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Volume 462: debated on Monday 14 March 1949

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Traffic Signs

43and 44.

asked the Minister of Transport (1) whether he approved the design of the "No Parking" signs at present in use in the City of London;

(2) what steps he is prepared to take to ensure a standard type of "No Parking" sign throughout the country.

The temporary "No Waiting" signs in the City of London have been authorised by me. These signs, like the yellow band signs elsewhere in London, were put up because sufficient of the normal type could not be immediately obtained. The permanent "No Waiting" sign is circular in design with a red ring at the circumference and white lettering on a blue central background, and is uniform throughout the country. They are being put up in London as they become available.

Speed Limit


asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that out of a total of 183,000 miles of road in this country over 46,000 are restricted to a speed limit of 30 miles per hour; and what steps he proposes to take in the near future to consult with local authorities as to how the present high proportion of restricted roads can be reduced, with a view to increasing the efficiency of road traffic in this country and reducing the waste of manpower caused by such restriction.

CountyDescription of SchemeEstimated Cost
ArgyllConnel-Glencoe Trunk Road. Diversions and widening between Kentallen and Balachulish.70,000

*Kiel-Inversanda Road A.861. Reconstruction of a length of about 8 miles, including provision of a new bridge at Ardmurchan.


*Fionphort-Kinloch Bridge Road A.861. Reconstruction between Fionphprt and Beach, a length of about 11 miles.


*Invermoriston Road A.887. Reconstruction of a length of about 14 miles at Glen Moriston.


*Portree-Staffin Road A.855. Reconstruction between Portree and Loch Leathan, a length of about 5 miles.

LanarkCarlisle-Glasgow Trunk Road A.74. Widening and reconstruction Newfield Inn to Lesmahagow, a length of about 1 mile.60,000
LanarkGlasgow-Stirling Trunk Road A.80. Widening from Glasgow City boundary to Steppes Railway Bridge, a length of about ½ mile.67,000

*Paisley-Renfrew Road A.741. Widening and reconstruction between Porterfield Road and the Paisley Burgh boundary, a lengh of about 1,400 yards.

Schemes marked with an asterisk are on classified roads; the remainder are on trunk roads. In addition, there are 41 smaller schemes estimated to cost £230,000.

roads are unclassified and the greater part of them are urban streets. A close watch is kept to see that important traffic routes are not unnecessarily restricted, and local authorities are aware of the importance that I attach to dispensing with unnecessary speed limits.

In view of the fact that excessive restrictions can only lead to abuse of the law, will the Minister urgently consider the very sensible recommendations recently submitted by the A.A. and R.A.C.?

Approved Schemes, Scotland


asked the Minister of Transport if he will give details of the major road schemes which are likely to be started in Scotland during the current year.

I am arranging to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT particulars of approved schemes on which work has been started or is likely to start during 1949. I am unable to say what further schemes will be approved and commenced during the year.

Following are the particulars:

Council For Wales


asked the Lord President of the Council whether the proposed Welsh Advisory Council, though officially an advisory council, will be given the power to summon Ministers before it and to require them to give information on the aspects of their Departments which concern Wales.

It would not be within the competence of the Council for Wales and Monmouthshire to require the attendance of Ministers, but Ministers will of course be anxious to give it all the help they can, including information about the work of their Departments which concerns Wales, and, if the Council so wish, to attend its meetings from time to time.

Is not the Lord President aware that a statement to the effect that the Advisory Council would be given these wide powers was made in a daily newspaper last week by a member of the National Executive of the Labour Party; and is that statement incorrect?

I am sure that the lady to whom the hon. Member refers meant well and not harm, and I have no complaint about her whatever; but it is still the case that under the British constitution the policy of the Government is a matter for Ministers responsible to Parliament.

Justices Of The Peace


asked the Attorney-General if he will circularise all justices of the peace to the effect that no justice should, in the course of his judicial duties, express from the bench his opinions on the merits of any particular Statute under his consideration or his unwillingness to administer it.

No, Sir. I think that, generally speaking, justices are fully aware of the proper relation between the legislature and the judiciary, and that there is no need for a circular on the subject.

Have not some recent instances indicated that it is necessary to bring home to justices the traditions which have formerly been recognised in their high office?

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman any right or authority to circularise the justices?

No, Sir, I personally have no rights at all in this matter. There are very few principles in our Constitution more important than those which ensure the complete impartiality and independence of the courts. Those principles would, of course, be difficult to maintain if the courts took it upon themselves to criticise the policy of Parliament as contained in particular Statutes. It would be quite impertinent for me to lay down any rules about the matter and, indeed, His Majesty's judges and other high authorities have from time to time made the practice about these matters perfectly clear. One finds in many of the textbooks a clear enunciation of the principles in regard to the matter.

Ought not the hon. and learned Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Hector Hughes), one of His Majesty's counsel, to have known better than to suggest that the Attorney-General could send a circular to justices?


asked the Attorney-General whether, having regard to the Report of the Royal Commission on Justices of the Peace, he has any statement to make regarding the Government's attitude to the appointment of persons connected with the licensing trade as justices of the peace; and, in particular, upon those who, by election as mayors of a borough, are ex officio justices of the peace.

My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor has accepted the recommendations of the Royal Commission regarding the appointment to the Commissions of the Peace of persons engaged in the licensing trade. In future, these persons will not be barred from appointment as justices solely on the ground of their occupations. The Lord Chancellor's advisory committees will be free to recommend such persons for appointment if, having due regard to the objections to such appointments which the Commission note in their Report, they consider that they are well suited for the office of a justice of the peace. As regards ex officio justices, my noble Friend will not take any action to prevent these justices from adjudicating on the ground that they are engaged in the licensing trade.

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that this decision will give great satisfaction, as it removes an entirely unwarrantable stigma from an honourable and useful profession?

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say whether, in applying these recommendations, the Lord Chancellor proposes to make any distinction as between licensed persons who are independent and licensed persons who are merely the tied agents of big brewery companies?

Law Revision Committee


asked the Attorney-General if the recommendations of the Sixth Interim Report of the Law Revision Committee are going to be implemented.

The Government are unable to hold out any hope at present of introducing legislation to deal with the subject matter of this report, which is complicated and not entirely non-controversial.

Does not the Attorney-General agree that the subject matter is important?

It has a certain importance, but questions of importance are relative.


asked the Attorney-General if he will now reconstitute the Law Revision Committee and designate subjects for it to consider.

I will consult my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor and will then write to the hon. Member.

When consulting would the Attorney-General point out that there are many non-controversial legal subjects requiring reform, and that the reinstitution of this Committee would be very desirable?