HC Deb 20 February 1963 vol 672 cc445-599

3.30 p.m.

Mr. John Parker (Dagenham)

I beg to move, in page 89, line 10, column 2, to leave out "The borough of Ilford" and to insert: So much of the borough of Ilford as lies north and west of the boundary referred to in paragraph 8 of Part II of this Schedule".

The Chairman

With this Amendment it will he possible also to discuss the following Amendments:

In page 89, line 17, column 2, leave out from "Romford" to end of line 18 and insert: so much of the urban district of Hornchurch as lies north of the boundary referred to in paragraph 9 of the said Part II".

In line 19, column 3, leave out "2" and insert "3".

In line 21, column 2, leave out "and".

In line 24, column 2, at end insert: so much of the borough of Ilford as lies south and east of the boundary referred to in paragraph 8 of the said Part II and so much of the urban district of Hornchurch as lies south of the boundary referred to in paragraph 9 of the said Part II".

In line 25, column 2, leave out from "The" to "and" in line 28 and insert: county borough of East Ham and the borough of Barking".

In line 25, column 2, leave out from "county" to end of line 31 and insert "borough of East Ham".

In line 25, column 3, leave out "3" and insert "2".

In page 91, line 45, at end insert: 8. The boundary of the London borough numbered 14 in the said Part I in the existing borough of Ilford shall be such as the Minister may by order determine on or near the general line beginning at a point where the eastern boundary of the borough crosses the railway west of Chadwell Heath Station and running in a south-westerly direction at the back of the houses on the west side of Burnside Road, Mayfield Road and Green Lane then crossing Green Lane to the northern end of Goodmayes Park and then along the eastern edge of Goodmayes Park to the southern end of Aberdour Road to its junction with Mayes-brook Road then crossing Mayesbrook Road and again along the eastern boundary of Goodmayes Park till its junction with Goodmayes Lane and then along the east side of Goodmayes Lane to its junction with the boundary of the present borough of Barking in Longbridge Road.

In line 45, at end insert: 8. The boundary of the London borough numbered 16 in the said Part I in the existing urban district of Hornchurch shall he such as the Minister may by order determine on or near the general line beginning at a point where the western boundary of the urban district meets Rainham Road and running in an easterly direction along Rainham Road, Wood Lane, Penrith Crescent and Wood Lane to the junction of Wood Lane and South End Road and then running in an easterly direction along the northern boundary of Hornchurch Aerodrome and thence in an easterly direction to the point where it meets Berwick Pond Road, thence in a southerly direction along Berwick Pond Road to its junction with Little Gerpins Lane, thence in an easterly and northerly direction along Little Gerpins Lane to its junction with Aveley Road, and thence in a southerly direction along Aveley Road to its junction with Warwick Lane.

In page 89, line 48, at end insert: 23 / the county borough of West Ham / 1

In line 24, column 2, at end insert: and so much of the borough of Ilford as lies west, south-east and east of the boundary referred to in paragraph 8 of the said Part II".

In page 91, line 45, at end insert: 8. The boundary of the London borough numbered 16 in the said Part I in the existing borough of Ilford shall he such as the Minister may by order determine on or near the point on the west side of South Park Drive at which the existing boundary turns westwards, continuing southward to Longbridge Road and following the existing boundary north-eastward along that road, turning north-west along Brixham Gardens, north-east along the northwest side of four blocks of Barking Borough Council flats, and south-east to rejoin the existing boundary in Longbridge Road.

In page 89, column 2, leave out lines 19 to 24 and insert: The borough of Barking including so much of the borough as lies west of the boundary referred to in paragraph 5 of Part II of this Schedule".

In line 24, at end insert: 17 / The borough of Dagenham / 1

In line 25, column 3, leave out "3" and insert "4".

Mr. Parker

Borough No. 16 consists of the present boroughs of Dagenham and Barking less the Dagenham part of Hainault and that area of Barking West of the Creek. If the Bill goes through as it now is, this borough will have a population of 178,926. It will, therefore, be the second smallest of all the proposed new boroughs, and my Amendment seeks to bring it up to a par with its neighbours. As all hon. Members will agree there is, naturally, opposition on the part of any local authority to the loss of either land, population or rateable value, so I shall not be surprised if, when the opportunity comes, some of my hon. Friends on whose territories I would be trepassing object to the proposals.

The town clerks' report stated, in paragraph 87: In regard to the wards of Rainham and South Hornchurch it is considered that there are factors which would support the addition of at least part of the two wards to the new borough formed by the amalgamation of Barking and Dagenham … There was also a proposal for the adjustment of the Ilford and Barking/Dagenham boundary in connection with the Becontree housing estate. The paragraph goes on to say: … as these two boundary proposals are to some extent related it would appear more appropriate to consider the whole boundary question in this vicinity at the same time. The town clerks then add that they think that the whole question should be considered after the passing of the Bill.

I must submit very strongly that these are major alterations, and that if they are to be carried out they should be carried out as part of the Bill and that they should not be reconsidered after this Measure is enacted. All over the Greater London area committees are already meeting to carry out re-warding in accordance with the proposals in the Bill, and it would be very wrong to have to re-ward the boroughs again after the Bill is on the Statute Book in order to take into account proposals like these. I therefore suggest that the proposals should be dealt with here and now if they are reasonable proposals as I shall now try to show that they are.

I turn, first, to the Becontree Estate. The larger part of this estate is in Dagenham and a large part is in Barking, but about one-fifth of it is in Ilford. There is a very strong case for bringing the whole of this housing estate within one local authority area. It has been suggested on a number of occasions, and it was strongly pressed in the early days when the estate was first built, but nobody ever got round to doing anything about it.

The Bill proposes that the whole of the London County Council Hainault Estate should be brought into the new larger Ilford, and there is a very strong case for that. That estate is now divided between three separate boroughs. I suggest that there is an equally strong case for bringing the whole of the Becontree Estate inside one borough, and I suggest that that borough should be Borough No. 16, which would already have the greater part of the estate.

There is a natural boundary separating the Becontree area from the rest of Ilford from railway sidings in the north and then down the full length of Goodmayes Park. Separated by these natural boundaries, the population would be about 9,000. There is already wide agreement on the part of both Ilford and Dagenham Councils that this would be a desirable thing to do, but the two councils differ in that Ilford believes that in return for handing over this area it should be given the Marksgate Estate and part of Chad-well Heath. Dagenham takes the view that it has already handed over a large part of the Hainault Estate to Ilford and that that this is fair recompense and, in any case, it does not think that its population should be cut any further.

The Marksgate Estate was built on the initiative of the Dagenham Council quite recently, and is, in the main, occupied by Dagenham tenants. A small part of the estate is across the Ilford boundary. When the proposal for compulsory purchase powers came forward to buy the land for the estate, Ilford objected to the purchase of that piece, but finally agreed to the proposal on the understanding that it could build the houses and put in the tenants on that corner. The two parts of Marksgate have thus been settled from the two boroughs. I do not think, therefore, that there is as strong a case for uniting this estate under one authority as there is in other cases.

The original White Paper said that the Rainham and South Hornchurch area should be part of the new Dagenham-Barking Borough. The town clerks' report was marginally against. The population of the area at present is about 28,000. There will be very strong advantages to Borough No. 16 if these wards are brought into its boundaries. Most important from the point of view of the people of Dagenham and Barking is the fact that they would obtain extra building land. We are very short of building land in both Dagenham and Barking; practically all the area is built up apart from those areas that are scheduled to be open spaces. In fact, our population is, on the whole, declining because of lack of building sites. That is the most important argument in favour of adding these two wards.

Another very important factor is that it would unite the whole of the South Essex Industrial Estate within one local authority, and the whole of that estate from Barking Creek to Rainham forms a natural unit. At present, the Ford factory traverses the boundary. Most of the factory is in Dagenham, but the new foundry is in Hornchurch. It is obviously absurd to have a boundary going through the middle of a factory in that way. The whole of the South Essex Industrial Estate is within one employment exchange area. There is thus a strong case for bringing in this industrial belt into one local authority area.

The town clerks' main objection was that in South Hornchurch there was a Hornchurch housing estate straddling the proposed boundary, with 451 houses south of the proposed boundary. The boundary could be so drawn as to leave this part of this housing estate within Hornchurch. A glance at the map, however, shows that South Hornchurch and Rainham are joined to the rest of Horn-church by one road and a very narrow belt of built-up land. The present boundary, which was only redefined in 1958 between these wards and the rest of Hornchurch would appear to be much the best natural boundary, especially as much of the land still left open is to be green belt.

This new Borough No. 16, if these proposals were carried out, would have a population of 216,000 and Borough No. 15, that is Hornchurch and Romford without these two wards, would then have a population of 214,000. It would still make it much smaller than Borough No. 14, that is Ilford and the other boroughs with it minus the Becontree Estate, with a population of 240,000. In other words, this would do a great deal to bring up the Dagenham-Barking Borough to near par with its neighbours and would still leave a large amount of land in the Hornchurch-Romford area still available for building, so that a further opportunity to meet the expansion of the population there, which obviously would be required, would not be lost.

The Essex Parliamentary electorate of 825,252 represents approximately 15 per cent. of the Greater London Council electorate. There is a strong case for having that large part of the Greater London area represented on a fair basis on the Council. This would entitle the Essex area to 15 members instead of the present proposed 14. I suggest that the extra representative should be given to Borough No. 16 to bring up the Essex number to the number to which it is fairly entitled.

Mr. A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South)

In so far as any of the Amendments refer to any part of the Borough of Ilford, I am asked by the Ilford Borough Council to resist them. My instructions are not based on any objection to the principle behind the Amendments, as I have already informed the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker) and the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg). I think that the principle behind the Amendments is accepted by all three authorities.

The objection to their being dealt with at this time is simply because my authority feels that so far there has not been adequate discussion between the three authorities and that it ought to be possible in the near future to bring before Parliament what is in effect an agreed scheme. I want to ask my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government only one question. The proposals which my authority will have at a later date in conjunction with the Boroughs of Dagenham and Barking will be to bring forward adjustments to the borough boundaries and we hope that it will be possible to do this under Clause 8.

Without anticipating any discussion taking place in Committee upstairs, I should like to have an assurance from my right hon. Friend that such boundary changes as these, which may be considered to be major, will be possible under Clause 6.

Mr. Tom Driberg (Barking)

Both my hon. Friend the Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker) and the hon Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper) have set a very good example in speaking briefly, which I hope we shall all try to follow. The Government's concession in allowing this part of the Bill to be taken on the Floor of the House—which we certainly appreciate very much—is largely offset by the imposition of the Guillotine.

If we are to allow the Minister to get up, as I suppose we should, at about 4.30 p.m., it means that we have an hour to debate a series of Amendments on which a large number of hon. Members may wish to speak. Therefore, we now see that those ministerial assurances that every Amendment would be considered on merit, in the light of the full arguments that could be advanced at this stage, were just humbug. I recall that in the debate on the Question, "That Clause 1 stand part of the Bill", I, for one, explained that I was reserving my detailed argument on the case of Barking for this stage, and the Minister gave me what I took to be an encouraging nod. I now realise that, since he must have known at that time that the Guillotine was to come down, I misunderstood that mutely misleading gesture of assent. It really meant only "Just you wait and see! You won't have the time to do it".

I must, therefore, make the case for Barking in skeleton form. It is a twofold case—the historical case, and the case that there is here an efficient and adequate unit of local government. The latter could hardly be contested by the Minister or by anybody else who knows the modern record of Barking Borough Council on housing and all the other matters with which it is concerned. Therefore, in this instance, I had better confine myself mainly to the historical case.

In a sense, every borough in and near London is unique, but some are rather more unique than others. It is not true that all have equally historic traditions, as identifiable and self-contained communities. Some—and it would be invidious to name any—are a rather dreary collection of mean streets, redeemed only by the spirit of their people. I put this historical point especially to the Minister. He can hardly undervalue it after his eloquent defence, largely on these grounds, of the City of London.

3.45 p.m.

It may surprise the right hon. Gentleman to know that the history of local government in Barking goes back at least to the second century A.D. There was a British camp there and it was used by the Romans. It was strongly constructed and its administration must clearly qualify as an embryonic form of local government. By Saxon times there was a settlement—and I ask the Minister to note this—on both sides of the River Roding, and in 666 the great Abbey of Barking was founded by St. Erkenwald, later Bishop of London. When Erkenwald was old and infirm he used to drive around my constituency in a wheeled litter. He was once miraculously saved from injury when a wheel came off the litter—an incident foreshadowing, long ago, the work of the highly efficient road safety committee of the present local authority. When Erkenwald died there was an unseemly dispute about the disposal of his remains. A mob from London carried his body off, thus anticipating the present Government's rape of this ancient borough's most remunerative piece of rateable value.

I must skip the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror's retirement to Barking, Domesday Book, and the remarkable privileges of the abbey, whose abbess raised her own troops, hunted in the forest, sat as a peer of the realm, played a part in Jack Cade's rebellion, took in paying guests, and enjoyed, of course, the full manorial rights of warpeni, sac and soc, tholl and theam, and infangtheof. Queen Matilda first built bridges over the Roding, thus consolidating the community which the Minister now wants to sever.

In short, Barking was a place of substance when Dagenham and the Hams—with all respect to my hon. Friends—were hardly villages. In the 1840's it maintained a fishing fleet of 200 vessels. It fits in very well as it is, and as it will be if left alone, with the Minister's glowing picture of the ideal urban community. In the centre of the borough, near the ancient parish church and the recently built town hall, a great area is being cleared and lawns and gardens are to be laid out. But—and this brings me to a point which I touched on in the debate on Second Reading—this "sophisticated metropolitain hub", to use the Minister's phrase, will not be the hub of the joint borough. It will be at one end of it. At the other end will be Dagenham's civic centre, also recently built at great cost. Either would be equally inconvenient for most of the inhabitants of the joint borough.

I stress this point since the Minister made se much of it himself when he was speaking of Wandsworth, Battersea and Lambeth. I hope that he will give me an answer. There was no answer when I raised it before—because, of course, "all these details can be dealt with in Committee."

The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Sir Keith Joseph)

I was referring to the hub of London as a whole, the centre of London as a whole.

Mr. Driberg

I thank the Minister very much for clarifying some remarks which, though eloquent, were not altogether clear when he made them, as he will see if he refers to HANSARD. In any case, these details cannot all be dealt with in Committee, as we now know. In view of the way we have been treated, I hope that the Minister, when winding up, will be good enough to deal at least with this point about the town halls and with the specific point I made on Second Reading about the removal from Barking of the land west of the Roding. To save time, I shall not repeat what I then said about the visiting town clerk's geographical fallacy. The right hon. Gentleman can have it looked up in HANSARD.

I put two further specific points. Barking does not want to be merged with Dagenham—if, it must be merged, it would go more naturally with East Ham—but it would be willing, if allowed to remain separate, to set up and serve on a joint education committee with Dagenham.

I had better refer at this stage, too, because there will not be another chance, to the other Amendment which I have put down, in page 89, line 24, col. 2, at the end to insert: and so much of the borough of Ilford as lies west. south-east and east of the boundary referred to in paragraph 8 of the said Part II. This Amendment does touch on the interests of Ilford, but it is so small, involving quite a modest amount of rateable value and only a few hundred inhabitants, that I hope that it will be acceptable to Ilford and to the Minister.

In conclusion, I quote the motto of the borough which I have the honour to represent, "Deo gratia sumus quad swims"—"By the Grace of God, we are what we are". Unless the Minister accepts my status quo Amendment—as I earnestly beg him to—or, at the least, undertakes to consult the local authorities, as he did in the case of Wandsworth when pressed from the other side of the Committee, then, by the singular lack of grace of Her Majesty's Government, we shall not be what we have been.

Mr. Godfrey Lagden (Hornchurch)

I am fortified this afternoon by seeing on the opposite benches the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Ledger), who, I imagine, will agree with much of what I have to say, though I do not expect that my remarks will bring much solace to the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker).

The hon. Member for Dagenham has already spoken of the declining population in his area. We know this to be a fact, and it must be apparent to the hon. Gentleman that there are many more people who would wish to escape from the concrete jungle of Dagenham if they possibly could. However, this hardly seems a good reason to justify Dagenham's endeavour to filch from Hornchurch, that fair and quite delightful place, part of its land in an endeavour not only to provide better facilities for those who, unfortunately, have to live in Dagenham, but, at the same time, to obtain the rates which are very considerable in that particular part.

Since the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) has given us such a historical treat, with quotations, perhaps I may remind the Committee that Havering-atte-Bower is even older than all our other districts put together. Indeed, at one time Hornchurch, Rom-ford and Barking were very largely contained by Havering-atte-Bower. I suggest that, when the time comes and the happy wedding is made between Romford and Hornchurch, the city fathers might find it convenient, in order to avoid quarrels over names such as Hornford or Romchurch, to revert once again to the delightful name of Havering-atte-Bower.

On this occasion, if it gives any pleasure to the Minister, we say that his suggestions for the boundaries of Horn-church and Romford are as the words of Solomon. Nothing better could have been agreed or arrived at, if these two boroughs are to go together, as, of course, we now recognise that they must.

The two peoples, the Romfordians and the Hornchurchians—or whatever one may call them—have a great community of interest. Their streets run into one another. They take their amusements in the same buildings, some being in one borough and some in the other. There is little or no doubt that, if a part of this area were taken away and joined to Dagenham, there would be great distress among the inhabitants. It is well known to the hon. Member for Dagenham that, when the town clerks who came down to try to see what could be done actually suggested that Rainham and South Hornchurch should leave Hornchurch and go to Dagenham, the feelings of the people who found themselves likely to be severed were very high indeed. They showed in quite unmistakeable terms that they did not wish to have anything whatsoever to do with Dagenham.

I have followed the example of my colleagues in being brief because I know that there are many who wish to speak. I ask the Committee to resist the Amendment, which has nothing whatever to recommend it.

Mr. A. E. Oram (East Ham, South)

The series of Amendments which the Committee is now considering covers all the riverside boroughs from the London County Council boundary, on the one hand, to the proposed boundary of the Greater London Council, on the other. Although, when one takes all the Amendments together, they do not add up to a perfectly consistent alternative to what is proposed in the Bill, they do point to the fact that the Minister's proposals fail to carry the support of the local authorities throughout this whole area. This being so, I seriously put it to the Minister that something has gone wrong with his planning, even from his own point of view. Of course, as he recognises, we have strong objections to the Bill as a whole, but, even accepting his major premise about reorganisation, there is something out of keeping here with what he has suggested.

The Minister has said that he is quite prepared to listen to representations from local authorities and from hon. Members about alternative groupings of boroughs. Throughout the entire area of the Greater London Council there is no better place than the area covered by these Amendments for him to exercise the discretion to which he lays claim and to have second thoughts. He should ask himself whether the proposals put forward in, at least, some of these Amendments represent a distinct improvement upon his own which he ought to accept.

The point of view of those who have put their names to the various Amendments and of the local authorities with which we are associated is not just, "Leave us alone". It is more than that. In certain cases, very strong arguments can be adduced for such an attitude. My hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) adduced very strong arguments in connection with his own borough, and I know that my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) will be seeking to put forward the very powerful case which exists for East Ham remaining as a separate county borough, with a long history of very efficient local administration. However, I stress again that, taken together, the Amendments are not based on the principle of, "For goodness' sake, leave us alone".

4.0 p.m.

There is an alternative suggestion of regrouping that the Minister should seriously consider. The kingpin of such a different regrouping is contained in my Amendment in page 89, line 25, column 2, to leave out from "The" to "and" in line 28 and to insert: county borough of East Ham and the borough of Barking". That Amendment proposes that instead of linking East Ham with West Ham, East Ham should be linked with Barking. People who know the area recognise that that is a much better and more logical arrangement and would be more likely to lead to good local government than the suggestion contained in the Bill.

East Ham's opposition to being linked with West Ham is not, as, I am sure, my hon. Friends who represent West Ham will accept, due to any antipathy towards them. The two county boroughs are good neighbours. Each in its own way has a good record. There seems to be an idea that there used to be a place called Ham, which, at some point in history, became split into East Ham and West and that the sensible, logical and simple thing to do is to join East and West Ham together once again. That theory has no basis of historical truth and is a fallacy which underlies the mistake which is being made in the Bill.

Mr. Elwyn Jones (West Ham, South)

A ham argument.

Mr. Oram

When West Ham became a county borough in 1888, at the earliest possible opportunity, East Ham was little more than a village surrounded by fields. The two communities are different in character. It is not a question of simply finking two parts which at one time came to be severed.

From the viewpoint of future administration, I suggest that the Minister is making, a mistake. The London boroughs which are being set up are broadly comparable in their powers and functions with county authorities. Therefore, it seems sensible, where there are already two county boroughs, to make the maximum use of the experience of the staff and of the equipment, both human and material, which exists in these two county boroughs and to carry it to the maximum possible extent into the future arrangements. The sensible thing to do in that connection would be to link East Ham with Barking, which hitherto has not had county borough status. West Ham prefers to be left on its own. If, however, it is necessary to add other neighbours to it, some other arrangement could be arrived at.

It would be a complete waste of experience and of expertise to fail to use the county borough experience of East Ham and West Ham in two separate new organisations. There would be advantage, too, from the point of view of town halls and civic centres. The proposal of the Bill would lead to the East Ham town hall being in the extreme south-east of the proposed new London borough and the town hall of West Ham being in the extreme north-west of the proposed new London borough, both of them equally badly sited from the viewpoint of administration of what the Minister proposes to set up. If, on the other hand, East Ham were linked with Barking, either East Ham town hall or the new civic centre of Barking, or both together, would be a suitably sited set of premises for carrying on the administration of the new borough.

One other advantage of the proposal contained in my Amendment is that the awkward financial problem which Barking foresees in losing the rateable value of the gas board's property would be avoided. Seen from the East Ham side of the Roding, this is not quite such a problem as my hon. Friend the Member for Barking sees it. Certainly, the proposed merger of Barking and East Ham would avoid this financial difficulty.

Therefore, I earnestly urge the Minister to agree that a case has been made in this whole area for a different pattern of mergers and for him not to accept any one or two or three of the particular Amendments but to recognise that there must be new thinking. I suggest that of that new thinking, my Amendment in page 89, line 25, column 2, should be the centre-piece upon which a vast amount of common ground could be found to exist in all the local authorities in the area and that a much more harmonious outcome of this business would be achieved.

Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham)

On a point of order, Sir William. We are discussing a number of Amendments together and we cannot vote on them all. Several hon. Members, therefore, must reconcile themselves to the fact that they cannot express their feeling by vote on the Amendment in which they are most interested. If matters go to a vote, they would, therefore, have to ask themselves whether they could get as near as possible to expressing their views by voting upon an Amendment that had the good fortune to be put to the vote.

Hon. Members who are interested in East Ham and West Ham and Barking could, I think, in default of their own favourite Amendments, reasonably regard the Amendment in page 89, column 2, to leave out lines 19 to 24 and to insert: The borough of Barking including so much of the borough as lies west of the boundary referred to in paragraph 5 of Part II of this Schedule", as a suitable way of expressing what they feel, whereas they could not so regard the Amendments in page 89, lines 10 and 17, which deal with a rather different area.

May I ask you, therefore, Sir William, whether, if time permits and the Committee has disposed of the Amendments in lines 10 and 17 in time, you would be good enough to be willing to put the Amendment in page 89, column 2, to the vote?

The Chairman

If that were the wish of the Committee, I see nothing against it.

Mr. R. E. Prentice (East Ham, North)

In the fantastically short time that is available to us to discuss these large matters, I wish to speak briefly in support of the proposition contained in the Amendments in page 89, line 25, column 2, to leave out from "county" to end of line 31 and to insert "borough of East Ham", and in page 89, line 25, column 3, to leave out "3" and to insert "2".

My hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, South (Mr. Oram) and I agreed to divide our task. My hon. Friend has spoken to the case for merging East Ham with Barking rather than with West Ham. I said that I would put what is still the first choice of the council and people of East Ham, and that is that East Ham should remain as a county borough with, perhaps, minor boundary adjustment but without the type of change envisaged by the Government.

I say, however, to my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) that as far as the battle of Barking Creek is concerned, if we cannot merge with Barking we have a very different view about the land west of the Roding. It sometimes seems to us that the only decent thing in the whole Bill is the transfer of this land to our county borough, which needs its rateable value. We support the proposition of the town clerks when they said that: The present boundaries are plainly anomalous however and should at some stage be altered to conform with the natural boundaries formed by the rivers. My hon. Friend also went into the history of Barking. If I may take an excursion into the history of the Hams, it was 903 years ago when the Saxon manor of Ham was split into two along the line of the ancient British trackway of Greenstreet. Green Street still separates the two county boroughs. Since then, the two areas have developed separately. I agree with my hon. Friend that there seems to be a superficial attraction to the Government in the idea that because both areas are called Ham, somehow they should be merged. No case has been made on the merits, however, for the merger. Certainly, it was not made by the Town Clerk of Plymouth, who held the inquiry, and probably it will not be made from the Government bench today, because they will be saved by their own Guillotine.

When the Royal Commission considered the area, it recommended that East Ham should continue as a borough on its own and should not be merged with anyone. It gave it a clean bill of health following its 60-year record as a county borough, in which it has established itself as one of the most progressive authorities in the whole of Britain. The only reason why the Government changed the policy recommended by the Royal Commission was their decision that education should be taken from the Greater London Council and farmed out to the boroughs.

On that point, as to East Ham I remind the Committee that the Ministry of Education, when giving evidence to the Royal Commission, gave a very good account of East Ham's record as an education authority. Secondly, the Royal Commission itself identified East Ham as one of the most successful education authorities in the Greater London region.

If one looks at the facts—there are many which I should like to give, but time does not allow—I do not think that there is anything to be said for the idea that there is an optimum size for an education authority. Experience suggests that throughout Britain there are many successful education authorities both large and small, as well as unsuccessful ones both large and small.

Since the end of the war, East Ham has provided six new secondary schools and four new primary schools, which in relation to its size is a remarkable achievement. Three months ago, it opened a new technical college for 7,000 students, a college which has attracted much favourable attention from education authorities throughout the country. Since the war, East Ham began the Lansbury School for Disabled Children, the first special school of its kind in Britain, which has an international reputation and whose work attracts people from all over the world. The authority maintains its own residential education college at Debden, Essex, which is used extensively by other people as well as those of East Ham.

East Ham is an education authority which attracts teachers because of its progressive record. It has a better pupil-teacher ratio than the average and in primary schools it is very much better. This, again, is an indication of its success as an education authority. It was one of the first local authorities in Britain to introduce a full range of G.C.E. courses in its secondary modern schools and the results from those courses compare very well with the results elsewhere. It cannot be faulted as an education authority and there is no case on educational grounds for altering its status.

If there were time, I could go into many other fields of local government in East Ham's record, but I must confine myself to one or two examples. In the field of housing, one of its estates, at Ingrave, was awarded the Minister of Housing's medal for its design, its layout and other policies connected with it. The new estate of Aldersbrook achieved the national award from the Civic Trust. As a children's authority—the test is often made for a children's authority as to the extent to which it is able to board its children out—in East Ham 79 per cent. of the children in the care of the authority are boarded out and that is the eighth highest percentage in England and Wales.

In the field of youth employment more of its school leavers are placed through the Youth Employment Service than the average for England and Wales. In the matter of old people's housing the special housing policy which it has practised for old people has attracted favourable comment in the recent survey on these matters. I could go through the whole field of local government and say that the borough is a successful unit that has provided a good service to the people of the area.

The proposals in the Bill as they affect East Ham are opposed by the council unanimously, by the ratepayers' association opposition as well as by the Labour majority. They have been opposed by the borough liaison committee on which is represented a wide variety of civic and social organisations in the borough. There is no feeling locally in favour of what the Government are doing. In fact, they are riding rough-shod over the opinion of the people concerned and experienced in this field. I repeat that I think that the Government are saved by the guillotine procedure from trying to defend the indefensible. There is no case for what they are doing to our borough and they have not attempted to make a case so far.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

Unfortunately, as the Committee is aware, owing to the Guillotine a number of my bon. Friends who would like to take part in this debate have had either to curtail their remarks or not take part at all. We must be very brief and try to get the Minister to see that in this particular instance there is a difference in these Amendments from any of the other Amendments that have been discussed so far during Committee stage.

We are now aware that we have the situation in which no one at all—I emphasise, no one at all—in either East Ham or West Ham can be found to support the proposals in the Bill. In fact, the Royal Commission itself did not make this proposal. The unique situation of this set-up is that, unlike any other authority, we have two county boroughs which it has been suggested should be amalgamated. West Ham is one of the largest and oldest of the county boroughs and it has done an enormous amount of good work. I shall not enumerate all the work that it has done, except to endorse everything that my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) has said and I would say, with respect to him, that this is even more so with regard to West Ham.

West Ham has had a most difficult job because as a result of the war it lost over one-quarter of its residential housing as well as factories and every other type of building, and it has been spending, on an average, about £2¼ million a year in carrying out the reconstruction of this area. I am told that in the current year about £5 million will be spent. West Ham has been able to do that because it has a relatively high rateable value on account of the industry which is there, and this is not exactly the case with East Ham.

I would emphasise the points that have been made by my hon. Friends for East Ham, North and East Ham, South (Mr. Oram). There is no affinity of interest between East Ham and West Ham. It is true that they happen to have the same name of Ham, which, I believe, dates from the Norman Conquest, but other than that there is no similarity.

The point that the Minister must surely bear in mind is that here we have two county boroughs with two county borough staffs with the suggestion that we should amalgamate two sets of officials who will, in fact, be duplicating the work that could be done if there were an amalgamation, as has been suggested, in the interests of Barking. We could have the knowledge and experience of the local council officials who have knowledge of county borough administration in East Ham helping and assisting with regard to Barking.

We claim that in West Ham we have on the Royal Commission's own basis enough population for the maintenance of a separate borough and indeed, if in a few years' time our population, which is now about 157,000, goes up, as estimated, to 162,000, then almost before this Bill becomes operative West Ham will have reached the figure of 168,000 which will be more than the proposed figure for the grouping in Borough No. 23 referred to in the Bill.

In other words the county borough will have reached the size of Borough No. 23 with a population of 165,000 and before the Bill becomes operative West Ham in its own right will have exceeded that figure. I am suggesting to the Minister that it would be as well to leave the situation so far as West Ham is concerned because it will then have reached this figure. Not only is this the case with regard to Borough No. 23, but also Borough No. 21 which will have 169,000. West Ham will have reached the population figure of two boroughs which the Minister is at the moment creating, and will have done so before the Bill is operative.

It has been said, and it is quite true, that there will be an enormous amount of waste of money incurred if the Minister's proposal goes through. It has been pointed out that we have one town hall and civic centre in East Ham, right at the far eastern end, and we have a town hall and civic centre for West Ham at Stratford, and that is as near to the City as it can be. It would mean that there would have to be a new civic centre. Where, I do not know; but even if a site could be found for it, it would mean pulling down houses to make way for the new civic centre, and that would be wasteful expenditure, apart from the fact that the houses are much needed and the loss of them would be detrimental to the residents.

I would ask the Minister to bear in mind also the fact, which he knows, that West Ham Council is at this very moment in the process of constructing one of the greatest schemes of development which has been envisaged in London this generation. It has a huge shopping scheme and residential area planned in Stratford at a cost of about £12 million. The Minister knows all this. That area will be developed, but all that scheme will be put into the melting pot because of the Minister sticking to this rigid rule of getting the two Hams together. If he does, I think that he will be creating difficulties for himself.

I ask the right hon. Gentleman to look at this position, and to study in detail, if he has not already done so, the points which the County Borough of West Ham sent to him. On a previous occasion when we were considering this Bill he made some reference to the fact that many of the town clerks and local authorities had not troubled to reply to him, or to give him their opinions and points of view. That may have been true of some boroughs, but it is certainly not true and cannot be said to be true of West Ham.

West Ham did send him a printed document, which I have here, and in which it not only argued against this regrouping, but put forward ideas and suggestions; and it most helpfully said that if the Minister persisted with his proposal, reluctant as it would be to see that, it would do its very utmost to work with him and, in accordance with good constitutional government—as West Ham is—it would carry out its obligations.

All the same, it really is not fair that an area such as this, which suffered during the whole of the blitz, which has been suffering ever since in trying to get on with its reconstruction, and which has done an enormous amount of works, should now find, because of this regrouping, that all its work is to be made more difficult and more expensive, because of the Minister's insistence upon pushing through this regrouping, which no one in East Ham or West Ham is anxious for.

I know that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Ham, South (Mr. Elwyn Jones) will support us, so I win shorten my speech and say, lastly, that, as we have such a limited time to consider these matters in this Committee, I would ask the Minister to agree to meet a deputation of the Members of Parliament for East Ham and West Ham and Barking, and the representatives of the local authorities concerned, so that we can discuss this with him and spend a little time with the maps and with the facts and figures, which we can give to him and which, we think, will persuade him to give further consideration to this matter.

In this situation in which we are, where the Guillotine is falling, we have not time and opportunity for full argument, and we know that the Minister is not in a position to give to the matter the deep consideration which it deserves. I would ask the Minister, when he replies to the debate, to give consideration to this request, on the ground that these are the only boroughs which are affected quite like this—two county boroughs being forced together in a marriage—unlike unions proposed for any other boroughs.

Hence, in this exceptional circumstance, will he please give consideration to the proposal I am now putting to him, that he should have discussions with the interested people, that is to say, the councils and the appropriate officers, to see whether or not we can get some agreement which the Minister can accept when we consider the Bill on Report?

Mr. Elwyn Jones

I should like particularly to reiterate the plea of my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis) for reconsideration of this diverse shotgun marriage. I would remind the Minister, with respect, that with regard to Battersea and Lambeth and Wandsworth, after a good deal of pressure from his side of the Committee, he did give an undertaking that he would try to find a solution which reconciled the attitudes of ail three boroughs. I hope that it is not only pressure from his own side of the Committee to which he is susceptible, and that he will show an open mind to the real feeling which exists in these boroughs and on this side of the Committee when he is, in the interests of administrative tidiness, about to engage in a municipal wreckage.

I suspect that we shall not hear from the Minister any indictment either of West Ham or, for that matter, of East Ham, because their record is excellent. I notice the Minister nods affirmatively.

Mr. Driberg

Be careful of his nods!

Mr. Elwyn Jones

I take his nod for "Yes" on this occasion.

It is obvious there is no question of the high standard and record in municipal competence and integrity of West Ham, It is one of the biggest county borough, in the country; its financial resources are above the average; its undertakings of its enormous responsibilities since the war have been a model for, indeed, many parts of the world; the Minister has frequently taken deputations there from different countries of the world to see how things ought to be done.

The important thing about the matter is that, so far certainly as West Ham is concerned, the Government's proposals are a departure from the recommendations of the Herbert Commission, so that on the merits, as considered by the Commission itself, West Ham clearly deserves to stand alone. I shall not retraverse the overwhelming administrative reasons why this forced marriage between East and West Ham is wholly impracticable and contrary to the interests of planning. The communications are centred, as we have heard, in the north-west, in West Ham, and, in the south-east, in East Ham, so that this shotgun marriage is really wholly misconceived.

Accordingly, I hope that at the very least, if there is not acceptance of the Amendment, there will be an undertaking to have a further look at the matter in the interests of all concerned.

4.30 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. F. V. Corfield)

The hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg), when he opened his fascinating historical survey, made some complaints that the time allowed would not be sufficient to deploy all the arguments, but I can assure him, as I can assure the hon. and learned Member for West Ham, South (Mr. Elwyn Jones), that we have considered all these representations, both from the borough and the other local authorities, and we have gone into them most carefully with a view to trying to find what we believe to be the best answer, and I am sure that the Committee will appreciate that, we all being politicians within this building, we do not go out of our way, as seems to be suggested, to find the least popular answer. We have been guided by what we believe to be right.

These Amendments refer to a very wide area, and in the first place suggest that both West Ham and East Ham should remain as separate entities, separate boroughs, and that the same should apply to Barking and Dagenham, with attached thereto, suggestions for minor adjustments to the boundary of Ilford, with repercussions when one comes to look into this, although they are not specifically mentioned in the Amendment, on the future of Hornchurch and Romford, on the one hand, and Leyton and Borough No. 13, on the other, and, no doubt, as one probes deeper, on the neighbouring boroughs and groups of boroughs.

I am sure that the Committee will not expect me at this late stage to repeat the Government's views and arguments in favour of establishing a pattern of boroughs in the whole of Greater London based on a unit substantially larger than the 100,000 mentioned in the Herbert Commission and the basis of the county borough status laid down in the Local Government Act, 1958. These proposals are put forward in paragraphs 19 and 20 of the White Paper; they have been referred to over and over again, and I am sure that it is not necessary for me to refer to them again.

But on numerous occasions in this debate we have also stressed—I am sure that the Committee agrees with this point —the great difficulty of making adjustments to one borough or two neighbour- ing boroughs without having ramifications over an enormously wide area, and, indeed, the varieties of Amendment put forward and the clash of opinion between, for instance, my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Lagden) and the hon. Member for Dagenham, and the quite different approach of hon. Members representing East Ham and West Ham to that of the hon. Member for Barking on certain particulars. This in itself shows the difficulty of finding an agreed solution looking at any one borough or adjoining boroughs in isolation.

Mr. Oram

The hon. Gentleman has referred to differences between West Ham, East Ham and Barking. Has he noticed that the names of all hon. Members associated with all three boroughs are attached to the first Amendment tabled to line 25, column 2?

Mr. Corfield

But I think the hon. Gentleman himself put forward—not, I admit, with any great strength—that West Ham would either be left on its own or be joined to some other borough, which would obviously be Leyton in this case. This shows that there are greater ramifications than at first feared. Even if we adopted the suggestion of leaving West Ham as a single entity, it is clear that neither by the 1958 Local Government Act criteria or even by the Herbert Commission criteria would Barking in itself be suitable if left entirely on its own.

Fascinated as I was by the hon. Gentleman's speech, I think that it will surely be argued for some time ahead whether Barking is expanding its ancient boundaries, which I have no doubt have varied over the ages, or whether Horn-church is doing likewise. But if there is a quarrel on that score as to which of the pairs of the marriages is to honour and obey, this is surely in the historical tradition of the quarrel, albeit from a different geographical direction, over the remains of the bishop to whom he referred.

We appreciate that East and West Ham are in a different position to some extent through being existing county boroughs with the full range of functions of local authorities. But this also applies to Croydon, which has a population very nearly as big as those two boroughs put together. I would remind the hon. Gentleman that, despite the attractions of the argument he has deployed, this is not something which is wholly without precedent. London reorganisation is not the first time in which county boroughs have merged with other county boroughs. The existing county borough of Stoke-on-Trent includes an area of Hanley which was itself a county borough, and the position is similar with the City of Plymouth.

If one looks at the map again and considers the suggestion made by the hon. Member that West Ham might go with another partner, I think it becomes clear that one goes right across normal lines of communication, which in this part of London, as in most others, tend to radiate from the centre rather than going laterally from north to south.

Mr. Lewis

The hon. Gentleman mentioned Croydon, but there is no similarity there because Croydon is not being amalgamated with any other county borough. What I said was that East and West Ham are the only two county boroughs in this reorganisation area—we are not talking about the rest of the country—which are having, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Ham, South (Mr. Elwyn Jones) said, a shot-gun marriage forced on them. There is no other situation in London like that.

Mr. Corfield

I appreciate that, but I was drawing the attention of the hon. Gentleman to the fact that the size of the combined area would still be in the same range as Croydon and that this is a matter which has to be faced in local government organisation and has had to be faced in the past.

Mr. Frederic Harris (Croydon, North-West)

My hon. Friend mentioned Croydon as an example. Does that not emphasise the case that he should leave Croydon as it is?

Mr. M. Stewart

The hon. Gentleman referred to the marriage of county boroughs and mentioned how Stoke-on-Trent was formed. But was that not done by consent and not by compulsion?

Mr. Corfield

Yes. I think that that may well be true, but these questions arise, as the hon. Gentleman knows, in other parts of the country.

If one looks further east and accepts the hon. Gentleman's point of view that Barking and Dagenham should he separate, then we get a pattern in relation to the size of the units in this part of London which is Quite different from that in nearly all the rest of London around the immediate circumference of the centre. It is clear that in certain areas the boroughs are of somewhat similar population on the circumference, as geography really dictates, but in this part of London and at this sort of distance from the centre it will be found that the boroughs are, by and large, of a similar size to the pattern laid down in the Bill. If one refers, as I am sure every hon. Member had done, to the town clerks' report, it is emphasised there perhaps better than anywhere else what enormous ramifications are involved if we accept any of the major suggestions that have been put forward this afternoon in relation to this part of London.

The hon. Member for Dagenham made a powerful case in moving the Amendment. I thank him for the courtesy of the very full forewarning of the case that he was going to make, and would emphasise that, once again, that has made it possible, despite the shortness of the debate, the Guillotine, and so on, to examine these arguments in very great detail. He was probably not surprised that my hon. Friend opposed the suggestion that he was making on behalf of Hornchurch and indicated that the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Ledger) would probably be doing likewise if he managed to take part in the debate.

However that may be, I think it emphasises the difficulty or inadvisability of including a boundary change of this sort when the Clause 6 procedure is available and where quid pro quo arrangements, which he referred to, with Ilford could be worked out with a public inquiry with my right hon. Friend making his decision. I think that it must be sound to minimise the changes in boundaries when we are amalgamating as far as possible whole districts, because such boundary changes must in themselves add to the transitional difficulties of adapting the services, and so on, in the early days of the new boroughs. But the Clause 6 procedure is there precisely for this purpose. It is a preferable procedure to that embodied in this type of Amendment.

I appreciate the arguments about warding, but I think that they are out-balanced by the disadvantages of making minor boundary changes before these amalgamations take place. I hope that the hon. Member will accept that we are going the right way about it and will take some cheer from the assurance of my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper) that Ilford is by no means uncooperative in the matter, and that it is on record as being something desirable for the two boroughs to consider at an early stage of their joint existence.

Having said all this, the Committee will not be surprised when I say that the Government cannot accept any of these Amendments. To do so would upset the whole pattern of the Bill. One hon. Member referred to the desirability of going back and finding a pattern based on a greater measure of agreement. But looking through the town clerks' report and the mass of papers put forward in representations, one finds no evidence that any other pattern would have a greater measure of agreement, or that disagreement is as great between the various authorities as some hon. Members have made out. There have been several noises of welcome for various amalgamations, and if we met an objection here or an objection there, there is no doubt that we should upset cases where there is agreement. On these grounds, the Government cannot accept any of these Amendments.

Mr. Driberg

Will the hon. Gentleman, before he sits down, be kind enough to address himself to the only two points I asked him about—the question of the

town halls and the land west of the Roding?

Mr. Corfield

As I understand, the selection of which town hall is to be used, or where the centre is, is entirely a matter for the new borough.

Mr. Driberg

Neither is convenient.

Mr. Corfield

My information is that that is not so and that the Barking one could be made available.

Mr. Driberg

Look at the map.

Mr. A. Lewis

Where does the Minister get his information about agreement? We do not know about it. He claims to have information that these amalgamations are welcomed.

Mr. Corfield

It is quite clear that Barking Town Hall is not in the middle of the new borough, nor is Dagenham's. But Barking Town Hall is not in the middle of Barking, either. I think that the hon. Member for Barking would agree that accessibility is not a matter of overriding difficulty.

Mr. Driberg

The Minister said that it was.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment proposed: In page 89, column 2, leave out lines 19 to 24 and insert: The borough of Barking including so much of the borough as lies west of the boundary referred to in paragraphs 5 of Part II of this Schedule".—[Mr. Driberg.]

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 238, Noes 185.

Division No. 57.] AYES [4.44 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Curran, Charles
Aitken, W. T. Bullard, Denys Dalkeith, Earl of
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Burden, F. A. d'Avigdor-Goidsmid, Sir Henry
Aliason, James Campbell, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Belfast, S.) Digby, Simon Wingfield
Atkins, Humphrey Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Drayson, G. B.
Barlow, Sir John Channon, H. P. G. Duncan, Sir James
Batsford, Brian Chataway, Christopher Eden, John
Bell, Ronald Chichester-Clark, R. Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Bennett, Dr. ReginaSd (Gos & Fhm) Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Elliott, R. W. (Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Berkeley, Humphry Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Cleaver, Leonard Errington, Sir Eric
Biffen, John Cooke, Robert Farey-Jones, F. W.
Biggs-Davison, John Cooper, A. E. Farr, John
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Cordeaux, Lt. -Col. J. K.
Bishop, F. P. Cordle, John Fell, Anthony
Bossom, Hon. Clive Corfield, F. V. Finlay, Graeme
Bourne-Arton, A. Costain, A. P. Fisher, Nigel
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Coulson, Michael Forrest, George
Box, Donald Oraddock, Sir Beresford Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Crawley, Aidan Freeth, Denzil
Brewis, John Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Ollver Gammans, Lady
Bromley-Davenport, Lt. -Col. Sir Walter Cunningham, Knox George, Sir John (Pollok)
Gibson-Watt, David Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central) Longbottom, Charles Ridsdale, Julian
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Longden, Gilbert Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Lubbock, Eric Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Goodhew, Victor Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Gower, Raymond MacArthur, Ian Seymour, Leslie
Grant-Ferris, ft. McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Sharpies, Richard
Green, Alan Maclay, Rt, Hon. John Shaw, M.
Gresham Cooke, R. McLean, Neil (Inverness) Shepherd, William
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Skeet, T. H. H.
Gurden, Harold McMaster, Stanley R. Smith, Dudley (Br'ntfd & Chiewlck)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Maddan, Martin Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Harris, Reader (Heston) Maginnis, John E. Spearman, Sir Alexander
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Maitland, Sir John Stanley, Hon. Richard
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Markham, Major Sir Frank Stevens, Geoffrey
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Marshall, Douglas Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Harvie Anderson, Miss Marten, Neil Stodart, J. A.
Hastings, Stephen Mawby, Ray Studholme, Sir Henry
Hay, John Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Summers, Sir Spencer
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Maydon, Lt. -Cmdr. S. L. C. Tapsell, Peter
Hendry, Forbes Mills, Stratton Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Miscampbell, Norman Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)
Hill, J. E. B. (Norfolk) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Teeling, Sir William
Hirst, Geoffrey Morgan, William Temple, John M.
Hocking, Philip N. Morrison, John Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Holland, Philip Nabarro, Sir Gerald Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hollingworth, John Nicholls, Sir Harmar Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Holt, Arthur Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Hopkins, Alan Nugent, Rt, Hon Sir Richard Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Hornby, R. P. Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Turner, Colin
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Osborn, John (Hallam) Tweedsmuir, Lady
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hughes-Young, Michael Page, Graham (Crosby) Vane, W. M. F.
Hulbert, Sir Norman Page, John (Harrow, West) Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Hutchison, Michael Clark Panned, Norman (Kirkdale) Vosper, Rt- Hon. Dennis
Iremonger, T. L. Partridge, E. Wade, Donald
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Wakefield, Sir Wavell
James, David Peel, John Walder, David
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Peyton, John Webster, David
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Wells, John (Maidstone)
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Pilkington, Sir Richard Whitelaw, William
Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Pitman, Sir James Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Pitt, Dame Edith Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Pott, Percivall Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Kerby, Capt. Henry Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Price, David (Eastleigh) Wise, A. R.
Kimball, Marcus Prior, J. M. L. Wolrlge-Gordon, Patrick
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Woodnutt, Mark
Leavey, J. A. Proudfoot, Wilfred Woollam, John
Lebum, Gilmour Pym, Francis Worsley, Marcus
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Quennell, Miss J. M. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Lilley, F. J. P. Rees, Hugh TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Lindsay, Sir Martin Rees-Davies, W. R. Mr. Michael Hamilton and
Linstead, Sir Hugh Renton, Rt. Hon. David Mr. McLaren.
Abse, Leo Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John
Ainsley, William Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Ede, Rt. Hon. C.
Albu, Austen Callaghan, James Edelman, Maurice
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Carmichael, Neil Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Castle, Mrs, Barbara Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Awbery, Stan (Bristol Central) Chapman, Donald Edwards, Walter (Stepney)
Bacon, Miss Alice Collick, Percy Evans, Albert
Barnett, Guy Corbet, Mrs. Freda Fletcher, Eric
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)
Beaney, Alan Crosland, Anthony Forman, J. C.
Bence, Cyril Crossman, R. H. S.
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Cullen, Mrs. Ailce Galpern, Sir Myer
Benson, Sir George Dalyell, Tam Ginsburg, David
Blackburn, F. Darling, George Gouriay, Harry
Blyton, William Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Greenwood, Anthony
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Davies, Harold (Leek) Grey, Charles
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S. W.) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Griffiths, David (Rother Vailey)
Bowles, Frank Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Griffiths, W. (Exchange)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Deer, George Harper, Joseph
Bradley, Tom Delargy, Hugh Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Dempsey, James Hart, Mrs. Judith
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D, Dodds, Norman Hayman, F. H.
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Driberg, Tom Healey, Denis
Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis) Manuel, Archie Russell, Ronald
Herbison, Miss Margaret Mapp, Charles Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Hill, J. (Midlothian) Marsh, Richard Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Hilton, A. V. … Mason, Roy Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Holman, Percy Mayhew, Christopher Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Houghton, Douglas Mellish, R. J. Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Mendelson, J. J. Small, William
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Millan, Bruce Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Hoy, James H. Milne, Edward Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Mitchison, G. R. Spriggs, Leslie
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Monslow, Walter Steele, Thomas
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Moody, A. S. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Hunter, A. E, Moyle, Arthur Stones, William
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Mulley, Frederick Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Hynd, John (Attercllffe) Neal, Harold Swain, Thomas
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Swingler, Stephen
Janner, Sir Barnett Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.) Taverne, D.
Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Oram, A. E. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Oswald, Thomas Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Owen, Will Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Padley, W. E. Thornton, Ernest
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Wainwright, Edwin
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Pargiter, G. A. Warbey, William
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Parker, John Weitzman, David
Kelley, Richard Parkin, B. T. Whitlock, William
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Pavitt, Laurence Wigg, George
King, Dr. Horace Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Wilkins, W. A.
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Peart, Frederick Willey, Frederick
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Plummer, Sir Leslle Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Popplewell, Ernest Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Lipton, Marcus Prentice, R. E. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Loughlin, Charles Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Rankin, John Wilson, R, Hon. Harold (Huyton)
McCann, John Redhead, E. C. Winterbottom, R. E.
MacColl, James Reid, William Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Mclnnes, James Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Woof, Robert
McKay, John (Wallsend) Robertson, John (Paisley) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
McLeavy, Frank Rodgere, W. T. (Stockton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
MacMillan, Maloclm (Western Isles) Ross, William Mr. Lawson and Mr. Cliffe.
Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)

I beg to move, in page 89, line 32, to leave out from the beginning to the end of line 41 and to insert: 18. The boroughs of Bexley and Erith and the urban district of Crayford. 19. The urban districts of Orpington and Chislehurst and Sidcup. 20. The boroughs of Beckenham and Bromley and the urban district of Penge.

The Chairman

With this Amendment it will also be possible to discuss those in page 89, line 32, column 2, after "Erith", insert "and".

In line 33, column 2, leave out from "Crayford" to end of line 36.

In line 38, column 2, leave out "so much of".

In line 40, column 2, leave out from "Sidcup" to end of line 41 and in page 91, line 27, leave out paragraph 6.

Mr. Lubbock

As I listened to the Parliamentary Secretary replying to the debate on the last group of Amendments I must confess that my hopes rose, because the objections which he used against that group could certainly not be applied to my Amendment. He said that those Amendments would have ramifications in other parts of the Greater London area which were not catered for in the Amendments. This Amendment is concerned purely with metropolitan Kent and has no effect on other groupings in other parts of Greater London.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that there should not be any boundary changes which would cause any unnecessary transitional difficulties. I do not want to refer to those in any detail, because I am sure that the right hon. Lady the Member for Chislehurst {Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith) will expand that theme.

Thirdly, he said that there were differing points of view in those areas which could not be easily reconciled. He was not quite certain whether the Amendments represented the majority view. In the area with which we are now dealing. I think, so far as one can ever be certain of the views of the majority of public opinion, that they favour the groupings which I have suggested.

What argument can the Minister use against my proposals? I expect that they will mostly be on the ground of size, and I want to tackle this question and to try to anticipate some of the things which he will say. I shall do that under two headings—population and rateable value.

Orpington, together with Chislehurst and Sidcup, has a population of 169,510, according to the Registrar-General's estimate of 30th June, 1962. Thus, this borough would already be larger than two of the others proposed in the Bill, No. 21, which has a population of 169,019 and No. 23, which has a population of 165,777.

The Registrar-General's figures for 1952 and 1962 show that the population of Orpington grew from 63,670 to 80,950, a rise of 17,280 over the 10-year period. It is expected that a further substantial rise will take place over the next decade, bringing the population of Orpington alone to more than 100,000. The population of Chislehurst and Sidcup also grew over that period, although by a smaller amount, 3,430, but I contend that the time can be foreseen when the population of the combined borough would exceed the 200,000 minimum which is laid down by the Government, but to which they do not rigidly adhere.

The rateable value of Orpington, Chislehurst and Sidcup would be the smallest of any in the Greater London area, at £7,735,000, but there are substantial developments under way in my constituency, both residential and commercial. It is estimated that by 1972 our own rateable value would have risen by approximately £1,600,000. Therefore, assuming that there was no increase in the rateable value of Chislehurst and Sidcup over that period, the combined total by 1972 would be approximately £9.3 million, which is by no means the smallest, for Borough No. 21 now has a rateable value of £8,890,000.

Therefore, neither in population nor in rateable value would this borough ultimately be the smallest in the Greater London area. We should take the opportunity of the Bill to plan not only far the next ten years, but perhaps for as much as the next eighty. So far as we can foresee the developments to take place in that period, or at least at the beginning of that period, we ought to be able to shape the administrative units accordingly and not take such a limited view as to determine them purely on the facts which obtain today.

5.0 p.m.

Borough No. 19 is the largest of the lot by quite a long way. I recall "Nye" Bevan's remark that one of the essences of local government was that people should be able to walk to the town hall. I cannot see, unless they are great athletes, that they will be able to walk to the town hall in Borough No. 19. Indeed, even if we take the grouping which I have proposed, the area of Orpington, Chislehurst and Sidcup together would still be one of the largest. Therefore, not on rateable value, nor on population, nor on area, is there any argument against these proposals.

In favour of them I think the most substantial evidence that I can adduce is that of local opinion in my area. Certainly, the inhabitants of the villages in my constituency are unhappy about being included in Greater London at all. The Minister was adamant in refusing to consider their case until the Bill became law although he said that he would be prepared to look at it again if the matter was raised by the local authorities after that date.

The villagers were somewhat dismayed when they looked at the complicated provisions which existed in the Bill for the alteration of boundaries. After studying these, they have taken the view that they are much more likely to receive a hearing if they are part of the smaller unit which is proposed in this Amendment. I believe that the Minister has received a letter from at least one village committee. I have received a copy of it urging me to support the Amendment with all the force at my command.

Speaking of the size of the Borough of Orpington, Chislehurst and Sidcup the chairman of Downe Village Committee said: This would surely create a Borough of manageable size and geographical tidiness on the periphery of the new London area, under a local authority which would understand the problems of this area, and with which we should feel we had similar affinities, similar ties and similar interests. It is strongly felt that any attempt to force us into Borough 19 without being given an opportunity to opt out would be in the nature of a shotgun wedding with regrettable consequences in the future. Similarly, the chairman of the Cudham Residents' Association says that they were all agreed that there were grave disadvantages in Orpington being wedded to the large urban conglomeration of Bromley, Beckenham and Penge. I think that the Minister knows the views of Knockholt.

I believe that the same is true of the people in the centre of Orpington, where there is a strong feeling that they do not want to be Bromley's poor relation. We want to develop ourselves. We want our own shopping facilities, our own sporting and cultural amenities, and we think we are more likely to get these if we are not forced into an amalgamation with Bromley where we are told these facilities exist, and there is no reason for us to ask for additional ones.

Also, we in Orpington have for many years co-operated with Chislehurst and Sidcup in education. This arrangement is extremely satisfactory, and people are nervous about the possibility of going in with Bromley which, as regards education, is a most reactionary authority. Some time ago it refused to allow the secondary schools to put pupils in for the Royal Society of Arts examinations, and even for the General Certificate of Education. In my constituency we have, fortunately, had quite a lot of successes in these examinations.

Finally, the grouping proposed in the Amendment is that suggested by the Royal Commission, and it follows the principle of not splitting authorities wherever that can be avoided, and also of having smaller authorities on the periphery, than in the centre of London. The Royal Commission said, in paragraphs 929–30: … we think it desirable to amalgamate two or mare existing units as a whole rather than, except where unavoidable or to a minor degree, to divide and regroup. We are also of opinion that there is generally a strong case for creating Boroughs of greater population in the inner areas, where the population is closer together, than on the periphery, where an equivalent population would mean that many of the citizens would be remote from their centre of government. There are also a few areas"— and our own is one of these— where, owing to an exceptional concentration of open spaces, to adhere strictly to the lower limit would produce too scattered an authority. The Minister has been very concerned to maintain existing boundaries wherever possible in the inner areas, and I hope that he will follow the same principle when he considers this Amendment. The Government have departed from these two principles in the grouping they have proposed in creating this colossal Borough No. 19, which is the largest of all in the area, and eighth largest in terms of population. This is so obviously wrong, that I am sure the Minister will take this last opportunity of thinking again.

Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith (Chislehurst)

I hope that I shall be in order in speaking to the Amendments in my name which are being considered with this Amendment.

I cannot support the line taken by the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock), because, although these Amendments are being discussed together, they seek to bring about two entirely different results. It is the wish of my urban district council that we should be united with Borough No. 19 rather than be split down the middle and half go into Borough No. 18 and half into Borough No. 19.

My council has always fair-mindedly accepted the need for reorganisation of London Government, and it approached the proposals for larger and more viable borough authorities with an open mind. It has not approached this matter in any spirit of prejudice against the larger authorities, but solely with the idea of creating the best possible arrangement in a single large borough which would include the whole, and not merely half, of my urban district council.

I believe that there has been some misunderstanding about the Town Clerks' Report. First, protests were made when the original proposals that we should combine with Bexley as Borough No. 18 were evolved. Protests were made in writing and in evidence at this conference by Erith and Crayford who thought that this was an impracticable suggestion. They had long been seeking a marriage, which wish was reciprocated, with Bexley, and they had long wanted a larger borough jointly with Bexley. They did not feel that there was compatibility or real affinity between them and the area way down south of the A.2, the area of Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District Council.

I do not think that anyone can say that this is a party political matter. On the one hand there is a substantial Labour majority council in Erith and Crayford, and on the other there is a smaller Conservative majority council in my constituency. Both authorities think that it is impracticable to link Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District Council with an area where the Thames-side heavier industries, the transport, the communications and the social life are very much divided from the south side by the A.2 road.

The town clerks' report made it clear that there were the most serious misgivings about my district being linked with the northern half. It was also recognised that there was no affinity whatsoever between the area south of the A.20 which consists of Chislehurst, Mottingham and St. Paul's Cray, and the area so far north as Bexley, Erith and Crayford.

I want to assure my right hon. Friend that when my council went to that meeting it was convinced, rightly or wrongly, that the only point at issue was whether it went wholly north into Bexley Group 18 or wholly south into Bromley Group l9. It never occurred to the council that it, as a very strong local authority, was likely to be sliced in half. The issue had never been discussed in the council; it had only discussed whether it was going wholly north or wholly south. It was therefore a tremendous shock when the decision was made to slice my constituency in half. I am authorised on behalf of my council to say that it does not accept in any way the paraphrase in paragraph 112 of the town clerks' report that its representative at that conference said that the council preferred the link with Bexley. The council feels very strongly about it, and I regret that it has not, as I thought it had, made its views known to my right hon. Friend.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the memorandum presented by my council was first and foremost against any divide. Secondly, my council was in favour of going into the Bromley Group. It said, however, that if the Minister stuck to the rigid limit of 200,000 it would look as if that "pointed" to its going into Bexley. But that is not the wish of my council, nor, indeed, the wish of Erith and Cray-ford. We have been sliced up like a piece of garnish and tossed half on to the Bromley plate and half on to the Bexley dish, and much as we like our neighbours we want to go as a unit into Group 19.

Mr. Norman Dodds (Erith and Crayford)

The right hon. Lady is stressing her own Amendments. If they are not acceptable, would the hon. Lady and her friends be ready to accept the proposals of Orpington inasmuch as Chislehurst and Sidcup would be left as one unit?

Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith

The Amendments in my name have been passed by an overwhelming majority of the Labour, Independent and Conservative members of my council. There were four dissentients, but, as I say, the overwhelming majority of the Labour, Independent and Conservative members of the council passed this resolution. They want to go into Bromley Group 19 and they asked me to put down the Amendments. I am therefore representing the majority view of all parties in my constituency.

Mr. Lubbock

But was not some opinion expressed by the right hon. Lady's council as to the merits of the proposal put forward by Orpington and that contained in the Bill?

Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith

Certainly. I have throughout the last five months been in constant touch with my council and it has made it crystal clear that its first and overwhelming choice is to go into Bromley.

Sir K. Joseph

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that her council's first and overwhelming choice is to remain undivided and that, secondly, she is saying that its second choice is to go with Bromley? That is what she is saying, is it not?

Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith

I would not go as far as my right hon. Friend. His point is that it was very apparent not only from the town clerks' report but also from their decision that they considered that for at least half the constituency it would be crazy to go into the northern area. I think everyone agrees that it would be completely impracticable in any circumstances to put the south side into Bexley, Erith and Crayford. That has been acknowledged by the town clerks.

We say that we think it is wrong to cut the area in half, and that the whole should be in area 19, and that is agreed by our neighbours Crayford and Bexley, both of whom have written to my right hon. Friend. The council feels that the enlarged group 19 would be a viable unit and we would rather go into the southern group. I well recognise my right hon. Friend's difficulties, but it is recorded in the town clerks' report and there is already going through town planning in the London County Council and Kent County Council plans for a housing site of 25,000 coming into Belvedere Marshes. If the families are coming from London like those I see coming to my L.C.C. estate in Chislehurst, then that population will very rapidly, in five or ten years' time, produce more than the 25,000 required. With that 25,000 which would be starting to come within a couple of years, Bexley and Erith on their own would make up the 200,000 which the right hon. Gentleman regards as the minimum need.

The basis on which my right hon. Friend instructed the town clerks to consider representations was, I believe, the past and present associations of existing local government areas; lines of communication; patterns of development and local areas of influence of service centres. On the first point, the case is wholly in favour of joining Group 19 from which eleven-twelfths of it was carved out in the first place from the old Bromley Urban District. Indeed, even today, the green surrounding my urban district council in Sidcup is still administered by the Chislehurst Common Conservators. The pattern is continued by the Kent County Council.

5.15 p.m.

If my right hon. Friend is concerned with the administrative side, this functions under the Kent County Council already. The town planning authority is Bexley, Bromley, Chislehurst and Orpington. It is therefore exactly as my right hon. Friend would want it in Group 19. This is a dormitory area with thousands of people commuting to London every day. We have our concentration of light industry in the Cray Valley, which draws its labour almost entirely from Orpington, Chislehurst and the Bromley areas. As regards our fire and ambulance services, again the same authorities are already organised into a county division. The magistrates' courts are again in the same area. The health and child care are again an identical area, what are called Area 7 sub-committees of the Health Service. They are the very administrative areas now in existence which I am asking my right hon. Friend to accept by allowing us to go into Group 19.

These links have been established by expert analysis by the Kent County Council and other authorities and in every single instance they have regarded the A.2 and not the A.20 as the natural divide between areas of differing interests and the one most likely to give prompt, efficient and the most easily available service. We have had long experience of these services and we think it is an advantage that they should continue in the sphere in which they have been operating, and this strongly supports the case which I am putting on behalf of my council.

I must refer to the chaotic situation which will arise in relation to education if the division of the urban district is proceeded with. We are at present linked with Orpington as an education authority, but if the division is carried through the boys' grammar school will be on the northern side and claimed by Bexley. It is an excellent grammar school, with the highest record of university places in the county, or in the south-east of England. The girls' grammar school will be on the south side. At the moment parents send their children across the A.20, whether they want the boys' or girls' school, but if the division takes place we shall have the girls provided for on the south side and the boys on the north side.

Technical education is on the south side, for both boys and girls. There is nothing on the north side. Those on the north will have to go into the area which is being grouped with Bexley. Adult education is on the north side; there is none on the south side. With the breakup in the urban district the educational situation will be absolutely chaotic.

The local authority would try to keep exchanges running and would try to carry things over and be fair and reasonable for the first few years and no child would lose its present school position, but in two or three years' time, if this new borough is set up, we shall have the Bexley or Erith residents asking why Chislehurst Common children are occupying places in their schools and they will try to claim the grammar school places for their own children. Somehow or other tremendous efforts will have to be made if the question of education is to be dealt with properly.

Therefore, our link-up with Bromley in Group 19 is a natural, on grounds of community interest, history and current administrative work and efficiency. I appreciate my right hon. Friend's difficulty. The whole thing boils down to a question of numbers. That is my right hon. Friend's strong point. But those numbers represent human beings. Bexley, Erith and Crayford are 166,000 strong at the moment, with a 25,000 estate coming in. It will not be long before they reach my right hon. Friend's figure of 200,000. Even at 166,000 they will form a more populous area than Epsom and Ewell, to which my right hon. Friend has agreed, and with the new estate the area will be bigger than the Barking group.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

What has the Minister agreed with regard to Epsom and Ewell? I have not heard anything from him.

Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith

I am talking of numbers. Epsom and Ewell would form an area with a population of about 164,000. I am not contesting the right hon. Gentleman's views on the subject; I am merely saying that on the Minister's present plan the population numbers are no greater than those which would be viable for Bexley, Erith and Crayford. With the new estate in Group 18 it would be bigger than the Beddington and Wallington Group, or the Barnes and Richmond group. The larger Bromley would still be smaller than Lambeth, Group 9, but comparable with Coulsdon and Purley, and Barnet.

Mr. Lubbock

The hon. Lady says that it will be less than the Lambeth Group which is 341,000, but since the census the figures will have increased, which will bring us up to a figure of about 341,000.

Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith

I am not going to quibble over the odd 1,000. There is no speaker who has not said that the population of his area has risen considerably since the census was taken.

I am sure that my right hon. Friend will agree that this division of my local authority has put a tremendous burden upon the staff of my council. It has involved a great deal of additional work, because the staff has had to divide itself between two groups during the interim period. The burden on the senior officers of the authority has been tremendous. They are trying to cut themselves in half and serve in Group 18 one day and Group 19 the next. It is a measure of the efficiency of the staff that it has coped so admirably with the situation and has somehow managed not to miss any meetings that it should have attended, or fail in any of its duties and functions. It has had to try to carry on by way of ad hoc committees in two different areas.

I can assure my right hon. Friend that the strength of feeling against this proposed division is intense. It is shared by members of all parties, and by people who belong to none. We sincerely believe that my right hon. Friend will be dividing one of the strongest, thriving and most viable areas, where the administration is already operating and ready-made for many of the main functions which the new borough will take over. I profoundly hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to reconsider the question of the divide.

In fairness to the hon. Member for Orpington, I want to make it clear that although, over all, my council wants to go in with Bromley in Group 19, rather than be divided it would be prepared to go into the new group with Orpington, if my right hon. Friend should decide on that new group. My council does not think that this is a good solution, because it is too small a unit, and would not provide as strong and viable an area as would Area No. 19. I want my right hon. Friend to be in no doubt where the real hopes and wishes of members of all parties in my constituency lie.

Mr. Dodds (Erith and Crayford)

As the right hon. Member for Chislehurst (Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith) said at the beginning of her speech, I am probably in a much more favourable position to comment upon the Amendments than most hon. Members who have spoken so far. For many years the authorities in my constituency have felt the need for a much larger authority. For many years they have referred to an amalgamation of Bexley, Erith and Crayford.

Everyone in my constituency who takes an interest in this matter is appalled at the thought that, in addition to Bexley, Erith and Crayford, there is a suggestion—no doubt made by people with tidy minds—that a part of the Chislehurst and Sidcup constituency should be added.

How on earth the four town clerks who visited the area for a day or two could ever have come to the conclusion that it would be a good thing to break up the Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District Council I do not know. They must have been drunk when they suggested it. There is no community of interest. It is separated from the other part of the proposed area by one of Britain's busiest main roads—the A.20. That is why I have been requested to support the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock).

Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith

May I take it that the hon. Member is speaking for the Erith Labour Party? I have had regard to the feelings and the advice of members of the Chislehurst and Sid-cup Labour Party, who are supporting the resolution of my council.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Dodds

I appreciate the right hon. Lady's enthusiasm. But perhaps she will wait a while. I said that the people in my constituency believe that the solution referred to in the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Orpington would suit us better. But we recognise that there is a far greater interest in this grouping and the suggestion of the hon. Member for Chislehurst on the part of the Chislehurst and Sidcup Council. But nevertheless they have made clear that they are prepared to come into any arrangement provided that Chislehurst and Sidcup are not divided.

When replying to the debate on the previous group of Amendments, the Parliamentary Secretary argued that there was such disagreement among hon. Members who had moved Amendments that it was relatively easy for him not to argue the merits of the case but to say that there would be objections whatever was done. Now the situation is entirely different for the Minister, because he cannot make much of the differences between the Amendments. There is a desire that Chislehurst and Sidcup should not be divided and that would suit my constituency. Such a division is a fantastic proposition. I hope that the Minister will consider the unique situation which would arise and which is condemned by all three political parties. I hope that he will pay attention to the representations which have been made. The right hon. Gentleman cannot fail to recognise that in recent weeks his party has found itself in a very difficult situation. In fact, over the last eleven years almost everything that his party has done has turned out to be wrong. At the present time so many mistakes have been made——

The Temporary Chairman

The hon. Member is getting far from the Amendment.

Mr. Dodds

I appreciate that. But I want the Minister to understand that mistakes can be made, and we think that if the Government go ahead with the proposals contained in this Bill they will be making a mistake which will be condemned by people of all political parties. Instead of trying to arrange for tidy sets of figures of 200,000 the Minister should recognise that there is the need to recognise human relations and that Chislehurst and Sidcup should not be divided.

Bexley, Erith and Crayford have a population of almost 170,000 people. Although it is not definite, there have been rumours for some time that the L.C.C. propose to establish a town on the Erith Marshes. The proposed population it is said would be about 25,000 or 27,000. But no one can say definitely that this town will materialise. It is, however, highly probable. From all these various points of view, we ask the Minister to look at the situation again. My constituents consider that the best interests of the people will be served if there is an amalgamation of Bexley, Erith and Crayford and that Chislehurst and Sidcup should not be torn in two. Then the people in the area will appreciate that the Minister is concerned with their interests rather than with helping the bureaucrats to make tidy numbers.

Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

The Minister, I think, will have been convinced by now that the Bill and particularly this Schedule has done about as much harm as it is possible to visualise. Every hon. Member who has spoken—and the debate has been on a non-party basis—has expressed great bitterness and resentment. Today there is a change in the attitude of hon. Members compared with the debate last week, when no one was prepared—certainly I was not prepared —to make concessions. Today hon. Members have been prepared to cooperate with the Minister by conceding certain principles, but they have argued that the divisions proposed were wrong.

I do not understand why the Government are so rigid about this. The Parliamentary Secretary said in the debate on the previous Amendments—I hope the Minister will read what his hon. Friend said; as a rule the Parliamentary Secretary is a competent Minister—that certain sets of figures have been provided and the Government thought this the best way to juggle about with those figures. But the figures represent people and we cannot do that to people. As has been said by the right hon. Lady the Member for Chislehurst (Dame Particia Hornsby-Smith) and the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock), these figures represent people and communities.

I know Chislehurst very well. Many of the people who live there now orginally lived in the area which I have the honour to represent and they regard Chislehurst as something belonging to them. It is a thriving community with a great future. If the Minister is worried about figures, why should not he do what was suggested by the hon. Member for Orpington and cast his mind ahead to the situation which will obtain in the next five or ten years and visualise the Chislehurst or the Orpington of that time? There will then be enormous populations, and if we do what is now proposed it will mean that in the next fifteen or twenty years we shall have to examine this matter again. That cannot be good for local government. I do not think that it will be so terrible if these figures are not strictly adhered to.

The hon. Member for Orpington made an important point about the size of an area. If local government is to mean anything at all, people must be able to know about it. A glance at the map enables one to realise the importance of the point which was made by the hon. Member for Orpington. The other point which emerged from the discussion is that the proposals of the hon. Member for Orpington were originally in the Report of the Royal Commission.

Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith

It was originally the proposal of the Royal Commission and my council was prepared to consider it. But it was turned down flat by the Orpington Council of that time.

Mr. Lubbock

But the political complexion of the Orpington Council has changed since that time.

Mr. Mellish

Well, there it is. Chislehurst and Orpington have solved that one for me in a splendid fashion, and in a way I did not expect.

It is now said, rightly, that the original proposal in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Orpington was contained in the Report of the Royal Commission and that reveals the wisdom of it. It has received the support of my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford (Mr. Dodds), to whom hon. Members on this side of the Committee listen with respect in regard to matters of this kind.

I hope that the Minister will deal with the point regarding education which was made by the right hon. Lady the Member for Chislehurst. I have a certain "vested interest" in this matter because, in addition to the problems of State education, there will be problems arising regarding denominational schools if the area is split up in the way which is proposed. Some of the children will have to go to the North and some to the South, and such problems will have to be straightened out. I think that the views of the Minister on this point should be put on record before these problems are tackled, because although there may be all the good will in the world, if the child of someone who lives in Bexley wins a grammar school place and the parents find that all the grammar school places have been taken by Chislehurst children they will be angry about it. This is something which matters to people.

I should be out of order if I refer now to an Amendment which I moved last week. But on that occasion the Minister said that people were not all that interested and that we were making too much of the idea that people were really concerned about these things. I do not know where the Minister gets that idea. What are people supposed to do, other than to write to their Member of Parliament, or make representation through the elected authorities, or present petitions? Are we supposed to lead masses of people up Whitehall to the office of the right hon. Gentleman? Does he need more convincing that these arguments are advanced sincerely and that he cannot turn down this matter by saying that there is a set of figures which must be adhered to, and that the town clerks did a good job? Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Crayford, I do not think that the town clerks were "drunk". I do not think that when they came to their conclusions they were inebriated in any way. I think they were very sober. Their terms of reference were to show how this could be done. They did this because it was the nearest thing to the figures which were required. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will give serious consideration to these Amendments. It is difficult to imagine that under the guillotine procedure we shall reach the Amendment in the name of the right hon. Lady, but we certainly support the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Orpington.

Sir K. Joseph

No Minister in my view would have any doubt about the invidious nature of the jurisdiction he exercises in advising the Committee on these very sensitive matters. I have comforted myself by reading through some of the local government reorganisation debates of the past and noting the passions that were aroused and then contemplating the peaceful and efficient areas which it was then predicted would never possibly work. Still, that is no comfort to the Committee today.

In this short but pungent debate, the greatest interest has been shown, and I accept that there is apparently a unanimity of view from those who have spoken against the proposal in the Government Bill. I note that there has been interest also from some who have not spoken in the debate. My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, the Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath), has been listen- ing until he had to go away for other duties.

We are here considering two separate proposals for dealing with the same part of metropolitan Kent. The hon. Member far Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) wants to make three boroughs instead of two out of the area covered by the part of the Schedule we are now discussing. He proposes to do that by amalgamating Orpington with Chislehurst and Sidcup, as was proposed, as has been said, in the Royal Commission's Report. I must make the point that at that time the Royal Commission had in mind—this was the only part of the proposals the Government have not adopted—a smaller size of borough and were suggesting that there should be three groups of local government in this area.

It is a fact that if the Royal Commission's recommendation—which was made tentatively, it said, because it had not been into great detail on the subject—had been accepted by the Government, or if the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Orpington were accepted, the result would be three units each with an average size of about 170,000 population.

Later I shall talk about the relevance of these figures, but for the moment I just note them. Not only would these authorities be relatively small in size considering the functions they would be called upon to perform, but this would also violate another principle which we think important, namely, that wherever possible, all things being equal, each borough should have a strong focus to its life. If we have three local authority areas in this part of metropolitan Kent we find that there are the two centres of Bromley and Bexley and there is not at the moment—I agree that there might be same time in the future—an equally large and vigorous focus of life in the area covered by Orpington and Chislehurst and Sidcup.

The hon. Member for Orpington made a very great point in emphasising the size of the borough—the physical size, not the population size—which will be created by the proposal in the Bill. But he knows as well as I do that Clause 6 is written in in order that at a later stage the boundary may be corrected where that is a sensible thing to do. I do not accept that the boundary as now drawn is necessarily permanently the right one. As he and the Committee will well understand, I cannot possibly bind myself or my successors on particular recommendations which may be made under Clause 6.

5.45 p.m.

It may be better if now I deal briefly with the educational point raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chislehurst (Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith) and the hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish). This is, of course, of extreme importance. We shall be starting on Part IV of the Bill, which deals with education, in Committee upstairs next Tuesday. I remind the Committee that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education gave a number of assurances on Second Reading that the change of borough boundaries would not in any way alter the right of persons to send their children to any particular school, although of course the qualifications and entry conditions of any particular school will remain unaltered by what we are doing for government in Greater London.

I now come to the main part of this argument. There is no real centre of life equivalent to that offered by Bromley and Bexley in a borough that would be made up by a marriage of Chislehurst and Sidcup and Orpington. That is one disadvantage, and the second is one of size, to which I shall return. I therefore suggest that the particular solution put forward by the hon. Member for Orpington is not one that the Committee should accept. There are certain things we can, however, take for granted here I think. It is inevitable, I should have thought, that Erith and Crayford must join with Bexley. That is the wish of all three.

I say in passing, without in any way wishing to be either mischievous or malicious, that very understandably the councils of Erith and Crayford think that the smaller they can keep their groupings the more happy they will remain. That, I think, is in their minds when they urge strongly that no part of Chislehurst and Sidcup should join the Bexley group. Equally I think it is certainly correct that Beckenham and Penge should go with Bromley. Equally, because Orpington is accessible to Bromley, it falls naturally into the same group and, as to physical size, Clause 6 remains available for later use.

Between those two groupings, one centred on Bexley and one on Bromley, falls the district of Chislehurst and Sidcup. My right hon. Friend the Member for Chislehurst is a most vigorous advocate of any cause in which she believes. In this case it is my misfortune that she believes so strongly in the cause of her council. She has put the argument strongly. She has never ceased to bombard me with her views, and it is not for lack of thinking about this problem that I am now reluctantly forced to what I regard as the logic of the facts and to ask her if she can see fit to withdraw the Amendment.

I hope she will agree with me when I state the case like this. The council of Chislehurst and Sidcup has been, and I think still is, mainly concerned above all to keep its district undivided. That is an entirely honourable and legitimate concern and one which we must admire, but it shows the Committee how extremely rapidly such strong loyalties can grow. Here is a district created by the amalgamation of Chislehurst and Sidcup as recently as 1934. May the creations we are making by this Bill build up as rapidly loyalties as strong as these.

The council from the beginning wanted to stay on its own. Of that it left us in no doubt, but it recognised that when the Government adopted the position that boroughs had to have a minimum population of the order of at least 200,000 that probably would not he possible. In due course my right hon. Friend who was then the Minister sent round a circular attached to map A asking for the reactions of the different councils on the proposals in map A. The Committee will remember that in map A Erith, Crayford and Bexley were joined with the whole of Chislehurst and Sidcup. In other words, the whole of my right hon. Friend's constituency was to be put into the group based on Bexley.

I have in front of me a letter of 27th March, 1962, which says categorically that the members agree in principle with the grouping suggested for this area and hold strongly to the view that the urban district area ought to be preserved as an entity in forming part of the new London borough. They stressed their desire not to be split. It is fair to add that they went on to say that there was a body of opinion in the urban district—they did not say a body of opinion in the council—which would prefer amalgamation with the Bromley group.

I do not lay much stress on this, but it is a fact that that is the last letter on this subject which I have had from the urban district council. If they have changed their minds since then and would prefer to be with Bromley rather than with Bexley, provided that they are kept together, they have not written to me to that effect. After my right hon. Friend told me, earlier this afternoon, what she intended to say, I had a search made of the files at the Ministry. I may be wrong about this because I have had only an hour in which to look into it, but I can find no letter revoking their opinion as expressed in their letter of 27th March, 1962. I do not lay much stress on this because it is not my argument, I am afraid, that the opinion of the urban district council is the ultimate arbiter here. What I am trying to maintain is that the hard logic of the facts is such that the sensible thing to do is that which is justified only when there are very strong reasons—namely, to split a local authority area.

I turn to the figures in order to put them in proper context. As the hon. Member for Orpington rightly said, we are building not for five years, not for ten years, and not even for the period when, if all goes well and the right decisions are made by me and by my successors, a great deal of building development has occurred; we are looking further ahead even than that and are trying to create borough groupings which will be viable, thriving areas of local loyalty for the next half-century. For that we have first to look at the focus, and here we have the focus of Bexley and, in the south, the focus of Bromley.

Mr. Lubbock


Sir K. Joseph

I have very little time. If the hon. Member intervenes I hope that he will be brief.

Mr. Lubbock

If the Minister is thinking in terms of 50 years ahead, does he not think that a focus might be built which is suitable to the needs of Chislehurst, Sidcup and Orpington? Is he aware that my council has passed a large-scale outline development plan for the whole of the High Street?

Sir K. Joseph

It would be economic madness to construct new local authorities on the basis that they will be made viable by a new focus which has not yet been built. It is possible that one may be built, but that will be for our grandchildren to recognise when they come to do in the future what we are doing now.

We have taken a figure of a minimum of 200,000 not for bureaucratic reasons of tidiness but because we propose to endow these boroughs with very strong administrative powers, and it is essential that they should have the scope to employ experts, should have adequate catchment areas and resources and should be based on a natural focus to carry out those duties and to evoke the necessary loyalties. This is the very opposite of bureaucracy. We are taking this step because we are trying to make a potential community for the people of Greater London.

Let us look for a moment at the map. If we are building for the next 50 years, is it sensible that the people in the south of Chislehurst and Sidcup should look to Bexley, such a long way away, as their central authority and focus? Equally, is it sensible to ask the people of Sidcup and the other end of Chislehurst, with the area sliced in two by the A.20, to look to Bromley for their centre when, as we all must generally accept, because of the logic of transport and of accessibility, they would look to Bexley as their main urban centre? This is the very opposite of bureaucracy. This is recognising the reality on the ground and building on it a viable community of the future.

In this situation, and recognising the importance both of the focus and of the minimum size, the Town Clerks, in a state of sober intensity—as I am sure the hon. Member for Erith and Crayford would acknowledge—did their best with the problem and recognised, I think rightly, that the A.20, slashing, as it does, my right hon. Friend's constituency in two, offered a chance of a Solomon's judgment. I know that this is not popular. But I have seen letters from residents of Chislehurst, when it was suggested that the whole district might be merged with Bexley, which indicate that they at least must be satisfied now. I acknowledge the virtue of the council in taking up their strong position, but I distinguish them to some extent from the citizens. The councillors, very properly and honourably, believe that they can do best for their constituents, their citizens, if they stay as a unit. Good luck to them. I believe that the citizens—perhaps it is a little presumptuous of me to presume to speak in this way—want to be merged, if merged they must be, with an area which they customarily use. That is why the people of Chisleburst were anxious to be left with Bromley.

Dame Patricia Hornsby-Smith

With respect to my right hon. Friend, the Lamorbey Residents Association, which is right on the north border, and the Mottingham Residents Association, on the south, are all against dividing the area.

Sir K. Joseph

It is true that there are some letters from groups in Sidcup who urge that they should be merged, if merged they must be, with Bromley. Here I must invoke what I am afraid will not appeal to the Committee; if we are building for the future we should take into account considerations which public opinion, unless it reads very deeply in the subject, will not have in mind.

I must therefore sum up by saying that to merge Chislehurst and Sidcup as a whole with Bromley, on the one hand, or with Bexley, on the other hand, would seriously upset the basic sizes which are essential not to bureaucratic

but to human and future reasons and to the main principles of the Bill. I believe that is regretted by the district council and understandably it upsets the council, who feel it their duty to preserve their entity and their potential for influencing their future borough if they possibly can. But I am sure that when the dust has settled it will be seen that the natural affinity of the south of this district is to Bromley and that the natural affinity of the north of the district is to Bexley. There is a physical division between them which the town clerks have brought to our notice—namely, the A.20 road which slices the district in two.

I very much hope that my right hon. Friend, whose thought and sincerity in this I readily recognise, will take a view of the future, as she has always done in the past, and will withdraw her Amendment. In addition, I hope that the Committee will recollect the disadvantages of accepting the Amendment of the hon. Member for Orpington, which would produce three boroughs relatively weak in resources and population, one of which would have no central focus, and will reject that Amendment if it is pressed.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out, to the second "the" in line 32, stand part of the Schedule:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 238, Noes 188.

Division No. 58.] AYES [5.59 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Cooke, Robert Finlay, Graeme
Aitken, W. T. Cooper, A. E. Fisher, Nigel
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Forrest, George
Allason, James Cordle, John Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Atkins, Humphrey Corfield, F. V. Freeth, Denzil
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Costain, A. P. Gammans, Lady
Barlow, Sir John Coulson, Michael George, J. C. Pollok)
Batsford, Brian Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Gibson-Watt, David
Berkeley, Humphry Crawley, Aldan Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk Central)
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)
Bidgood, John C. Cunningham, Knox Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)
Biffen, John Curran, Charles Goodhew, Victor
Biggs-Davison, John Currie, G. B. H. Gower, Raymond
Bishop, F. P. Dalkeith, Earl of Grant-Ferris, R.
Bossom, Hon. Clive d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Green, Alan
Bourne-Arton, A. Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F. Gresham Cooke, R.
Box, Donald Digby, Simon Wlngfield Gurden, Harold
Braine, Bernard Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Brewis, John Doughty, Charles Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Drayson, G. B. Harris, Reader (Heston)
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) du Cann, Edward Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Bullard, Denye Duncan, Sir James Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Burden, F. A. Eden, John Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.) Harvie Anderson, Miss
Channon, H. P. G. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hastings, Stephen
Chichester-Clark, R. Errington, Sir Eric Hay, John
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Farey-Jones, F. W. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Farr, John Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward
Cleaver, Leonard Fell, Anthony Hendry, Forbes
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Markham, Major Sir Frank Sharpies, Richard
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Marshall, Douglas Shaw, M.
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Matthews, Cordon (Merlden) Shepherd, William
Hirst, Geoffrey Mawby, Ray Skeet, T. H. H.
Hobson, Sir John Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Hocking, Philip N. Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Holland, Philip Mills, Stratton Spearman, Sir Alexander
Hollingworth, John Miscampbell, Norman Stanley, Hon. Richard
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Montgomery, Fergus Stevens, Geoffrey
Hopkins, Alan Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Hornby, R. P. More, Jasper (Ludlow) Stodart, J. A.
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Morgan, William Studholme, Sir Henry
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Morrison, John Summers, Sir Spencer
Hughes-Young, Michael Nabarro, Gerald Tapsell, Peter
Hulbert, Sir Norman Neave, Airey Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hutchison, Michael Clark Nicholls, Sir Harmar Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Iremonger, T. L. Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Teeling, Sir William
James, David Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Temple, John M.
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Osborn, John (Hallam) Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Page, Graham (Crosby) Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)
Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Partridge, E. Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Turner, Colin
Kerby, Capt. Henry Peel, John Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Percival, Ian Tweedsmulr, Lady
Kimball, Marcus Peyton, John van straubenzee, W. R.
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Vane, W. M. F.
Leavey, J. A. Pilkington, Sir Richard Vaugnan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Leburn, Gilmour Pitman, Sir James Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Pitt, Dame Edith Wakefield, Sir Wavell
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Walder, David
Lilley, F. J. P. Pott, Percivall Webster, David
Lindsay, Sir Martin Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Wells, John (Maidstone)
Linstead, Sir Hugh Price, David (Eastleigh) Whitelaw, William
Longbottom, Charles Prior, J. M. L. Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Longden, Gilbert Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Proudfoat, Wilfred Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
McAdden, Sir Stephen Quennell, Miss J. M. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
MacArthur, Ian Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Wise, A. R.
McLaren, Martin Renton, Rt. Hon. David Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Woodnutt, Mark
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Ridsdale, Julian Woollam, John
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs) Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey Worsley, Marcus
McLean, Neil (Inverness) Robinson, fit. Hn. Sir R.(B'pool,S.) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
McMaster, Stanley R. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Maddan, Martin Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey) Mr. Rees and Mr. Pym.
Maitland, Sir John Seymour, Leslie
Abse, Leo Crosland, Anthony Hart, Mrs. Judith
Ainsley, William Croseman, R. H. S. Hayman, F. H.
Albu, Austen Cullen, Mrs. Alice Healey, Denis
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Dalyell, Tam Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Herbison, Miss Margaret
Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central) Davies, Harold (Leek) Hill, J. (Midlothian)
Bacon, Miss Alice Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hilton, A. V.
Barnett, Guy Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Holman, Percy
Beaney, Alan Deer, George Holt, Arthur
Bence, Cyril Delargy, Hugh Houghton, Douglas
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Dempsey, James Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)
Benson, Sir George Driberg, Tom Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Blackburn, F. Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Hoy, James H.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics. S. W.) Edelman, Maurice Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Bowles, Frank Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Hunter, A. E.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Hynd, John (Attercliffe)
Bradley, Tom Evans, Albert Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Fletcher, Eric Janner, Sir Barnett
Broughton, Dr. A, D. D. Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Forman, J. C. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Galpern, Sir Myer Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Ginsburg, David Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
Callaghan, James Gourlay, Harry Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Carmichael, Neil Grey, Charles Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Kelley, Richard
Chapman, Donald Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Collick, Percy Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. King, Dr. Horace
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hannan, William Lawson, George
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Harper, Joseph Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Owen, Will Steele, Thomas
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Padley, W. E. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Lipton, Marcus Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Stones, William
Loughlin, Charles Parglter, G. A. Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Parker, John Swain, Thomas
McCann, John Parkin, B. T. Swingler, Stephen
MacColl, James Pavitt, Laurence Taverne, D.
Mclnnes, James Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
McKay, John (Wallsend) Peart, Frederick Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Plummer, Sir Leslie Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
McLeavy, Frank Popplewell, Ernest Thornton, Ernest
MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Prentice, R. E. Tomney, Frank
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Wade, Donald
Manuel, Archie Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Wainwright, Edwin
Mapp, Charles Rankin, John Warbey, William
Marsh, Richard Redhead, E. C. Weitzman, David
Mason, Roy Reid, William Whitlock, William
Mayhew, Christopher Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wigg, George
Mellish, R. J. Robertson, John (Paisley) Wilkins, W. A.
Mendelson, J. J. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Willey, Frederick
Millan, Bruce Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton) Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Milne, Edward Ross, William Williams, Lt. (Abertillery)
Mitchison, G. B. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Monslow, Walter Silverman, Julius (Aston) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Moody, A. S. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Morris, John Skeffington, Arthur Winterbottom, R. E.
Moyle, Arthur Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Mulley, Frederick Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) Woof, Robert
Neal, Harold Small, William Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Zilliacus, K.
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Sorensen, R. W.
Oram, A. E. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Oswald, Thomas Spriggs, Leslie Mr. Lubbock and Mr. Dodds.
Mr. Charles Doughty (Surrey, East)

I beg to move, in page 89, line 42, column 2, to leave out from "Croydon" to end of line 43.

The effect of the Amendment would be to take out of Borough 20 the area comprised in the urban district of Coulsdon and Purley. Before I state the full reasons why I ask the Committee to support the Amendment, perhaps I should explain exactly the portion of the country we are discussing. Coulsdon and Purley lie to the north part of Surrey. I hardly like to address you, Sir Herbert, upon these matters because, since you live there, you know them as well as I do. I am sure that, like nearly all the other inhabitants of the district, you would be anxious to speak in support of the Amendment and vote with me, if and when a Division is called, but, unfortunately, the rules of the Committee prevent you doing either of those things. The area is and always has been part of Surrey. It comprises, to a large extent, the green belt around London and I shall refer to that as one reason why the Amendment should be accepted.

It is interesting to note the way in which the peripheral areas of Surrey have been dealt with in reports and in discussions on the Bill. The first point to remember is that the Royal Commission was given certain areas—who gave it the areas and who was respon- sible for selecting them nobody knows—and was asked to report. The Royal Commission reported and included Coulsdon and Purley as part of the Greater London area, together with Caterham and Warlingham. But the affinities of Coulsdon and Purley are with Caterham and Warlingham, and not with Croydon.

The next step—a unilateral one on the part of the then Minister—was to take Caterham and Warlingham out. That was right because Caterham and Warlingham should never have been in, any more than Coulsdon and Purley should have been in. The position in Surrey now is that Banstead, Caterham and Warlingham, Esher, Walton and Weybridge have been completely excluded from the Greater London area and are to remain in Surrey. The only areas left out, and which are to be part of the Greater London area, are Coulsdon and Purley and Surbiton.

I think that, by a small majority, the people of Surbiton wish to come within the Greater London area. Thus the only area of Surrey which has expressed its opinion without hesitation to the effect that it does not wish to have anything to do with the Greater London area is Coulsdon and Purley—but the wishes of this area have been completely ignored. The Government's proposal is that they should be amalgamated with Croydon. Let me say at the outset that I have nothing against Croydon. In fact, I have the pleasure of support from my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. F. Harris) in this matter. Nevertheless, in 1961 Croydon had a population of more than 250,000 while, at the same date, Coulsdon and Purley had a population of more than 75,000.

It should be remembered that the Amendment differs from other Amendments on this topic because it does not represent a change-round of boundaries and particular areas. It represents a straightforward exclusion. If the Government's proposal is accepted and the Amendment is rejected a borough of 327,000 inhabitants, probably more, will be established; a number far in excess of the 200,000 as proposed by the Minister in respect of the size of the Greater London boroughs. Such a figure would be 50 per cent. larger than the average population considered right by the Minister and a borough of that size would be too large to be workable or convenient to the population.

The two areas are extremely different. Croydon has three times the density of Coulsdon and Purley, the latter being almost entirely a dormitory area. The two districts are in no way connected, except that on the old Brighton Road that passes through Croydon—and the road goes on to Eastbourne, and so on—there might be said to be a connection for a few hundred yards of the length of the road on either side. I do not wish to exaggerate the differences involved. I am merely pointing out that for a few yards along this road there is a built-up area on either side of it. Nowhere else is there any form of built-up connection between the two areas.

Apart from that small appendix, if I may call it such, the two districts are entirely separate. Yet, despite these differences, it is proposed that they should be made into one. If anything is crazy, this is surely crazy. I appreciate that I am speaking tonight merely as one person. Nevertheless, we are dealing with 75,000 people who, with only a few exceptions, have looked at the Government's proposal with horror because they consider that they are not part of London and that they belong to Surrey. I had the honour to present to Parliament a Petition signed by 20,000 to 30,000 of them. That had nothing to do with politics, for it was not submitted by the council or any political party. It was submitted and signed by the ordinary inhabitants who wanted hon. Members to know that they did not want to be part of Croydon, that they are not part of Croydon and that they wish to remain in Surrey.

6.15 p.m.

Consider what would happen if the Government's proposal goes through and my Amendment is rejected. The population would be at least 327,000 in an area of about 37 square miles, extending from Norbury and Norwood in the north to Merstham in the south. Local government under these circumstances would cease to have any meaning at all. If on the Brighton line one still has three one gets in the train at Coulsdon, South or four miles to go—a journey taking several minutes by express train—to Croydon and the town hall. That is not local government but distant government, and that is exactly what the Minister is proposing. My suggestion would have no ancillary effects. In other words, if the Amendment is accepted no other area would be affected. It represents a simple removal of this area from Borough 20, leaving Borough 20, Croydon, with a population of over 250,000—probably nearer 300,000—more than big enough and viable enough to operate as the Minister requires. It would still be one of the biggest areas in the Greater London set-up and Coulsdon and Purley would remain in Surrey.

When considering the history of this matter it must be realised that the word of the Government is involved. We had a two-day debate to take note of the Royal Commission's Report in February last year in which a discussion took place on the peripheral areas. The discussion occupied a great number of columns in the OFFICIAL REPORT and I should like to quote a few remarks made by the Leader of the House. He referred to the suggestion made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Epsom (Sir P. Rawlinson) and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Chertsey (Sir L. Heald) that the area of Surrey proposed for inclusion in the scheme was too big. The Leader of the House said: The intention and, indeed, the sense is to include in London only the area enclosed by the green belt. There is, of course, the difficulty, which my hon. Friend recognised—I have it in my own constituency in relation to these problems—that many of the boroughs and districts round the edge include, in varying proportions, parts of the continuous built-up area and parts of the green belt. This is true of my constituency …". I had in mind, of course, that part of Coulsdon and Purley on the Brighton Road; but the rest of it is almost entirely green belt and rural housing. In that debate I did something which I seldom do; I interrupted my right hon. Friend when he was replying to a two-day debate, and, when he had said that it was the intention to deal with areas which had shoulders in the green belt, I said: What my right hon. Friend has just said will give tremendous satisfaction to tens of thousands of people who live in such areas. He has referred to areas which have shoulders in the green belt and feet in Greater London. Will he give an assurance that the line will not cut through any area, and that an urban district council area will not be divided in the middle? My right hon. Friend replied: It has been one of the main principles that, as far as possible, local authority areas should not be divided, although as the House knows from what I have said myself, I have been unlucky in this respect."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th February, 1962; Vol. 654. cc. 330 and 331.] It was upon the assurance that the Greater London area would be only that area within the limits of the green belt and that as far as possible the council area would not be divided, that I voted in favour of taking note of the Report. I was misled by that assurance, which was clear and unambiguous. My vote was obtained on an assurance that has not been kept, and I now call upon the Minister to honour the undertaking then given by the Leader of the House.

I say that because if we look at the larger-scale map, we see that the green belt starts on the left and goes right through Coulsdon and Purley, except where the main Brighton and Eastbourne roads go through. If ever there was an area that was included in the green belt it is this, save for that portion to the north referred to by the Leader of the House when he talked about the shoulders being in the green belt and the feet somewhere else.

As this is an area entirely within the green belt area, I call the Minister to carry out the undertaking then given to the House. In so doing, he will be doing something that is right, because the present proposal is wrong. He will pay some respect—and I stress this as very important—to the views of those who live there.

My hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West will, if he gets the opportunity, deal with the views of the Borough of Croydon, but it is known that the Croydon people have no wish to be included in Coulsdon and Purley. They told the Minister that they … can be more effectively administered as an effective and convenient unit as it is now than if it is all grouped with other local authorities. If, by these proposals, Coulsdon and Purley were to be divorced from its natural affinity with Caterham and Warlingham it would be forced to amalgamate with a district that did not wish to amalgamate with it, and did not wish to have it. The new area would be far too big, both as to population and area. It would be amalgamated with an area which, except for the small part to which I have referred, is not visibly connected with it. I ask the Committee to support this Amendment and thus see that justice is done here, and that Coulsdon and Purley are excluded from this proposal.

Mr. Frederic Harris (Croydon, North-West)

In supporting this Amendment I should like to express the Croydon point of view. I have so often given my own views about the Bill in general that the Minister can have no doubt about what they are. I believe that Croydon as it now is—let alone what it will be when joined with Coulsdon and Purley—should have been excluded from the Bill. When I heard my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Doughty) moving his Amendment it occurred to me that he might be talking himself out of the chance of being a Croydon member in the years ahead though, perhaps understandably, he would rather remain for the moment the hon. and learned Member for Surrey, East.

My views are certainly held by well over 90 per cent. of my own Croydon Borough Council, and from the large number of letters and personal approaches I have had I am convinced that they are also shared by the majority of Croydonians. In fairness, I must add that they are not shared by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallet) or by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Sir R. Thompson).

We in Croydon feel, and the Croydon authority has put it clearly to the Minister, that we have an efficient local authority administration as we now are, with a population of a quarter of a million. Whilst I know that my hon. and learned Friend will admit that the administrations of Croydon and of Coulsdon and Purley are on the very friendliest terms, we in Croydon maintain that the addition of Coulsdon and Purley is not necessary to improve our efficiency or make us better than we are.

We cannot honestly see the need for this addition at all. No one who has studied the area, and knows it—and as my hon. and learned Friend has said, Sir Herbert, you yourself know it extremely well—can seriously contend that the people in Coulsdon and Purley imagine that they will now live in London. That is absolute nonsense. The proposal to add Coulsdon and Purley to our existing authority, giving it a population of a third of a million instead of a quarter of a million, surely cannot be intended to be local government as we have always understood it. It is more than a halfway house between local government and regional government.

I can assure the Minister that even under his present plans, which I sincerely regret, Croydon would not suffer at all if Coulsdon and Purley were omitted. After all, as I understand it, his own planning is based on authorities with populations of about 200,000, so that it cannot be contended that we need our population so much increased in order to satisfy his requirements in that respect.

I understand that neither the members of the original Royal Commission nor members of his own Ministry have visited this area to study it and to see the situation for themselves, and as the proper needs of some 75,000 people are affected I think that was the least that could have been done. If that is the fact, why has such a physical consideration of the district and the needs of the public locally not been made?

Administratively, can it really be contended that residents at Coulsdon and Purley will now want to trot all the way down to our Croydon Town Hall to have their problems dealt with? It is not fair. It is too much to ask of them—and let us remember that they are the residents, the ratepayers, the people who will go on paying more and more rates. Their views should be taken very much into account, and I strongly support the opinions expressed in our debates on this Bill that the strong feelings and even the financial considerations of the local population are being ridden over roughshod. I feel very strongly about it.

6.30 p.m.

I promised not to take up much time. I contend that no case has been made for the Bill, that no case has been made for Croydon to be included in it and, in supporting the Amendment, that absolutely no case has been made to include Croydon plus Coulsdon and Purley in it.

As to what benefit might be brought to anybody, I merely remind the Committee that the Royal Commission recognised that for Croydon there would be some diminution of status and threw out the bouquet that this was not implying any criticism of the way that Croydon affairs were being run. Even the Royal Commission fully recognised that the proposals were not favourable, and certainly not beneficial, to the residents of Croydon. Now the Government are trying to bring in Croydon plus Coulsdon and Purley.

I presume that in his reply my right hon. Friend the Minister, as he has done already this afternoon, will take the view that Clause 6 is what matters and that there could be a local inquiry and certain adjustments. He must, however, admit that they are intended to be only very minor adjustments. If my right hon. Friend advances that view in response to the Amendment, it simply is not on.

This is no minor adjustment but is a major problem. We want Coulsdon and Purley left out. So strongly do we feel about the matter—and I am echoing the views of my own authority to the extent of 90 per cent. of the people—that I trust that if my hon. and learned Friend's Amendment does not get the satisfaction which it deserves, he will press it to a Division, in which I will certainly support him.

Mr. Ede

I support the Amendment. I have lived in the neighbourhood of these two districts all my life and for the past twenty years I have been a representative of the Surrey magistracy on a wealthy and important foundation in the County Borough of Croydon. In that capacity I am, as it were, a part of the ground landlord of the most prosperous part of the county borough.

In the course of discharging my trust I have to visit Croydon at least twice a month, and I meet a large number of people who are residents of that area. Every time I go there I am asked, "What are you going to do about the proposed amalgamation with Coulsdon and Purley?". So far, of hundreds of people who have spoken to me on the matter, I have not found one resident of Croydon who is in favour of this proposal.

I share the views expressed by the Minister on the last Amendment. I am not over-impressed by the resistance of local authorities to changes in either their area or their status. Having started in this racket in 1908, I have lived through a large number of these schemes and I know that the authority will always be against change either of area or of status.

It does not always follow, however, that in these matters the councillors, efficient as they may be in other matters, are really expressing the views of their constituents, whose views are more likely to be obtained in the way in which I have found the opinion of a large number of citizens of Croydon.

I have had long connections also with the Urban District of Coulsdon and Purley. If there is one thing that has terrified its inhabitants since they were created an urban district in about 1915, it has been the fear that they would be ultimately swallowed by Croydon. I recollect the great anger that was once expressed to me by a person to whom I wrote in Purley and after whose address I added "near Croydon". I was promptly told, "That is not my address. My address is Purley, Surrey." These are the kind of things which reflect the feelings of the people affected.

I am not concerned whether the Bill will make better the local government of the area brought under control by its Clauses. I am not so interested in good government, because I share the view of the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman that good government is no alternative to self-government. I oppose the Bill largely on the ground that it destroys self-government for the great area that it covers.

We used to be asked a few years ago, "Is Labour fit to govern?" That question has been put to the a good many times at public meetings. My answer always has been "No", because no man is fit to govern another. Self-government, like self-discipline, is the proper way in which this thing should be arranged. Certainly, if any referendum or plebiscite could be taken of the area covered by the Bill, I believe, from my contact with people living all over the area that is covered, that it would be overwhelmingly rejected.

I hope that the Minister, whose ruthless efficiency in dealing with the Bill has earned my greatest admiration, will realise that he reminded us on the last Amendment that it is not the authorities, but the people, who matter, and that there is no doubt that the people in the two areas in question are resolutely and determinedly opposed to the Bill.

Sir John Vaughan-Morgan (Reigate)

I agree with every word that the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) has said, even down to the staunch "No" with which he answered the rhetorical question whether Labour was fit to govern. I agree also very much with my hon. and learned Friend the member for Surrey, East (Mr. Doughty). I cavilled at only one of his remarks, when he said that he had nothing against Croydon. I have a great deal against the County Borough of Croydon since it elects to dump its refuse, and has done so for the last six years, in a particularly attractive corner of my constituency, in the teeth of the feelings of the local inhabitants and of the local authority. Perhaps, therefore, any sympathy which I might have for Croydon has been mitigated in the course of the last few years.

But I support my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey, East as a neighbour and as one who knows the area very well, since it borders on my constituency. I base my case also on the admirable map which was circulated to all Members of the Standing Committee and of the House by my right hon. Friend the Minister. I can only judge that the circulation must not have included my right hon. Friend, because had he seen it—although I notice that he has, possibly, an even larger version but not necessarily as accurate—he must have seen that in the case of Coulsdon and Purley he is including into the Greater London area the largest chunk of green belt that there is. Looking at that map, one sees Farleigh, Sanderstead, Whyteleafe, Kenley, Coulsdon, Old Coulsdon and Hooley, all part of the green belt and all rural and in the nature of villages.

I wish also to point out to my right hon. Friend the Minister the utter inconsistency of the ruling in this matter. My right hon. Friend has cited the case of Walton and Weybridge——

Sir K. Joseph

I am sure that my right hon. Friend would wish to address his argument to a point of difference between us and not to where we agree. I have always assured the Committee and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Doughty) that I genuinely regard Clause 6 as the way in which the inhabitants of the areas in the fingers of development reaching down into the green belt, and the green belt fingers lying between those areas of development, can seek to be removed from Greater London when the Bill is passed.

Mr. Doughty

I suggest that a better method is to accept the Amendment, which would be shorter and quicker and would cause less trouble.

Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan

That is not the sole gravamen of my difference with my right hon. Friend. He is inconsistent. If he has left it to Clause 6, why has he in the case of Epsom and Ewell divided the local authority? That is the trouble all through the Bill. He would have been consistent but for that one case. He would have been consistent the other way had he included Epsom and Ewell and, say, excluded Coulsdon and Purley. He must defend himself on this charge of inconsistency.

I am glad to hear that Clause 6 holds out some hope for the rural parts of Coulsdon and Purley. I hope that due note will be taken of that and that the necessary action will be taken by those concerned, but I agree with my bon. and learned Friend that it would be far tidier, far simpler to exclude the whole of this local authority. May I say that although throughout I supported the general principles of the Bill, and I hope that I am being a loyal supporter to that extent, I must go into the Lobby with my hon. and learned Friend against this proposal.

Mr. Prentice

I must make a brief intervention on the grounds that I have lived all my life in the County Borough of Croydon and served for some years as a member of the borough council. I am at present a member of the magistrates' bench in Croydon and have a number of connections in the town. I agree with every word that has been said in support of the Amendment. I was twice an opponent of the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. F. Harris) in Parliamentary elections and, although I did not agree with him often then, I agree with him completely on what he has said this afternoon. My only regret is that the hon. Member for Croydon, South (Sir R. Thompson) is not here to support him.

Certainly the majority of the people in the area do not want this change. Speaking as an ex-member of the Croydon Borough Council, I would say that Croydon, in my view, from the point of view of local government is quite big already. The practical problem which we faced as councillors and which still faces them is that this is a very big town. It ought to be a city. It has a quarter of a million people. It is the equivalent of a town the size of Coventry or Cardiff, but we do not often think of it in that way, because it is within the Greater London area. It is a very big town and as councillors serving on various committees we faced the problem of size. I was a member of the children's committee for some time and was concerned with the difficulty of getting round to visit the children's homes. As a member of the education committee for three years I found it a virtually impossible task to know all the schools and other institutions as one should. To add Coulsdon and Purley and to create a borough far bigger than most of the boroughs created under this Bill is something very difficult to justify. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will have another look at this aspect of the problem.

Captain Walter Elliot (Carshalton)

I rise to give my support to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Doughty). I have great sympathy with him because the district in my constituency which adjoins Coulsdon and Purley was in the same position at one time but it subsequently managed to get outside the Greater London area. I think that it is of interest to trace my experiences when I endeavoured to get the Banstead area taken out, fortunately successfully.

First, I was confronted with the Royal Commission's Report a little of which was incorporated in the Government's White Paper which stated that the issue—I am not using the exact words—should be judged by the twin tests of administrative efficiency and heathful representative government. We often criticise the efficiency of our local government and also its health, but when it comes to disturbing it we find that in fact it works very well, that the apathy of which we sometimes complain is not at all real and that there is very real interest in local government. Those two tests were quite rapidly dropped by the Government.

6.45 p.m.

The next hurdle which I had to get over was whether an area being left out would upset the lines of communication in the borough as it remained and upset such things as shopping centres. Fortunately, in my case, I cleared that hurdle. Looking at Coulsdon and Purley I can say that the removal of that area would do nothing to upset the lines of communication with the Croydon County Borough or upset access to shopping centres by the local people.

Having got over that hurdle in my area, I was next given the argument that districts would be brought in if they were in the continuous built-up area of London. There again I was clear. Looking at Coulsdon and Purley there is, of course, a small area on its boundary which is continuously built-up, but, working it out roughly, it is only about one-twelfth, which does not seem to me an argument at all for bringing in this area entirely against the wishes of the local inhabitants. In any case, I do not quite know where this argument came from and I should be glad to hear something about that.

There is one other factor which I should like to mention and about which a great deal is heard. That is the upheaval which this plan will cause, as it is generally admitted it will. It will not only cause a great upheaval in the Greater London area but outside, too. The County of Surrey has been greatly upset by this plan and I think that that is a point which should also be taken into consideration. I am convinced by my hon. and learned Friend's arguments and I intend to support him if he presses his Amendment to a Division.

Sir Cyril Black (Wimbledon)

Hon. Members may wonder what is my particular interest as I do not represent in Parliament the district that we are now discussing and I do not live there, as do certain other hon. Members who have spoken. I can, however, claim to have a fairly close knowledge of the district over a considerable period and of the local council and the local residents and of their views on this matter, because I have been for about 20 years a member of the Surrey County Council which is the major authority so far as Coulsdon and Purley are concerned. I was for three years chairman of the county council, and during the period of 20 years I have had occasion to make most frequent visits to the area in connection with my county council duties, and particularly during the three years I was chairman of the county council it would probably be true to say that hardly a month passed in which I did not have occasion to visit the area.

I want to add everything that I possibly can by way of support for what has already been said in their plea to the Minister by my hon. Friends to exclude this area from the provisions of the Bill. As far as I am aware no one other than the Minister desires the inclusion of Coulsdon and Purley in Croydon and the Greater London area.

I will be brief, because I want to leave the Minister adequate time to reply, and in any case the arguments have been well deployed already in favour of the exclusion of the district, but I am authorised to say that Surrey County Council is and always has been opposed to the inclusion of this district in the Greater London area; not, let me say, on the principle that what we have we hold regardless of any reason which there may be for change, but on the ground that this area always has been and is today an integral part of the administrative County of Surrey. From our contacts with the district we are persuaded beyond the possibility of misunderstanding that the overwhelming desire of the people in the district is to maintain their present position in the County of Surrey.

I have no authority, of course, to speak for Croydon, but it has been made quite clear that Croydon, for reasons which, if I may say so, do Croydon credit, is not approaching this matter on the basis that, "We should like to extend our population and our area at any cost by including our neighbours whether they wish to be included or not." Croydon has very fairly and properly said that this is a case in which, in its judgment, the views of the people of Coulsdon and Purley ought to prevail. I would anticipate that if the majority in Coulsdon and Purley had wished to go into Croydon, Croydon would have shown a willingness to receive the district, but it holds the view that the overriding consideration in the circumstances of this case should be the judgment and the wishes of the inhabitants of Coulsdon and Purley, and about their wishes there can be no possible doubt whatever, in the light of public meetings which have been held, of the resolutions of the local council, and of the overwhelming Petition which my hon. Friend has presented to the House.

What makes it so difficult for me to understand the Minister's apparent intransigence in this matter is the fact that there is no population necessity at all here. If it had been a case of bringing in the area in order to try to achieve a population factor adequate for the greater powers which the new boroughs are to carry my view would still have been that it ought not to prevail against the wishes of the inhabitants, but that would have been some reason from the Minister's point of view for being insistent on the inclusion of this area. But, as far as the population factor is concerned, the inclusion of this area is not necessary to get an area of the right size. It makes an area which is the right size too large. The area itself, and the Croydon area, does not want the addition of Coulsdon and Purley for that very reason.

I think I am correct in saying—and this is my last word—that as far as the peripheral authorities of Surrey are concerned what are understood to be the wishes of the local people in every case have been respected except in two cases. One is the case of Coulsdon and Purley which we are now debating. The other case, of course, is the north wards of Epsom and Ewell which we shall be debating a little later this evening.

I beg of the Minister, who has made very few concessions in this matter, who has shown very little willingness, if I may say so with great respect and without offence, to have regard to the arguments which have been advanced, to consider that the arguments in this case are quite overwhelming.

Reference has been made to the map. From examination of the map, whether from the standpoint of the area extending right into Surrey or whether from the standpoint of the green belt, one judgment is conclusive—in favour of the exclusion of this district. I hope, in view of the long discussions which have already taken place on this matter, in which so few concessions or so few hopes have been held out, that on this occasion some substantial concession will be made. Of course, the only satisfactory concession is the total exclusion of the district.

Mr. M. Stewart

When we consider an area on the borders of Greater London, an area which, it is well known, is as to a large part of it green belt and open space, clearly the burden of proof is on the Minister to show that it ought to be in Greater London. What conceivable reasons could be advanced for it? It seems that in the case of any peripheral area these are the reasons which might be advanced. We shall see if they apply in this case.

First, it might be said that the area is clearly by its geography and its communications and its past history properly tied with and part of Greater London. Nobody can contend that with regard to this area for one moment, with the solitary exception of the fact that it is linked by the London to Brighton road. As has been rightly pointed out, if we use that argument we shall carry the Greater London area down to the South Coast.

Next, it might be argued that it is proper to include the borderline area because it is necessary to make the adjacent administrative area the proper size. The hon. Member for Wimbledon (Sir C. Black) has, I think, disposed of that argument. Throughout the progress of this Bill, both in the House and in Committee, we have had many arguments on what is the right size for a local authority with certain powers, and although there are many opinions on that, there is one thing on which, I think, everyone would agree. No one could seriously say that there are things for which 250,000 is too small and 327,000 is the right size. That is an argument which will not stand up for one moment, even though the Minister may say, "I must have Croydon enlarged like this if it is to be a proper borough". The objection is all the more true when he can only make the enlargement of population by adding not a similar piece but a locality which would for long consist of a dissident and resentful minority, and by creating an area which is unnecessarily unwieldy for a Greater London borough.

The third possible reason for the inclusion of a peripheral area might be this. The Minister might say, "I should like to give way here but there are so many analogous cases, and if I gave way here I should have to give way in others." Whatever may be said about other analogous cases, in this case it is Croydon which has given way and it is not the Government who will be giving way.

The final argument which might be advanced for including a peripheral area would be that the inhabitants want it. There is not a single person that the Minister can pick out—I believe he has hunted all through the streets of this area—who wants this.

This is a decision in which the Minister can have no support from geography, and if he stands on the argument of administrative size and consistency with other areas, that whole argument goes against him. In that position, unless he is going to give way now, he has to do something which will infuriate a number of his hon. Friends and all the inhabitants of the districts concerned. If the Minister can really do that, then he must expect to have a considerable muster in the Lobby against him from both sides of the Committee.

7.0 p.m.

Sir K. Joseph

I face this Amendment and the one which follows with more trepidation than any other proposed Amendment to the Bill because, as the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) so rightly said, it is one thing to oppose a council's wishes but it is something quite different to oppose the wishes of the people. I recognise here, as I do in the case of the next Amendment, that there is considerable public feeling involved. I have a number of critics to whom I wish to reply, and a limited time in which to do it, but I suppose the timetable is to blame for that. Indeed, I am not blaming anybody but myself for that.

The case here does not rest in any way upon establishing a borough grouping of the right size—not in the very least. Croydon is large enough to be a viable unit on its own. There can be no argument about that. The case rests upon the definition of where the continuous town ends. That is all there is to it. The Royal Commission went on the basis that the whole of the continuous built-up area should be administered by one metropolitan authority for certain strategic services. It would be ludicrous for the Government to go to this extent to try to reorganise metropolitan government for the next half century and boggle at including in it the whole of the metropolitan continuous built-up area.

There has been some dogmatic assertion from both sides of the Committee about whether the bulk of Coulsdon and Purley is, in fact, or is not in the continuous built-up area. Let me say straight away that I recognise—I do not want to enter into the merits of what will come to my successor, no doubt, as Clause 6 applications—that the tentacles of development stretching down south between the areas which are green belt are not part of Greater London and are only brought into the Bill because, as the Government have said on many occasions, not least to the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock), they have not sought to define finally the exact boundary at the periphery of the Metropolis.

Hon. Gentlemen, particularly hon. Friends of mine, are underestimating the importance of Clause 6. I wish to repeat categorically that applications made to take out the tentacles of development that stretch south would be very seriously considered when the Bill is passed and the authorities concerned are set up. Therefore, my argument is addressed to the centre, to what I term the body of the octopus—the development at Purley itself.

I would point out that I am a Londoner. I am 45 years old and have lived in London all my life. I would also add that I have taken the trouble to refresh my memory recently by going through all the areas concerned in the Bill—but only to refresh my memory, because I know them well. Whether I look at the map or at the ground, or whether, more effectively still, I look at an air photograph, I find that the body of Purley is part of the continuous development of Greater London. North of it there is an enclosed open space—Croydon Airport and the land just to the East of it—in the same way as there are throughout London large numbers of open spaces which do not cause a complete breach in the development. They are islands of open space.

What we are looking for in defining the periphery of Greater London is a break in the development. We shall be discussing that break in the development when we come to talk about the River Hogsmill on the next group of Amendments. But there can be no doubt that the break in the development here starts with the green belt to the south of the main development of Purley. Therefore, if my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Doughty) says that he proposes to press under Clause 6 that this part of his constituency should be taken out of London, I wish him luck and say—I cannot, of course, commit my successors—that he can probably expect to make a very good case. The Committee will sympathise with me over this. I should like to say that he will probably succeed, but that would, almost certainly, encroach upon the jurisdiction of my successor.

As I have said, the argument is about the continuous built-up area. There can be no doubt that if anybody looks at the area on the map, on the ground or on an air photograph, Croydon Airport and the land to the east of it are not breaks in the development but islands of open space. And I would remind my hon. Friends that under a recent decision a large part of Croydon Airport will be made over for housing.

I have no doubt about the rightness of what I have said so far. But now I come to the more difficult part of the argument; to what is far more delicate. What I am really trying to say is that, although the citizens of this area do not want to come into Greater London, they should do so because of the principle of the Bill—that the Bill should cover the whole of the continuous built-up area of the Metropolis. I find this an argument that I must make with some care because it is very important.

First of all, I think that my hon. and learned Friend will agree with me that the system of democracy as worked in this country entitles the Government to do what they regard as their duty, subject to the approval of Parliament. He is not, therefore, I am sure, questioning that constitutional point. But he may say "There may be an obligation laid upon you to do what you regard as right, but you should pay some regard to what the citizens feel." I accept that. But if we are to have regard to what the citizens think about this, is it not right that we should expect the citizens, so to speak, to do their homework? After all, the Royal Commission took the best part of three years and wrote 400 pages to analyse what was involved in making the local government of Greater London more effective to deal with the problems and to improve the services for the citizens.

I doubt whether many of my hon. and learned Friend's constituents have read that Report.

Mr. Mellish


Sir K. Joseph

The hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) goes off the handle at that. But I am not criticising my hon. and learned Friend's constituents for that. I should have thought that only a limited fraction of the population of Greater London would have seen fit—I am not being in the least censorious; how could I be?—to study the implications of the present system of local government in London and the implications of what is proposed. How could we expect them to?

But we are called upon to guide the future local government of the Metropolis, and we have studied the Report. When my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. F. Harris) sees fit to question the Bill in whole, that is his right. I am sure he has studied it. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey, East is not questioning the Bill in whole. He is supporting the Bill in principle and saying that he wants his constituency excluded from it, which is his perfect right. If the judgment of the citizens is to be invoked on such a technical matter as this, I suggest that they would need to know the total picture and need to have described to them the implications, for finance, transport, traffic and planning, of a continuation of the current arrangements and the implications of the proposed changes.

Let me put it as strongly as I can and meet my hon. and learned Friend's case at its very heart if I am able. I suggest that even the cosiest community of respectable, well-governed, well-administered, high voting, good living citizens cannot in this day of ours regard themselves as an island. They are part of a larger community. If they are going to expect the transport and the planning around them to make sense they have to recognise that they must form part of that larger community. If they are, literally, far away and separated—as is Potters Bar which has been excluded from Greater London—they could make a case and say "We are to some extent in control of our own destiny". Even there it would only be to some extent and only very partially. But here, where by all the visual evidence—on the ground and on the map—the bulk of Purley is continuously built-up from Greater London with only an island of open space to the north of it and not a break in development, they must recognise that their future depends on the sensible handling of the larger community of which, will they, nill they, they form a part.

If my hon. and learned Friend will permit me a moment not of levity but ordinary human speech, how is it that such people can be so appalled at acknowledging that they live in what is the greatest capital city in the world?

Mr. Doughty

They do not.

Sir K. Joseph

They do. On all the evidence, they are part, though at the periphery, of the continuous built-up area within the green belt. I am meeting my hon. and learned Friend on the point of the green belt area. I do not dispute that that area should not remain permanently in Greater London. I hope that all those constituents of his who live there will invoke Clause 6. But surely his constituents who live in the continuous built up area must recognise that the increasingly complex affairs of this vast community—traffic and transport, planning and housing—can only be unsnarled by a metropolitan authority in parallel with large borough units with the resources to work towards the same ends.

If my hon. and learned Friend's constituents really feel that they can wash their hands of the problem of the housing of their neighbours and the planning of the whole of the Metropolis, then I remind them that that is a very shortsighted view. Perhaps for the moment the housing of their neighbours is a matter only for their consciences, but in the middle term I suggest that decent living for all the inhabitants of the Metropolis is very much in their own interests too.

Mr. Doughty

Is my right hon. Friend suggesting that the green belt should be built on? It is the only building land we have left.

Sir K. Joseph

Not for a moment do I suggest that. I was not making that point, and I hope that my words did not lend themselves to that interpretation. I was following up my idea that if my hon. and learned Friend's constituents regard themselves as an island they might say—I do not think they would—"Housing and such problems are not for us; we are all right."

I turn now to what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West, whose incorrigible opposition to the main purpose of the Bill I must once again try to challenge. He has asked for the second time—I think rhetorically—what is the purpose of the Bill, what is the purpose of violating the status of Croydon and presuming to add to it more citizens. We are giving to the local government of the boroughs and urban districts of London the powers Croydon has so effectively used for itself in the past. Is this an unworthy purpose?

When he says that Croydon coupled with Coulsdon and Purley will be too large a unit of local government and will become what he calls regional government, then he is saying that really all the county boroughs which are now bigger than Croydon are too large, which is nonsense. In the county borough of Leeds there are 600,000 people, who are governed very well.

Miss Alice Bacon (Leeds. South-East)

Hear, hear.

Sir K. Joseph

We are all united about Leeds.

Here, in discussing Croydon with Coulsdon and Purley, we are considering a unit half the size of Leeds. My hon. Friend has a point about the size of the new borough, but Clause 6 is the way to remedy that particular difficulty. I hope he will feel that I have tried to meet the main gist of his argument. I have not tried to dodge it.

Between Purley and Greater London there is no break in continuous development. There is the open space of Croydon Airport on which there is shortly to be much housing. The break is south of the main Purley development and that area can be taken out under Clause 6. I hope that the Committee

will recognise that what the Government are doing is logical, because we are trying to alter and improve the local government of Greater London as a whole, and that what we are doing in this particular case is to recognise that the main central area of Purley is part of the continuous built up area.

Sir C. Black

Does my right bon. Friend seriously suggest that it as a sensible proposal that there should be a double upheaval? As I understand his argument, the whole of Coulsdon and Purley should be taken out of the jurisdiction of Surrey County Council and put into the Greater London area with a view to a large part of it going back again at some future date.

Sir K. Joseph

My hon. Friend forces me to say this: I am not prepared to build on it for the future, but I did offer my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey. East to make a special exception in this case and try to redraw the boundary to exclude the green belt area. This is a task the Government want very much to avoid because the definition of the permanent boundary affects many parts of the periphery.

It being a quarter past Seven o'clock, The CHAIRMAN proceeded, pursuant to Orders, to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 210, Noes 180.

Division No. 59.] AYES [7.15 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Dalkeith, Earl of
Altken, W. T. Brown, Alan (Tottenham) d'Avigdor-Coldsmid, Sir Henry
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Bullard, Denys Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.
Allason, James Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Drayson, G. B.
Arbuthnot, John Channon, H. P. G. du Cann, Edward
Ashton, Sir Hubert Chichester-Clark, R. Duncan, Sir James
Atkins, Humphrey Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Eden, John
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Cleaver, Leonard Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Barlow, Sir John Cole, Norman Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Batsford, Brian Cooke, Robert Errington, Sir Eric
Berkeley, Humphry Cooper, A. E. Farey-Jones, F. W.
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Farr, John
Bidgood, John C. Corfieid, F. V. Fell, Anthony
Biffen, John Costain, A. P. Finlay, Graeme
Biggs-Davison, John Coulson, Michael Fisher, Nigel
Bishop, F. P. Craddock, Sir Berestord (Spelthorne) Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Bossom, Hon. Clive Crawley, Aidan Freeth, Denzil
Bourne-Arton, A. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver George, J. C. (Pollok)
Box, Donald Cunningham, Knox Gibson-Watt, David
Braine, Bernard Curran, Charles Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk Central)
Brewis, John Currie, G. B. H. Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) McAdden, Sir Stephen Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Goodhew, Victor MacArthur, Ian Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Gower, Raymond McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Grant-Ferris, R. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Green, Alan Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs) Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Greaham Cooke, R, Macleod, Rt. Hn, Iain (Enfield, W.) St. Clair, M.
Gurden, Harold McMaster, Stanley R. Seymour, Leslie
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Maddan, Martin Sharples, Richard
Harris, Reader (Heston) Maitland, Sir John Shaw, M.
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Markham, Major Sir Frank Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Harvie Anderson, Miss Marshall, Douglas Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Hastings, Stephen Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Spearman, Sir Alexander
Hay, John Mawby, Ray Stanley, Hon. Richard
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Stevens, Geoffrey
Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Hendry, Forbes Mills, Stratton Stodart, J. A.
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Miscampbell, Norman Studholme, Sir Henry
Hill, Mrs, Eveline (Wythenshawe) Montgomery, Fergus Summers, Sir Spencer
Hirst, Geoffrey More, Jasper (Ludlow) Tapsell, Peter
Hobson, Sir John Morgan, William Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hocking, Philip N. Morrison, John Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Holland, Philip Nabarro, Sir Gerald Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Neave, Airey Teeling, Sir William
Hopkins, Alan Nicholls, Sir Harmar Temple, John M.
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)
Hughes-Young, Michael Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Hulbert, Sir Norman Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Touche, Rt. Hon. St Gordon
Hutchison, Michael Clark Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Turner, Colin
Iremonger, T. L. Page, Graham (Crosby) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Tweedsmuir, Lady
James, David Partridge, E. Vane, W. M, F.
Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Johnson, Eric (Blackley Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Wakefield, Sir Wavell
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Peel, John Walder, David
Jones, Artftur (Northants, S.) Percival, Ian Webster, David
Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Wells, John (Maidstone)
Kerby, Capt. Henry Pilkington, Sir Richard Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Pitman, Sir James Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Kimball, Marcus Pitt, Dame Edith Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Lambton, Viscount Pott, Percivall Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Price, David (Eastleigh) Wise, A. R.
Leavey, J. A. Prior, J M. L. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Leburn, Gilmour Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Woodnutt, Mark
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Pym, Francis Woollam, John
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Quennell, Miss J. M. Worsley, Marcus
Lilley, F. J. P. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Lindsay, Sir Martin Rees, Hugh
Longbottom, Charles Renton, Rt. Hon. David TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Longden, Gilbert Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Mr. John Hill and Mr. McLaren.
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Ridsdale, Julian
Abse, Leo Corbet, Mrs. Freda Harper, Joseph
Ainsley, William Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hart, Mrs. Judith
Albu, Austen Crosland, Anthony Hayman, F. H.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Cullen, Mrs. Alice Healey, Denie
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Dalyell, Tam Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)
Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central) Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Herbison, Miss Margaret
Bacon, Miss Alice Davies, Harold (Leek) Hilton, A. V.
Barnett, Guy Davies, Ifor (Gower) Holman, Percy
Beaney, Alan Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Holt, Arthur
Bence, Cyril Deer, George Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Delargy, Hugh Houghton, Douglas
Benson, Sir George Dempsey, James Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)
Black, Sir Cyril Dodds, Norman Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Blackburn, F. Driberg, Tom Hoy, James H.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Dugdale, Rt, Hon. John Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.) Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Edelman, Maurice Hunter, A. E.
Bowles, Frank Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hynd, John (Attercliffe)
Bradley, Tom Forman, J. C. Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Gammans, Lady Janner, Sir Barnett
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Ginsburg, David Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Gourlay, Harry Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Greenwood, Anthony Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Callaghan, James Grey, Charles Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Carmichael, Neil Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Kelley, Richard
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Kerans, Cdr. J. S.
Chapman, Donald Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Cliffe, Michael Hamilton, William (West Fife) King, Dr. Horace
Collick, Percy Hannan, William Lawson, George
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Oram, A. E. Sorensen, R. W.
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Oswald, Thomas Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Padley, W. E. Spriggs, Leslie
Linstead, Sir Hugh Pargiter, G. A. Steele, Thomas
Lipton, Marcus Parker, John Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Loughlin, Charles Parkin, B. T. Stones, William
Lubbock, Eric Pavitt, Laurence Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Swain, Thomas
McCann, John Pentland, Norman Swingler, Stephen
MacColl, James Plummer, Sir Leslie Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Mcinnes, James Popplewell, Ernest Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
McKay, John (Wallsend) Prentice, R. E. Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Thornton, Ernest
MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Tomney, Frank
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Rankin, John Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Manuel, Archie Redhead, E. C. Wade, Donald
Mapp, Charles Rhodes, H. Wainwright, Edwin
Mason, Roy Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Warbey, William
Mayhew, Christopher Robertson, John (Paisley) Whitlock, William
Mellish, R. J. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wilkins, W. A.
Mendelson, J. J. Hodgers, W. T. (Stockton) Willey, Frederick
Millan, Bruce Ross, William Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Milne, Edward Russell, Ronald Williams, Lt. (Abertillery)
Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Mitchlson, G. R. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Monslow, Walter Silverman, Julius (Aston) Winterbottom, R. E.
Moody, A. S. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Morris, John Sheffington, Arthur Woof, Robert
Moyle, Arthur Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Neat, Harold Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Small, William Mr. Doughty and
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Mr. Frederic Harris.
Mr. Ede

I beg to move, in page 90, line 10, column 2, to leave out from "Surbiton" to the end of line 13.

The Deputy Chairman (Sir Robert Grimston)

With this Amendment can also be taken the Amendment in page 91, line 31, leave out paragraph 7.

Mr. Ede

At the commencement of his speech just now the Minister said that the two Amendments which he approached with trepidation were the one to which he was then about to reply and this. His fears about the last have been removed, and I have no doubt that the Chief Whip has this matter well in hand and the right hon. Gentleman can compose himself contentedly and allow the even flow of debate to go on.

I have often wondered what it must have been like to be a prisoner awaiting trial at the assizes at Winchester, Dorchester or Taunton in 1685, well knowing that no matter what one said, if one dared to say anything, Judge Jeffreys would pronounce the inevitable sentence. We have now spent many hours discussing this Bill and I realise that no matter what is said the decision will be the same.

Sir K. Joseph

The right hon. Gentleman is not being fair. His own hon. Friends in Standing Committee have been using very kindly adjectives about my behaviour and the Government's behaviour in Standing Committee.

Mr. Dodds

What happens down here?

Mr. Ede

I was trying my best to be kindly to the right hon. Gentleman on the last Amendment. I admire the ruthless efficiency with which he is carrying the Bill through, but it is necessary to have these cases stated, for when we come to correct the Bill's many injustices, whether Clause 6 is invoked or not, whoever succeeds the right hon. Gentleman as spokesman for the party opposite should not be able to say that this matter was allowed to go by default.

I am not the Member for Epsom. The hon. and learned Member for Epsom (Sir P. Rawlinson), who is a very good friend of mine, is a member of the Government. Therefore, in having to speak for my fellow burgesses of the Borough of Epsom and Ewell, I realise that I have many difficulties to overcome. The burgesses of the Borough of Epsom and Ewell object very strongly to their borough being divided by the Bill in spite of all the pledges that such units would not be divided. The Royal Commission itself said: As far as possible existing boroughs and county districts should be retained or amalgamated without change of boundaries. When the Leader of the House wound up the debate on the White Paper, in answer to a specific question, he said: It has been one of the main principles that, as far as possible, local authority areas should not be divided …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th February, 1962, Vol. 654, c. 331.] When the four town clerks were sent on their pilgrimage to consider the groupings of local authorities, their terms of reference were that they should make recommendations mainly for the amalgamation of existing local government areas. It would appear, therefore, that that is an object which the Government had in mind. In fact, it will be within the recollection of the House that when the Leader of the House wound up the debate he pointed out that he was in some difficulty over this matter because there was a proposal that the borough, part of which he represents in this House, was to be divided, and he expressed the hope that the situation would be resolved. I understand that the right hon. Gentleman's borough is not now to be divided, and when the Parliamentary Secretary was replying to a question on 10th December he said: My right hon. Friend is quite determined that in Committee he will consider any case which is put forward on its merits."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th December, 1962; Vol. 669, c. 162.] 7.30 p.m.

I realise that what was said with regard to Coulsdon and Purley in the debate on the last Amendment, in connection with appeals under Clause 6, is a matter which must be taken into consideration, but I regard Clause 6 as in practice meaning that where a give-and-take adjustment of boundaries may produce a better result than adherence to the lines laid down in the Bill, favourable consideration will be given to such an arrangement. It may be that it could be extended beyond that, but I very much doubt whether an Amendment as big as the one I am proposing could be regarded as coming within Clause 6.

Sir K. Joseph

The right hon. Gentleman is quite right. Clause 6 is meant to adjust boundaries on a give-and-take basis inside Greater London and to adjust periphery boundaries to take account of such points as arise in a place like Orpington, or Coulsdon and Purley where the green belt crosses the local authority boundary line.

Mr. Ede

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. He confirms what I had supposed would be the case.

When we come to deal with Epsom and Ewell, we have to recognise that long before a Conservative Government interested themselves in the green belt, Epsom and Ewell had been engaged in creating one. There are more than 850 acres of land which the council has bought for inclusion in the green belt. There are also 424 acres at the Epsom end which the council bought, and it also bought the rights of the lord of the manor in the land. The council holds the freehold of the land and can exercise such rights as remain from the lord of the manor in the land.

The council, in conjunction with the Epsom Grandstand Association and Mr. Stanley Wootton, the owner of Walton Downs, promoted a Bill in this House at considerable expense. It became the Epsom and Walton Downs Conservancy Act. This means that the land is now under public control and the ratepayers of Epsom and Ewell pay three-fifths of the money needed to pay conservators appointed under that Act.

On the last Amendment the right hon. Gentleman seemed to exclude from his consideration of the green belt such areas as might be dotted about in an urban district. He seemed to exclude from the green belt such public open spaces as are part of the amenities of the area. Having been connected with Epsom and Ewell for many years, I know that the council has from time to time bought substantial areas of land which it has set out as recreation grounds and other places open to the public in the belief that this was a sensible way of keeping the green belt spirit alive even when some building took place.

Perhaps I might read what Professor Abercrombie said about this work. In the Greater London Plan prepared by him in 1944 he said that the Borough of Epsom and Ewell was almost entirely surrounded by natural barriers to further outward expansion. In the plan recommendations were made in the hope of ensuring the maintenance of the individuality of Epsom and Ewell and preventing them from becoming absorbed in the morass of continuous suburbia. These recommendations have been implemented, and the boundaries of the borough today are the same as they were in 1944 when the late Professor Abercrombie described them.

Between 1944 and today efforts have been made to break up this arrangement set out by Professor Abercrombie. These efforts have been resisted both by the local authority and by the inhabitants, and by two decisions in 1947 the Minister confirmed that the land which had been so preserved should form a boundary between the borough and the adjoining areas and that the land should remain unbuilt on as he agreed that it is desirable to prevent the coalescence of communities on the outer suburban fringe of London. There can be no doubt that this area has ensured that excessive building has not taken place.

The right hon. Gentleman, when dealing with the last Amendment, said that he was concerned about the wishes of the inhabitants. There can be no doubt about the wishes of the inhabitants of Epsom and Ewell, whether they live in the three wards which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to take into London, or in the seven wards which in the end he agreed to leave out. On 7th March, 1962, there was a public meeting in the Baths Hall. It was attended by more than 1,000 residents and was addressed by the hon. and learned Member for Epsom and myself. After a discussion a resolution was passed declaring, among other things, the strong disapproval of the residents to any proposal to include their borough, or any part thereof, within the boundaries of Greater London, and that any proposal to amalgamate Epsom and Ewell with other local authorities would be contrary to the interests of the residents of the borough and not calculated to result in effective and convenient local government.

In order to back up that public meeting the people in the three wards that it is now proposed to add to Greater London conducted a canvass of the whole area. It was carried out by all three political parties, by all the residents' associations and many other organisations who were in effective touch with the inhabitants. The total electorate of the three wards was 14,824, and the number of persons individually interviewed was 10,577. Those wishing to remain in the Borough of Epsom and Ewell, and in Surrey, amounted to 10,088, or 95.38 per cent. of those interviewed; those wishing to go into London numbered 206, or 1.95 per cent., and those with no opinion for or against numbered 285, or 2.67 per cent. I suggest that this is not merely a general statement about the objection of the inhabitants but a definite statistical analysis of an inquiry conducted as I have indicated.

I share the view that Kingston, Surbiton, and Malden and Coombe form a convenient unit for the purpose of this part of the Schedule. In fact, I anticipated the right hon. Gentleman. When I was chairman of the Surrey County Council at the time of the review of county districts I actually proposed that the borough of Kingston-on-Thames and the urban districts, as they then were, of Surbiton, and Malden and Coombe should be united to form a borough under that review.

I made this suggestion at a dinner given by the Mayor of Kingston. The first result was that the urban district councils of Maiden and Coombe and Surbiton at once petitioned for a Charter of Incorporation, which they achieved. I am glad to know that, at last, the right hon. Gentleman is putting this proposal into the Bill. I have no criticism of that, for these three boroughs, taken together, now constitute the old civil parish of Kingston-upon-Thames. To that extent this is a reversion to an historic position. But there has never been any local responsibility for the government of the three wards proposed to be taken out of the Epsom and Ewell borough and put into the new borough, consisting of the three boroughs that I have enumerated.

The parts that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to transfer to this new borough were, in the old days, part of the Epsom Rural District. They have always been administered from Epsom, by the urban council, the borough council that now exists, or the rural district council that used to operate over the area until the 1933 review of county districts. Therefore, all the communications between these three wards are directed towards Epsom and not towards the new borough which the Minister is creating. In the internal administration of the Surrey County Council—the area of which has been broken up into ten divisions, originating with the divisional executive for education—that system has been continued, and all the public services of these three wards are administered from the County Divisional Office in Epsom.

7.45 p m.

It is difficult to see why it should be regarded as essential that these wards should be transferred to the new borough. I believe that there is something in the argument for continuous development. As I have proved from Professor Abercrombie's remarks, this borough, from the first, made quite sure that its boundaries would not invite the impingement upon them of the adjoning areas. As was said by a Minister of Town and Country Planning, at one time, they were not to become absorbed in the morass of suburban development. Right round the area there is a clear boundary, much of which has been created by and is maintained at public expense. The River Hogsmill, which I heard the Minister mention in connection with the last Amendment, has where it forms the eastern boundary an open space on both sides which completely cuts that area off from connections with Surbiton.

Surbiton used to be called the "Queen of the Suburbs". We have never wanted to be suburbanised on the lines of Surbiton. There is a very strong local feeling in the borough that it is a unit of self-government which has considerable pride in itself and which discharges many duties not merely to itself but to London. The Epsom and Walton Downs Conservancy Act ensures that a great Cockney festival shall be held on open land every year, and although I do not often see the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Sir C. Black) there, at least I can assure him that we will maintain the desire of the people of London to enjoy themselves in their own way. We have provided this festival at our own expense because we recognise that, being just on the periphery, we have a duty to see that the amenities required by a great urban population like London are preserved, by the people who can preserve them from the point of view of the borough's historical associations.

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that there has been no factious opposition to the Bill in general among the people of the borough. The reaction to this proposal was spontaneous, and has remained constant from the time it was first put forward. We acknowledge that the Minister and his predecessors have received our representations from time to time with great courtesy and have, from time to time, slightly varied the boundary, moving it from one river to the next. It is only because we believe that our unit of self-government has earned for itself a place in the affection and esteem of its inhabitants that we resist this proposal.

The second of these two Amendments, which hang together, deals with the question of the boundary. This boundary corresponds to nothing that has anything to do with the history of the community or the present development of the borough. When one looks at it on the map, as I said during the Second Reading debate, it looks like the edge of a very worn-out saw. It is, in fact, a ward boundary, and one draws the boundaries of wards in a different way from the boundaries of urban districts and boroughs. This boundary will be a laughing stock as long as it endures, for it cannot be said to act for the convenience of local government. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will feel, in view of the efforts made by this area to keep its boundaries open and to maintain great open spaces largely for the benefit of the people of London, that it is not wise to persist in his proposal when the views of the people who have created this community, and who maintain it, and who hope to continue to live in it, are so strongly against the proposals.

Sir C. Black

I wish to support what has been put so clearly before the Committee by the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). I shall be brief, because we are working to a strict timetable and it is not possible to debate these matters at the length which perhaps it might have been desirable to do, having regard to the very important issues involved. I wish to make clear that the opposition to the severance of the North wards of Epsom from the main borough and their inclusion in the Greater London area is not confined to one side of the Committee. There are hon. Members on this side who would agree with everything which has been said by the right hon. Member for South Shields; and if this matter has to be voted on, some of my hon. Friends and myself will feel compelled to go into the Division Lobby with the right hon. Member for South Shields and other hon. Members of his party who may be inclined to support him there.

The case against severance in general and also in particular is surely overwhelming. The Royal Commission expressed itself as being strongly opposed to the severance of local authority areas and reference was made in a former debate on Coulsdon and Purley to what was said on this matter by the Leader of the House during the debate on the White Paper. It is interesting to note that Epsom and Ewell is the only Surrey district which it is proposed shall be severed, and of all the districts round the Greater London area there is only one other in respect of which severance is proposed.

In that case, on the face of it, there is a reasonable and logical argument in favour of severance, namely, that a small part of the area consists of a London County Council estate and it is proposed to bring that estate into the Greater London area, but to leave the rest of the district council area outside Greater London. That seems to me to be an exceptional case which in the circumstances justifies the severance. But regarding Epsom and Ewell, I suggest that the proposed severance is nothing more nor less than a calamity and it is so viewed —as was said by the right hon. Member for South Shields—by practically everybody in the locality.

I anticipate that my right hon. Friend will accept the view which he accepted in the previous case, that what he is proposing to do is contrary to the wishes of the great majority of the residents. On that point I think we are on common ground and therefore, in this brief speech, I need not develop the argument to show that public opinion in Epsom and Ewell has shown itself, without a possibility of misunderstanding, to be almost wholly opposed to this proposal. But I must make the point that I think that the argument which my right hon. Friend put forward in the previous case to justify overriding local opinion is strange and, I would say, very dubious. It represents a view of democracy to which I find myself reluctant to subscribe.

What my right hon. Friend said—I listened to him very carefully—was that the people in the area—I think he was inclined to acquit them of any negligence in this matter—had not read the Report of the Royal Commission; that therefore they were not really competent to pronounce on the matter, and so it was right to prefer the view of the Royal Commission, and other experts who had examined the matter, rather than the view of the people in the locality. In this day and age that seems to me a strange and a very dangerous doctrine.

Presumably, my right hon. Friend takes the view that people in Coulsdon and Purley and Epsom and Ewell are competent to take part in the election of the Government of this country and to express their view on foreign affairs, and the defence policy of the nation, and on great matters affecting national and international interests. He does not for instance propose to deprive them of their suffrage because presumably they had not read every Bill that a Government had passed during their time of office before deciding whether to vote again for that Government at the next General Election or for some other form of Government. I suggest that this cult of the expert—because that is what it is—is being carried very much too far, and in a matter of this kind, the people who live in the district may very well have an instinct far more sound than the view of the so-called experts sitting in offices in Whitehall, with their maps, plans and statistics, trying to form an expert opinion which may be completely wrong in the judgment of the people who have lived in the area for years and who know its history and its circumstances.

The argument is not very much more than the old argument that on matters of this kind the views of the people most concerned do not count, because the gentleman in Whitehall knows best. That is a view on this matter that I would most certainly repudiate. This case is different from the case of Coulsdon and Purley in at least one important particular. My right hon. Friend needs the population of these wards of Epsom and Ewell to make up a viable borough, because even with these north wards of Epsom and Ewell he gets a population of only 165,000. Bearing in mind the education powers of the authority in particular, that is really too small a population for the purpose, and he would naturally be in a difficulty were he to leave the 20,000 people in the north wards of Epsom and Ewell in Epsom and Ewell, and reduce the population of the proposed new borough to only 145,000.

8.0 p.m.

Mr. Ede

I have been informed that at one of the interviews between the Minister and representatives of Epsom and Ewell he said that statistics had not entered into it. I think it only fair to say that. Although I accept the hon. Member's argument, the Minister has never based his claim for grabbing these three wards on the fact that he wants the Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames to be viable.

Sir C. Black

I am obliged to the right hon. Member and I accept what he says. On the other hand, if I were standing in the shoes of my right hon. Friend, this is a matter that I should have looked at earlier on in considering the whole problem. It must be clear to him that even with these north wards in the London borough the population would be too small and that would create a new problem. It aggravates the problem which already exists if he leaves 20,000 in Epsom and Ewell as we are asking him to do. I hope that my right hon. Friend will dismiss this factor from the consideration of the case, because it would he a dreadful thing for 20,000 people to be taken out of the district to which for many years they have belonged, in which they want to remain, merely in order to comply with what is neither more nor less than a mathematical formula.

After all, living communities are more important than any mathematical formula can be. This is a borough which I know well; not so well as the right hon. Member for South Shields, but one I have known nearly all my life. I have got to know the circumstances of the borough during the twenty years I have been a member of the county council. I should describe Epsom, the present borough, as a proud and ancient town, a well-governed town, a progressive town that down the years has given the most ample evidences of its competency to manage its own affairs in a thoroughly progressive and efficient manner.

This proposed severance of the borough has produced the utmost dismay among the inhabitants and will cause infinite distress both to those whom it is proposed to sever as well as those whom it is proposed should remain in the present borough. I beg my right hon. Friend not to become too obsessed with figures, with population factors, with mathematical formulae. A fate which I am quite sure he would wish to avoid is that of going down to history as a Tory "desiccated calculating machine."

Sir K. Joseph

I am faced once again with a formidable challenge from both sides of the Committee representing, I recognise, very strong feelings in the area. Once again we are dealing with a question of the definition of the outer boundary of Greater London. As in the case of Coulsdon and Purley, we have looked consciously for a break in the development of the continuous built-up town. Here there has been a change of view. The Royal Commission recommended that Epsom and Ewell as a whole should be included in Greater London. It was, however, represented to my predecessor that Epsom and Ewell had had an independent growth and development and, unlike so much of the rest of London, had grown northwards rather than being the result of a growth of London radially outwards. This was recognised by the Government, and my predecessor made it clear that legislation would exclude the community of Epsom and Ewell itself.

The right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) described me as a latter day Judge Jeffreys. I am sure he is a better historian than to think that Judge Jeffreys would not only remit half the original sentence, as my predecessor did when withdrawing Epsom and Ewell from the Bill, but would go on, as my predecessor continued, and exclude a further ward. What happened was that under continued argument from both sides of the Committee and under continued demonstration of strong public feeling my predecessor searched again and again to find the genuine break in the continuous town development that would be the proper outer boundary for Greater London.

The Royal Commission thought that it lay south of Epsom and Ewell. My predecessor carried it first to the north so as to leave four wards of Epsom and Ewell local authority inside Greater London, and later he took yet another look and excluded one of those four wards. The break in the development has now been recognised to lie along the River Hogs-mill. The right hon. Member for South Shields and my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Sir C. Black) must recognise that the Government have moved far in studying the interests of this area to meet the case put by them that Epsom and Ewell had had an independent growth and should be excluded from Greater London.

It is unfair of my hon. Friend to plead, on the one hand, that the Government should merely study this matter and, when we have done so, to complain that the result is severance of a local authority area. We have never disguised the fact that this Bill is intended to cover the continuous built-up town. I do not think my hon. Friend challenged that. He may challenge the Bill as a whole, but he does not dispute that this is a principle on which it is logical to work. If in our search for a break in development we find that it lies within a local authority area instead of at the edge of that area, we are obliged to say to the local authority either that it must all be in London or part must be severed from the rest.

Sir C. Black

May I put this point to my right hon. Friend? Epsom and Ewell is by no means the only district to which this argument could be applied. It is the professed intention of the Government to do all they can to avoid the severance of districts. If in this case three-tenths of the district is claimed to be in the built-up area and seven-tenths is out of it, I think it would be useful to avoid the severance of the district by excluding the whole.

Sir K. Joseph

That is a possible point of view. It depends upon the balance of advantages. On the one hand we may preserve a local authority area, which after all is a creation of the law and not a recognition of fact on the ground, and on the other hand we can unify the government of what is a continuous built-up town. The Government have decided that, faced with this dilemma, it is better, in the rare cases in which it is essential, to sever a local authority, damaging and distressing though this is, and by that means to preserve under the Greater London Council, the continuous built-up town as a whole, and thus obtain the benefit of the strategic services which that council will be able to provide.

Mr. Ede

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell me which strategic services the area will gain?

Sir K. Joseph

I should like to go on to the question of the boundaries because a number of representations have been made to the Government that by leaving the three northern wards in London we are adding an area which scarcely has access to the development which lies to the north-west and to the north-east. Much stress has been laid upon the barriers to movement which are alleged to exist, and I have been told a great deal about the railway line between Stoneleigh and Worcester Park stations and the houses on the road which runs along the boundary with Malden and Coombe. But these barriers are in no way remarkable in a built-up area and they are not the formidable iron curtain which they have tended to become in discussions. In the Stoneleigh ward east of the railway line, even these barriers are entirely absent.

My hon. Friend said that the Government have added these wards to Greater London only in order to bolster up the population of the Kingston group. There is no foundation in this whatever, and I deny it categorically. The outer boundary of Greater London was considered quite separately and in advance of the study of the borough groupings. Any other method of procedure would make nonsense; the first step is to define the outer boundary and then, when that is clear, one considers the borough groupings.

The inclusion of the northern wards of Epsom and Ewell was announced in May, 1962, and at that time the tentative groupings put out by the Ministry as a basis for discussion would have included Epsom and Ewell in the same group as Sutton. It was at the conference of local authorities held to discuss future groupings in early June, 1962, that the representatives of Epsom and Ewell, still expressing their opposition, said that if any part of their borough had to be included in Greater London, it should be included in the Kingston group, because communications with that group were very much better than communication with Sutton. That preference is recorded in the town clerks' report, and that is the basis of the ultimate grouping. If I do nothing else, I hope to persuade my hon. Friend that there is no substance in his charge that these northern wards are being left in Greater London in order to reach a certain mystic number in the borough grouping. That is not so.

I come to the most difficult part of what I have to say--when I deal with public opinion. I do not want to repeat all that I said on the previous Amendment, though it is all relevant here. I am not for a moment saying that the people outside the House have no right to judge unless they have read all the documents and the underlying evidence, and it would be the folly of the courtiers of Canute for me to bid people not to have opinions unless they have studied the evidence. They will always have opinions and express them strongly. But when we are legislating, having studied the evidence we are bound to do what we judge to be right, even if occasionally this challenges and upsets public opinion. This is our duty, and it is recognised on both sides of the House. In this case, having studied all the evidence, we believe that the benefits to Greater London can emerge only if all the metropolitan area comes within the purview of the Greater London Council.

8.15 p.m.

Why do we believe that? Because at the moment the traffic, housing, planning and transport implications are not dealt with at all on a metropolitan scale. I regret having to bother the Committee with a familiar argument, but it may be read in the area concerned. I repeat what I said on an earlier Amendment—that if people, whether they live in the centre of London or, as in this case, on the periphery, believe that they can stand still and insist on no change in local government, they will one day—and not very far from now—find their amenities suffering through the inability of the larger community of which they undeniably form a part to manage its increasingly complex affairs in a modern fashion.

I am not denying the competence of people to make major decisions. Their sanction is that they elect a Member of Parliament and in this way elect a Government—and I hope that they do this on results. The Government are not promising quick results from the Bill. But I think that it is commonly recognised on both sides of the Committee that some reform is needed in the local government of Greater London. We have heard continually from hon. Members opposite that reforms would have come from them, too, although not reforms of this nature.

If my hon. Friend asks me whether I am telling his constituents and my hon. and learned Friend, who cannot speak on this occasion, that they are not competent to judge these matters, I reply to him by pointing out that under our Constitution the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not consult the public about the taxes which he imposes and the President of the Board of Trade does not consult firms about tariff changes which he makes. In this case, too, we have a duty to take into account the views of people but, ultimately, to do what we regard as right, even if it is unpopular.

The right hon. Gentleman was courteous enough to say that my predecessors and I have paid great heed to public opinion and to the representatives of the people of the northern wards of Epsom and Ewell. I have read all that has been sent to me. My predecessor saw a deputation. I saw a deputation. It is not lightly that a Minister goes against such strongly expressed public opinion, but I venture to point out that I recognise the connection which there is between the present local government structure and the evils of which no doubt people complain, such as traffic and road congestion. I recognise that some people in 'Greater London are homeless and that many people need housing. These evils do not flow from the negligence or the incompetence of the existing local authorities. They do not flow from anything which one can pin on individuals. They flow in part from the fact that there are not the powers in the present local government structure to enable these problems to be tackled as they need to be tackled.

Although we have more time for the debate, I have said all that I need to say. I hope that I have shown the seriousness with which the Government regard public opinion in this area. I hope that it will not be forgotten that the Government excluded first six out of the ten wards of Epsom and Ewell and latterly a seventh. I agree that the three wards to be retained in Greater London are being retained, as far as I can judge, against their public will. But it is because we believe that the advantages of the Bill can be available to Greater London only if all the continuous town is within the scope

of the Bill that I ask the Committee, if the Amendment is pressed, to reject it decisively.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 203, Noes 173.

Division No. 60.] AYES [8.19 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Gresham Cooke, R. Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard
Aitken, W. T. Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie
Allason, James Harris, Reader (Heston) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Arbuthnot, John Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Page, Graham (Crosby)
Ashton, Sir Hubert Harvey,SirArthurVere(Macelesf'd) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Atkins, Humphrey Harvie Anderson, Miss Partridge, E.
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Hastings, Stephen Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Barlow, Sir John Hay, John Peel, John
Batsford, Brian Hendry, Forbes Percival, Ian
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Berkeley, Humphry Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Pilkington, Sir Richard
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Hirst, Geoffrey Pott, Percivall
Bidgood, John C. Hobson, Sir John Price, David (Eastlelgh)
Biffen, John Hocking, Philip N. Prior, J. M. L.
Biggs-Davison, John Holland, Philip Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Bishop, F. P. Hopkins, Alan Quennell, Miss J. M.
Bossom, Clive Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Bourne-Arton, A. Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Rees, Hugh
Box, Donald Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Rees-Davies, W. R.
Braine, Bernard Hughes-Young, Michael Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Brewis, John Hulbert, Sir Norman Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Hutchison, Michael Clark Ridsdale, Julian
Buck, Antony Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Bullard, Denys James, David Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool.S.)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Channon, H. P. G. Johnson Smith Geoffrey Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Chataway, Christopher Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Chichester-Clark, R. Jones, Arthur (Northants S.) St. Clair, M.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Sharpies, Richard
Cleaver, Leonard Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Shaw, M.
Cole, Norman Kerby, Capt. Henry Smith, Dudley (Br'nff'd & Chiswick)
Cooke, Robert Kerr, Sir Hamilton Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Cooper, A. E. Kimball, Marcus Spearman, Sir Alexander
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Stevens, Geoffrey
Corfield, F. V. Leavey, J. A. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Costain, A. P. Leburn, Gilmour Stodart, J. A.
Coulson, Michael Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Craddock, Sir Beresford Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Studholme, Sir Henry
Crawley, Aldan Lilley, F. J. P. Summers, Sir Spencer
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Ollver Lindsay, Sir Martin Tapsell, Peter
Cunningham, Knox Linstead, Sir Hugh Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Curran, Charles Longbottom, Charles Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Currie, G. B. H. Longden, Gilbert Temple, John M.
Dalkeith, Earl of Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Thomas, Peter (Conway)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry McLaren, Martin Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Digby, Simon wingfield McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Tlley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Touche, Rt, Hon. Sir Gordon
Drayson, G. B. McLean, Neil (Inverness) Turner, Colin
du Cann, Edward Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Duncan, Sir James McMaster Stanley R. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Elliott,R.W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne,N.) Maddan, Martin Vane, W. M. F.
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Maitland, Sir John Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Errington, Sir Eric Markham, Major Sir Frank Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Farey-Jones, F, W. Marshall, Douglas Wakefield, Sir Wavell
Farr, John Marten, Neil Walder, David
Fell, Anthony Matthews, Gordon (Merlden) Webster, David
Finlay, Graeme Mawby, Ray Wells, John (Maidstone)
Fisher, Nig Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J, Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Maydon, Lb-Cmdr. S. L. C. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Freeth, Denzil Mills, Stratton Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Gammans, Lady Miscampbell, Norman Wise, A. R.
George, Sir John (Pollok) Montgomery, Fergus Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Gibson-Watt, David More, Jasper (Ludlow) Woodnutt, Mark
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Morgan, William Woollam, John
Clyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Morrison, John Worsley, Marcus
Goodhew, Victor Nabarro, Gerald Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Gower, Raymond Neave, Airey
Grant-Ferris, R. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Green, Alan Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Mr. MacArthur and Mr. Pym
Abse, Leo Hannan, William Neal, Harold
Ainstey, William Harper, Joseph Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Albu, Austen Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hart, Mrs. Judith Oram, A. E.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hayman, F. H. Oswald, Thomas
Awbery, Stan (Bristol Central) Henderson, Rt.Hn.Arthur(Rwly Regis) Padley, W. E.
Bacon, Miss Alice Herbison, Miss Margaret Pargiter, G. A.
Beaney, Alan Hill, J. (Midlothian) Parker, John
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hilton, A. V. Pavitt, Laurence
Benson, Sir George Holman, Percy Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Black, Sir Cyril Holt, Arthur Pentland, Norman
Blackburn, F. Houghton, Douglas Plummer, Sir Leslie
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A, G. Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Popplewell, Ernest
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S.W.) Hoy, James H. Prentice, R. E.
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Bowles, Frank Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hunter, A, E, Rankin, John
Bradley, Tom Hynd, H. (Accrington) Redhead, E. C.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Rhodes, H.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Janner, Sir Barnett Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Robertson, John (Paisley)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Callaghan, James Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)
Carmichael, Nell Jones, Dan (Burnley) Ross, William
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Russell, Ronald
Chapman, Donald Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Cliffe, Michael Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Collick, Percy Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Kelley, Richard Slater, Mrs. Harrlet (Stoke, N.)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Crosland, Anthony King, Dr. Horace Small, William
Crossman, R. H. S. Lawson, George Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Culler), Mrs. Alice Lee, Frederick (Newton) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Dalyell, Tam Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Spriggs, Loslle
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Steele, Thomas
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lipton, Marcus Stewart, Mlchael (Fulham)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Loughlin, Charles Stones, William
Deer, George Lubbock, Eric Stros8,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Delargy, Hugh Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Swain, Thomas
Dempsey, James McCann, John Swingler, Stephen
Dodds, Norman MacColl, James Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Doughty, Charles Mclnnes, James Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Driberg, Tom McKay, John (Wallsend) Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Thornton, Ernest
Eds, Rt. Hon. C. MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Tomney, Frank
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Manuel, Archie Wade, Donald
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mapp, Charles Warbey, William
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mason, Roy Whitlock, William
Elliot, Cant. Walter (Carshalton) Mayhew, Christopher Wilkins, W. A.
Fletcher, Erir Mellish, R. J. Williams, D. J, (Neath)
Forman, J. C, Mendelson, J. J. Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Galpern, Sir Myer Millan, Bruce Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Ginsburg, David Mllne, Edward Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Gourlay, Harry Mitchison, G. R. Winterbottom, R. E.
Greenwood, Anthony Monslow, walter Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Moody, A. S. Woof, Robert
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Morris, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Moyle, Arthur Mr. Grey and Mr. Ifor Davies.
Mr. Laurence Pavitt (Willesden, West)

I beg to move, in page 90, line 24, column 2, to leave out "borough of "Wembley and" and to insert "borough of".

This matter has already been discussed in a previous debate. I will not delay the Committee any further. I think that the

case is irrefutable that the boundaries are unnatural.

Question put, That "boroughs of Wembley and" stand part of the Schedule:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 208, Noes 167.

Division No. 61.] AYES [8.30 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Batsford, Brian Bourne-Arton, A.
Aitken, W. T. Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)
Allason, James Berkeley, Humphry Box, Donald
Arbuthnot, John Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Braine, Bernard
Ashton, Sir Hubert Biffen, John Brewis, John
Atkins, Humphrey Biggs-Davison, John Buck, Antony
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Bishop, F. P. Bullard, Denys
Barlow, Sir John Bossom, Hon. Clive Butler,Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Holt, Arthur Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Channon, H. P. G. Hopkins, Alan Peel, John
Chataway, Christopher Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Percival, Ian
Chichester-Clark, R. Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pilkington, Sir Richard
Cleaver, Leonard Hughes-Young, Michael Pott, Percivall
Cole, Norman Hulbert, Sir Norman Price, David (Eastleigh)
Cooke, Robert Hutchlson, Michael Clark Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Cooper, A. E. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. James, David Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Corfield, F. V. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rees, Hugh
Costain, A. P. Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Coulson, Michael Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Kaberry, Sir Donald Ridsdale, Julian
Crawley, Aidan Kerans, Cdr, J. S. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Kerby, Capt. Henry Robinson, Rt. Hon. Sir R. (B'pool.S.)
Cunningham, Knox Kimball, Marcus Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Curran, Charles Lancaster, Col. C. G. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Currie, G. B. H. Leavey, J. A. Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Dalkeith, Earl of Leburn, Gilmour St. Clair, M.
d'Avigdor-Coldsmid, Sir Henry Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Sharples, Richard
Digby, Simon Wingfield Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Shaw, M.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M, Lllley, F. J. P. Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Drayson, G. B. Lindsay, Sir Martin Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
du Cann, Edward Linstead, Sir Hugh Spearman, Sir Alexander
Duncan, Sir James Longbottom, Charles Stevens, Geoffrey
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Longden, Gilbert Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Elliott,R.W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne,N.) Lubbock, Eric Stodart, J. A.
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Errington, Sir Eric McLaren, Martin Studholme, Sir Henry
Farey-Jones, F. W. McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Summers, Sir Spencer
Farr, John Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Tapsell, Peter
Fell, Anthony McLean, Nell (Inverness) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Finlay, Graeme Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Fisher, Nigel McMaster, Stanley R. Temple, John M.
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Maddan, Martin Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Freeth, Denzil Maitland, Sir John Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)
Gammans, Lady Markham, Major Sir Frank Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
George, J, C. (Pollok) Marshall, Douglas Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Gibson-Watt, David Marten, Neil Turner, Colin
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Mawby, Ray Tweedsmuir, Lady
Goodhew, Victor Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Vane, W. M. F.
Gower, Raymond Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Grant-Ferris, R. Mills, Stratton Wade, Donald
Green, Alan Miscampbell, Norman Wakefield, Sir Wavell
Gresham Cooke, R. Montgomery, Fergus Walder, David
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Webster, David
Harris, Reader (Heston) Morgan, William Wells, John (Maidstone)
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Morrison, John Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vera (Macclesf'd) Nabarro, Sir Gerald Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Harvie Anderson, Miss Neave, Airey Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Hastings, Stephen Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hay, John Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Wise, A. R.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Hendry, Forbes Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Woodnutt, Mark
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Woollam, John
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Osborn, John (Hallam) Worstey, Marcus
Hirst, Geoffrey Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Hobson, Sir John Page, Graham (Crosby)
Hocking, Philip N. Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Holland, Philip Partridge, E. Mr. MacArthur and Mr. Pym.
Abse, Leo Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Delargy, Hugh
Ainsley, William Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Dempsey, James
Albu, Austen Callaghan, James Dodds, Norman
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Camtichael, Neil Doughty, Charles
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Castle, Mrs. Barbara Driberg, Tom
Awbery, Stan (Bristol Central) Chapman, Donald Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John
Bacon, Miss Alice Cliffe, Michael Ede, Rt. Hon. C.
Beaney, Alan Collick, Percy Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
Bence, Cyril Corbet, Mrs. Freda Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Edwards, Walter (Stepney)
Benson, Sir George Crosland, Anthony Fletcher, Eric
Black, Sir Cyril Crossman, R. H. S. Forman, J. C,
Blackburn, F. Cullen, Mrs. Alice Galpern, Sir Myer
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. C Dalyell, Tam Ginsburg, David
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S.W.) Davles, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Gourlay, Harry
Bowles, Frank Davles, Harold (Leek) Greenwood, Anthony
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Davies, Ifor (Gower) Grey, Charles
Bradley, Tom Davles, S. O. (Merthyr) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Deer, George Griffiths, W. (Exchange)
Hamilton, William (West Fife) MacColl, James Robertson, John (Paisley)
Hannan, William McInnes, James Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Harper, Joseph MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Manuel, Archie Ross, William
Hart, Mrs. Judith Mapp, Charles Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Hayman, F. H. Mason, Roy Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Henderson,Rt.Hn.Arthur(Rwly Regis) Mayhew, Christopher Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Herbison, Miss Margaret Mellish, R. J. Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Hill, J. (Midlothian) Mendelson, J. J. Small, William
Hilton, A. V. Millan, Bruce Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Holman, Percy Milne, Edward Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Mitchison, G. R. Spriggs, Leslie
Hoy, James H. Monslow, Walter Steele, Thomas
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Moody, A. S. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Morris, John Stones, William
Hunter A. E, Moyle, Arthur Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Mulley, Frederick Swain, Thomas
Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Neal, Harold Swingler, Stephen
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Janner, Sir Barnett Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Jay, Rt. Hon. Dougtas Oram, A. E. Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Oswald, Thomas Thornton, Ernest
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Padley, W. E. Tomney, Frank
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Pargiter, G. A. Wainwright, Edwin
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Parker, John Warbey, William
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Pavitt, Laurence Whitlock, William
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Wllkins, W. A.
Kelley, Richard Pentland, Norman Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Plummer, Sir Leslie Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
King, Dr. Horace Popplewell, Ernest Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Lawson, George Prentice, R. E. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (huyton)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Winterbottom, R. E.
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Rankin, John Woof, Robert
Lipton, Marcus Redhead, E. C.
Loughlin, Charles Rhodes, H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wing Commander Bullus and
McCann, John Roberta, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Mr. Russell.
Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham)

I beg to move, in page 90, line 27, leave out the first "Barnet".

The small urban district on whose behalf I am moving the Amendment—which is designed to delete the word "Barnet" where it occurs at such position as to include the Urban District of Barnet in one of the London Boroughs—has the doubtful advantage of being represented in the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer who, apparently, was either unable or unwilling to express the wishes of its council and citizens on the matter. Its population is only 28,000, and when we compare that with its area, which is getting on for 5,000 acres, we realise at once that this is a predominantly rural area—I think even more so than the area of Coulsdon and Purley which we discussed earlier. It is an area in which a considerable part of the green belt is situated. If the criterion for the boundary of the whole Greater London area is to be the green belt, one cannot make a convincing case for including Barnet in Greater London.

When we discussed the Coulsdon and Purley area, the Minister at one point appeared to argue that areas of this kind should be included in Greater London so that they could help to solve Greater London's housing problem. When it was pointed out to the Minister that his argument would be valid only if he proposed to build in the green belt —which he has emphatically declared he will not do—he advanced a more obscure argument, the tenor of which seemed to be that it was somehow necessary to include every one of these peripheral areas that the Government have now decided shall be in the Bill if the whole structure of Greater London was to be workable, and if its boroughs and the Greater London Council together were to have power to solve what the Minister repeatedly tells us are the great strategic problems of traffic and planning, or the problem of housing.

That line of argument cannot seriously be maintained about the urban district of Barnet. If it is put into Greater London it will become a small part of a very large borough. The borough now proposed, of which it is intended Barnet should form a part, would have a population of 318,000. If the Amendment were carried and Barnet were excluded, that borough would have a population of 290,000. It cannot by any stretch of logic be maintained that the new Borough No, 30 cannot do its job if it only has a population of 290,000 and can do it if there is a population of 318,000. It cannot for a moment be suggested that the inclusion of Barnet is necessary in order to make No. 30 a viable borough.

Barnet would become a small area in this very large borough instead of being, as it is now, a well-established district, with a considerable history as a district, in the county of Hertfordshire. That it is in Hertfordshire is particularly to the point, because if we look at all the counties affected by the Bill we find that London and Middlesex are being swallowed completely, by far the greater part of Surrey is being drawn into Greater London, and very substantial parts of Essex and Kent are also being drawn in. There is, therefore, no Surrey, Kent or Essex area that could plead that it was being very exceptionally treated by being brought into Greater London.

On the other hand, only a tiny proportion of Hertfordshire is being brought in. To be taken out of Hertfordshire into Greater London is an unusual fate, and it would require unusual weight of argument to justify it—particularly in the case of a district whose entire links are with Hertfordshire; that never has regarded itself as part of Greater London; that does not so regard itself now, and which at no time has in any way been encouraged by law, administration or policy to regard itself as part of Greater London.

For all administrative purposes, for social purposes, and for economic and industrial growth, Barnet is and has been part of Hertfordshire. We notice, for example, that one of its notable public institutions is the South Hertfordshire College of Further Education, of the existence of which in their district the people are proud. That institution is a creation of the Hertfordshire Education Committee, and as I think it is universally accepted that Hertfordshire has a very good record as an education authority, the desire of the people of Barnet to continue to have their education managed as part of the Hertfordshire structure is a very reasonable one. What the Bill offers them is to be put into a large borough with all the other parts of which they have little affinity, the administrative centre of which must be far away, in which they will not have the special status which they now have as a district in the County of Hertfordshire and a borough of whose educational prowess we have yet to have evidence.

8.45 p.m.

If one considers where young people in Barnet go for their jobs on leaving school, we find that two-thirds of them take up work in some part of Hertfordshire. The whole link and trend of the district is with Hertfordshire and not with Greater London. That is not only what is happening with young school leavers. It is true of most adult workers.

A considerable number of people who live in Barnet work in Hertfordshire districts—in Boreham Wood, for example, or in Potters Bar. It is interesting to notice that whereas the people of Barnet are to be included in Greater London, although they do not wish to be, a considerable section of opinion in Potters Bar wants to come into Greater London but the Government will not let them come in. This is an extraordinary degree of perversity. Although Potters Bar was formerly part of Middlesex and, therefore, would normally have been brought into the Greater London Plan, it is now to be pushed out into Hertfordshire against its wishes, whereas Barnet, which is part of Hertfordshire, is to suffer the rare and exceptional fate of being hauled out of Hertfordshire and put into Greater London against its wishes and against the whole trend of its life and development.

Not only is this substantially a green belt area, but Barnet can claim to have been a pioneer of the idea of the green belt before it was put in any formal or precise form. Barnet has a good record on housing but has combined it with proper regard to open spaces for the area. Altogether, Barnet has been doing very well, both as a district and as a part of Hertfordshire.

We are obliged again to put the questions that arose over the issues of Coulsdon and Purley. If any hon. Members felt sympathy with Coulsdon and Purley, I hope that they will be able to cast their image right across Greater London and have sympathy with a similar case. Here again is somewhere which, on the argument as to green belt, cannot be said to be properly a part of Greater London, an area which there is no need to add to Borough No. 30 to make it viable, an area whose whole links are with Hertfordshire and, above all, an area whose council, without discrimination of party, and whose citizens want to remain part of Hertfordshire.

We have had no concessions from the Government during the whole of the Bill. At times, there have been signs that a concession or two might be made, but none I: as been forthcoming except the suggestion that those who do not get what they want now might be able to get it by the alterations procedure after the Bill has gone through. That is a messy way to proceed. If the Government are not convinced of their case now, as they ought to be, what conceivable guarantee is there that they will be convinced subsequently if an attempt is made under Clause 6 to get an alteration?

The only consolation that the Minister was able to offer one of his hon. Friends concerning Coulsdon and Purley was that if he tried to proceed later under Clause 6, he might, said the Minister, be able to make a good case. He was able to make a very good case, as we are doing now for Barnet.

At this stage I hope that the Government might be willing, if only to show that they are not inflexibly obstinate, to accept the plea of this urban district to remain part of the county of which it is proud to be a part and in which it has worked well.

Mr. Corfield

I can assure the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) right from the start that there is no question that we are merely doing our sums in regard to this arrangement. There is no question of worrying whether we have 318,000 in this borough, No. 30, or 290,000, and I am sure he realises that as well as anybody.

The whole crux of the inclusion of Barnet is whether or not the built-up area there is part of the continuous built-up area of Greater London. Of course, by and large, the greater part—virtually all —of the green belt will be outside the boundary, but there are bound to be areas such as this where there are wedges of green belt which come in between tongues of built-up area but where the district as a whole is a continuous part of Greater London.

I am sure that if the hon. Gentleman will look at the map—the map I have here was printed in 1958, so one can assume that if anything has changed it has probably changed in the direction of more building rather than less—he will see that it cannot be denied that the built-up area of the main part of Barnet, part of which is shown as Chipping Barnet and part as Barnet Vale, adjoins the built-up area of East Barnet and Friern Barnet stretching right away into Finchley and the rest of Greater London.

It is of some consequence, I think, that the Barnet Council itself has recognised the continuity of its area with East Barnet. Indeed its original plan was that it and the neighbouring area of East Barnet should remain included in Hertfordshire. Yet the East Barnet Council has never suggested that its area is not part of the continuous built-up area or that it should be excluded. So there is this clear admission of a continuous built-up link between these two areas one of which is quite clear as to its position within the built-up area. Taking the southern part of the built-up area somewhat to the east of the village of Totteridge, it is quite clear that the built-up area there is continuous with the northern part of the Borough of Finchley. This is the reason why it has been included, and I submit to the hon. Gentleman that it is the only logical thing to do.

Of course, we appreciate the ancient ties with Hertfordshire, the educational achievements of the county and the facilities that the people of Barnet enjoy. But I am assured that the preponderance of Hertfordshire children who attend the South Herts. College of Further Education do so only because of the fact that Barnet is itself in Hertfordshire, and that once we make this change the greater numbers of the students will, in fact, come from the built-up area which will come into Greater London.

The hon. Gentleman made a point of the fact that so many of the people leaving school leave London during their working day to work in the towns of Hertfordshire. That may well be, and, no doubt, travelling is much more pleasant in that direction than in the other, but we are basing this system of the built-up area on where people live. Nobody has yet suggested we should exclude the outer green belt towns, the commuter towns, because people go to work in London. I suggest that this is not one of the hon. Gentleman's better arguments. Nor, indeed, do I think that the argument that there is something more sacrosanct about the Hertfordshire boundary than about any other boundary holds very much water, and the argument over Potters Bar falls into exactly the same category. There again, if one looks at the map, there is a clear break in the continuous built-up area. What matters is where the character of the town starts, and l do not think that it can be denied

that the character of the town starts when one enters what is the old village of Barnet and the development that has taken place around it.

On those grounds, therefore, I cannot give the hon. Gentleman any hope. He said he felt that we were due for a concession. Well, I can only disappoint him and say that I must postpone that pleasure still further.

Question put, That "Barnet" stand part of the Schedule:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 200, Noes 168.

Division No. 62.] AYES [8.57 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Fisher, Nigel Maddan, Martin
Aitken, W. T. Freeth, Denzil Maltland, Sir John
Allason, James Gammans, Lady Markham, Major Sir Frank
Arbuthnot, John George, Sir John (Pollok) Marshall, Douglas
Ashton, Sir Hubert Gibson-Watt, David Marten, Neil
Atkins, Humphrey Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Matthews, Gordon (Merlden)
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Mawby, Ray
Barlow, Sir John Goodhew, Victor Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Batsford, Brian Gower, Raymond Mayson, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Grant-Ferris, R. Mills, Stratton
Berkeley, Humphry Green, Alan Miscampbell, Norman
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Gresham Cooke, R. Montgomery, Fergus
Biffen, John Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Biggs-Davison, John Harris, Reader (Heston) Morgan, William
Bishop, F. P. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Bossom, Hon. Clive Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Neave, Airey
Bourne-Arton, A. Harvie Anderson, Miss Nicholson, Sir Godfrey
Box, Donald Hastings, Stephen Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard
Braine, Bernard Hay, John Oakshott, Sir Hendrie
Brewis, John Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Orr-Ewing, C. Ian
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Hendry, Forbes Osborn, John (Hallam)
Buck, Antony Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Billiard, Denys Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Page, Graham (Crosby)
Butler,Rt. Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Hirst, Geoffrey Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hobson, Sir John Partridge, E.
Channon, H. P. G. Hocking, Philip N. Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Chataway, Christopher Holland, Philip Peel, John
Chichester-Clark, R. Hopkins, Alan Percival, Ian
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Cleaver, Leonard Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Pilkington, Sir Richard
Cole, Norman Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pott, Percivall
Cooke, Robert Hughes-Young, Michael Price, David (Eastleigh)
Cooper, A. E. Hulbert, Sir Norman Prior, J. M. L.
Cordeaux, Lt. Col. J. K. Hutchison, Michael Clark Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Corfield, F. V. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pym, Francis
Costain, A. P. James, David Quennell, Miss J. M.
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Coulson, Michael Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Rees, Hugh
Craddlock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Rees-Davies, W. R.
Crawley, Aidan Kaberry, Sir Donald Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Kerr, Sir Hamilton Ridsdale, Julian
Cunningham, Knox Kimball, Marcus Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Curran, Charles Lancaster, Col. C. G. Robinson, Rt. Hon. Sir R. (B'pool,S.)
Currie, G. B. H. Leavey, J. A. Rodgera, John (Sevenoaks)
Dalkeith, Earl of Leburn, Gllmour Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) St. Clair, M.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Lilley, F. J. P. Sharples, Richard
Drayson, G. B. Lindsay, Sir Martin Shaw, M.
du Cann, Edward Linstead, Sir Hugh Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Duncan, Sir James Longbottom, Charles Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig, Sir John
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Longden, Gilbert Spearman, Sir Alexander
Elliott,R.W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne,N.) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Stevens, Geoffrey
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn McLaren, Martin Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Errington, Sir Eric McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Stodart, J. A.
Farey-Jones, F. W. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Farr, John McLean, Neil (Inverness) Studholme, Sir Henry
Fell, Anthony Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.) Summers, Sir Spencer
Finlay, Graeme McMaster, Stanley R. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side) Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John Wise, A. R.
Temple, John M. Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton) Wakefield, Sir Wavell Woodnutt, Mark
Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.) Walder, David Woollam, John
Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon Webster, David Worsley, Marcus
Turner, Colin Welle, John (Maidstone) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Tweedsmuir, Lady Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Vane, w. M. F. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro) Mr. Ian Fraser and
Mr. MacArthur.
Abse, Leo Hamilton, William (West Fife) Neal, Harold
Ainsley, William Hannan, William Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Albu, Austen Harper, Joseph Noel-Baker, Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S,)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Oswald, Thomas
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hart, Mrs. Judith Padley, W. E.
Awbery, Stan (Bristol Central) Hayman, F. H. Pargiter, G. A.
Bacon, Miss Alice Henderson, Rt.Hn.Arthur(Rwly Regis) Parker, John
Bence, Cyril Herbison, Miss Margaret Pavitt, Laurence
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hill, J. (Midlothian) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Benson, Sir George Hilton, A. V. Pentland, Norman
Blackburn, F. Holman, Percy Plummer, Sir Leslie
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Holt, Arthur Popplewell, Ernest
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S.W.) Houghton, Douglas Prentice, R. E.
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Hoy, James H. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Bowles, Frank Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Rankin, John
Bradley, Tom Hunter, A. E. Redhead, E. C.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Rhodes, H.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Janner, Sir Barnett Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)
Callaghan James Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Ross, William
Carmichael, Neil Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Chapman, Donald Jones, Dan (Burnley) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Cliffe, Michael Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Small, William
Collick, Percy Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Kelley, Richard Sorensen, R. W,
Craddock, George (Bradford, s.) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Crosland, Anthony King, Dr. Horace Spriggs, Leslie
Crossman, R. H. S. Lawson, George Steele, Thomas
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Lee, Frederick (Newton) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Dalyell, Tam Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Stones, William
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Stross,Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Swain, Thomas
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lipton, Marcus Swingler, Stephen
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Loughlin, Charles Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Deer, George Lubbock, Eric Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Delargy, Hugh Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Dempsey, James MacColl, James Thornton, Ernest
Dodds, Norman McInnes, James Tomney, Frank
Driberg, Tom McKay, John (Wallsend) Wade, Donald
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Wainwright, Edwin
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Warbey, William
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Manuel, Archie Whitlock, William
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mapp, Charles Wilkins, W. A,
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mason, Roy Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Fletcher, Eric Mayhew, Christopher Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Forman, J. C. Mellish, R. J. Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Galpern, Sir Myer Mendelson, J. J. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Glnsburg, David Millan, Bruce Winterbottom, R. E.
Gourlay, Harry Milne, Edward Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Greenwood, Anthony Mitchison, G. R. Woof, Robert
Grey, Charles Moody, A. S.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Morris, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Mulley, Frederick Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Mr, McCann
Lady Ganunans (Hornsey)

I beg to move, in page 90, line 29, column 2, to leave out "Tottenham" and to insert "Southgate".

The Temporary Chairman (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson)

I understand that it would be for the convenience of the Committee to discuss at the same time the following Amendment in the names of the hon. Lady and of the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu), in line 31, column 2, leave out "Southgate" and insert "Tottenham".

Lady Gammans

That is so, Mr. MacPherson.

In moving this Amendment I am only asking that the grouping of Borough No. 31 shall be on the radial north, south pattern and along the natural lines of communication recommended by the Royal Commission and accepted by the Government in 1961. The logic of following the lines of communication was also pointed out by the Minister in the terms of reference to the town clerks and has been repeatedly emphasised by them in their Reports. But in the case of Boroughs No. 31 and No. 32 an exception has been made with no real explanation.

In paragraph 14 of the report of all four town clerks, they say that an agreed grouping is a good augury for the future of a new borough. Hornsey has always been in favour of an amalgamation on a north-south basis, while Tottenham, Enfield and Edmonton were in favour of an agreed group in the real sense of the word, certainly as far as their borough councils were concerned.

The grouping of Hornsey with Southgate and the grouping of Tottenham, Enfield and Edmonton is agreed on by the councils of four of the largest boroughs concerned, and they have a combined population of 413,000, or 77 per cent. of the total.

It is important to try to visualise what must have passed through the mind of the Town Clerk of Oxford when he presided over the conference at Hornsey Town Hall on 23rd May, 1962. As he states in his report, this area produced a particularly rich crop of alternative and conflicting suggestions. Out of it all, he decided on two principles—not to split Enfield and not to divide the Barnets. Having settled this he was left with six boroughs.

Naturally, after this discussion about wider groupings, Hornsey thought that the final groupings would still be on the north-south lines which the Minister at that time had suggested. It was astonished to hear that this principle had suddenly been abandoned. But who can doubt that if the four largest of the six borough councils had at that time stressed again their wish for a north-south grouping this town clerk would have accepted it? Who can doubt that if the then Minister had not himself first proposed to split Enfield a different atmosphere would have been created?

However, it was at this point that the Town Clerk of Oxford went wrong in selecting the east-west alignment for the six boroughs and also in not indicating his line of thought so that that could have been discussed. His report showed that he had a slight doubt, for he referred to the superiority of north-south communications. Anyone not knowing the area, as this town clerk certainly did not, might not have fully appreciated that the communications conditions for a good borough were not being fulfilled by this proposal.

There are three main reasons why these four borough councils wanted to group on a radial basis—communications, density and community of interest. Communications between Hornsey, Wood Green and Southgate are very good on the north-south line, but from east to west, that is to Tottenham, there are only two roads across the railway which divides the two boroughs, and at peak hours these are almost impossible. Tottenham, Enfield and Edmonton, on the other hand, are strongly linked by north-south main roads, railways and the River Lea, and there are excellent communications between Hornsey, Wood Green and Southgate.

The second reason for opposition to the proposed Boroughs Nos. 31 and 32 is that Hornsey, Tottenham and Wood Green are three of the five most densely populated boroughs in the county and, according to the review of the development plan, if amalgamated would show an average density of more than 50 persons per acre in 1981, whereas, if our proposal of Hornsey, Southgate and Wood Green were accepted, it would work out at just over 35 persons per acre. In that case, Edmonton, Enfield and Tottenham would be left with just over 36 people to the acre, a much better balanced picture for the future and, I am sure my hon. Friend will agree, with fewer frightening problems ahead for redevelopment.

The third condition for a good borough has always been and surely must still be community of interest. The development of Hornsey and Tottenham has been on different lines. Hornsey is a dormitory borough with a good deal of commercial interest, as are Southgate and Wood Green, while Tottenham, Enfield and Edmonton have developed from south to north forming the Lea Valley industrial area—that is roughly the position and of course there are exceptions. Those are the three main conditions for a good workable borough, and they would be fulfilled if my Amendment were accepted.

My next point is very important. Hornsey wants to see this new plan for Greater London work and work well, but it will not do so unless the new boroughs start right. No disruption to other parts of Greater London would be caused if my Amendment were accepted. Only groups 31 and 32 would be involved with their six boroughs and only one change, the exchange of Tottenham for Southgate, would have to be made.

9.15 p.m.

I should like at this point to pay tribute to the Borough of Edmonton for the initiative it has taken. I also pay tribute to Tottenham Borough Council. They have set out very clearly indeed the case against the Government's proposals, and this is certainly a unique example of cooperation between two boroughs of different political complexions working together to get a good pattern for a good borough.

I should like the Minister to realise the depth of feeling in my borough against this proposed amalgamation. It is something about which he should know. I know that many other hon. Members have spoken about the same thing, but, like others, I have received literally hundreds of letters about this, and I have seen a petition which was presented to the Mayor of Hornsey. This feeling is very understandable. People in boroughs think about these things. It may be that they do not understand the technical points very clearly, but they have strong feelings about this.

In Hornsey there has always been a great deal of civic pride, and quite rightly, because it is a borough with a long and honourable history. The letters I have received show a great fear that the good local government which Hornsey has always had will disappear, for the three main reasons which I have mentioned—wrong communications, wrong density, and lack of community of interests.

I hope, therefore, that my right hon. Friend will consider very carefully the arguments which I have tried to place before him before he finally makes up his mind. I assure him that we in Hornsey welcome this Bill as a whole, believing that reform in London government is long overdue. If the right grouping is made, there will be harmony and not discord from the beginning, and much unnecessary friction and many mistakes will be avoided.

Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)

I support the Amendment. I do so at the request of the Edmonton Borough Council. Very strong feelings are held about this, particularly because the change which was brought into the arrangement of the boroughs by the town clerk who examined this was in direct contravention of the previous proposal made, first, by the Royal Commission which linked Edmonton with Tottenham, and secondly, by the Government whose original proposal linked Edmonton and Tottenham and added Enfield East and Cheshunt.

As the hon. Lady the Member for Hornsey (Lady Gammans) said, it is very difficult to understand why the Town Clerk of Oxford should have changed the original proposal and done so against the evidence which was given to him by at least four out of the six boroughs involved in groups No. 31 and No. 32, all of which were in favour of the north-south or radial alignment of the area.

I hope that the attitude of the Minister towards Boroughs No. 9 and No. 10 will provide us with some encouragement on this matter, because on this crucial question of the direction of communications, and particularly whether communications are radial or circular, I remind the Committee of what the right hon. Gentleman said about the radial communications existing in the Battersea-Wandsworth-Lambeth area. I hope, therefore, that he will in this case consider that the radial communications are an important factor in the grouping of the boroughs. It is clear that Southgate has no wish to be linked with Edmonton. So far as I know, only Wood Green has indicated that it is in favour of an east-west division of the area.

The hon. Lady has pointed out the terms of reference given to the town clerks and the matters that they were supposed to take into consideration. She has already pointed out that practically all the arguments come out in favour of a link up between Tottenham, Edmonton and Enfield, and that the only argument that can be put up against linking up with the whole of Enfield is that it might be regarded as having rather a peculiar area in the north, but that is largely a green belt area, and it does not play a great part in the contribution of population towards the area.

This whole area is part of the Lea Valley. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Mackie) understands this as well or better than I do. The Lea Valley is a natural community, with associations which go back for a long time. The River Lea itself has a very long history. The route from London to the north, through Shore-ditch, followed the Valley from Roman times, and with the development around London in the last fifty years it has become a natural community—especially linking Tottenham and Edmonton. This group of boroughs on the northern route from London forms a very much older community than other communities on the north side of the Thames.

For many years these areas have shared many associations, based on communications, trade and industry. These communications include nut only roads but the canal and River Lea, together with the railway development that took place in the last century. They also have common law courts—the Edmonton Petty Sessions, which cover Tottenham and Enfield. They have common employment exchanges, and common National Assistance and National Insurance services, besides many other associations. The same applies to the gas and electricity supplies, which were introduced by the old companies in former times and are now operated by the gas and electricity boards in the area. They even share a local newspaper.

This association has gone on for many years. I do not need to remind hon. Members that they all share the famous football club on the border of my constituency—Tottenham Hotspur. That is only one example of the many ways in which these boroughs are closely linked.

These arguments of very close associations—personal association, community association, service association and link- age by lines of communication—cannot be used in the case of the suggested amalgamation of Edmonton with Southgate or Tottenham with Hornsey. Southgate was once part of the old Edmonton Hundred, and was largely a rural open space. It was developed as a dormitory suburb much later. It certainly does not have the amount of industrial and urban development that has gone on in Tottenham and Edmonton. It is clear to anybody who looks at the map that from the point of view of lines of communication, the circular linkage or lateral linkage is not nearly as strong as the north-south linkage, either for the amalgamation of Tottenham, Edmonton and Enfield, or, alternatively, Edmonton, Southgate and Wood Green.

In the linking of the Tottenham, Edmonton and Enfield areas we have two busy railway lines—one the main Cambridge and Hertford line and the other the London suburban line, which splits at Edmonton to link Enfield Town and East Enfield with fast regular services.

Anybody who looks at the map can see the trunk roads which link us. There is the linkage at the northern end, where there are the historical routes of Bury Street and Church Street, linking Edmonton with Enfield. On the other hand, there are no main road links between the centre of Edmonton and Southgate. It is true that the North Circular Road pushes through the borough, but it is very much off centre, and there are no railway connections.

Throughout history, the whole pattern of development, of population and community, has followed the north-south line of the Lea Valley. Today the movement of population is still outwards from London and follows the same pattern of movement along the Valley. People move between the boroughs. People living in Edmonton or Tottenham move and work in Tottenham or Edmonton, particularly in some of the major industries such as the furniture industry, which dominates this area, and the light engineering industries. For instance, a large number of people from Edmonton work in Eastern Enfield at the well-known small arms factory. Another important factor is housing development which has followed the same line, and in which there is a close community interest between Tottenham, Edmonton and in East Enfield. Many families have grown up, family movements have taken place between the boroughs over the last fifty years, so that there are many family connections between the areas.

As was pointed out by the hon. Lady the Member for Hornsey, Tottenham and Edmonton are denseley populated and have sought to develop their housing policy jointly. Particularly in Edmonton there has been a progressive housing and redevelopment policy. But the two areas have been closely linked. There is a Tottenham housing estate in Edmonton and the two boroughs have developed housing estates together at Cheshunt and Potters Bar. The relationship between the boroughs and the question of density of population is closely linked to their housing redevelopment policies and the problems with which they are faced. If one group were as proposed for Borough 31 in the Bill, Tottenham, Wood Green and Hornsey, that would be an extremely densely populated area which would be closed in and would not have the sort of access at the edge of the built-up area which exists for the Edmonton and Enfield areas.

We in Edmonton have gone a long way towards solving our housing problems. We have not completely solved them by any means because we are waiting for a more friendly Government attitude towards council house building. But we have done a great deal of redevelopment. There is no doubt that anyone who looks at the matter from the local government point of view, from the point of view of community of interest, of density of population, possibility of joint action and so on, would consider that the linkage originally proposed in the Government's White Paper, based as it was on the Report of the Royal Commission, would be reasonable and sensible, No good arguments were brought forward by the town clerk who examined this matter in favour of a change from this north-south linkage to one which has no historical basis whatsoever and is not based on community interest or communications. I hope, therefore, especially in view of what he said about Boroughs Nos. 9 and 10, that the Minister will reconsider this matter.

9.30 p.m.

Mr. Colin Turner (Woolwich, West)

I rise to speak as a resident of Enfield for thirty years, a person who has played a great part in the political life of Enfield since the war and as one who can trace his start in public life in Enfield to somewhere in 1940 when I helped to inaugurate the Enfield Spitfire Fund. I therefore speak tonight as someone who has a very great interest in Enfield. I am quite convinced, and will try to illustrate as briefly as I can, that the vast majority of the population of Enfield East, Enfield West, Edmonton and Southgate are behind the Government proposals and fully opposed to the Amendment.

Who are for the Government's proposals and against this Amendment? We have, first, the Conservative Associations of Enfield, East and Enfield, West, of Edmonton and Southgate. We have on this occasion the Liberal Associations of the three boroughs as well. Even without the aid of the Liberals, in 1959 the Conservative vote at the General Election in the three boroughs, after deducting the estimated number of votes which my right hon. Friend got in the urban district council of Potters Bar, shows the Conservatives in the three boroughs had a majority of 22,311. In Enfield itself in the 1962 borough council elections the Conservatives and Liberals together, who in their election addresses made a great point about opposing the Socialist proposals for an amalgamation which included Tottenham, had an anti-Socialist majority of 6,510, almost a 50 per cent. majority in Enfield alone. In the three boroughs taken together the anti-Socialist vote was 13,770, again almost a 50 per cent. majority.

Mr. Dodds

What was the anti-Conservative vote?

Mr. Turner

It was very small taking Conservatives against Socialists. There always has been 100 one way or the other, and on this occasion, if I remember rightly, it was a few hundred without the Liberals, but the Liberals were with us on this occasion.

Who else opposes this Amendment? We have the Enfield Chamber of Commerce, the Chambers of Commerce in Edmonton and Southgate, the Enfield and District Manufacturers' Association, representing 100 industrial concerns in Enfield, East, Enfield, West and Edmonton. What is more interesting, we have the combined Residents and Ratepayers Association of the three boroughs together totally opposed to this Amendment and all in favour of the Government proposals, and they represent a membership of 12,000. In addition, the Anglican Churches in the Deanery of Enfield, which roughly covers the same area as the Government proposal for the three boroughs, are opposed to the Amendment.

Outside Enfield, Southgate and Edmonton, we have the Borough Council of Wood Green opposed to the Amendment and we have Tottenham Conservative Association and the local Press. I will quote from the Enfield Gazette of 11th January: The Government has proposed the merger of Enfield with Edmonton and Southgate, a compact area with historic, cultural and social associations but, with an eye to political advantage, the Labour majorities on the Enfield and Edmonton Councils are seeking to get the Bill amended to link up the three boroughs. Yet, with the exception of the borough council and some of the Labour Party's ward organisations, the overwhelming desire in Enfield is to link up with Southgate and Edmonton. If the Government's proposal is carried, Enfield will form an important area in the new borough of Enfield, Southgate and Edmonton. If it is defeated Enfield will become the far outpost of a long, straggling borough whose only common interests will be the fate and fortune of the Spurs. I quote from the Palmers Green Gazette of 28th December. The editorial prefaced its remarks by saying that it was in favour of smaller boroughs and not keen on reorganisation at all, but went on: But from the very beginning we have said, and readers have not been critical of the view, that our neighbours in any new set-up should be east and west and have a relationship with the outer suburb similar to that of Southgate. There is everything to be said for the present proposal, precious little for the elongated strip that would result from a merging of Southgate, Wood Green and Hornsey. We think that a vote of Southgate people taken on the alternatives would result overwhelmingly (whatever might be thought about reorganisation as a whole) in favour of Southgate, Edmonton. Enfield merger. We hope the Minister will resist all pressure to the contrary. Wood Green Borough Council passed a unanimous resolution in favour of the Government proposals and against the Amendment. Doubtless the hon. Lady the Member for Wood Green (Mrs. Butler) will speak for the council. Therefore, I shall not go into details except to say the there are historic interests between Wood Green and Tottenham as they were linked together until 1888. Similarly, Enfield and Southgate were part of the Edmonton Hundred.

What are the reasons for all this opopsition to these Amendments? Large parts of the three units of Edmonton, Enfield and Southgate are domitory areas supplying the working forces to the vast industrial area of Eastern Enfield and part of Edmonton The lines of local communication, as the town clerks rightly point out, run east and west and not north and south. One has only to be on any of the roads running from Eastern Enfield and parts of Edmonton at the time the factories close to know——

Lady Gammans

The hon. Member is talking about his part of Enfield and not about my end of the area. Certainly between Hornsey and Tottenham the lines of communication are north and south and definitely not east and west. There are only two roads east and west and both are very narrow and very congested.

Mr. Turner

I will deal with my hon. Friend's area in a moment, if I have time.

I hope that I have shown that I am speaking of the majority of the residents in the boroughs of Enfield, Edmonton and Southgate, and anything which my hon. Friend proposes must affect the interests of these three boroughs, as she admitted. I am talking about Group No. 32, Edmonton, Enfield and Southgate, and there is no doubt that in this case local communications are east and west and not north and south.

Mr. Albu

It may be so in Enfield but it is certainly not so in Edmonton.

Mr. Turner

If the hon. Member permits me to continue my argument, I was about to point out that the lines of commuter traffic to London are, of course, north and south. He spoke about the main Cambridge line, but this is on the extremity of the boroughs and serves a very small proportion of them. The middle communication line, running roughly not far from the Great Cambridge Road, has only recently been reopened to traffic. The main interest of the boroughs locally is east and west.

If hon. Members look at the other main lines of commuter communications they will find that a large part of the population use Enfield, West and Enfield Town, and as for the great Cambridge Road, people use the bus services which take them to the Piccadilly tube line at Oakwood, which is in Southgate. Much use is made of this. There is the other line of communication from Enfield, West and Enfield Town on the line running into Finsbury Park and King's Cross from Enfield Chase and Grange Park. This runs through Southgate. The main line of communication is in the centre of Enfield, East, Enfield, West and Edmonton and parts of Southgate in Green Lanes.

May I come to the position between Hornsey and Tottenham? I am certain that my right hon. Friend is looking at the map, and he will find that the only main line of communications north and south runs between the boundaries of Hornsey, Tottenham and Wood Green. This is the only main road running north and south linking these boroughs. When my hon. Friend talked about the Great Northern Railway line dividing Hornsey from Tottenham, she has overlooked the fact that a large proportion of her electorate are on the Harringay side of the railway line.

Lady Gammans

It still remains true that the best communications are from south to north, because they run parallel to the railway and the whole point is getting across the railway. There are only two very narrow roads by which this can be done.

Mr. Turner

I shall come in a few moments to the practically non-existent communications between Hornsey and Southgate. I will try to illustrate the matter further then. From Ponders End in Eastern Enfield the main line of communication runs right the way through to Cockfosters. Hadley Wood and Cockfosters have no connection or interest whatsoever with Tottenham. They have a close interest with Southgate and Enfield West.

There is a considerable amount of connection and continuity of interests between Enfield, Southgate and Edmonton. There is the schooling position. There is the sports position and all sorts of social activities. Many social activities that are organised in Enfield are held in various halls in Edmonton or Southgate. There is a complete intermingling of interest. Many people come from Edmonton and Southgate to Enfield to shop. It is a natural transportation centre and it is growing every day, as Wood Green is to the south. These are undoubtedly the centres of communication.

We have already heard tonight the contention that the Government's proposals give an under-developed grouping to the north in Edmonton, Enfield and Southgate. However, it must be borne in mind that a large proportion of Enfield is green belt. To a lesser extent, the same applies in Southgate. It is green belt and cannot under the present rules and regulations be developed at all. The Government's proposals have given a very even distribution of population. If the Amendments were carried, the population of the new grouping of Enfield, Tottenham and Edmonton would be 97,000 greater than that of the other group. It is in the Enfield area particularly that any extra development by amendment or straightening of the green belt is likely to take place. Therefore, the disparity would grow and not lessen. Therefore, the Government's proposals, giving a difference of about only 11,000 between the two boroughs, are obviously right.

I think that I have said enough to illustrate that the overwhelming majority of the population of the three boroughs about which I am talking—Enfield, Edmonton and Tottenham—are fully in favour of the Government's proposals and against the Amendments. I am certain that there are all the things that the Minister requires in the present grouping to justify its retention. Communications between Hornsey and Southgate are non-existent except by what amounts to by-roads. The only main road runs on the eastern extremity of the borough of Hornsey. It is the only road of any note leading into Southgate. There are no other main roads. The growing number of roads in the area tend to run East and West. I have seen the problem as I travel from Enfield via Southgate and through Hornsey each day. I know the size of the roads and the fact that they are just not capable of taking the commuter traffic which now goes on to London.

I ask the Minister to resist these Amendments most strongly. I am certain that, if he does so, he will be acting in the interests of the majority of the population of the three boroughs on whose behalf I speak tonight.

9.45 p.m.

Mr. H. Hynd (Accrington)

I find myself somewhat surprised to be supporting almost all the remarks of the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Turner). I speak as a resident of one of the boroughs concerned and, indeed, I served for a time on the Hornsey Borough Council. I support everything the hon. Member for Woolwich, West said about the communications between Hornsey and Southgate compared with those between Hornsey and Tottenham. There is not much between the two; one bus route runs from Hornsey to Southgate and two from Hornsey to Tottenham.

The hon. Member called attention to the fact that the railway line does not divide Hornsey from Tottenham. Indeed, the present boundary between Hornsey and Tottenham is a peculiar one. It is a zig-zag line running across the middle of streets. Many people are not sure whether they live in Tottenham or Hornsey. It is a peculiar frontier which is crying out for adjustment.

The hon. Lady the Member for Hornsey (Lady Gammans), in her enthusiasm, may have unwittingly misrepresented the general opinion of the people of Hornsey. She said that the council was in favour and that, therefore, the people were in favour of the change. She should have made it clear that it was the majority of the council who decided this and that there is a minority opinion against it.

I hope that the Minister will stick to the proposal to link Hornsey with Tottenham rather than with Southgate He may wonder why there is this competition between Edmonton and Hornsey for the favours of Tottenham. I do not think that I am betraying any secret in saying that there is a certain political element in it. Nevertheless, leaving that aside, I believe that the proposed borough consisting of Hornsey, Wood Green and Tottenham would give a balanced community which would work very well indeed. The communications question is not a real difficulty; it would meet the wishes of the majority of the people there, and I hope that the Amendments will be rejected.

Mrs. Joyce Butler (Wood Green)

am sorry that the hon. Lady the Member for Hornsey (Lady Gammans) and my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) have moved the Amendments, partly because I think that they are misguided in the view they take and partly because when the Royal Commission made its proposals, and when the Government pronounced on them, there was considerable local opposition which was largely political in its character.

I am afraid that, if the Amendments were accepted, political controversy and local feeling would be stirred up again in an undesirable way. The hon. Member for Hornsey was critical of the Town Clerk of Oxford and his handling of this matter. But one can assume that the Government's reasons for appointing the four town clerks to do this job were that they recognised the dangers of these local political manoeuvrings and mutterings and they wanted an impartial assessment of the situation.

The hon. Lady was less than fair to the Town Clerk of Oxford when she said that he had not given any good reasons for the groupings he suggested and which are embodied in the Schedule. I believe that the reasons he put forward were clear. If one accepts the argument at its narrowest political level it is a fact that if one takes the 29 political organisations—including the three main parties and the ratepayers' associations—involved in these groupings, 24 of them accept that the arguments in favour of the groupings in the Schedule are overwhelmingly sound, and of the five organisations that favour a change I believe that three have been rather reluctantly dragged along behind the sense of this Amenment. In every other respect, leaving aside the political considerations, the recommendation of the Town Clerk of Oxford embodied in the Schedule is to be preferred.

Geographically, the combination of Hornsey, Wood Green and Tottenham in group 31 makes a convenient square-shaped area, and each borough in the group has contiguous common boundaries with the other boroughs in the group without traversing any other. The same is true of group 32. This kind of group is extremely important if we are to harmonise existing borough interests in the new borough.

The hon. Lady was rather scathing about the lack of common interest between Hornsey and Tottenham, but they have a common boundary all the way from Manor House to Turnpike Lane, and they have shared the medical officer of health very successfully for very many years. I cannot believe that the lack of interest is as great as she has indicated——

Lady Gammans

My idea of community interest is not so much the sharing of a medical officer of health but community of interest among people living the same kind of lives. As I tried to point out, the two boroughs are really very different in that respect.

Mrs. Butler

I defy anybody walking from one side to the other of Green Lane to know whether they are in Hornsey or Tottenham. Both sides have exactly the same kind of people, the same kind of roads, and everything similar.

The point of the town clerk's recommendations was that Borough No. 31 has the acknowledged outstanding service centre in North London, with its central axis at Wood Green. Similarly, Borough No. 32 has the major service centre at Enfield. Both have civic centres, and no other combination that one can think of could produce a result in any way comparable with that. The town clerks' report rightly stressed the overriding importance of this consideration of the administrative centre.

If we are to break up the existing pattern, and create much larger borough units with people even further away from the town halls than they now are, the comprehensiveness of the centre is more important for the efficiency of the new borough organisation—and for the convenience of the ratepayers who have to travel to the town hall—than almost anything else. It is quite a fallacy to suggest that the organisation of the boroughs along Parliamentary lines makes a more viable unit than the kind of grouping that now appears in Boroughs Nos. 31 and 32.

Communications have been mentioned in great detail, but what was so interesting was that the hon. Lady seemed to be thinking almost exclusively in terms of road communications, without reference to what I believe to be the very much more important public transport communications.

Probably the majority of people who go to the centres of these boroughs, to the town halls, have to use public transport. If we consider the links by bus between Hornsey and Tottenham, there are links at Finsbury Park and Manor House, links by the 171 bus route from Salisbury Hotel, links from the Crouch End part of Hornsey by the 41 bus and from the Alexandra Park end of Hornsey by the 233 bus to Northumberland Park. The Piccadilly tube links Turnpike Lane, which is common between Tottenham and Wood Green and, to some extent, Hornsey, with Wood Green and Bounds Green, which links again with Muswell Hill and Hornsey. These are all east-west links of the greatest importance.

The hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Turner) has also dealt with the advantages of the east-west links in the Enfield part of the area. This is obviously the case, because reference has been made to the historical position of the Lea Valley. It is an historical fact, which comes almost up to present times, that the Lea Valley was frequently flooded and people seeking to go along the old Lea Valley route had to come up quickly on to the high ground when the area became flooded; so that, all the way along the Lea Valley, the routes up to the high ground which people took are historical routes. These are the lines which the buses and communications between east and west follow today. Public transport is by far the most important aspect of communications.

The hon. Member has referred to the population basis of the suggested boroughs and of the boroughs as they would appear under the Amendments. He has pointed out that there would be a difference of 97,000 in population between Boroughs Nos. 31 and 32 if the Amendments were accepted.

The financial implications of the Amendments are probably the most serious. If accepted, the Amendments would create two boroughs with a difference of £8 million in rateable value and a difference in industrial rateable value of 40 per cent. between the two boroughs on the 1962 figures, with the certainty of a much bigger difference on the 1963 figures which might even be in the nature of 60 per cent. or more. This is because the Amendments would take out from Borough No. 31 a large part of the industry and, therefore, of the industrial rateable value.

The question of density has also been raised. When talking about the high density of Borough No. 31, it is important to realise that it is a comparatively low density compared with the London area as a whole; and we are considering these boroughs in the context of a new Greater London area. I suspect that when the lower density of Borough No. 32 is mentioned, it is with an eye on the green belt, which, I hope we would all agree, should not be considered as a possible area for housing purposes.

Moreover, I draw the Committee's attention to the fact that only yesterday, in Committee upstairs, the Minister referred to the fact that he expected the London boroughs to prepare a programme of their housing needs and to work out how many of the needs they can satisfy by building inside their boroughs, how much of their programme they can satisfy by building outside the boroughs but within Greater London and how much of their programme they can satisfy by overspill agreements through other boroughs' building but within Greater London. He went on to say: … we must recognise that, if London boroughs will not co-operate with each other to solve the housing problem of the London boroughs with the greatest housing need, they are bound to find that the Greater London Council is forced to seek building land inside their area. In other words, co-operation between boroughs is the way to minimise, if London boroughs wish to minimise, the work of the Greater London Council within the Greater London Area."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee F, 19th February, 1963; c. 269.] In other words, in the new set-up under the Bill, we shall be forced to co-operate with each other, and Boroughs Nos. 31 and 32 will be forced to co-operate with each other to solve their mutual housing problems.

The final point I want to make is that we have very little time in which to weld these new groupings into viable boroughs. The Government have presented us with this position which we have to accept. We have to accept changes and we have to get to work very quickly to make them effective. Considerable work has already been done in both these groupings by the town clerks and representatives of the boroughs to work out proposals, and to deal with the problems which will be involved. It would be a very serious setback to the possibility of evolving satisfactory new boroughs if a change were to be made now, and for this and other reasons which have been put forward I hope that the Government will resist these Amendments and maintain the groupings as proposed in the Schedule.

Mr. John Mackie (Enfield, East)

I rise to support these two Amendments. I am of course more particularly interested in the second one concerning Borough No. 32, but I must also support the first one, because I cannot possibly leave Southgate hanging in mid-air and therefore we must put it into Borough No. 31.

There has been a considerable amount of talk about lines of communication and the difficulties involved, but there seems to be as much difficulty over party lines as there is with the lines of communication. Like the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Turner) I have had considerable advice given to me. In fact my post has been fairly full during the last month, like that of most hon. Members from the six boroughs, and it is very difficult to sort it out. The hon. Member for Woolwich, West used a tremendous number of figures to prove his point from various bodies which have written to him in support of and against the Amendment, the majority, he said, being against it.

I know that ratepayers' associations and chambers of commerce are important bodies and the manufacturers' association in Enfield is also an important body, but I would point out that very few of the members live in Enfield or Edmonton for that matter. I have had a communication from the Conservative Association but what its views are I am not quite sure. Nevertheless, it is on the whole a minority in that area. The point that I want to make about the associations is that none of them is an elected body and that the bodies that one must take cognisance of are the elected bodies in the boroughs. Most of the elected bodies in these areas are in favour of these two Amendments.

I should have thought that the question of the grouping of these three boroughs had been very well put by the hon. Lady the Member for Hornsey (Lady Gammans), who proposed the Amendment, and my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu). I do not want to re-emphasise all the points that have been made as time is getting on. I think that the communications point is a very strong one indeed. If the hon. Member for Woolwich, West ever motors up and down Hertford road between 7 o'clock and 9 o'clock in the morning and 4 oclock and 6 oclock at night, he will see the way the traffic flows and that it does not flow across anything like to the extent that it flows up and down. Most of the traffic is local traffic and there is no question about which way it goes. It is most important that we should pay attention to these lines of communication.

Supporting the Amendment, I do not want to go back to the original plan for dividing Enfield into two. I think that was a bad plan. I would not like to begrudge the right hon. Gentleman an area where he has got a lot of votes, but I feel that it should be kept in and left as it is. There is the question of Hadley Wood and Cockfosters, but there is not a big population in that area and I do not think it would make too unbalanced a borough.

I would emphasise the question of the link up which there is in housing and practically everything else, including the football club, between these boroughs. Tottenham has a burial ground in Enfield, and Edmonton has a housing scheme in Enfield. The whole area is linked up through all these interests, and there is quite a conurbation of industries running down the Lea Valley. So I hope that the Minister will give careful consideration to these points to have London Borough No. 32 made up of the three boroughs, Tottenham, Enfield and Edmonton.

Sir K. Joseph

I must confess that as we come to the end of this day it is a real relief to find that not the entire population of the area concerned seems to be against this particular proposal in the Bill. Up to now I have had to make a case for a particular proposal by the Government against fairly consistent opposition in the area concerned, but here I find, to my relief, that, though party lines are crossed, there is evidently a fairly large weight of public opinion behind this particular borough grouping which the Government propose.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey (Lady Gammans) in a very clear speech was supported by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu), who was very quickly challenged by what I think was the formidable speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Turner), and we quickly realised how right the town clerks were in saying that this particular area throws up a rich crop of alternative ways of treatment. We have here in fact six existing boroughs which can fairly easily and with no implications for their neighbours be organised either laterally or radially. Each alternative has attracted strong support.

I think the main themes of my hon. Friends who proposed the Amendment, supported by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edmonton and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Mackie), really are on the strength of the communications radially; the lack of affinities, as my hon. Friend claims, between the eastern and the western boroughs; and the differential density. On the other hand, my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd), speaking in this case as a resident and as an ex-councillor, and the hon. Lady the Member for Wood Green (Mrs. Butler) traversed these arguments in very great detail. I think I am only called upon to sum up, and give the weight of the Government's opinion on these three matters.

First of all, communications. It is quite true that last week, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Edmonton has acutely observed, I did place considerable emphasis on the importance of following communications—all other things being equal; but, as he will have observed from the conclusion of the debate on Wandsworth, I did in the end recognise that the other considerations were not equal, and that may be even in that case the area deserved a second look and even a third look, because the strength of the communications is not the only let alone the conclusive factor. And strong though the radial communications are here, running through the eastern and western lines of the boroughs, as my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, West pointed out, the lateral communications are by no means negligible. They support a considerable flow of life to and from the service centres which are already thriving in Enfield and Wood Green.

The Government really cannot accept the argument on affinity. We all know and can point to many local government areas in this country, some in London, where there is the most striking contrast in standards of living and all sorts of conditions between one part of the area and another, and not always to the harm of the local inhabitants or local vitality. I cannot accept that the fact that there appears to be some difference in various ways between this part and that part of a proposed area is a reason for keeping them separate.

My hon. Friend laid considerable stress on her density argument. It is historically true that the inner ring was more densely developed as London grew outwards and that the outer ring is not so densely developed. This is one of the factors—but only one of them—which the town clerks were asked to bear in mind. As the hon. Lady the Member for Wood Green—it pains me much to have to lean on arguments from the other side of the Committee—pointed out, and as I am sure my hon. Friend will recognise, we are not expecting individual London boroughs to be totally self-sufficient in finding their own land. Indeed, in many boroughs it would be absolutely impossible for them to be self-sufficient. So, though this is a factor, it is only one of the factors to be considered.

This leads me to stress the strength of the town clerks' recommendation, reached after consideration of the evidence, and reached by an impartial man called in to assess the merits. We must remember, as several hon. Members have recognised, that the town clerks' recommendation in the Bill avoids yet another split. Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have been urging on the Government the importance, wherever possible, of keeping local authority units together and not splitting or severing them.

I must also emphasise that the borough grouping recommended by the town clerks and included in the Schedule bases two borough groups each on a thriving and successful service centre—Enfield and Wood Green, centres which have shown by their vitality that they can be the focus of successful communities.

I am sure the Committee will realise, that no possible solution will please everyone. The town clerks' recommendations are not, of course, sacrosanct, but the Government, having called them in, and it being recognised, I think, that there is some value in the Government having an outside opinion on which to base this very important Schedule, there is much virtue in accepting their recommendations unless, quite clearly, any particular recommendation is wrong.

I think my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey will recognise that this debate shows that the case against this recommendation in the Bill has not been clearly and convincingly made. Where arguments have been adduced, and some of them have been strong arguments, they have been strongly traversed and arguments against them have been made. I dislike very much disappointing my hon. Friend. I know the strength of opinion on both sides of this argument. I am prepared to recognise that either group could work. But I believe on balance, both because of the argument in the town clerks' recommendation and beo cause of the balance of arguments represented in the voluminous papers that have reached me and have been reproduced in the debate, that the recommendation made by the town clerks and included in the Bill is right.

I hope that my hon. Friend will not press the Amendment, but if it is pressed I hope that the Committee will reject it.

Amendment negatived.

Question proposed, That this be the First Schedule to the Bill.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. M. Stewart

We find ourselves with a little longer time to discuss this main Question than we had expected. We have completed Part I of the Schedule which sets out the boundaries and the comparative representation of the boroughs, and owing to the working of the Guillotine we have also passed Part II of the Schedule which is really no more than a series of footnotes to Part I describing where certain boundaries are. On Part III of the Schedule, I do not think that the most determined orator could find a good deal to say. It is concerned with subsequent alterations of ward boundaries—wards that have not yet been defined in boroughs that have not yet come into existence.

We may safely conclude that, whatever disagreements there are among us about the way in which these boroughs should come into existence, and whether warding arrangements which may subsequently be made under an earlier provision will prove to be good arrangements or not, we should be prepared to say that if the boroughs come into existence, and if they are divided into wards anyhow, we would all agree that if subsequently they want to alter the boundaries of their wards, Part III of the Schedule will allow them to do it.

We are thus left with the question of whether the policy and ideas which the Schedule embodies are good ones. On that issue, I want to divide what I have to say into three sections. First, the Schedule embodies the idea that the boundary of the Greater London area should be on a particular line and neither further out nor further in. So firmly does the Schedule embody that idea that on the question of the actual boundary of the area as a whole the Minister has proved completely inflexible throughout. The only shadow of a concession was that possibly later on his hon. Friends might be able to make a case that it should be altered subsequently under Clause 6.

Sir K. Joseph

The hon. Gentleman is normally scrupulously fair. I thought that it was considerably more than a shadow of hope which I held out.

Mr. Stewart

I am content to abide by the judgment of the Minister's hon. Friends. I do not think that they regarded it as more than the shadow of a shadow.

Every time attempts have been made to alter this Schedule in a way that would alter the boundary of the area itself, the Minister's reply has been that it was drawn up on a particular principle and that that principle was that as long as there was a continuous built-up area, there, in his view, was Greater London, and that all areas which were, in his view, built-up areas from the centre outward were Greater London and could not be permitted to get out of the Schedule and out of the Bill.

On that assumption, what is Greater London? This is not the first time that this Committee and the House have considered this question. The hon. and learned Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Doughty) said that the Royal Commission was given certain areas, and he added, "I do not know who gave it those areas". I am afraid that he himself is one of those who gave it those areas. The original Royal Commission area—the original whole area that was to be included in the area—had its origin in the Fifth Schedule of the Local Government Act, 1958, for the Second Reading of which the hon. and learned Gentleman voted along with his party and against which we voted.

I have much sympathy with hon. Members opposite who have wished at this late stage to alter the boundary of the Greater London area, but they prepared the rod for their own backs when they voted for the 1958 Act. But at least it might be said that the essence of the 1958 Act was that it gave powers to commissions to survey local government boundaries in most of England and Wales, but deliberately excluded what it called the metropolitan area. It was clear at that stage that the Government regarded a certain area as the metropolitan area.

The significant thing is that the Schedule departs from the Government's original intention in a number of material particulars. Where hon. Members opposite have a real grievance is that the Government have departed from the original 1958 idea in some cases but not in others, and that there is no logic by which the Government can justify some of the changes they have made and not others.

It is made clear from a study of the map which the Minister has been good enough to supply to members of the Standing Committee dealing with the Bill. One is able to see on that map where the continuous built-up area is and where it is not. One is bound to see that there is no logic and no justification by which it can be insisted that Coulsdon is inside Greater London, but Banstead and Caterham outside it. The same logic and argument which would exclude the one would exclude the other, and that which would include the one would include the other.

One can see that the lines of continuous built-up area proceed a certain distance. At some points they are so tenuous that one might almost say that they stop, but if one says that they stop because they are so tenuous, that interpretation would get Coulsdon out. If, on the other hand, one says that, tenuous as they are, they are still there, that would bring Caterham and Banstead in. Similarly, there is no logic by which one can insist, against the wishes of the inhabitants, on keeping north Epsom and Ewell in the Greater London area when one excludes Staines, Sunbury, Walton and Weybridge. There, still more strikingly, is the continuous built-up area.

We must excuse the Minister. It was his predecessor who, in a spendthrift fashion from the Conservative Party point of view, threw these bits of Surrey out of the Greater London area. When the present Minister came to his task, he was faced with the alarming fact that what had appeared at first sight to be a "dead cert" Conservative majority on the future Greater London Council was endangered by the number of Conservative areas which his predecessor had allowed to be excluded from the Bill.

Sir K. Joseph

The hon. Member began by saying that the Government had made no concessions, but he is now saying that these concessions were made by my predecessor.

Mr. Stewart

The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well what I am talking about. When I said that no concessions were made, I was referring to our debates in Standing Committee and the Com- mittee of the whole House on the Schedule. While the Government were still struggling over two or three drafts of the Bill, the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor handed away areas which at one time the Government thought of putting in the Greater London area. That is why the Minister is not in a position to make any further concessions now, and that is what hon. Members from Surrey will have to explain to their constituents.

May I tell hon. Members who are interested in the Surrey areas that there is one way in which, even at this late stage, they might get the Minister to change his mind? If they persuaded the majority of the inhabitants of these areas to vote Labour in future, the Minister would seriously consider whether those areas ought not to be excluded from Greater London. But short of that I can see no hope for them.

Mr. Lubbock

If the hon. Gentleman's argument is followed to its logical conclusion, I ought to have got what I wanted in Orpington.

Mr. Stewart

I think that the Party opposite has great hopes for Orpington, and I must leave the hon. Gentleman to fight that one out.

My serious point is that there is no logic which justifies the yielding of the Government, before this Bill was prepared, on certain areas which it was clear right back in 1958 were, in the Government's view, metropolitan. There is no logic whereby that flexibility can be justified, in view of the granite-like attitude of the Minister throughout the debates of this Schedule. We cannot say that in so far as the Schedule defines Greater London as a whole the boundary is logical or satisfactory.

Now as to the next aspect of the Schedule, its division of Greater London into particular boroughs. I shall say only a word or two about this because, after all, this is what we have been talking about since half-past three this afternoon, and over the same time last week. I merely make this comment. The Minister seems to have a gift for adopting on the difficult areas those solutions which are likely to annoy the greatest number of hon. Members of this House who know the areas.

Hon. Members representing East Ham, West Ham, Barking, Dagenham and Romford all made suggestions about how that particular area should be divided into boroughs. It was apparent that there were several several different solutions. It was also apparent that the one in the Bill succeeded in uniting in hostility against it a considerable volume of opinion in all the boroughs concerned, yet that was the one to which the Minister stuck.

The same was true about Paddington, Wembley, and Willesden. Different solutions were offered from the one that was in the Bill, but the one that the Minister stuck to was the one that united, as far as one could judge, the maximum opposition to it.

In the Kentish part of the Bill, again there were differences of opinion as to exactly what alterations ought to be made. But that the provisions of the Bill itself as to the Kentish area were heartily unpopular on both sides of the Committee, and in the Kentish area of Greater London, was not in doubt. Here again, the Minister remained inflexible. At one point only did he say that he would look again at something, and that was over a matter affecting the boroughs of Wandsworth, Lambeth and Battersea. I will hazard this guess, that when the Minister comes to test the opinion of those three boroughs he will find that this was almost the one case where the three boroughs concerned wanted what was in the Bill, yet this was the point at which he said he might consider an alteration.

The Minister seems to have a gift for doing what people do not want. I mentioned before the Calvinist theology that underlines this Schedule. First, the doctrine that whatever a person's merits he is probably damned before the thing begins, secondly, the doctrine that the more unpleasant a thing is to everybody concerned, the more likely it is to be right; thirdly, and the most important aspect, this enshrining of the idea that it is a good thing in metropolitan government to divide the whole of Greater London into boroughs of this approximate size.

As we proceeded with the arguments on this Bill, both here and in Standing Committee, we heard more and more of the supposed virtues of boroughs of this size in the metropolitan area. We were told that they would be virile and viable, and that they would rush forward eagerly to render all the services. I am afraid that sometimes a rather arrogant attitude is adopted which seems to assume that everybody who is anybody and who has studied local government at all knows that wise government is right for Greater London, and it is only a few parochial stick-in-the-muds who disagree. There is not the slightest evidence for that view.

10.30 p.m.

When we come to test it out, what does it mean? We are told that this idea is good, because having cut Greater London up into these virile, viable boroughs, we shall have on top a Greater London Council which will settle the strategic problems. What are these strategic problems? There is traffic, the real key to which lies in the resolution of the Government to spend enough money on the roads, and without that none of this means anything at all for the solution of the metropolitan traffic problem. The other part of the solution lies in the population not of Greater London but of the south-east region as a whole. This reorganising of the government of Greater London has only a minimal influence on the traffic problem. So we need not consider that general strategic argument.

The other great strategic problems are planning and housing. It has emerged during the discussions that we have had in Standing Committee on the Bill that if planning and housing are to be handled properly, these boroughs cannot be independent. Planning and housing have got to be functions both of the Greater London Council and of the boroughs. The other thing that we have discovered in Standing Committee is that in the end the division of power in planning and housing between the Greater London Council and the boroughs is so complicated that we cannot be told now exactly what it will be, but that we shall learn it later on from Ministerial order and regulation. That is the framework of Ministerial control in which these new boroughs, burgeoning with life, are to be required to function.

With all this emphasis on planning and traffic, the human services time and time again have been lost sight of. We have been told that it is a good thing to divide London into boroughs like this because, are there not county boroughs in the provinces of about this size doing very well? The Minister will find the answer to that argument partly in the Government's own White Paper and partly in evidence tendered by the group from the London School of Economics to the Royal Commission, that a provincial county borough and an area of the same population carved out of the Metropolis are not the same.

The point at the moment is that some of the human services are rendered admirably in the Metropolis by authorities of county size, the size of the counties of London, or the County of Middlesex or the County of Surrey. The fact that they are that size is a great advantage in their administration. One cannot get that advantage very often in the provinces where the population is not so thick on the ground, because to get that size of population one would need an unmanageably large area. In the Metropolis we can get within an area that is manageable on the map a population large enough to get the advantages and the flexibility which come when there is a really large authority.

It is that advantage that is thrown away by the division of Greater London into what are, in the end, these artificial units, the unsatisfactory nature of which is brought home to us every time the Minister has to tell us that in order to deal with education, the children's services, the health services and so on, they must make joint arrangements one with another to tear the thing up and then to stitch it together again.

It is because this Schedule is unsatisfactory in the principle, or lack of principle, on which the boundary of Greater London itself is drawn, maladroit in its handling of inter-borough disputes and based on a wrong conception of metropolitan government, that we believe that it should not stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Doughty

The time is short and I propose to speak quickly and briefly, but there are two remarks that I cannot let pass. These areas were put in in 1958, in respect of the Greater London legislation, but we do not know who it was who thought of the original outside idea, and we are still wondering. I assure hon. Members that long before that came to pass, years before, I was badgering the then Minister of Housing and Local Government on the subject. I have a file on the matter, I should not like to say how thick it is, going back six or seven years. So the matter has not been overlooked or allowed to go by default by me or by any hon. Members who represent Surrey constituencies.

In reply to what was said by the Minister when dealing with an Amendment which I moved earlier, I can assure him that I have been at his disposal and at the disposal of previous Ministers for discussions on this matter at any time convenient to them. I do not know why some of these areas were taken out arbitrarily by the previous Minister. But I ask my right hon. Friend, even at this late stage, to take another look at some of peripheral areas to see whether something can be done to improve the outer boundary of Greater London. There are a great number of new boroughs, and one should realise that in only a few cases have complaints been made and Amendments moved. It would be proper to say that in the majority of cases the modifications are approved. But there are a number of cases which require further investigation, and I think that it is unfortunate that there should be such cases in this Schedule.

Mr. A. Lewis

I oppose the acceptance of this Schedule. Anyone who has listened to the debate will have been struck by the fact that the Minister has been unrelenting in his intention to ensure that the provisions drawn up by the previous Minister go through, irrespective of any arguments which may be advanced against them. The Committee has been treated in a shabby manner by reason of the fact that all through the discussions the Minister who was responsible for the Bill originally has not even put his nose into the Chamber.

We find the same thing happening with regard to the former Minister of Defence. Since he took over his responsibilities for "Schweppervescence" he has never attended the House——

Mr. M. Stewart

Would not my hon. Friend agree that if all the former Ministers of Defence attended the debates——

The Chairman

Order. I hope that the hon. Member will not go into a debate on defence. That would be out of order.

Mr. Lewis

I was trying to point out, Sir William, that one can get excited over things like "Schweppervescence". I agree that it is not in the Schedule and so I will not go into that matter in detail.

The former Minister ought to have been present to listen to some of the complaints which have been voiced. We have been told by the present Minister that he was handed the baby, and it is a pretty ugly baby. This is nothing more than political trickery and gerrymandering on the part of the Government, as can be seen if one examines the list of proposed boroughs impartially on their political complexions and judges the arguments used by the Minister when answering the various points which have been raised. When it suited the right hon. Gentlemen, he used the arguments of the Royal Commission. When he wanted to show that an hon. Member was wrong, he said that the Royal Commission was against the hon. Member. He had it both ways.

Sir K. Joseph

I do not remember quoting the Royal Commission in argument on the Schedule.

Mr. Lewis

If the Minister reads through some of the arguments used, he will find that he said that the Government have stuck to the Royal Commission's recommendations in certain of these proposals.

Mr. Lubbock

The Minister used the Royal Commission in support of his argument against the creation of a central borough.

Mr. Lewis

I do not want to keep giving way, because time is short. We have not yet had a sufficient explanation why the Minister is suggesting in the Bill that there should be four Greater London councillors and ultimately four Members of Parliament for an area such as the City of London, the City of Westminster, Paddington, and St. Marylebone. The City of London, with 3,000 electors, will have a Member of Parliament. The total population of this area is only 269,000. Yet, as my hon. Friends the Members for Bethnal Green (Mr. Holman) and Stepney (Mr. W. Edwards) pointed out, they repre- sent an area with a total population of 205,000 but are being allocated only two Greater London councillors. Each councillor in Borough No. I will represent about 67,000 people, whereas each councillor in Borough No. 5—Bethnal Green, Poplar and Stepney—will represent about 102,000 people. There is an argument for Borough No. 5 having an additional councillor. Each councillor would then represent about 68,000 people.

The ultimate objective at the back of all this is two-fold. The first is to kill the London County Council, because the Tory Party has for the last 30 years been unable to win at the ballot box and get control of the L.C.C. The second is to smash up the political control in the various boroughs, as far as practicable, and ultimately to try to cut into the Labour-controlled Parliamentary seats.

The Minister need not think that this will come off. He will find that the people of London will not fall for this. The people of London will still return the Labour councillors and the Tories will regret the day that they introduced the Schedule and the Bill.

Mr. Cooper

We have to put up with a lot of nonsense from the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis). He should be sufficiently realistic to look at the various boroughs proposed in the Schedule and relate them to the political realities of 1963. It seems to me that the Labour Party will lose nothing whatever by this proposal. The hon. Member must be honest, too. We have listened to his protestations about West Ham joining in with East Ham. Why does he not be honest and tell the Committee that for years East Ham and West Ham have not got on well together? They do not want to get on together now.

Mr. A. Lewis

That is not true.

Mr. Cooper

I shall not give way. In reply to East Ham, which says that it is more natural for it to be joined with Barking, I say "rubbish." A river separates the two. East Ham and West Ham are joined together and the only separation is that one is on one side of the street and one is on the other.

The hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) made a poor speech in opposition to the Schedule He is, in fact, trying to perpetuate an anachronistic London County Council which, in 1963, is irrelevant and incompetent to manage the affairs of this great London area. Why is the Labour Party always opposed to any change? Where is the great radical reforming zeal we were told was the motivating power of the Labour Party? The plain truth is that hon. Members opposite are too out of date and their party is too fuddy-duddy in terms of what is needed in 1963.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Cooper

I will not give way.

Mr. M. Stewart


Mr. Cooper

The hon. Member for Fulham is to speak in my constituency on 4th March. He will have his chance then.

Mr. Stewart

The hon. Member is asking rhetorical questions and should stay for an answer. Since he is talking about radical reforming power, will he join my hon. Friends in trying to reform the most antiquated part of all this—the City of London—otherwise everything he has been saying is humbug?

Mr. Cooper

I am not going to talk about the City of London because that is not germane to the argument I am making. The L.C.C. is too big, too impersonal and not competent to look after the affairs of this great City in which we live.

Mr. A. Lewis

The Government are making it bigger.

Mr. Cooper

Its population will be about right for the proper functioning of any area. We in the Conservative Party believe that local government should be local and that the people living in an area should have some knowledge of the councillors who represent them and the aldermen who look after them. In the great City——

Mr. M. Stewart


10.45 p.m.

Mr. Cooper

In the great County of London that is not so. The Bill before us, and particularly the Schedule we are considering, is one of the most important pieces of legislation.

Mr. A. Lewis

Is that why it has been guillotined?

Mr. Cooper

It is a great piece of legislation and it deserves the credit and support of all hon. Members.

Mr. Lewis

So the Government introduce the Guillotine.

Mr. Cooper

I wish the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. A. Lewis) would stop that nonsense of talking about the Guillotine. We have today, on six Divisions, wasted one-and-a-half hours which could have been used to debate this matter.

Mr. Lewis

How else can we record our opposition to it?

Sir K. Joseph

I think that I should say a few sober things to reduce the atmosphere which has been heightened by the buoyant vigour of my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper). I do not like disagreeing with my hon. Friend but I must confess that I had intended to begin by paying a mild compliment to the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart) who seems able to reproduce his Second Reading speech at any length; slightly longer when necessary, cutting it off according to necessity at almost any point and fitting it to almost any occasion. Perhaps I may pay a tribute to the hon. Member for Fulham by using the adjectives "vigour, vitality and viability" in regard to his Second Reading speech—the same qualities we find in the London boroughs.

We are now addressing ourselves to Schedule 1 of the Bill and, as the hon. Member for Fulham said, Part III of the Schedule deals with the subsequent alteration of ward boundaries and the possibility of varying the number of wards, councillors to each ward and the total number of councillors on the borough councils. I hope that the Committee will allow me to refer back to the first sitting, on 23rd January, when we discussed the size of the new borough councils.

There was a vigorous argument at that stage on the maximum number of 60 councillors provided in the Bill. I undertook, after some vigorous exchange of views, to consult the relevant local authority associations to take their advice whether the Government are right in selecting 60 councillors and 10 aldermen as the maximum or whether the views of hon. Members who thought that that was too small a number should be met by an amendment of the Bill. Because the boroughs are anxious to get on with their warding, and because we do not want to have to invoke Part III of the Schedule too soon after the Bill is enacted. I hope that the Committee will allow me to report back at this stage the result of my consultation with the associations, I think that it will be of service if we get this point clear.

I have consulted three associations, but principally, I must confess, the Association of Municipal Corporations and the Metropolitan Boroughs Standing Joint Committee. They are the associations that contain, in the Joint Committee, the metropolitan boroughs, and, in the A.M.C., the boroughs of a size comparable with the London boroughs we are creating. I have also consulted the Urban District Councils Association because, of course, some of its members are in the Greater London area but, without any disrespect to the Association, it does not, on the whole, speak for the size of local authority with which we are here dealing.

I have had a categoric answer from the Association of Municipal Corporations that it is quite satisfied with the council size of 60 councillors and 10 aldermen, and it does not suggest that there is any need for a change. I have had an answer from the Metropolitan Boroughs Standing Joint Committee which is categoric for the moment. The Joint Committee has asked me to say that it considers that the figure of 60 should remain in the Bill, but it qualifies that to the extent that it thinks that If, after a period of experience of working with a body of 70"— that is, 60 councillors and 10 aldermen: a borough council finds that number insufficient to enable it to carry out its functions satisfactorily, it should be permitted to apply to the Minister for, and the Minister should be permitted to allow, an increase in the number of councillors for that borough. On behalf of the Government, I have to take a view of the position that now exists.

I still adhere to the opinion I expressed at an earlier stage that 60 is a viable number, with the 10 aldermen. I am supported categorically by the A.M.C., and supported for the moment—that is, on the present experience—by the Metropolitan Boroughs Standing Joint Committee, though I have read out the Joint Committee's qualification that it thinks there might need to be a review in due course. I therefore suggest to the Committee that I am now entitled not to come back with an Amendment to the figure in the Bill. I think that certainty is now important, and I should like to be able to tell the present boroughs—which, I hope, are in most cases co-operating in joint committees—that they can rely on the figures in the Bill not being altered.

I hope that the Committee will not think that I have behaved at all cavalierly in bringing this matter forward at this stage, and I will, of course, give the hon. Member for Fulham an opportunity to comment. Perhaps he will allow me to communicate with him personally. If he has anything to say, and if there is anything as a result of any communication, I will report to the Standing Committee; otherwise, I propose to inform the boroughs that they may go ahead on that assumption.

To come back to the major theme of of the debate, I have been mocked because there have been no concessions on the part of the Government; but that is because we have been arguing today on facts. I should like to pay a tribute to those champions, both last week and this week, of local feelings and local sentiment, who have so vigorously fought for what they regard as the proper groupings of the boroughs. I should like to record the vigorous fight that has been put up by hon. Members on both sides. In particular, I should like to pay a tribute to my hon. Friends who have fought so hard to take some of their constituents out of Greater London. I know that it is very disappointing for them—and I refer particularly to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey, East (Mr. Doughty)—to accept defeat in this matter, for they have fought vigorously, both in trying to persuade me that the Government are wrong and in debate in the Chamber.

I think that it was both generous and kind of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Surrey, East, after the considerable dispute there has been between us—because of the strength of his opinions—to say, as I confess I had intended to say, that although we have spent two whole days on a very full Notice Paper discussing Amendments to the borough groups, it still remains true that at least half of the new groups had no substantial Amendments proposed about them at all. The Government, after the fairly severe criticisms of some of the groupings that have been made during the two days of our debate, ought to remind the Committee of that fact.

We have now finished our debate on the Schedule. The whole Committee would, I think, wish to hope that the boroughs that will be associated together should now, where they have not already started, get their joint committees working and invite the counties' representatives, as, I hope, the counties will be willing to co-operate, to serve on the joint committees with them. We all recognise the great deal of work that has to be done during the transitional period to get the main purposes of the Bill achieved. I am sure that any vestigial remaining bitterness that there may be in some of the boroughs will now be forgotten.

Mr. Pavitt


Sir K. Joseph

We can hope that it will be forgotten in the traditional local government habit of getting down to the job in hand when views have been ventilated. The hon. Member for Willesden, West (Mr. Pavitt) shakes his head. I am sure that he underestimates the devotion to duty of officials and members of local government, who, recognising that the Bill is about service to the public will not allow arguments which have taken place to stand in the way of the service which, they know, it is their duty to give to the public.

At this stage, no principles remain to be discussed. The Government have had the difficult task of trying to explain to the Committee why, in certain groupings, they consider it right, for the benefit of the citizens of London, to go against strong local public opinion. I repeat that no Government do this lightly. It has been an invidious job for me to have to recommend the Committee in that sense.

On the other hand, I think that more and more the people of London are recognising that if we are to make way

against the problems of the twentieth century, we need a twentieth century organisation and not a nineteenth century organisation which—and here I part company from my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South—devoted as has been the service rendered by the public officials and members concerned of both the London County Council and of the county councils with Metropolitan fringes —simply cannot cope with the problems of today.

Indeed, we on this side are sometimes accused of wishing to see the end of the London County Council. I hope that hon. Members on all sides will realise that in bringing to an end the London County Council, we are also bringing to an end the Middlesex County Council, which has had a different political complexion.

We are setting about this laborious, unpopular but necessary task, not in the spirit of Calvinist theologians, as the hon. Member for Fulham so elegantly told us, but because we genuinely believe, on the advice of the Royal Commission, that this is the right thing to do. We have behind us the knowledge that Members of all parties recognise that some reform has to be brought to Greater London. The Schedule, with the distress that it has caused, is part of the essential basis of any reorganisation or reform that any Government would have to introduce.

I am grateful to hon. Members, on all sides, for the crisp way in which they have made the main arguments. Despite the timetable, I do not believe that any major argument has been neglected. What has happened—it is a lesson that we can learn for other debates—is that speeches have been commendably short, packed full of "meat" and, I hope, adequately answered from this Box.

Question put, That this Schedule be the First Schedule to the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 175, Noes 114.

Division No. 63.] AYES [11.0 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Bossom, Hon. Clive
Altken, W. T. Barlow, Sir John Bourne-Arton, A.
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Bateford, Brian Box, Donald
Allason, James Berkeley Humphry Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Arbuthnot, John Biffen, John Braine, Bernard
Ashton, Sir Hubert Biggs-Davison, John Brewis, John
Atkins, Humphrey Bishop, F. P. Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. sir Walter
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Hirst, Geoffrey Pitt, Dame Edith
Buck, Antony Hobson, Sir John Pott, Percivall
Bullard, Denys Holland, Philip Price, David (Eastleigh)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P, Prior, J. M. L.
Channon, H. P. G. Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Proudfoot, Wilfred
Chataway, Christopher Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pym, Francis
Chester-Clark, R. Hughes-Young, Michael Quennell, Miss J M.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hutchison, Michael Clark Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Cleaver, Leonard Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Rees, Hugh
Cole, Norman James, David Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cooke, Robert Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Cooper, A. E. Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Ridsdale, Julian
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Corfield, F. V. Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Costain, A. P. Kerr, Sir Hamilton St. Clair, M.
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Kimball, Marcus Seymour, Leslie
Crawley, Aidan Lancaster, Col, C. G. Sharpies, Richard
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Leavey, J. A. Shaw, M.
Curran, Charles Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Currie, G. B. H. Lindsay, Sir Martin Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Dalkeith, Earl of Llnstead, Sir Hugh Spearman, Sir Alexander
d'Avlgdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Longbottom, Charles Stevens, Geoffrey
Dlgby, Simon wingfield Longden, Gilbert Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Stodart, J. A.
Drayson, G. B. MacArthur, Ian Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
du Cann, Edward McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Studholme, Sir Henry
Duncan, Sir James McLean, Nell (Inverness) Summers, Sir Spencer
Elliott, B. W.(Nwcastle-upon. Tyne, N.) McMaster, Stanley R. Tapsell, Peter
Errington, Sir Eric Maddan, Martin Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)
Farr John Markham, Major Sir Frank Teeling, Sir William
Flnlay, Graeme Matthews, Gordon (Merlden) Temple, John M.
Fisher, Niget Mawby, Ray Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)
Freeth, Denzil Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Gibson-Watt, David Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Mills, Stratton Turner, Colin
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Miscampbell, Norman Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Tweedsmuir, Lady
Goodhew, Victor Morgan, William Vane, W. M. F.
Gower, Raymond Nabarro, Sir Gerald Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Green, Alan Neave, Airey Wakefield, Sir Wavell
Gresham Cooke, R. Nicholls, Sir Harmar Walder, David
Gurden, Harold Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Webster, David
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Wells, John (Maidstone)
Harris, Reader (Heston) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Page, Graham (Crosby) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Pannell, Norman (Klrkdale) Wise, A. R.
Harvie Anderson, Miss Partridge, E. Woodhouse, C. M.
Hastings, Stephen Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Woodnutt, Mark
Hay, John Peel, John Woollam, John
Hendry, Forbes Percival, Ian Worsley, Marcus
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Pllkington, Sir Richard
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Pitman, Sir James TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. McLaren and Mr. Ian Fraser.
Albu, Austen Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Lawson, George
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Lever, Harold (Cheetham)
Awbery, Stan (Bristol Central) Galpern, Sir Myer Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Ginsburg, David Loughlin, Charles
Benson, Sir George Gourlay, Harry Lubbock, Eric
Blackburn, F. Griffiths, W. (Exchange) McCann, John
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Lelcs, S.W.) Hannan, William MacColl, James
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Harper, Joseph McInnes, James
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hart, Mrs. Judith McKay, John (Wallsend)
Bradley, Tom Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (RwlyRegis) Mackie, John (Enfield, East)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Herbison, Miss Margaret MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)
Callaghan, James Hill, J. (Midlothian) Manuel, Archie
Carmichael, Nell Holman, Percy Mapp, Charles
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Mendelson, J. J.
Clifle, Michael Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Millan, Bruce
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hoy, James H. Milne, Edward
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglessy) Mitchison, G. R.
Crosland, Anthony Hunter, A. E. Morris, John
Cullen, Mrs, Alice Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Mulley, Frederick
Dalyeil, Tam Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Neal, Harold
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Janner, Sir Barnett Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Oswald, Thomas
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Pargiter, G. A.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Parker, John
Delargy, Hugh Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Parkin, B. T.
Dempsey, James Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Pavitt, Laurence
Driberg, Tom Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John King, Dr. Horace Plummer, Sir Leslie
Popplewell, Ernest Small, William Wainwright, Edwin
Prentice, R. E, Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Whitlock, William
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Spriggs, Leslie Wilkins, W. A.
Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Williams, LI. (Abertlllery)
Redhead, E. C. Stones, William Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Rhodes, H. Swingler, Stephen Winterbottom, R. E.
Roberta, Albert (Normanton) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton) Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Woof, Robert
Rose, William Thompson, Or. Alan (Dunfermilne)
Silverman, Julius (Astan, Thornton, Ernest TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Tomney, Frank Dr. Broughton and Mr. Grey.

Then The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Clause 1 and Schedule 1 of the Bill to the House, pursuant to Order [29th January].

Bill (Clause 1 and Schedule 1) reported, without Amendment; to lie upon the Table.