§ (1) This Act shall, so far as relates to the passing over and occupation of land, be in force within such limits, and during such period, as Her Majesty in Council may by Order prescribe, and the limits and period so prescribed are in this Act referred to as the prescribed limits and the prescribed period.
§ (2) Not less than three months before the commencement of the period proposed to be prescribed, a draft of the proposed Order shall be sent to the County Council of every administrative county wholly or partly within the limits proposed to be prescribed, and public notice of the proposal to make the Order shall be given in such manner as Her Majesty in Council may direct."
§ (3.) If within thirty days after the publication of the notice aforesaid any petition is presented to the County Council of any of the counties affected by the proposed Order against the proposal to make the Order, the draft Order shall be laid before each House of Parliament for not less than thirty days on which that House is sitting, and if either House, before the expiration of thirty days during which the draft 1380 has been laid before it, presents an Address to Her Majesty against the draft, no further proceedings shall be taken thereon, but without prejudice to the making of any new draft Order.
§ (4.) If no such petition is presented, or having been presented is withdrawn, before the expiration of the thirty days first aforesaid, or if on the draft of the Order being laid before Parliament no Address adverse thereto is presented, Her Majesty in Council may make the Order.
Amendment proposed, to leave out the words from the word "and" in subsection (3) to the end of the sub-section, and to insert, instead thereof, the words—
No such order shall be made until a Resolution of each House of Parliament has been passed approving of the draft Order:"—(Mr. Luttrell:)—
That the words from the word 'and' to the end of Sub-section (3) stand part of the Clause.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. H. C. F. LUTTRELL (Devon, Tavistock)
argued that if an Amendment of this kind were not agreed to it would be next to impossible for Members of Parliament to express adequately the opinions of their constituencies upon draft Orders that might be laid upon the Table of the House. The only remedy they would have would be to move an Address to Her Majesty against a draft Order and such Motions could not be made until after midnight. That placed hon. Members in a great difficulty. Eight or ten years ago there was a Manœuvres Bill under which the military authorities were anxious to have manœuvres at Dartmoor. It was found possible to introduce a clause in that Bill, preserving the water rights of Plymouth and Devonport. Without opportunities for adequate discussion it would not be possible for hon. Members to safeguard in the future the interests of their constituencies in the same way.
§ *THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
said, that the view of the Government was that this Amendment was unnecessary, because there would be ample opportunities of challenging a draft Order. Objection could be taken under the Bill in the 30 days 1381 during which the draft Order would lie on the Table of the House, and there would be other opportunities before manœuvres could possibly take place of challenging the policy of the Government with regard to them. Such opportunities would arise in the Estimates and Parliament would have no difficulty in retaining its control over the proposals of the authorities. The experience of the authorities was not favourable to Dartmoor as the scene of manœuvres, and there was no suggestion that there would be any manœuvres there in the future. The question raised by the hon. Member had already been decided on the Second Reading and he trusted that the Amendment would not be pressed.
§ MR. LUTTRELL
could not admit that there had been a Division on this Question at the stage of Second Reading. There was a difference between passing a Provisional Order and passing a Resolution. He was told in the Second Reading that procedure by Provisional Order would involve a Bill. What he proposed now was procedure by Resolution, which presented no difficulty. There was a precedent for such a Resolution. There was a close analogy in the treatment of Post Office contracts under Standing Orders 63, 64, and 65. Standing Order 63 provided that in all contracts extending over a period of years, making a public charge actual or prospective for the conveyance of mails by sea, there should be inserted a condition that the contract should not be binding until it was approved by a Resolution of the House. He now asked that an Order under this Bill should not be passed until it had been approved by a Resolution of the House. He did not believe that any Government would make attempts which would be inconsistent with public rights, but he did ask that if there were any special interests to be considered, those interests might be provided for under the Order by which the land was taken.
§ SIR HENRY CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
said that he had expressed his sympathy with the object of his hon. Friend on the Second Reading of the Bill. The provision made in the Bill to secure opportunities of being heard to those interested in the localities affected was illusory. The 1382 Order was to lie on the Table for a certain time subject to the possibility of an Address being moved. If an Address was moved, the House was asked to discuss it after 12 o'clock at night. In the case of a question of some educational charity in which the Government had no strong interest, there was, at all events, a probability that both sides of the House would have full justice done to them; but when it was a question of a proposal of the Government to apply arbitrary powers to a particular locality, the opponents of it would have to face the whole power of the Government, and, at that time of night a Government could do what they liked. He wished some way could be found of giving a better opportunity of being heard to that locality. The hon. Gentleman opposite said there were many opportunities for discussing and criticising the policy of the Government, in fact that there had already been five opportunities this Session. But who at this moment knew where the manœuvres were to be held this year. Without saying that his hon. Friend had invented a perfect way, it appeared to him that a Resolution, if there was any precedent for it—and his hon. Friend seemed to have found one—was a simple and at the same time a definite means of enabling the locality to be heard. That was what was wanted, and he thought it was reasonable, seeing that the House was now laying down a general code, which might be regarded in some respects as oppressive. His belief was that in the vast majority of cases people would only be too glad to have the manœuvres in their neighbour hood, but there might be circumstances affecting the locality which rendered it undesirable that manœuvres should be held in it, and he thought it was only right that while passing this general code, the House should give the localities better opportunities than the Bill afforded them, of having their case heard.
§ MR. EDWARD MORTON (Devonport)
did not think the Government were treating the Opposition quite rightly over this Bill. The Bill was one of great importance, giving large powers to future Governments, and certain safeguards against abuse of those powers were asked for. Very strong reasons 1383 had been given why the proposal of his hon. Friend should be adopted, but the Government had not given a single reason to the contrary.
§ MR. T. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
thought that no case had been made out for resisting the reasonable proposal of his hon. Friend. The Bill was very much confused by the Amendments of which the right hon. Gentleman had himself given notice, and it was really very hard to understand it. His hon. Friend had clearly explained that there could be no difficulty in getting a Resolution through. He thought the protection in the Bill was really very illusory, and it seemed to him that very simple words were suggested to take its place. He did not imagine that a Resolution of the kind would be discussed at any length.
§ *MR. BRODRICK
said, he should be most anxious to adopt any recommendations coming from the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The Government were anxious, if possible to give Parliament every proper control over their proposals. They were appointing a local Consultative Commission, and they also proposed to accept the Amendment which stood in the name of the hon. Member for Tavistock in Clause 5, page 3, line 18, which, beyond the procedure in the Bill, would give to every locality an opportunity of appealing against the decision of the local Consultative Commission.
§ SIR J. T. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
asked whether the Consultative Commission would meet on the spot, and would avoid putting the commoners and other inhabitants to expense in putting their objections before them.
§ MR. LUTTRELL
said he was very glad to hear that the Government were going to accept his Amendment to Clause 5. That would secure that public opinion should be adequately represented on the spot, and he had put down the Amendment as to the Resolution in order that local opinion might be adequately expressed in the House of Commons.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 16; Noes, 84.—(Division List, No. 105.)1384
§ Other verbal Amendments having been agreed to,
§ Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 2,—