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Isle Of Wight Bill (By Order)

Volume 165: debated on Wednesday 17 January 1990

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Lords amendents considered.

7 pm

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, relating to the conduct of Government business and the business of the House. I hope that the Leader of the House will listen for a few seconds.

It may be unknown to most hon. Members that there has been a scandal surrounding the private life of a member of the Court of Session in Edinburgh, one of our most senior judges, which reflected upon his public persona to the point where he could not continue to sit on the judicial bench. That was followed by a resignation. I understand that today, senior figures in the legal and political establishment gave a briefing to newspaper editors of the Scottish press during which it emerged that allegations had been made about more than the individual who was required to resign on 1 January.

What is most worrying is that Scotland is rife with the rumour that tomorrow the Government will evade the issue by the device of a planted written question on the Order Paper to which the Secretary of State can reply without Scottish Members having the opportunity to debate the matter or to question the Secretary of State—who, in the absence of the Lord Advocate, is the responsible Minister in the House.

I should like you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, on our behalf, to seek an assurance from the Leader of the House that there will be no such device as a planted written question on the Order Paper tomorrow but that, instead, there will be an oral statement to the elected Members of Parliament from Scotland of the same character and frankness that apparently was the case at the briefing of national newspaper editors today. This is a matter that concerns the highest judicial body in Scotland, and it must be dealt with in this House tomorrow afternoon through a statement.

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that I cannot deal with that matter during private business. However, the Leader of the House is on the Treasury Bench, and I am sure that he will have heard what the hon. Gentleman said.

Lords amendments Nos. 1 to 9 agreed to.

Hythe Marina Village (Southampton)Wavescreen Bill (By Order)

Lords amendments considered.

Lords amendments Nos. 1 to 8 agreed to.

Clause 14

For Protection Of Ab Ports

Lords amendment: No. 9, in page 5, line 5, at end insert—

For the protection of A.B. Ports the following provisions shall, unless otherwise agreed in writing between the Company and A.B. Ports, apply and have effect:—

(1) In this section—
"construction" includes execution and plac?ing, extension, enlargement, alteration, replace?ment or relaying, and removal, and "constructed" shall be construed accordingly;
"plans" includes description, drawings and specifications:
  • (a) Before commencing the construction of a tidal work the Company shall furnish to A.B. Ports for its approval, which it shall not unreasonably withhold, plans of the work showing the general mode of construction and such work shall not be constructed otherwise than in accordance with such plans as may be approved by A.B. Ports or as may be determined by the Secretary of State as hereinafter provided and all such works shall be executed to the reasonable satisfaction of A.B. Ports:
  • (b) When submitting plans to the Secretary of State pursuant to section 6 (Tidal works not to be executed without approval of Secretary of State) of this Act, the Company shall send a copy thereof to A.B. Ports and the Company shall, on receipt of approval of plans or of any conditions or restrictions imposed under that section, send a copy to A.B. Ports:
  • (c) In the event of A.B. Ports failing to express its disapproval of any plans within 56 days after they shall have been delivered to A.B. Ports under this paragraph, A.B. Ports shall be deemed to have approved them:
  • (d) If it appears to the Company that A.B. Ports has unreasonably withheld its approval to any plans under this paragraph, the Company may appeal to the Secretary of State whose decision shall be final:
  • (e) The Company shall at all reasonable times afford to the duly authorised representative of A.B. Ports all reasonable facilities for inspecting any tidal work in the course of construction:
  • (3) The Company shall give to A.B. Ports not less than 14 days' written notice of its intention to commence the construction of a tidal work and, not more than 14 days after completion of such construction, shall give to A.B. Ports written notice of such completion:
    (4) After the purpose of any temporary structure has been accomplished the Company shall with all reasonable dispatch, or after a reasonable period of notice in writing from A.B. Ports requiring them so to do, remove any such temporary structure or any materials relating thereto which may have been placed below the level of high water by or on behalf of the Company and, on its failing so to do within a reasonable period after receiving such notice, A.B. Ports may remove the same and charge the Company with the reasonable expense of so doing, which expense the Company shall repay to A.B. Ports:
    (5) The Company shall not exercise the powers conferred on it by section 5 (Dredging) of this Act except with the written consent of A.B. Ports (which it shall not unreasonably withhold) and in accordance with such conditions and restrictions as may be reasonably prescribed by A.B. Ports:
    (6) The provisions of section 8 (Abatement of works abandoned or decayed), section 9 (Survey of tidal works), and section 11 (Lights on tidal works during construction) of this Act shall extend for the protection of A.B. Ports and, for that purpose, shall have effect as if for any reference therein to the Secretary of State, there were substituted a reference to A.B. Ports:
  • (a) Without prejudice to the other provisions of this section, the Company shall be responsible for, and make good to A.B. Ports, all losses, costs, charges, damages and expenses how?ever caused (including a proper proportion of the overhead charges of A.B. Ports) which may reasonably be incurred by or occasioned to A.B. Ports—
  • (i) arising from the perusal of plans and the inspection of any tidal work by A.B. Ports or its duly authorised representative;
  • (ii) by reason of the construction of any of the works or the exercise by the Company of the powers conferred on it by section 5 (Dredging) of this Act, the failure of any of the works or the undertaking by A.B. Ports of works or measures for the prevention of danger to navigation arising from such failure;
  • (iii) by reason of any act or omission of the Company or its servants or agents whilst engaged in the construction of any of the works or the exercise of the powers conferred by the said section 5;
  • and the Company shall indemnify A.B. Ports from and against all claims and demands arising out of, or in connection with, such construction, exercise, failure or act or omission as aforesaid;
  • (b) A.B. Ports shall give to the Company notice of any claim or demand made against it which is a claim or demand for which the Company may be liable under this paragraph and no settlement or compromise of any such claim or demand shall be made without the consent in writing of the Company:
  • (8) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as imposing upon A.B. Ports, either directly or indirectly, any form of duty or liability to which A.B. Ports would not otherwise be subject which is enforceable by proceedings before any Court:
    (9) Nothing in this Act shall affect prejudicially any statutory or other rights, powers or privileges vested in, or enjoyed by, A.B. Ports at the commencement of this Act or any title of A.B. Ports in, to or over any lands or foreshore held or acquired by it."

    Amendment proposed to the Lords amendment, in subsection (8), leave out "Nothing" and insert

    "With the exception of any duty owed by A.B. Ports to the Company expressly provided for in the foregoing provisions of this section, nothing"—[The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

    Question, That the amendment be made, put and agreed to.

    Lords amendment, as amended, agreed to.

    Buckinghamshire County Council Bill Lords (By Order)

    As amended, considered.


    That Standing Order 205 (Notice of Third Reading) be suspended and that the Bill be now read the Third time.—[The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

    Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed, with amendments.

    7.7 pm

    On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I hope that you will allow me to put on the record the fact that Opposition Members who want to reform the private business procedure have not delayed the House tonight by forcing a series of votes, which could have been of considerable number, on the amendments. It is a token of our good will. We hope that the private Bill procedure will be speedily reformed and there will not be any further necessity to delay private business.

    I suspect that rarely does the Chair take a point of order that is so welcome. I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for his comments.