asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will now set up a Select Committee to consider the reform of local government.
I am not yet in a position to make any further statement.
Does not my right hon. Friend agree that this is a matter of some urgency upon which Members of both sides of the House are agreed and, in view of the length of time it will require, would it not be a good thing to get the matter under way at any early date?
Yes, Sir. While the idea of a Select Committee of the House of Commons is in many ways a very attractive one, I think it would be very important that it should have very clear terms of reference and that perhaps there should be some prior agreement by the House upon the general principles.
Will the Minister consult with his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in view of the results of the county council elections, and suggest that further contentious legislation should not be introduced into the House? In those circumstances, would not the Minister agree that local government reform would be a suitable subject for debate.