As I mentioned in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) on 17th May, I invited a number of landlords to send me their comments on leasehold enfranchisement. I have now had replies from most of these, including public and private landlords and also charitable trusts. In addition, I have received representations from a number of other interests, including professional bodies. These comments will be of assistance in formulating proposals for legislation, but I cannot of course anticipate those proposals.
When will the White Paper on this matter be available? Will the gist of the information which has been given to my right hon. Friend by the bodies he mentioned be contained in that White Paper? Will he give an assurance that this legislation, to which we on this side attach a very deal of importance, will be introduced next Session and that it will be an implementation of our election pledge?
I should like to have advance notice as to whether I shall put all the information which we get from these rather extensive replies into a White Paper. I should not have thought that there was validity in putting it all in a White Paper, although there is nothing secret about it. As to the nature of the proposals and the timing of the White Paper, I have nothing to add to what I said on the last occasion I was asked. I then said that when we had dealt with the Rent Bill my Department would go on to deal with leasehold enfranchisement. We are just about dealing with the Rent Bill and we are grappling with leasehold enfranchisement. We have done a lot of work on it already, but I cannot make any statement about dates.
As this legislation was also mentioned in the Queen's Speech, can the right hon. Gentleman say, aye or no, whether it is intended to introduce it this Session?
I can say that it depends on when the Session ends. Unless the Session is more prolonged than I expect, I would expect to see some postponement of my intention in that regard.