies that they cannot envisage the possibility of any metropolitan borough agreeing to a site in their area being used for the storage of fruit containers and bulk produce. Whether this is so or not, I am sure that the noble Earl will agree that it will be a difficult matter for the Market Authority to acquire such a site, and that inevitably there will be delay. Since that is so, it must delay proceeding with the building of the Market, because they cannot proceed with plans for this small, compact ten-acre Market, which they have to build in seven years, unless at the same time they are sure they will have this annex.

I submit, also, that apart from the difficulty of obtaining a site, the idea of the annex is totally and completely undesirable. I do not wish to dwell on the great, unnecessary increase in traffic, because to be any good at all this annex would have to be not more than, say, three miles from Covent Garden; it has to be in the metropolis, and in a busy area with roads radiating from the heart of London—a little way out, but certainly in another busy area. It is important, if possible, to avoid that.

But the fundamental objection to the idea of this annex is that it will add greatly and unnecessarily to the expense of the distributors in carrying on their business. When I raised this matter previously the noble Viscount, Lord Runciman of Doxford, said that I had painted a picture of the industry which was very different from the one that he recognised when this matter was studied by the Committee of which he was the distinguished chairman. What I am saying I say as a result of 22 years' continuous experience in the industry. I was governing director of a firm of wholesale distributors in a London market for 22 years until 1957. While what I say may not tally with the experience of the noble Viscount, it is at least said from practical and fairly recent experience.

The noble Earl, Lord Waldegrave, said in the course of our earlier discussions that it is the wholesalers and not the retailers who in the main would use this annex. In my submission, that shows a lack of knowledge of the situation. Most of the people who go to buy their produce at Covent Garden are retailers with their own transport—some of them are large retailers with many shops, but others are retailers with single shops—or the smaller wholesalers (as well as the large wholesalers) who serve the small home-county towns; and, in any case, they have their own transport. All of them, whether retailers or small wholesalers, go to Covent Garden. They naturally visit quite a number of salesmen, and sometimes even two or three salesmen for the purchase of a single type of produce. They make their purchases according to the higgling of the Market. Eventually they get their loads. At present their loads consist of all that they want to buy, and they drop their empty containers when they arrive at the Market in the morning.

In the procedure envisaged under the Bill, what the purchaser will do is to go to the Market and buy his homegrown produce, mostly in bulk. He will buy some perishable imported produce, mostly in bulk. He will buy some perishable imported produce in bulk, under the new régime, but the nonperishable imported goods he will buy only against sample, which he will see in the Market. Having acquired what he can in the new Covent Garden, he will trundle off to the annex and drop his empties, and there pick up the bulk of the produce he has bought against sample. When your Lordships consider that, you will see how extremely expensive is going to be all that running about and time wasting.

One of the advantages of the new Market put to us was that it would save (as I have no doubt it will) the three, four, five or six hours they have to keep their lorries waiting at present. The only difference now is that they will have to wait somewhere else and do a journey in the process. When I raised that matter (and I assure the noble Earl that it is what happens) the noble Earl, Lord Waldegrave, said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 231 (No. 89) col. 1324]; The Authority is not set up; this sort of detailed organisation of who goes where is not yet worked out. This is an integral part of the Bill. The annex is absolutely essential to the Market; it is the other half of the cherry. If the Government have not yet inquired who is going to use the annex, with the greatest respect I would say that not merely is that irresponsible, but they are not competent to say that the Bill will work in its present form. I feel that that is a reasonable comment to make on that particular argument.

The Select Committee in your Lordships' House inserted, among a number of Amendments, a new Clause 51. That clause sets it down beyond a peradventure that there cannot be any kind of marketing transactions at the annex. All the traders can do is to leave their containers and then go with a chit which permits them to pick up so much bulk produce. Like all of us, and particularly greengrocers and fruiterers, they like to see the bulk they are buying. If they are buying oranges, they like to open several cases and thrust in their hand and pick one out; and if they are going to the annex at a time when a consignment is coming up from the docks, they will follow that in, because they know it is new and fresh, and maybe get on the telephone to the seller in Covent Garden to ask if they can purchase that consignment. Under the new Clause 51 they will not be able to do that. Again, it is a frequent occurrence, possibly due to accidents, delays in transit, or even strikes, for fruit which is otherwise not quickly perishable to arrive in wasted condition. If that is then collected from the annex and delivered to the purchaser, where can he send it back?

This whole matter bristles with difficulty. I would submit that distributors, that is, retailers, and wholesalers, who will buy from Covent Garden Market, cannot through their respective federations have been consulted about this; and certainly they cannot have been consulted about the effect of Clause 51, because that has only just been inserted into the Bill by the Select Committee. That will be the position unless this Amendment is accepted. Unless the Authority are given the choice for which we ask, we shall be in the position that the industry, the distributors, will be saddled with an annex—assuming that a site can be found and this can be built—which they do not want and which will be an endless source of expense to them In addition to that, we shall have the position I have already stated, that under the Bill you cannot have one all-embracing Market, including an annex for empties and the containers—if I am wrong, the noble Earl will tell me. Yet because we present to the Market Authority an Act of Parliament based on the Bill as it now stands, whichever distinguished people are appointed to man We Committees or the Authority will do their utmost to make it work. They would not accept the task unless they were prepared to do that. Therefore, because they have no choice of the type of market it should be, or the place where it should be built, we may well be saddled with a market which really will not work in the economic sense. As a result, we shall have spent £20 million of public money, or loaned it for that purpose and be no better off, though no worse off.

It is the submission of my noble friends and myself that the Covent Garden Market Authority should have freedom to decide if they want a separate annex. They should have freedom to decide, alternatively, whether the whole market should be built in one place and, finally, if they want to build the whole market in one place and they feel that the Covent Garden area is not suitable, they should then be free to come to the Minister and say, "It is not a practical proposition to build it in Covent Garden. We want your permission to go to area A, B. or C". The Minister, in the terms of the Amendment can, after getting the authority of Parliament say "Yes" to a more suitable site. I am not trying to prejudge the issue of whether the Market should be in the Covent Garden area or elsewhere. I simply want the Authority to have freedom to decide that after considering all the facts.

I think there is another reason why the authority should be given this freedom. When the Committee of the noble Viscount, Lord Runciman of Doxford, first sat it was, I think, in 1955. Consequently, they were not in a position then to judge the effect of the phenomenal advance in the prepackaging of vegetables. They were not in a position to judge the fortunate decline in the use of returnable empties. In the last six years there has been a radical change, and I think a fortunate change, in the proportion of produce which has to come right into the market. Unquestionably, as the months and years go on, there will be a considerable increase in the volume of produce which goes direct from the grower or co-operative producers' society straight to the retailer, be it chain store or otherwise. That is natural; that is desirable. Therefore, the Covent Garden Market Authority ought to have the chance to do what your Lordships' House has not had the chance to do, and the Government certainly have not done; that is, to look ahead. The conditions are very different to-day from what they were six years ago. But if they have changed in six years, they are changing very rapidly now. In 1954, there were 100,000 packages of pre-packed vegetables. Last year there were well over 300 million. That is the order of increase. That is a point I submit to your Lordships.

An Amendment was moved in another place, with almost general support, that this clause should be so amended that the Covent Garden Market Authority would be able to build on another suitable site if they found the present one unsuitable. That Amendment was defeated, or rather refused by the Minister, on terms which showed he had great sympathy with it, and that the reason for refusing to accept it was that he felt—and I think rightly—that it would alter the scope of the Bill so that the Bill would be lost. And, of course, no Minister could accept a situation like that.

During the Second Reading, however, I raised this point with the noble Earl, Lard Waldegrave, and asked his advice. He very generously told me that I knew more about it than he did, or that I had access to sources of opinion more fruitful than his. That was merely his native generosity. But at least he went on to say—and I quote from Column 1319 of Hansard of June 8—what would happen if with the present Bill the Authority had to come along and say, "We cannot operate the Act as it now stands." The noble Earl said: …the Authority would then have to come to the Government and Parliament would have to decide whether the market, which plays such a great part in our life, should be where it is now proposed or elsewhere; that is to say, they would have to come back do Parliament and say: 'We cannot carry out this Bill that you have passed. What do we, do about it?'. The noble Earl went on to say that this was a pessimistic view, and he would not have stood there and supported this Bill if he thought for a moment that was likely to happen. A little later on he said that if it did happen there would have to be additional legislation—and I am advised that it would not be very lengthy—in order that Parliament should authorise that market to be built elsewhere. I think everyone must agree that, with the congested legislative list, and with Bills being jettisoned, it would be wholly undesirable, in fact absolutely wrong, to consider the possibility of having to come back with another Bill if it was at all possible in this Bill to do exactly the same thing without wrecking it. On that one point I am a tyro, and I do not know.

I want to submit to your Lordships one consideration about whether or not this Amendment extends the scope of this Bill. It arises from something that the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Soames, said in another place. I am sorry to be continually picking up pieces of paper, but I suffer from the grave misfortune of coming here this afternoon and finding in my pocket the speech which I had just delivered in opening an exhibition at 2.30 this afternoon. I have given the Pressman the speech which I had prepared for this Amendment. So if your Lordships notice some inconsistencies in what I have to say, or if I have to keep grabbing bits of paper, perhaps you will forgive me. At least I am quoting from authorities that are authentic, although they are not my words.

In the Commons Hansard for May 9 (Col. 267), the Minister of Agriculture said this: The Amendment would extend this. Subsection (3) of the same clause in the original Bill said '…the Authority … shall not, without the sanction of the Minister, provide them elsewhere outside that Area than on the Finsbury lands.' In other words, it was not mandatory to provide them on the Finsbury lands, but there was power to go elsewhere by means of appealing to the Minister. Do not let me mislead your Lordships. The Minister is there referring to the Finsbury lands which were in the original Bill and which were taken out by the Select Committee in the Commons. The Minister is here saying that it was not mandatory on the Covent Garden Market Authority to build the annex on the Finsbury lands. They could have gone elsewhere to build the annex if they had come back to the Minister and got his permission. That, I submit, is precisely what we are asking for in this Amendment, only we are asking for it not in respect of the site upon which the annex should be built, but the site upon which the market should be built. I submit with the greatest respect that if in the original Bill that provision was there (and your Lordships know that it was) we are not extending the scope of the Bill if we put a precisely similar and comparable provision in the Bill in respect to the annex.

I honestly and sincerely believe, and perhaps I am the only Member of your Lordships' House that has had considerable experience in this matter, that this Bill, as it stands, cannot possibly work. It is utterly impossible; it is ludicrous, and it is laughable, only it is that kind of laugh which is really a tragedy. It is not only £20 million of public money involved, it is the livelihood, and lives, of a lot of hard-working horticulturists, the worst-done people in most of the country, and a lot of hardworking distributors, who are not perhaps so badly off.

That is my submission, and I have tried to prove it briefly from the facts. I submit to your Lordships that the Amendment which I have the honour to move in the names of my noble friends and myself will meet this position and I ask you therefore, since this is not a Party matter, if it cannot be accepted by the Government to support the Amendment with your vote in the Lobby. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 10, line 41, at end insert the said proviso—(Lord Stonham.)

4.12 p.m.


I hope that it may be convenient to your Lordships if I intervene at this stage in the debate on this Amendment in order, for one thing, to try to explain why I have taken the step of putting down on the Order Paper a Resolution which I propose to move in the event of these Amendments being carried. If there is one thing I want to say as plainly as I possibly can this afternoon, it is that I am not opposing these Amendments; nor am I asking your Lordships to pass them. On the merits of these Amendments, on the policy which is behind them, I am entirely neutral, and I must own at once that I cannot assist the House on this question at all.

My reason for intervening is simply this: that I see here certain procedural difficulties which I think the House will have to get over sooner or later in the event of these Amendments becoming part of the Bill. That is why I have put my Motion on the Paper and I thought it right to intervene thus early to say why. May I emphasise one other thing? —That the House has the last word in this matter, as in all others. It is not I who has it; nor the Examiners; nor the Standing Orders Committee; nor this Committee, but the House, that has the last word.

This is a Hybrid Bill—that is, it is a Public Bill to which the Standing Orders relating to Private Bills are, by the custom and usage of Parliament, applied. The reason for that is that this Bill deals with a limited number of people and applies to a limited part of the United Kingdom. It deals with people who are named or described in the Bill, and whose interests may, therefore, be affected. That is the reason why the Private Bill Standing Orders are here applicable. These Standing Orders are always strictly applied and I think your Lordships will agree that that is right. They are always strictly applied unless they are in proper form or manner dispensed with—which they can be—and the Orders to which I mainly want to refer this afternoon are those requiring that proper and sufficient notice be given on a Private Bill to those parties Who are, or whose interests may be, adversely affected by it. In this case, quite rightly, the notices were issued last November, or, at any rate, before last Christmas, and If have asked for and received the papers in relation to the proof of these Notices, and I have satisfied myself that they are all in order.

As a matter of interest, I might mention that in addition to Notices in the London Gazette and other papers, I have here a list of names and addresses of individuals, 285 in number, to whom letters were sent about this Bill—that is, individuals who it was thought might be interested or affected by the passing of the Bill; and I would describe them, for convenience, as Covent Garden traders, though there may be others who ought to be included. Under the procedure that is always applied, these Covent Garden traders were told that, to use the words of Clause 16 of this Bill: the Covent Garden Market would be operative within the Covent Garden Area, that is the area which is described by Clause 54 of this Bill. But the Covent Garden traders were not told that the market might be moved to some other area. To use the words of Amendment No. 1: to some other area or areas"— which means, strictly, anywhere in the United Kingdom. Nor were they told, to use the words of Amendment No. 4, that the Covent Garden Market might be moved to appropriate areas round the edge of the County of London. Supposing they had been told that—and I think it is an important question to ask oneself—what would their reaction have been? Would they have petitioned against the Bill, as others did, though they did not in this case? That, I think, is a question we must all answer this afternoon if we can.

To use technical language, if I may, these Amendments, in my judgment, go outside the notices and constitute an additional provision to the Bill. Therefore there is, in my opinion, a prima facie non-compliance with the Standing Orders in your Lordships' House. Nor, I am told, can this noncompliance be cured by a Petition for an additional provision to be granted, because under the Standing Orders that can be done only in the first House and in the case of this Bill this is the second House. That is really the main reason for the Motion which I have put on the Order Paper.


Would the noble Lord repeat that last phrase again? I did not quite follow it—about the new provisions.


An additional provision can be granted only in the first House—that is, the House into which the Bill is first introduced.


An additional provision in the Bill?


An additional provision—that is a technical phrase.


In the Bill?


In the Bill, as amended. That is a technical phrase. Under the Standing Orders, that can be done only in the first House; it is prohibited in the second House. There are very sound reasons for that. If it were done in the second House it would have to be done in the first House. I can assure the noble Lord that is the constitutional position, so that I am afraid the alternative of an additional provision being granted must be ruled out in this particular case.

I think it would be useful if I said just a little about what would happen if these Amendments were passed—but again, subject always to my previous statement, that the House always has the final word. The first thing that would happen would be that if my Motion was passed later to-day these Amendments would be referred to the Examiners. That is the usual procedure. The Examiners are Officers of both Houses, and they work as a team. They could not consider this for two days. Their findings, which are conclusive on matters of fact, would be reported to the House, and they would issue a certificate to the House certifying either that the Standing Orders had been complied with or that they had not. That certificate would go to both Houses of Parliament simultaneously.

What would happen if they certified that there had been a non-compliance with the Standing Orders (and may I interpose here that in my judgment they could hardly certify otherwise in this particular Bill, though I am certainly open to correction) would be that the House would refer the certificate to the Standing Orders Committee of your Lordships' House and simultaneously to the similar Committee in the House of Commons. Those Committees would meet in not less than three days and they would simultaneously consider the Examiners' certificates and would be charged with the duty of reporting to the Houses whether in their opinion the Standing Orders ought to be dispensed with.


A joint Report?


No, separate Reports to each House simultaneously; but I apprehend that the Report would be the same to both Houses because the Examiners work together.

It is not for me to say, but when the Standing Orders Committee consider this matter they would probably, in my judgment, come to the conclusion that these infringements of the Standing Orders were not technical; that they were substantial, in view of the geography and the numbers of people affected by this Bill. But they would in any case report to the House. Then the Report of the Standing Orders Committee would come before the House and it would be my duty to move that the Report be considered. Again I emphasise that the House has the last word. If the Standing Orders Committee reported that the Standing Orders should not be dispensed with, the question then would be whether their Report should be agreed to by the House. I have inquired whether the House ever overrules the Standing Orders Committee. I am informed that within living memory it has done so on two occasions, the last one being in 1912, and they overruled it merely by referring back the Report of the Committee and not by outright rejection. I suppose the House could disagree with the Report if they so chose, but your Lordships will see that has not been done within living memory.

So we come to this position. In my judgment (again I may be wrong), the House would then be faced with three possibilities. The first is that both Houses agreed to dispense with the Standing Orders. It would require both Houses to do that. The second is that the Amendments would be taken out of the Bill at a later stage of the Bill. The third is that the Bill would be dead. Those seem to me to be the three possibilities that would be then before the House. In the meantime, I may be asked a question as to what can happen to the remaining parts of the Bill, that is the parts of the Bill not affected by these Amendments. In my opinion, there is no objection to the Bill proceeding to its remaining stages in this House while this matter is being considered by the Standing Orders Committee. But I think we should stop short at sending the Bill back to another place until the whole matter has been resolved and the Report of the Standing Orders Committee agreed to, or otherwise, by your Lordships. I do think it would be quite wrong to attempt to send the Bill back to the House of Commons until the whole matter had been cleared up.

Another question that I might be asked is: can a Hybrid Bill be carried over from one Session to another? I am prepared with the answer, to the best of my ability, because I know that time is important in this particular matter. Strictly speaking, of course—very strictly—no Bill can be carried over from one Session to another; but by an arrangement Private Bills are sometimes carried over, and have been quite recently. I have found out that in two cases within living memory, Hybrid Bills have been carried over from one Session to another. That happened in 1903 and again in 1931, that being the last time. Whether it would be appropriate to do it on this occasion is quite another matter: the facts might be quite different from those two cases. I apologise for taking up so much of the Committee's time, but I thought it might be useful if I gave my reasons for my Motion at this stage.

4.28 p.m.


It is customary, when a noble Lord sitting on a Bench on the other side has made a statement, for us to thank him for his statement and the clarity thereof, but on this occasion it is no formal and customary expression when I say that I think the whole House is very much indebted to the noble Lord, the Lord Chairman of Committees, for the clarity of his statement, the courtesy with which he has delivered it and the stress which he placed upon the point that he was not taking sides in any controversy, but was solely can cerned with procedure, Standing Orders, the rights of the Examiners and so on.

I noticed that the noble Lord said that the House had the last word after a lot of other people. I had a horrible suspicion that the Government might have the last word, but the noble Lord did not mention in these matters Her Majesty's Government, who might often have the last word. Apart from that, we are indeed grateful to the noble Lord, the Lord Chairman of Committees, not only for the clarity of his statement but for the fact that he has made a statement which will go on the records and which is a valuable contribution to information of Parliamentarians and students outside on this rather novel and exceptional Hybrid Bill procedure. As the noble Lord said, the procedure on a Hybrid Bill is pretty well the same as on a Private Bill, except that Parliament has greater rights on Second Reading and on the Committee stage of a Hybrid Bill than it has in the case of an ordinary Private Bill.

Having considered what the noble Lord has said, I trust that your Lordships will not let it influence your decision about these Amendments, because if it does influence your Lordships' decisions on the Amendments we are thereby involved in a rather farcical position as to our Parliamentary rights. If the worst came out of it—and the noble Lord has indicated that the worst might come out of it, from my point of view; he does not say it will, but he has almost said it—and the Standing Orders Committee and the Examiners ruled that these Amendments were outside the general purpose of the Bill, then either we should have to give way or the Bill would be dead. To be quite frank, it would not worry me a great deal if the Bill were dead (though other noble Lords may take another point of view), because it would give the Government an opportunity to think again in readiness for the next Session of Parliament, which I consider would be a good thing.

But if the noble Lord is right, and if his pessimism is well founded—I can well believe that it is—then it means that the Committee stage of the Bill in your Lordships' House is utterly unrealistic and completely farcical: that is to say, we can bring in Amendments that are verbal, technical, which do not matter in relation to the policy of the Bill, but once we touch the policy of the Bill, once we want to alter the location of Covent Garden Market or even to give the opportunity to alter that location, then your Lordships are, or may be, ultra vires, in the light of the Report of the Examiners and the Standing Orders Committee, and our Amendments are either dead or the Bill is dead. That is a nasty dilemma from the Government point of view, and not a nice dilemma from our point of view, either. It means that your Lordships' House, in this case the second House, is thereby rendered null and void, and the proceedings on Committee stage of the Bill are utterly farcical.

I should have thought that the logical course would be that if we passed Amendments which affected the interests of private people who were Petitioners—I quite agree that their rights should be protected in the Parliamentary sense—then the Bill could go back to the Select Committee and the Petitioners could appear again, either for or against those Amendments, but presumably against if they appear at all. It is true that that would involve a little delay; but that is one of the consequences of bringing Bills to your Lordships' House at a late stage in the Session which, when I was Leader of the House of Commons, I did a lot to prevent. It is a misfortune that it should come here at a late stage and the delay might be inconvenient, but I should not have thought fatal. I admit that the question might arise then whether new Petitioners should be allowed to appear, though I am not quite clear that they should. It is conceivable, at any rate, and it is a fair point for consideration in case the Amendments involve interests outside that were not involved in the Bill as it stood.

But my main point is that from a Parliamentary point of view this is a serious thing. It may be said in another place: "What does it matter? It is only the House of Lords." But we are a House of Parliament, and we should consider ourselves a House of Parliament, "within our undoubted rights and privileges," to quote Mr. Speaker in another connection. Suppose the House of Commons had been the second House and we had been the first House? This is quite likely. I know some Promoters of Private Bills who prefer this House to another place for the first House, for reasons which I will not adumbrate because I wish to preserve good feelings between the two Houses. Suppose the House of Commons had been the second House and they had found themselves in this position, that when the Bill came before the House for a Committee stage the House was inhibited from making any Amendments of substance—nothing beyond technical, drafting or unimportant Amendments. I hope I am not misinterpreting the statement of the noble Lord—I gather not. I am much obliged. I do not want to bring the Lord Chairman of Committees into controversy because he has been most careful to keep out of controversy.

I think that this is a serious constitutional point. We are living under a two-Chamber system, a bicameral system of Parliament. I handled a Hybrid Bill in another place, the London Passenger Transport Bill, 1931, and thereby learned something about Hybrid Bill legislation. It was a disconcerting experience for me, though we got the Bill through by the skin of our teeth. But here we are, and we did not know previously that we could be involved in the situation whereby your Lordships' House is denied—by inference, I admit, though from the Lord Chairman's warnings and the possibilities that he has held out it looks as if it is so—an effective Committee stage on an important piece of legislation. I submit to the Leader of the House, who I gather is extremely interested and will probably reply, that here is a point where he, as the Leader of the House, has the responsibility to think about this carefully, and not unsympathetically, as the champion of the legitimate rights of this House in relation to legislation.


May I just intervene? The only Amendments which the House would be denied would be those which go outside the notices, and no others.


I understand that.

4.36 p.m.


I am sure your Lordships all agree that we are greatly indebted to the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees for the extremely careful, impartial and scholarly way in which he has explained the procedure. I think your Lordships will also agree that it is gratifying to think that the rights and interests of private individuals are so carefully and conscientiously protected when there is introduced a Hybrid Bill which seeks partly to achieve a public purpose but also impinges upon the rights of individuals.

I think there is much force in what the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth has said. I think, however, that he rather suggested that the Rules of Order handicap this House alone, or rather the second House to which a Hybrid Bill is introduced. He will find, I think, if he reads the debate in another place, that much the same considerations of Order were advanced by the Minister as a reason for not accepting the Amendment moved by the honourable Member for Wycombe who wished to achieve in what I might call a more straightforward manner, exactly the same purpose that we have in mind now. It was then that the Minister said that, without claiming to be an authority on procedure, he was under the impression that to enable the Authority to build a new market outside the Covent Garden Area would in fact go outside Standing Orders and would have the same effect as that which has been indicated to us today. So in some respects I think that the points that have been made by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth apply to the former House as well as to the second House in this matter.

The Lord Chairman has explained the situation plainly, and I am not anxious to deny that if these Amendments, which I hope your Lordships will carry, are put into operation, it may result in this Bill being postponed for another year. I do not think that that would be an irreparable disaster. It was the Parliamentary Secretary in the debate on the Second Reading who said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 231 (No 89), col. 1251]: What is done now may affect marketing for many years to come, and it is important that it be right. It is true that at a later stage in his speech he advanced as one of the main arguments in favour of the Government's proposal that, as a practical proposition, it could be put into operation at once. I am reminded of a saying attributed to the late Mr. Asquith—namely When I hear people saying that something must be done about it, I notice that very soon something very foolish is generally done. If, after all the time and thought that has been given to trying to improve the marketing of horticultural produce in London, we are really in such a hurry that when strong arguments are advanced we are going to accept the second best in order that there should be no delay, then I submit that your Lordships would not be serving the proper purpose of a revising Chamber.

This cannot be described as a sudden emergency. My noble friend Lord Runciman of Doxford's Committee reported in 1957; and this is 1961. The Minister in another place gave as one of the reasons for it, when he was answering the same arguments that were there put forward, that a decision has to be taken; the Chopper has to come down. I cannot believe that that is the way in which you get wise and far-sighted legislation. It is, of course, true that this Bill is a great step forward, but we believe that it misses an opportunity.

There is not, so far as I know, a single well-informed body which has wholeheartedly welcomed this Bill. In the first place, it did not accept the recommendations of the Runciman Committee. In the second place, the National Farmers' Union regretted the abandonment of the idea of a market on the north-west periphery of London. In the third place, the London County Council had asked for decentralisation of the markets. In the fourth place, the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee in their 1958 Report said: We much regret that this decision has been found necessary". The Economist, in a long and careful article upon this Bill, thought it could not be regarded as adequate to the emergency. As for the House of Commons, there were nineteen speakers.

It is true that the two Ministers, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, were unqualified admirers of the measure. It might perhaps be natural that ten Members of the Opposition should be opposed to it. But it is more unusual that five supporters of the Government should have been against it, and the other two supported it but with qualifications. There can seldom have been a Hybrid Bill which has come to your Lordships' House with less cordial support from another place.

The Bill originally vested in the Authority the property in the St. Luke's Printing Works in Finsbury, and this was regarded as a fundamental provision of the Bill. It was a Select Committee in another place which struck that out. They provided that the Authority should be free to look around London and find the most suitable place for the Annex. What we are asking for in our Amendment is that the same free discretion should be given to them in the much more important matter of deciding whether to rebuild the Covent Garden Market itself. The Government have decided in favour of the Covent Garden Area. We are not claiming that it should not be in the Covent Garden Area. We regard the matter as being extremely difficult and one which the new Market Authority should be allowed to go into and consider in the light of all the circumstances and with the advice of all those who are concerned as to where the market should be.

The Parliamentary Secretary rather misrepresented my speech on Second Reading when he said I was pessimistic in saying that it could not Abe rebuilt in the Covent Garden area. I have no doubt it can be. With £20 million of money available, there is no doubt it can be done. What I was concerned about was whether that really was the best place for it to be rebuilt.

I should like to adduce the arguments against it. First of all, as to the marketing considerations, I cannot believe that it is reasonable for a market of this size to be located in the middle of the town. Covent Garden was not in the middle of a town in 1670. I am inclined to think that King Charles II was a better planner than the present Government are showing themselves to be. In the second place, there is no railway connection. The Parliamentary Secretary himself told us that 25 per cent. of the produce which comes into Covent Garden comes by rail. That means the loading of the whole of that 25 per cent. quite unnecessarily on to lorries and its transportation from railhead to Covent Garden. A very large proportion of it, having been sold there, is transported back again in order to be sent into the provinces.

In the third place, approximately 50 per cent. of what is sold at Covent Garden is imported from overseas, and a large proportion of that comes through London Docks. But there is neither rail nor water connection between the Port of London and Covent Garden. In the fourth place, there are new techniques which the Runciman Committee recommended should be developed so far as possible, all of which tend to point to the undesirability of great quantities of bulk produce being brought into the centre of London. It seems to me that all those are marketing arguments against continuing to retain the market in Covent Garden.

Then I come to the planning considerations. I do not know why the Parliamentary Secretary said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 231 (No. 89), col. 1251]: It cannot all be just open space for the benefit of the planners. My Lords, I do not know why the planners should be referred to in such a disparaging manner. When I asked in another place on the Second Reading of this same Bill about the rights of the London County Council, I was given a very cordial assurance by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that all the London County Council's powers under the general supervision of the Minister of Housing and Local Government would be preserved. I thought the Government attached a good deal of importance to planning and the redevelopment of London.

The planners have never suggested that the whole of Covent Garden should be an open space. On the contrary, the planners say that that is where it would be possible to provide some of the commercial offices that are being built in London in such large numbers and for which the price of land at the present time is so extortionate and is rising. It was the view of a previous Minister of Housing and Local Government, Mr. Sandys, and I think of the London County Council, that it is extremely important to have residential areas once more in the centre of London in order that there should not be this perpetual development of dormitories outside London with all the traffic problems of the morning and evening tides of traffic, with which we are familiar. The planners merely say about this that it is foolish to use space in the middle of London which is extremely well adapted to other uses for an ill-sited market when the market could very much better be placed nearer to other forms of transport in northern London.

Next, I come to the matter of traffic. I should like to know how far the Minister of Transport has been allowed to have his way in this matter. I very well remember when I went to the Ministry of Transport inquiring whether the Ministry had raised any objection to the building of the Westbury Hotel in the middle of Bond Street. I was told that the Ministry of Transport had not been consulted about the siting of that hotel and that, according to the general principles, they were not entitled to be consulted on that but only upon the accesses to a building of that kind. Really, with the problem of London traffic as it is at the present time, the Minister of Transport should have a very weighty word in deciding whether schemes which are going to generate traffic are to be allowed in the middle of London.

What can generate more traffic than a market such as this which sucks in traffic in the morning and pumps it out again in the evening? I have already mentioned on the authority of the Parliamentary Secretary that 25 per cent. of the produce is railed in and 50 per cent. comes from overseas. With all that produce coming in the market at Covent Garden, where it is at the present time, is not suitably sited. Then under the Bill as it is at the present time, the annex, so far as practicable, is to be outside the Covent Garden Area. I need add nothing to what the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, has said upon that subject, except to repeat that this does appear to be the duplication of transport for empties and for bulk imports.

Fourthly, I come to the matter of the railways. Her Majesty's Government have many things upon their mind, and one is the reorganisation of the nationalised transport undertakings. In paragraph 26 of the White Paper, Cmnd. 1248, they refer to the development of the valuable properties at present held by the Commission, and say that it is a matter requiring special attention. In paragraph 58 they go further and say, with regard to freehold and leasehold property: The present statutory restrictions on the development of property by the nationalised transport undertakings will be suitably relaxed. In addition to relaxing the statutory restraints upon the Transport Commission, I think it would be a good thing if, in cases like this, where there is need for the rebuilding of a great market like Covent Garden, encouragement were given to the Commission to have it in close proximity to their London termini. They are apparently quite prepared, if they are given the opportunity, to give careful consideration to a proposal of this kind. This is what they said when I made inquiries about it: The Commission have under consideration various matters, including electrification and other modernisation projects, which affect in various ways and degrees the railway layout from King's Cross Station northwards, but they would welcome the opportunity of examining any scheme for providing in this area a rail-connected market; or, failing the market itself, the annex to the market for which the site does not appear to have yet been finally selected; provided always that the design of the market and/or annex is satisfactory, there is no undue interference with railway operations in the goods depot, and the traffic potential makes the prospect worth while. All this suggests, not that the market should necessarily be built at any particular site, but that it is unwise, when this Bill is before your Lordships' House, that the scope of the Market Authority should be narrowly circumscribed so as to prevent them from taking advantage of any opportunities of that kind.

The Minister was impressed by these arguments in another place, and he said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 640 (No. 106), col. 265]: If, as a result of their inquiries and of representations made to them the Authority thought that it would be better to have the market elsewhere, how could that be brought about? It could not be done under this Bill, but what the Authority could do would be to tell the Government of the day, `We have been into this very carefully. This is the particular site we want. It is, in our view, a better site than the Covent Garden site. From every point of view, we think that it will be a more satisfactory site'. In your Lordships' House, the Parliamentary Secretary repeated, in other words, the Minister's statement. He said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 231 (No. 89), col. 1319]: It is conceivable—it is a hypothetical position—that another site elsewhere would be found to be more satisfactory when everything is gone into". I congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary upon the modesty with which he accepts that there is the hypothetical position that the Government may be in error and that the great consensus of informed opinion that it is otherwise may turn out to be right.

He said that there would then have to be new legislation, but that "it would not be very lengthy". But, of course, the length of legislation is by no means the measure of the difficulty of finding Parliamentary time for it. If in fact it were found by the Market Authority that they would do better to go to some other site—I prefer not to specify any one, because I am not pressing any particular proposal—I think they would probably find that the Minister, after consulting the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, would say, "I am very sorry, but the legislative programme is very tight this year. I am afraid that we shall not be able to do anything about it until next year at the earliest, and then we shall look at it again".

So it might well be that £20 million of public money would be spent upon building a market in a place where the costs of handling the produce would still continue to be unnecessarily high; where marketing would not be brought up to date; where congestion in the streets of London would still continue to be bad, and where nothing would be done to help the railways. It is all very well for the Minister to say that to talk about agricultural produce being brought by train is planning in Cloud Cuckooland, but that is not the view of growers in the Midlands and in the North of England, whose termini are so far from the market where it is at the present time.

If the Government persist in refusing this modest Amendment to the Bill to make it more flexible and to enable it to deal with this remote, hypothetical contingency that they may not have chosen the right spot for it in their Bill, I should like to know: Would the Bill be a Hybrid Bill, or would it be a Private Bill? I am not trying to obstruct this Bill, and I believe that it is a good Bill. I think only that it is tragic it is not a better one: and it is because I believe that, by a small Amendment to it, it could produce a very much more farsighted and up-to-date method of marketing, of dealing with planning and of dealing with traffic that I am supporting this Amendment. If I may respectfully say so in conclusion, I should have thought that, in such a Bill, which has received this non-Party opposition in both Houses, and which is dealing with a technical matter—one which, despite, perhaps, a few of the speeches made from opposite, is really not one that gives rise to Party consideration—this is the kind of Amendment that could properly be carried by your Lordships in a Revising Chamber.

4.58 p.m.


We have heard the case for this Amendment argued so exhaustively and so skilfully, and with such authority, that I will try to be very brief. I believe that this is entirely a non-Party matter. This is purely a planning matter; and, on planning matters, there really ought not to be a Party view in Parliament. I personally believe that the scheme as set out in the Bill will not work, though I do not wish to press that view. But I wish the Authority to be given the advantage of being able to choose a site outside, just in case I happen to be right. I believe that here, under this Bill, there is a tremendous development chance which is being missed. This area of 30 acres or so is one of the finest sites in London, and if it is condemned to have 10 acres of it used for the perpetuation of Covent Garden, it can never be developed properly as a whole. Moreover, I am perfectly convinced that the area which is segregated from the market will not be the only area that will be affected by the market. By the time the cars and lorries, the buyers and sellers, the staff and the porters, are all congregated in the area, it will certainly congest far more than the ten acres they are supposed to take up.

Moreover, as I explained on Second Reading, I just do not believe that this annex business will work out. I might remind your Lordships that in the Runciman Report, where the Committee recommended an annex, they recommended in addition a market in North-West London. I imagine that that market in North-West London would take away a great deal of business from the existing Covent Garden Market and its annex. That proposal has been rejected. We should have liked to hear a little more from the Ministry of Transport about their views on this matter, because, quite frankly, if one has to locate a market to serve a great City like London with produce, a quarter of which is being carried by rail, I should have thought it very peculiar, to say the least, not to take advantage of relocating that market on the railway, and possibly on a canal as well. I am desperately keen that the railways shall pay their way. We are paying 3d. or 4d. in income tax already every year to meet railway losses, and I cannot see that that loss is going to diminish. Here is an opportunity to lessen it, not only because by increased efficiency they might increase that proportion of 25 per cent., but also because the major and new sites which would be available for a new market are mostly in railway hands at the moment, lying comparatively sterile, and are, apart from ground use, derelict.

There is one further point which, I would remind your Lordships, has not been brought out. It looks a possibility that we may join the Common Market. It also looks a possibility that there will in due course be a Channel Tunnel. If these two eventualities come about, a train or trains will arrive every day from the Continent with horticultural produce. Is that to be taken to some London points, unloaded, taken oft to the annex and to Covent Garden, and then sold? I think lunacy is a strong term, but it is very peculiar to locate such a market away from the rail.

Various schemes are in the field. I have been circularised as to one, but have no particular point with regard to it. The great advantage seems to me that it could apparently be done with private money, and thus save the Chancellor of the Exchequer from having to borrow £20 million, which is a consideration these days. I am sure that the tenants will object. They all have their clubs and pubs all round Covent Garden, and will very much dislike having to start a new system of life in another market. But what right have they to object to moving to a more efficient market? Covent Garden is frequently criticised by growers, and the like, for restrictive practices and undue expenses, and the tenants really have no moral right to object if a site can be produced for them where they can operate more cheaply than they can at the moment. The noble Lord, the Lord Chairman of Committees, pointed out that we are really constitutionally in a great tangle. I felt while he was speaking rather like Weller Senior at Doctors Commons. There seems to me one simple solution to the whole thing, and that is, to let the Bill go. It is far better that development at Covent Garden should be post- poned than that the development should be a wrong development.


I should like to support this Amendment, but for at any rate one different reason, and that is that I feel that Her Majesty's Government are not at times averse to seeing what other countries are doing with regard to similar matters. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, who mentioned the other day Les Halles of Paris. It seems to me that conditions there and conditions at Covent Garden are very similar indeed. In fact, I found it very much so when I went through Les Halles last Friday, and could not help but remember the 3,300 daily vehicles of my noble friend Lord Waldegrave which were going through Covent Garden every day. Conditions seemed to me absolutely similar. That is why I took the trouble to find out a few facts while in Paris. I was interested to learn that on January 6. 1959, a decision was taken by the Comité Inter-Ministeriel pour la Region Parisienne, and that Committee took the decision, which was a joint decision of the Ministries concerned, to transfer the poultry and meat market from Les Halles to La Villette, which is North of Paris. Then, later, on March 14, 1960 the same Committee took the decision that the remaining produce at Les Halles—that is vegetables, fish, fruit, and so on—would be transferred to Rungis, which is due South of Paris. Apart from transferring the horticultural produce and so forth, to the South of Paris, they also will be transferred to the North of Paris to some undecided site.

It seemed to me that one of the considerations this Committee must have had in mind with regard to the provision of such a market was the facility of access and good communications. I have a map here which I shall be delighted to show the noble Earl, and one can see from it that Rungis is extremely close to, in fact right by, Orly Airport and is right beside the Southern Motorway, and thirdly, the railhead of Wissous is alongside, where produce will arrive by complete wagon loads, and lesser loads (that is, not complete wagons) will arrive at Choisy-le-Roi, which is also extremely near. Therefore one can see that a very important aspect has been taken into consideration very fully: that is, that there should be good communications to such a market. I might add, because I see that my noble friend Lord Runciman of Doxford is not here—although I do not wish to contradict him—that a decree has been passed fairly recently to authorise the transferring of that meat market. These decisions, as your Lordships know, can be implemented only by various "decrets", or decrees. These are considerations why I feel that good communications are important, and also that if the Authority feel that Covent Garden may not be a suitable spot or area to have a market under present-day conditions, they should have the power to transfer their market For those reasons, I warmly support this Amendment.

The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, dealt very authoritatively and effectively with the question of marketing, something of which he has great knowledge and of which I have little knowledge. Therefore, I would only refer to the question of traffic. The noble Lord, Lord Molson, mentioned a possible lack of co-operation with the Ministry of Transport. In all fairness, I would say that I received from my noble friend Lord Waldegrave, as I referred to the traffic question on Second Reading, a letter in which he said: We have been in close co-operation with the Ministry of Transport at all stages. But I cannot see how the Minister of Transport could recommend in any way that such a market should still remain in the heart of an important and large city like London. Therefore, I warmly support the Amendment.

5.11 p.m.


First of all, may I say how sorry I was to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, that he had lost his speech. If I were ever in such a predicament, in which I had given the wrong speech to the Press and got up to make an important speech without notes, and did half as well as the noble Lord has done, I should be very pleased with myself.


On behalf of the Press, may I say that they have now delivered the right notes and taken back the wrong ones. I hope they will both be printed!


I am glad to hear that, because on Committee the noble Lord can speak on several occasions and now he may give us the second speech as well.

I should like to put before your Lordships three main and separate arguments on why the Amendment we are discussing is not acceptable and ought to be rejected. The first is the procedural argument. We are all greatly indebted for the statement made by the Lord Chairman and for the great care and immense trouble he has taken to study all the matters to which he referred and to advise your Lordships. These are serious matters, which we shall have to keep very much in our minds. I do not want to go over the ground again, but I was greatly impressed by the Lord Chairman's argument that there was a great deal more than a possibility that the Examiners would find that the scope of the Bill had been enlarged should this Amendment be passed, with what consequences he explained.

I should like to say, on one particular type of Petition, that the procedure suggested in the Amendment could not confer the right of petitioning on persons who object or consider their interests adversely affected by a provision which would leave the Authority free to select a site and recommend accordingly to the Minister. For instance, the Covent Garden Tenants' Association might well have petitioned against provisions on those lines had they originally appeared in the Bill, but they will not have an opportunity of doing so under the Special Parliamentary procedure, if this Amendment were carried. And, of course, the Covent Garden Tenants' Association is an important private interest, that has to be protected under the Hybrid Bill procedure.

The second group of arguments are on the technical drafting difficulties which arise from the Amendment and which are formidable. Let me draw your Lordships' attention to the most outstanding of them. First of all, Clause 17 (1) (g) is concerned with the reduction of bulk produce. Presumably there is now no wholesale market in the "additional area" on which the new Market will be built, and no new produce is being brought in bulk into that area, and to require the Authority to reduce the amount of produce brought into it would be absurd. A consequential Amendment to deal with this is one of the many Amendments which would be essential, if your Lordships see fit to support this Amendment.

Again, under Clause 16 (3), dealing with the annex, the Authority are under a duty, under the Bill as drafted, to provide facilities for the storage of horticultural produce and empty containers, and so far as is practicable—and this is the point the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, may have missed—those storage facilities should be outside the Covent Garden Area. There may be some storage facilities within the Area. The effect of this Amendment would be to require the Authority to provide, so far as is practicable, storage facilities outside the "additional area". But the concept of an annex would be quite out of place in relation to the "additional area".

Again (though I do not want to weary your Lordships with too many examples), we shall get into difficulties in regard to Clauses 21 and 22, dealing with licensing, and Clause 24, dealing with compensation. The whole of the licensing system provided for in Clauses 21 and 22 to operate in the Covent Garden Area would be automatically imported into the "additional area", according to this Amendment. It is unlikely that such a system would be needed there. Indeed, it is more likely that what would be required would be a small prohibited area surrounding any market to be built in the "additional area", but such a prohibited area would not be created by this Amendment. If the licensing system were transferred, all the compensation provisions of Clause 24 would operate throughout the "additional area". But there is really no reason why the Authority, having built a new Market in the "additional area" to accommodate traders, should then be required to pay compensation for the refusal of licences to carry on marketing activities in premises just outside that new Market. I do not want to labour these points, but they are serious and important.

Before I come to a third group of arguments against the Amendment, arguments on its merits, I think that I should reply to one or two points that have been made by noble Lords. I must admit that I was a little confused by the opening remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, which seemed to imply that he had not really seen the Report of the Select Committee. But. I realise that he must have seen it, because he has an Amendment down to one of the clauses inserted into the Bill by the Select Committee, and he made it clear later on that he knew about all the Amendments which the Select Committee had made. Therefore, I was not clear what he was referring to in his opening remarks.


I was referring to the report of the evidence, which I have not seen.


The report of the evidence is part of the proceedings; it was published on June 22, and it was in the Printed Paper Office on that day or soon after. I thank the noble Lord for making that point clear.

The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, said that he did not want to wreck the Bill, although other noble Lords said that they would be prepared to see this Bill die if a better Bill could be produced. The noble Lord when speaking of the annex, asked, why, now that the annex (which had been on the Finsbury lands in the original Bill) was taken out and the Authority was free to rove to look for a site for an annex, they could not be free to rove to look for a site for the Market. But the possibility of choosing a site (and this is the whole point) other than the Finsbury lands was in the Bill as advertised: It was "the Finsbury lands or …" Therefore, there is no question of extension there. But in the Bill as advertised, there was no possibility of the Market being anywhere other than in the Covent Garden area. That is essentially why these two cases are not the same. Again, on the annex, the Bill does not insist on there being an annex at all. It requires the Authority to provide for storage facilities, for bulk produce and containers, which are to be as far as practicable outside the Covent Garden area. If the Authority do not find it practicable to provide storage facilities outside the area, that is to say, the annex, then they will not do so.

The noble Lord, Lord Molson, the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, and other noble Lords have mentioned in their speeches this question of £20 million of Government money. I am sure they did not in any way intend to mislead your Lordships, and I hope they did not do so. Under Clause 37, which contains some of the financial provisions of the Bill, £20 million is the upper limit of the borrowing powers of the Authority, and none of that is public money: it all has to come out of the money market, except for the original £8 million, which is a Treasury loan and has to be repaid. I want that point to be quite clear to your Lordships, if you have not studied the details of the question, before we proceed.


Before the noble Earl leaves that point, does he mean that the Authority are not to borrow money at all from the very limited funds for public borrowing in the money market?


No, I do not mean that. Under Clause 37, the £20 million is the upper limit of borrowing, and the upper limit of Treasury advance is £8 million, which is repayable. But let us assume for the purpose of this argument that your Lordships wish to reject the advice of the noble Lord, the Lord Chairman of Committees, and to disregard his warning—


No. The Parliamentary Secretary should be more fair to the Lord Chairman of Committees. He did not give advice. He merely pointed out the procedural situation and said that there might be difficulties. The Parliamentary Secretary has no right to hang on to the coat-tails of the Lord Chairman, because in this respect he has not any coat-tails.


I am obliged to the noble Lord for correcting the words that I used; I should not have used them. The Lord Chairman of Committees did not advise us. I was searching for a word. The noble Lord, the Lord Chairman of Committees, gave us an important statement on the procedural and constitutional matters. But I think I am right in saying (I have his words here) that he did warn us that, in his view, it might well be that if this Bill went to Examiners they would find the scene had been widened. I was making the assumption that if we did not heed that warning he has given us the Bill might be lost; but if we said that these re-drafting Amendments are a matter of good sense, we can get together with the Parliamentary draftsman and soon put the drafting right if we have the will to do so.

If we accept those two assumptions—that we can put the drafting right (it would be difficult, but it is conceivable), and that the procedure would not cause this Bill to be lost—is there not still, even then, a fundamental and overriding objection to the avowed purpose of these Amendments and the objects they seek to achieve? This is an attempt to solve the Covent Garden Market problem. That problem has been considered for a number of years up and down the country, by Governments, by newspapers and by everybody interested in a great problem of this sort, including the planners—and I am sorry if anything that I said jestingly should have made the noble Lord, Lord Molson, feel that I had any disrespect for the planners, because that was not my intention. The Runciman Committee also considered the Covent Garden Market in the section of their Report on London Markets.

There are two possible basic solutions of this difficult problem. First, there is the solution to reorganise the market in Covent Garden and rebuild it there. The other solution is to close down the market in Covent Garden and build another market, or markets, as the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, would have it in his Amendments. Those fundamentally are the two solutions of this problem on which we have to come to a decision. The policy decision has been taken by Her Majesty's Government. People may disagree with it, but in the last resort someone has to decide; and the absolutely fatal thing to do is to try to put both mutually exclusive plans into operation at the same time.

The Government took this decision after very careful consideration, and not lightly. Indeed, this Bill was drafted when my right honourable friend the present Minister of Labour was Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and it was introduced to Parliament when the present Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was in office. So he not only had the opportunity, but the duty, to go over this whole ground leading up to the decision, again, and that he did. He came to the same decision as his predecessor, and the present Bill was introduced. Whether or not that decision was right can be argued for all time—as, indeed, it was argued at great length in another place in all stages, and as it has been argued in this House, in the Press and by the public.

This Bill has been introduced into your Lordships' House and had its Second Reading. It has been examined for three days in Select Committee before learned counsel upstairs. If it were possible, procedurally and mechanically, to alter this Bill as suggested, I submit that it would be quite wrong and utterly impracticable to do so by means of Amendments of this type. This Bill is already a hybrid and it would be turned in effect into a "push-me-pull-you" which I believe is an animal designed to go backwards and forwards at the same time. That will be much worse than a hybrid, and much more difficult procedurally.

There is a fundamental and inescapable difference between reorganising And building a market at Covent Garden, and transferring that market somewhere else. This Bill is called the Covent Garden Market Bill. Its Long Title refers to "lands in the Parish of Saint Paul, Covent Garden", and speaks of making provision for activities "in and adjacent to Covent Garden". It sets up an Authority called the Covent Garden Market Authority. This would be a very odd Title for a Bill which made provision for a market in or adjacent to Watford, St. Albans or Inverness (because there is no mention of London in this Amendment). If Parliament wishes to replace Covent Garden Market, do away with the business there, transfer the business to some other site in London or elsewhere, this Bill, from the first line in the Long Title, to the last line in the Fifth Schedule, is largely inappropriate. A Bill to do that would require, I submit, to state first of all where the new market was to be, and how the existing Covent Garden Market should be shut down. I doubt if its Title would be the Covent Garden Market Bill.


Why not?


It might be the Covent Garden Market Bill or it might be the Covent Garden Closure Bill—I am not a Parliamentary draftsman. What my right honourable friend said in another place has been quoted already, but as it has been quoted shortly I think I should give the whole quotation. This is what my right honourable friend said when the question of the alternative site was being discussed [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 640 (No. 106), col. 265]: I still believe it right—I have no qualms about it—that to rebuild within this area is the best arrangement. There are, of course, arguments for and against it, just as there would be arguments for and against siting it elsewhere. We believe it right that this Bill should tie the Authority to rebuilding within the present area. We do not think that the Authority should be able to do this work elsewhere except with the express sanction of Parliament. If as a result"— this is the part that has been so often quoted, but I will quote it in extenso again— of their inquiries and of representations made to them the Authority thought that it would be better to have the market elsewhere, how could that be brought about? It could not be done under this Bill, but what the Authority could do would be to tell the Government of the day, 'We have been into this very carefully. This is the particular site we want. It is, in our view, a better site than the Covent Garden site. From every point of view, we think that it will be a more satisfactory site.' The Authority could suggest that to the Government. That would be the second phase of the operation—quite some time ahead—and that suggestion would be given weighty consideration. It would involve legislation. It would not necessarily need a very long Bill, but it would involve legislation. I believe that to be only right, because it is Parliament that should decide whether this market, which plays such a great part in our life, should be where it is now proposed to have it or elsewhere. I cannot add anything to that. It is very simple, it is clear and, in my submission, it is obviously right. I hope the noble Lord will withdraw this Amendment for these three compelling reasons. First, the Amendment as drafted will lead us, I believe, into grave procedural difficulties. A procedure is prayed in aid in this Amendment which I am advised is inappropriate and undesirable. Secondly, the defect and the total insufficiency of the actual Amendment, as drafted, and before your Lordships; and thirdly, the fundamental reason that the objective is incompatible with the objective of this Bill. This is a Bill to reorganise and rebuild Covent Garden Market at Covent Garden, and it is not a Bill to close down Covent Garden Market and transfer its business to a market or markets elsewhere. I hope that your Lordships will resist this Amendment.


When I spoke before I was dealing with the procedural matter raised by the Lord Chairman of Committees. I did not want to deal with the substance of the Amendment because the noble Lord, Lord Molson, was to follow, and I did not wish to get in the way of his speech. But I must say that I find the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary most unconvincing. It really is not good enough to come to this House and say that the Government have decided on Covent Garden and, therefore, your Lordships' House cannot have any argument about it, or any difference of opinion, or that any alteration in the site is prohibited by Her Majesty's Government.


Might I ask the noble Lord one question? I do not pretend to have any information on this subject, but I have been listening with the greatest interest to the debate, as I did before. What I cannot understand—and if the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, is able to tell me it would be of great assistance; I am sure he must have a reason—is why he and his noble friends did not vote against the Bill on the Second Reading. Everyone has said, "This scheme for Covent Garden Market is wrong." It may be wrong, but I want to be convinced. Why did the noble Lords not vote against it on Second Reading?


I think there was a Division against the Bill in another place. The reason why a Division did not take place here (personally I do not say that it never should) is that the tradition of the Opposition in this House is not to divide against Government Bills on Second Reading. That was the only reason why we did not divide against it. The noble Lady may find that a satisfactory or an unsatisfactory reason—




—but it is out of respect for the authority and powers of another place, which we did not like interfered with when we were in power and, therefore, we try not to interfere with the will of the Government, particularly the will of another place when this Government is in power. Whether that should be 100 per cent. for all time and on all Bills, one does not know, because it partly depends on the mandate the Government have behind it. But that is the answer to the noble Lady.

I find the Parliamentary Secretary's argument dogmatic and really more worthy of a Communist commissar than a respectable constitutional Conservative Minister. He says: "The House must not argue about this. The Government have decided it."


May I suggest to the noble Lord that this House decided on the Second Reading that there was to be a Covent Garden Market at that place?


With great respect, the noble Lady was good enough to say that she was not expert about this matter, and she is not.


I am trying to learn.


Ali the House decided, with great respect, was that it would give a Second Reading to the Bill. It did not thereby decide that Covent Garden was a sacred spot that must not in any circumstances be interfered with. The mere fact that the Government have called it the "Covent Garden Market Bill" was, I thought, a very thick argument on the part of the Parliamentary Secretary. We have not even passed the Title of the Bill in Committee to-day. The question was put, "That the Title be postponed", and we postponed it. The Question was put, "That the Preamble be postponed", and we postponed it. Therefore, the Title is not yet settled by this House, and the noble Lady should not be so terribly dogmatic in an almost totalitarian spirit.

Then the noble Earl said that the Minister in another place said that the Market had to be at Covent Garden. That is not the way to handle Parliament. Parliament can be advised; Government is perfectly free to put a point of view, and by persuasive arguments it can. But when any Minister says, as the Parliamentary Secretary said this afternoon and he said the Minister said in another place, that it has got to be in Covent Garden, and no rights of Parliament must override decisions of Her Majesty's Government, I put it to him that this is a "bit thick" and it ought not to be so. The Amendment moved is different from the one I shall move later. It is not mandatory and it is not committal, but merely puts the question that if the Market Authority come to the conclusion, and I think they may, that there ought to be another site and that they wish to make representations to the Government then they should be free to do so. That is all. The Government is entitled to reject the advice of the Market Authority, but even then it is not final because the decision would require to be ratified by both Houses of Parliament. It is an expansive and elastic decision that the House is asked to reach compared with the rather rigid attitude which the Parliamentary Secretary has taken up.

On the drafting point, it is often said that the drafting of an Amendment is not what it ought to be. Here is a chance, then, for the Government between now and the Report stage to alter the drafting. The noble Lord has said that the Finsbury site for the other purpose provided that there could be another site if it was settled. presumably between the Authority and the Government. If that was right in the case of the overflow, then what is wrong in principle about it with respect to the Market itself? I submit that it is a more elastic situation which is provided for under the Amendment and is more sensible than the other.

I think that anybody who knows anything about London traffic and London planning—I will not say anybody, but the great bulk of people who do—will be on the side of the Market not being on the Covent Garden site. You can no doubt find people who think the other way, and the tenants may not want to be disturbed, but anybody who has an informed mind on London traffic and planning knows that this is not where this market ought to be.

But once this Bill is through as an Act there is no discretion left; it has got to be there. Indeed the Parliamentary Secretary then comes into his own. He said it has got to be there; and my goodness!it is going to be there, and it is there. If they want to alter it, presumably there has to be new legislation, and that may be difficult. The Government legislative programme at the moment is in difficulties, which I will not expand upon. It may not be easy to get an amending Bill. Therefore, the House must decide this this afternoon. As the Parliamentary Secretary said in his emphatic, totalitarian spirit, "This is the way it is going to be; there is to be no nonsense about it; Her Majesty's Government has said so, and so will it be." I hope your Lordships will prefer the doctrine of elasticity urged by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, and by other noble Lords opposite. Let the thing be elastic.

If the Bill is lost in this Session—I do not know that necessarily it will be—I sympathise with the Ministers for having gone to all the trouble; but then I sympathise with your Lordships the other week for having gone to all the trouble with two Bills which have since been buried for this Session by the Government. If a less important Bill is postponed until next Session it will give the Government a chance to think again, which will be a good thing. In any case the Session is already fairly well advanced, so we cannot be sure that this Bill will go through. The main point is that I want to see the Bill have some elastic provision whereby Parliament does not finally commit the Government 100 per cent. that the Market must be in a particular place—a place which has received a lot of criticism and on which the general view is that the market ought not to be there.


The noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, is really a wonderful tactician, a great Parliamentary performer, and we all very much enjoy the way he sets about the business. But I do not think this discussion should come to an end without a speech from me in which I show the real extent of the beauty of his advocacy. A Member of this House who can make out my noble friend to be a totalitarian is certainly attempting a paradox and I think it would repay the Committee to spend a moment to see the various stages whereby this paradox has been arrived at, in order that we may be able to pay our full tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, at whose feet I have studied for very many years and for whose methods and Parliamentary tactics I have nothing but admiration.

We are discussing not the Second Reading of the Bill, as my noble friend below the gangway quite rightly pointed out; we are discussing an important Amendment in Committee. We have got into this situation by this process, rightly or wrongly, but the Government, after considering every alternative, thought—the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, thinks wrongly—that of all the various alternatives with regard to the site of Covent Garden the only one which could be achieved was to rebuild and reorganise in that area. That is what the Bill says. Of course, that policy may be wrong. The noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, thinks it is wrong. It is quite open to this House to say that the policy was wrong. They may prefer it to be at King's Cross or in Caithness and Sutherland. It might be better to have it there. This is what the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth is saying. But, I say with respect, the only thing he cannot say, with the slightest degree of plausibility, is that a piece of bespoke tailoring like this Bill, a Bill which is drafted around a decision to have it in this area and nowhere else, can be made a vehicle to have it in Caithness and Sutherland or King's Cross or at the docks.


The only people who have mentioned Caithness are the noble Lords opposite. It never occurred to anybody else. But heaven forbid that I should discourage them from having imaginative minds!


The noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, is singularly coy about what his alternative policy is and I do not blame him for being so. This is all part of the tactical performance for which I have such a wide admiration.

The only point I am making, which seems to be irrefragable, is that when you have drafted a Bill of 56 clauses and I do not know how many pages, around the proposition that the market should be at Covent Garden, however mistaken that policy may or may not be, you cannot by any exercise of Parliamentary imagination turn that piece of bespoke tailoring into a Bill for putting the market somewhere else. That must be quite plain. As my noble friend below the gangway quite rightly said, if people do not agree with the policy of putting the new market in the Covent Garden area it was quite open to them to vote against the Bill on Second Reading. I gather that noble Lords opposite have a religious objection to doing that.


I do not make any universal promise about voting against Second Readings, but I do not think we could on this one and in general we do not. But that is not a 100 per cent. guarantee.


I should like to tell the noble Viscount Lord Hailsham exactly what I did say. As a matter of principle we do not vote against Second Reading, but if ever a Bill deserved rejection on Second Reading in your Lordships' House this one did. There was never any doubt about our attitude. If I had known it was a normal thing to vote against a Second Reading, as I know now, I assure your Lordships there will be many more occasions when we shall divide the House.


I shall be interested to know what they will be. But on this occasion at all material times it was open to noble Lords opposite who disbelieved in the policy of the Bill to oppose it on Second Reading.


I did not vote against the Bill on Second Reading because I am in favour of about 99 per cent. of it. I consider that to deal with the scandal of Covent Garden is urgently necessary, and I should have thought it irresponsible to vote against the Second Reading. I did not regard the exact question of whether it was inside a certain circle as going to the root of the principle of the Bill.


My noble friend's reasoning is very different from that of noble Lords opposite, who say they did not oppose the Second Reading on principle. The only difference between my noble friend and myself is that we disagree as to the importance of what he described as 1 per cent. of the Bill. I think my noble friend beside me made an overwhelming case for the proposition that once you have built legislation round a policy which says the market should be in Covent Garden, and nowhere else; and once you have introduced about 51 clauses devoted to that proposition and not to any other, it really is not a possible course in Committee to move or support an Amendment which says, "But, of course, if the Authority comes to the conclusion that the whole policy of the Bill is wrong, it shall then tell the Minister so and find some other place unspecified and ask the Minister by Order in Council to say what other place it shall be and invoke a special procedure very seldom invoked before for the purpose of substituting a statutory instrument for the Bill."

My noble friend has been accused of being a dictator, of being a Communist commissar. When he put in a very modest plea to the effect that the sensible thing to do, if one came to that sort of conclusion, was to reject the Bill on Second Reading and not to pass an Amendment now, nobody could find fault with his reasoning. It is idle that the Committee should have any misapprehension as to the consequences of what the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, told the Committee, from his impartial position earlier on: that there could be no future for this Bill if this Amendment were passed. It may be that that is what noble Lords who support the Amendment want. I thought I detected an element of that feeling in the speech of my noble friend Lord Hawke. It is not apparently what the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, wants, because although he was eager to tell me he thought the Bill worthy of rejection on Second Reading, he opened his speech on this Amendment by saying he did not want to wreck the Bill. My noble friend Lord Molson, in his recent intervention, said he thought it was urgently necessary to deal with the scandal of Covent Garden, as he called it. If the Committee take to heart not what the Government says but what the noble Lord, the Lord Chairman of Committees, has told the Committee about the facts of life in the Standing Orders of the House, then they should be under no misapprehension that to pass this Amendment is to destroy the Bill.

5.54 p.m.


In closing this discussion I would just comment very briefly upon what the noble and learned Viscount, and the noble Earl, Lord Waldegrave, have said. With respect, the noble and learned Viscount the Leader of the House has put his own interpretation on what the Lord Chairman of Committees was kind enough to say when giving us his most valuable advice. The noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, did not at any time say, and was very careful not to say, that acceptance of this Amendment would wreck the Bill. He did, indeed, indicate two possible courses of action which would not wreck the Bill.

He said, for example, that although he felt the Standing Orders Committee would hold that this particular Amendment went outside the notice, nevertheless it was open to the House—in fact the ultimate power remains in your Lordships' hands—to refer back the Report of the Committee; and indeed that was done in 1912. So I hope no noble Lord will be impressed by what has just been said: that if this Amendment is carried it will mean the end of the Bill. We have been told in the clearest and most objective terms by the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr. that that is not so. Another possible course which the noble Lord made plain was the fact that, as has happened with other Hybrid Bills, this Bill could be produced again next Session. In fact, if my memory serves, he quoted a precedent in 1903. That date stuck in my mind, because it is a year which is of some importance to me, being the year in which I was born. Considering that my happy event had its anniversary last Saturday, I am hopeful there will be another happy coincidence to-day and that we shall pass this Amendment.

I would draw attention to the fact that throughout the course of this Bill in both Houses of Parliament, no one has spoken for it except the Ministers of Her Majesty's Government. Of noble Lords who have spoken to-day, only the noble Viscount the Leader of the House and the noble Earl, Lord Waldegrave, who has to support the Bill and who has shown how devoutly he believes in it, have spoken against the Amendment: everyone else has spoken for the Amendment. At every stage of this Bill it has been opposed, and in both Select Committees it has been radically and drastically altered. The noble Earl, Lord Waldegrave, is actually reduced this afternoon to producing arguments against me which were in fact Amendments inserted only last week by your Lordships' Select Committee upstairs. The Government have come to a pretty pass when, in defending their own Bill at this 59th minute of the eleventh hour, they quote Amendments of that kind.

The noble Earl urged your Lordships to reject this Amendment on three grounds. First of all, there were the procedural reasons. I do not think I need go into them; they have been very clearly explained to your Lordships, and it is beyond dispute that this measure, if the Amendment is accepted, need not necessarily be lost. That is quite clear. The noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, made that quite clear and quoted the dates of the precedents. Secondly, the noble Earl said—and it is his whole case—that some consequential Amendments will be required. We have not filled up the entire Order Paper with all possible Amendments, but there is another stage of the Bill, and when this Amendment is carried we can decide what other consequential Amendments will be needed, move them on Report and lick the Bill into better shape.

Finally, the absolutely devastating argument which the noble Earl produced, and in which he was ably abetted by the noble and learned Viscount, was: "How can you possibly believe, when we have introduced a Bill called the Covent Garden Market Bill, with 51 clauses and all those pages, that you can introduce an Amendment to move the market somewhere else?" I remember a discussion in your Lordships' House about twelve months ago about the move to bring to an end the Mumbles Railway, and the Bill was called the Mumbles Railway Bill. Nobody in your Lordships' House objected to the Title of the Bill; they objected to what the Bill proposed to do.


Nobody thought of putting the Mumbles Railway in Cornwall.


They did not think of putting the Mumbles Railway in Cornwall. But this is the point. The noble Earl, Lord Waldegrave, said that this Bill is an attempt to solve the Covent Garden Market problem, but on Second Reading he said, and he echoed the Minister of Agriculture, that the Bill is the third prong in the Government's horticultural programme. That is what this Bill is supposed to be. And the third prong in the Government's horticultural programme depends on a new modern market. It does not depend on the new modern market necessarily being on a 10-acre site within that 30-odd acre Covent Garden Area, and it is absolutely abject nonsense to pretend anything else.

This Bill is misconceived, badly thought out, badly drafted, and completely unworkable in its present form. The only earthly chance this Bill has of becoming a workable Act of Parliament, and one which it is possible for the Market Authority to work, is if this Amendment is accepted together with the Amendments which will be consequential upon it. There is no other way. Since this is a place where our words are recorded, they can be recorded and they can be looked up in a few years' time. If this Bill goes through and reaches the Statute Book in its present form, in six or seven years' time it will not have produced a new Covent Garden Market. That would be a good thing, because if it did it would be a financial disaster.

Having heard the arguments, which have all been one way (there has been no answer to them) and realising, as your Lordships do, that this is a non-Party political matter—there are no Party politics; it is a matter of fact—I ask your Lordships to show that Parliament is supreme by coming into the Lobby to support this Amendment.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 35; Not-Contents, 32.

Alexander of Hillsborough, V. Amwell, L. Bossom. L.
Ampthill, L. Atholl, D. Boston, L.
Amulree, L. Auckland, L. Burden, L.
Colwyn, L. Lawson, L. Rea, L.
Crook, L. Lucan, E. Silkin, L.
Derwent, L. Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, L. Sinha, L.
Faringdon, L. Merrivale, L. Stonham, L. [Teller.]
Haddington, E. Milverton, L. Strang, L.
Hampton, L. Molson, L. [Teller.] Summerskill, B.
Hawke, L. Morrison of Lambeth, L. Williams, L.
Henderson, L. Peddie, L. Wise, L.
Howard of Glossop, L. Pethick-Lawrence, L.
Ailwyn, L. Hailsham, V. (L. President.) Mills, L.
Albemarle, E. Hastings, L. Newall, L.
Bathurst, E. Home, E. Newton, L. [Teller.]
Brecon, L. Horsbrugh, B. Perth, E.
Bridgeman, V. Jellicoe, E. Rathcavan, L.
Carrington, L. Kilmuir, V. (L. Chancellor.) Runciman of Doxford, V.
Denham, L. Lansdowne, M. St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]
Devonshire, D. Lothian, M. Tweedsmuir, L.
Dynevor, L. Luke, L. Waldegrave, E.
Fortescue, E. Mancroft, L. Yarborough, E.
Grenfell, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Resolved in the Affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.


This Amendment is consequential on the Amendment which has just been carried. I do not know whether your Lordships would wish me to dilate on it. I should imagine that I might just move it formally and hope that the Committee will accept it. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 10, line 47, at end insert ("or within the relevant Additional Area.").—(Lord Stonham.)


Amendment No. 3 is not precisely consequential. But since it sets out that An Order under this section shall be made by statutory instrument, and shall be subject to special parliamentary procedure. I cannot imagine that anyone would object to it. I think that the procedure under this new Amendment must be subject to special parliamentary procedure. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 11, line 11, at end insert— ("() An order under this section shall be made by statutory instrument, and shall be subject to special parliamentary procedure.")—(Lord Stonham.)

Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.

LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH had given notice of his intention to move, after Clause 16, to insert a new clause, Alternative market facilities. The noble Lord said: I am tempted to move this Amendment. On the sheer merits I think it is an even better Amendment than the last one, because I think it provides a more clear and precise and better solution. But, in view of the fact that the last Amendment was carried, I think it might possibly create a difficult situation from a drafting point of view if I were to move this Amendment. Therefore, continuing my attitude of sweet reasonableness, of which I was surprised that the noble Viscount the Leader of the House made a. complaint, I am not moving the Amendment.

Clauses 17 to 33 agreed to.

Clause 34 [The Covent Garden Traffic Committee]:

6.12 p.m.


This Amendment is to enable the Authority to appoint members of their staff to the Traffic Committee. Clause 34 provides that the Traffic Committee is to consist of the managing director of the Authority as Chairman and from nine to twelve other members appointed by the Authority who are to be traffic experts. The purpose of this Amendment, and similar Amendments which I shall be proposing in Clause 35 and the Fourth Schedule, is to ensure the closest possible liaison between the Authority and its three statutory Committees. It has always been our intention that the Authority and its three Committees should work, as it were, in partnership, rather than that they should stand on opposite sides of the fence. It was for this reason we provided that the managing director (who is, of course, a member of the Authority) should be a member and the Chairman of each of the three Committees.

But, of course, the managing director may not always be available to take the chair. He may be ill, on leave, or in some other part of the country when some important matter needed to be considered and discussed by this Committee. Therefore these Amendments are designed to overcome that difficulty. Without them it would not be possible for a member of the Authority's staff to attend meetings of the Committees and take part in the discussions, so preserving the close link between the Authority and its three Committees, and between the Committees themselves. These three Amendments deal with the Traffic Committee and I invite your Lordships to accept them.

Amendment moved— Page 32, line 25, leave out from ("Authority") to end of line 27 and insert (", such number of persons appointed by the Authority, being officers thereof, as may be determined from time to time by the Authority, and such number of other persons so appointed, not being less than nine nor more than twelve, as may be so determined.").—(Earl Waldegrave.)


This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 32, line 28, after ("Committee") insert ("who are not officers of the Authority")—(Earl Waldegrave.)


This Amendment is also consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 32, line 38, leave out ("shall be appointed, otherwise than on the nomination of a Minister of the Crown") and insert ("who is neither a nominee of a Minister of the Crown nor an officer of the Authority shall be appointed").—(Earl Waldegrave.)

Clause 34, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 35 [The Covent Garden Workers Committee]:


May I take tike next three Amendments together? They say two things. First. they achieve what we proposed for the Traffic Com- mittee in Clause 34 (which we have just passed); they enable the Authority to appoint one or more members of their staff to serve on the Workers' Committee. This will enable the Authority to be represented in the absence of the managing director. In the second place one of these Amendments, No. 8, changes the proposed number of members of the Workers' Committee. This fulfils a promise made by my right honourable friend during the Recommittal Stage in another place, to consult with the T.U.C. and the Transport and General Workers' Union about the membership of the Workers' Committee and if necessary to have an Amendment put down at a later stage. This consultation has now taken place and with the Union's agreement we propose this Amendment, which increases the number of workers' representatives who may serve on the Workers' Committee. Instead of a maximum of five there will now be between five and ten. I beg to move.

Amendments moved—

Page 33, line 11, leave out from ("Authority") to end of line 13, and insert (", such number of persons appointed by the Authority, being officers thereof, as may be determined from time to time by the Authority. and such number of other persons so appointed, not being less than five nor more than ten, as may be so determined.")

Page 33, line 15, after ("Chairman") insert ("and those who are officers of the Authority")

Page 33, line 18, at end insert ("as capable of representing the interests of workers so employed").—(Earl Waldegrave.)


This is another Amendment in connection with the Workers' Committee, and it empowers the Workers' Committee to make representations to the Authority on any matter affecting the interests of persons represented on it. In another place the Select Committee accepted an Amendment proposed in the Petition of the Covent Garden Tenants' Association that the Market Management Committee be empowered to make representations. After consultation with the T.U.C. this Amendment is proposed in order that the Workers' Committee should also be empowered to make representations and that the Authority should be bound to take them into consideration. My right honourable friend in another place promised to bring forward an Amendment on these lines. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 33, line 30, at end insert (", and the Workers Committee may of their own motion make to the Authority representations on any matter arising or appearing to the Committee to be likely. to arise out of an exercise or performance, or a proposed exercise or performance, of the Authority's powers or duties, being a matter appearing to the Committee to affect, or to be likely to affect, the interests of such workers as aforesaid; and it shall be the duty of the Authority to take into consideration any representation made to them by the Committee (whether on a matter on which consultation is sought under this subsection or of the Committee's own motion).").—(Earl Waldegrave.)

Clause 35, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 36 to 50 agreed to.

Clause 51 [Restriction on use of storage facilities]:


This Amendment is consequential. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 42, line 37, at beginning insert ("Save as is provided by section sixteen,").—(Lord Stonham.)

Clause 51, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

First to Third Schedules agreed to.

Fourth Schedule [Constitution of the Covent Garden Market Management Committee]:


This is a similar Amendment to that to which your Lordships have already agreed in connection with Clauses 34 and 35, which deal with the Traffic Committee and the Workers Committee respectively. This is a similar Amendment to deal with the Market Management Committee, and it enables the Authority to be represented in the absence of the managing director. I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

Page 49, leave out lines 28 to 32 and insert—("shall consist of a chairman (who shall be the person who is for the time being the managing director of the Authority), such number of persons appointed by the Authority, being officers thereof, as may be determined from time to time by the Authority, and fourteen other persons so appointed.

2.—(2) Of the members of the Committee other than the chairman and those who are officers of the Authority—").—(Earl Waldegrave.)

Fourth Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining Schedule agreed to.

House resumed.

6.25 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move the Motion which stands in my name. In view of the fact that earlier this afternoon I gave, I think, most, if not all, of the reasons why, in my opinion, this Motion should be passed, I do not propose to repeat them all now. However, may I mention, very briefly, that I would propose to the House that, if there was a prima facie case of an infringement of the Standing Orders, all sides of the House should agree to refer this matter to the Examiners. That is a step which I should have thought would be taken if, as I say, it was apparent, although possibly not in fact so—merely if it was apparent—that the Standing Orders had been infringed.

I will mention only two or three particulars. The point, of course, is that it is said that, by reason of this Bill being amended this afternoon, the area to which Covent Garden might be moved is extended, that the persons who have already had notice of this Bill have not had notice of this extended area, and that consequently their interests may be affected, possibly adversely. I think I need say no more, because I have said it already, to justify the Motion that I now move. May I add only this, again as I have previously said in my judgment, there would be nothing to prevent the Report stage and the Third Reading of this Bill being taken contemporaneously with the consideration of this question by the Examiners and, if necessary, by the Standing Orders Committee. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill, in respect of these Amendments, be referred to the Examiners.—(The Chairman of Committees.)


My Lords, in the light of the able exposition made earlier in the day by the Lord Chairman of Committees, which I accept—and which, indeed, I must accept—I think this Motion is unobjectionable in all the circumstances of the case. The Bill will have to go to the Examiners without prejudice to what their decision may be; and we therefore acquiesce in the Motion moved by the Lord Chairman of Committees.


My Lords, naturally, I do not want to prejudge anything which my right honourable friend may desire to do on Report stage. The Lord Chairman of Committees has made it very plain that the Report stage and the Third Reading could proceed without affecting prejudicially the Motion which he has moved. Of course, should the Amendments disappear on Report stage the Motion, too, would lapse, and in that sense I accept the Lord Chairman's Motion.


My Lords, if I may say so, I do not know what the noble Viscount the Leader of the House means. A Motion has been moved by the Lord Chairman of Committees, and if that is carried the Bill must be referred to the Examiners. I must say that I should have thought it would be very discourteous for us not to wait for the Report of the Examiners and of the Standing Orders Committee. The noble Viscount the Leader of the House, who has not been too happy this afternoon one way or the other, now gets up and threatens that he will move to strike out this Amendment on Report stage. I think it would be very unwise to do so, because he might meet with another defeat, which would be very humiliating for him, and I like the noble Viscount too much to want to see him humiliated. I would ask him not to do it. If Parliament has reached a decision on a Bill which is not vital to the Government's prestige or programme, it might be better to let the machine take its course in accordance with the exposition given by the Lord Chairman of Committees.


I certainly am not objecting to the exposition given by the Lord Chairman of Committees. I was pointing out only what its corollaries were. I expressly said I did not prejudge any Motion which might be moved by the Government on the Report stage, which meant that I was not saying it would be moved and I was not saying it would not be moved.

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