Oral Answers to Questions — Public Inquiries (Land and Buildings)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1967.

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Photo of Mr William Van Straubenzee Mr William Van Straubenzee , Wokingham 12:00 am, 20th July 1967

asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied with the arrangements for co-ordinating the divergent interests of Government Departments in land and buildings which are the subject of a public inquiry into future use; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr William Van Straubenzee Mr William Van Straubenzee , Wokingham

Would the Prime Minister accept that public confidence in the impartiality of the outcome of the sort of inquiry which is referred to in this Question is very badly undermined if a Minister who is directly interested in the outcome also takes part in the final decision? Would the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, give instructions that the Home Secretary shall not in this instance take part in the decision on the future use of the Pinewood Hospital buildings?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

The hon. Gentleman was good enough to give me details of the case that he particularly had in mind in this Question. The procedure that has been followed is one that has operated for a very long time under successive Governments. I can understand the hon. Gentleman's concern in this case, but it is the practice that where premises become redundant in the hands of a Government Department it is considered as between Government Departments, and the possibility of providing them to local authorities arises only if the Government Departments do not have a priority use.