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Bognor Regis Inquiry (Report)

Volume 720: debated on Tuesday 16 November 1965

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25.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he has received the Report of the inquiry conducted in Bognor Regis by Mr. J. Ramsay Willis, Q.C.; if he will make a statement on its findings; and what arrangements he is making to ensure that the Report will be available to the public.

I have studied very carefully Mr. Ramsay Willis's comprehensive Report. It seems to me to put the events which led to Mr. Paul Smith's resignation as Town Clerk of Bognor Regis into their true perspective—as an unhappy domestic quarrel, revealing no fundamental weakness in the administration of the Council or of local government generally. The Report will be on sale from tomorrow as a Stationery Office publication, and I am arranging for copies to be available to hon. Members in the Vote Office from 9.30 a.m.

May I thank the Minister for that reply and for the efficient way in which the inquiry was conducted? Is he absolutely certain that the whole matter is to be completely and thoroughly aired so as to reduce the possibility of any ill-informed speculation which has already done harm to a very fine seaside resort?

I would prefer to leave it to the hon. Member to judge the report for himself. My view of it has been described in the Answer. I think that it has cleared the air, which is most important, and it has made clear that charges of widespread corruption in local government were completely unsubstantiated.