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Local Government, Greater London (Royal Commission)

Oral Answers to Questions — Welsh Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1957.

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Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Norwich South 12:00 am, 19th November 1957

asked the Prime Minister if he will announce the terms of reference and the members of the Royal Commission on Greater London.

Photo of Mr Albert Cooper Mr Albert Cooper , Ilford South

asked the Prime Minister if he is in a position to announce names and terms of reference of the Royal Commission on Reform of London Local Government.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

Her Majesty has been pleased to approve the appointment as Chairman of the Commission of Sir Edwin Herbert, K.B.E. The other members will be Paul Cadbury, Esq., C.B.E., Miss Alice Johnston, O.B.E., M.A., W. H. Lawson, Esq., C.B.E, Professor W. J. M. Mackenzie, M.A., Sir Charles Morris, M.A., and Sir John Wrigley, K.B.E., C.B.

The terms of reference are: To examine the present system and working of local government in the Greater London area: to recommend whether any, and if so what, changes in the local government structure and the distribution of local authority functions in the area, or in any part of it, would better secure effective and convenient local government; and to regard, for these purposes, local government as not including the administration of police, or of water, and the Greater London area as comprising the Metropolitan Police District together with the City of London, the Boroughs of Dartford, Romford, and Watford, the Urban Districts of Caterham and Warlingham, Chorley Wood, Hornchurch, Rickmansworth, and Walton and Weybridge, and the Parish of Watford Rural in the Watford Rural District.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Norwich South

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the appointment of this distinguished body will give great satisfaction to those people who believe that there is urgent need for a comprehensive review of local government in the London area? Can he say when the Royal Commission is likely to be able to begin its work?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I think we all should be very grateful to the distinguished men and women who have agreed to serve on this Commission. It will be very arduous work, to which, I am sure, they will give of their best. As to the date when they will report, I am afraid I could not say now.

Photo of Mr Gilbert Mitchison Mr Gilbert Mitchison , Kettering

None of us, of course, knew those names until we heard them today, or had any idea of them. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if this Commission is to sit continually as one Commission or whether it will have power to sit, if it so wishes, in some committees or smaller bodies? Has the right hon. Gentleman any idea of the sort of time it is expected to take in making a report, which will affect, of course, not only the area covered by the Commission but other parts of the country, especially those immediately outside that area?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I have already replied to the second part of that supplementary question. I am afraid I cannot give any estimate of the time the Commission will take. As to its own arrangements, the Royal Commission will, no doubt, like any other Royal Commission, make what internal arrangements it thinks best for the management of its business.