§ 6.15 p.m.
§ LORD MOLSON had given Notice of his intention to move, That the North Devon (Meldon Reservoir) Water Order 1966, laid before the House on January 17 last, be annulled. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I do not intend to move the Motion in my name to annul the North Devon (Meldon Reservoir) Water Order 1966. I have received assurances, which no doubt the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, can confirm on behalf of the Government, that it is their intention to withdraw this Order and to lay a similar Order in due course.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, may I just finish what I was going to say? So as to keep in order, I represented to the Leader of the House and to the noble Lord the Captain of the Gentlemen at Arms, as well as to the Minister of Housing and Local Government, that to proceed with this Order after the Petitioners have been denied a hearing by the Lord Chairman and the Chairman of Ways and Means sitting together, would indeed have been a breach of undertakings that were given by the late Mr. Arthur Greenwood when he was Lord Privy Seal at the time of the passing 916 of the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act in 1945.
I should like to express my gratitude to Her Majesty's Government for the fair, honourable and prompt way in which they looked at the undertakings that were given and for having withdrawn this Order in order fully to carry them out. I must also express my regret that some Peers who have come here specially in order to speak upon this Motion will find that the debate will not take place, but I am sure they will share my appreciation of the attitude of Her Majesty's Government in this matter.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, in view of what the noble Lord has said, I think I should assure the noble Lord and your Lordships' House that it is the Government's intention to withdraw this Order and to lay a similar Order in due course. But I should make it quite clear that we have withdrawn it, not because we have any doubt as to its quality but merely because we did not think it right, in view of the speech that the noble Lord will be making shortly and the issue that he may be raising, that the House should be put in a position of difficulty. Therefore we feel that by making this gesture we leave the matter open; but I should make it perfectly clear that it is the Government's intention to re-lay this Order in due course.