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Clause 11

Volume 21: debated on Monday 5 April 1982

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Public Inspection Of Accounts And Right Of Challenge

I beg to move amendment No. 7, in page 9, line 15, after '(3)', insert

'Subject to subsection (4) below,'.

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendment No. 8.

These amendments, yet again, fulfil an undertaking given in Committee to various hon. Members, especially the hon. Members for Blaydon (Mr. McWilliam) and Newcastle upon Tyne, Central (Mr. Cowans), whose tuneful voices could charm the birds off the trees.

In the light of arguments put forward in Committee, the Government accept that local electoral objections to a council should be made in writing and sent not only to the auditor but also to the local authority concerned. It seems only right that the body being complained about should have a written record of the complaint. We also accept the point made in Committee by the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central that the written statement should include the grounds on which the objection was made. We hope that the hon. Members concerned will feel that these amendments meet their objectives.

This is a remarkable Report stage, because practically every amendment proposed by the Government is in response to commitments made to my hon. Friends. I congratulate my hon. Friends on that achievement and congratulate, retrospectively, my hen. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) on the fact that the previous amendments involved the code being referred back to the House because of his suggestion. The Labour Party has made a constructive contribution to an unconstructive Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 8, in page 9, line 21, at end insert—

'(4) No objection may be made under subsection (3) above by or on behalf of a local government elector unless the auditor has previously received written notice of the proposed objection and of the grounds on which it is to be made.
(5) Where an elector sends a notice to an auditor for the purposes of subsection (4) above he shall at the same time send a copy of the notice to the body whose accounts are the subject of the audit.'.—[Mr. Wyn Roberts.]