HC Deb 13 July 1978 vol 953 cc723-4W
Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that, in a Written Answer to a Question from the hon. Member for Tiverton on 26th June as to the cause of the delay in announcing the date of the public inquiry into the North Devon link road proposals, the Secretary of State for Transport replied, inter alia, that the Lord Chancellor had been asked to nominate an inspector, that in answer to a further question about the continuing delay on Monday 3rd July the Secretary of State for Transport replied, inter alia, that the inspector had not yet been appointed, that the hon. Member for Tiverton had tabled a Question for priority Written Answer on Monday 10th July asking the Attorney-General how much longer this inquiry would be delayed by the Lord Chancellor's failure to appoint an inspector, and that instead of receiving a reply to this Question the hon. Member received a letter from the Attorney-General's office saying that the Secretary of State, not the Lord Chancellor, has been asked to reply because he was responsible for the appointment of the inspector; and whether the Prime Minister will investigate the matter and announce who is, in fact, responsible for appointing the inspector for the inquiry.

The Prime Minister

I have seen the Questions and Answers to which the hon. Member refers.

Highway inquiries are held by persons appointed jointly by the Secretaries of State for Transport and the Environment, but the Secretaries of State ask the Lord Chancellor to nominate a particular individual considered by him to be suitable for a particular inquiry. These arrangements were announced in paragraph 27 of the White Paper on the report on the review of highway inquiry procedures (Cmnd. 7133).