§ 3.8 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the House to be again in Committee (on Re-commitment) read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Kennet.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The EARL OF LISTOWEL in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1 [Confirmation of Order in Schedule]:
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES
Perhaps I should remind the Committee that we have already started to discuss the Amendment to Clause 1 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Conesford—that is, after the word "Act" to insert "with the exception of article 17 of the order". We are now continuing this discussion.
§ LORD CONESFORD
The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, has informed me that Her Majesty's Government are now willing to bring about the result that my Amendment is designed to achieve, but prefer to do it in rather different language. If my Amendment is withdrawn the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, will be able to move his manuscript Amendment. In those circumstances I hope that the Committee will give me leave to withdraw my own Amendment.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF HOUSING AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT (LORD KENNET)
I rise just to confirm all that the noble Lord has said, and to explain that since we are past the place in the Bill where my Amendment should come in I shall move it on Report stage which, in the new streamlined House of Lords, we should be reaching in about 30 seconds.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Remaining clause and Schedule agreed to.620
§ House resumed: Bill reported without amendment; Report received.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, the Amendments which I am moving will have exactly the same effect as the Amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, last week. I am grateful to the noble Lord, who I know drafted his own Amendment in great haste, for agreeing to withdraw it; and I know he agrees that the Amendment I am now moving meets his point. If I may remind the House, the point is that in certain areas in the outer part of what is now Greater London the local authorities have powers to take up to one acre or one-eighth of the area of a park, whichever is the smaller, and use it for car parking. The Order which is annexed to the present Bill, as unamended, would confer these powers on all London borough councils, both Inner and Outer, and on the G.L.C. This proposal was made with the agreement of all parties concerned. A public advertisement was made, and no objections were received.
The noble Lord, Lord Conesford, criticised the proposal vigorously in the House last week, and I think I should be right in saying that the House in general agreed with his criticism. Once again, there has been no objection from the London authorities to the alternative procedure namely, that we should not confer these powers on those who do not now have them or to them being left in the hands of those few peripheral London authorities who already have them. The Government are therefore ready to meet the expressed feeling of the House, following the noble Lord, Lord Cones-ford, last week. I believe that this sort of care for our amenities and this sort of detailed attention to legislation is something that this House is particularly good at. I beg to move.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Clause 1, after ("which") insert ("as amended").
§ In the Orders set out in the SCHEDULE, delete article 17.621
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, for doing what he promised on the last occasion—that he would look into this matter, which has had this happy result. The Amendments which he has moved wholly achieve my object. In view of what he has said, let me say at once that I and those who share my views see all the difference in the world in powers being given by Act of Parliament after discussion, and powers being given under an Order which can be carried out without Parliament having any power whatsoever to interfere.
My Lords, the deletion of article 17 of the Order is therefore of the greatest importance. It is a matter of some interest that almost exactly six and a half years have elapsed since I last struck it out. I then struck it out of a Public Health Bill, and any noble Lord who is interested will find the debate, which took place on January 30, 1961, reported in Volume 228 of Hansard. On that occasion, I was supported by, among others, the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, and my noble friend Lord Luke, who spoke on behalf of some of those societies outside that are very much concerned with the preservation of open spaces.
I do not wish to delay the House from proceeding to the important business before them. I merely want to convince them that the Amendment that I moved on the last occasion was, in my view, an Amendment of the greatest importance; and I thank the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, for having moved Amendments which carry out my intention.
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
§ Then, Standing Order No. 41, having been suspended (pursuant to the Resolution of July 14):
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Lord Kennet.)
§ On Question, Bill read 3a, with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.