HC Deb 07 June 1951 vol 488 cc1227-32
Mr. Eden

May I ask the Leader of the House the business for next week?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 11TH JUNE—Committee and remaining stages of the Telegraph Bill; and Committee stage of the Finance Bill.

TUESDAY, 12TH JUNE—Third Reading of the Coal Industry Bill; and Committee stage of the Finance Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 13TH JUNE—Completion of the Committee stage of the Finance Bill.

THURSDAY, 14TH JUNE—Second Reading of the Forestry Bill (Lords); Committee stage of Sir William Turner's Hospital at Kirkleatham Bill; and Motion to approve the Draft National Health Service (Superannuation) (Amendment) Regulations, and similar Regulations for Scotland.

FRIDAY, 15TH JUNE—Consideration of Private Members' Motions.

Mr. Eden

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman about the business which precedes the Committee stage of the Finance Bill on Monday and Tuesday? I take it that it is anticipated that it will not take a very long time; indeed, if it were otherwise, it would obviously interfere with the arrangements. As regards the general time-table on the Finance Bill, I am quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman will understand that he has read out the Government's intentions but that it could not be considered to be an agreed time-table, so far as we are concerned on this side of the House.

Mr. Ede

Regarding the first point raised by the right hon. Gentleman, I understand that conversations have taken place through the usual channels, and it is felt that the business which is placed first for Monday and Tuesday will not take very long. I would point out, with regard to the second point made by the right hon. Gentleman, that actually this year we are allocating to the Committee stage of the Finance Bill one day more than last year. Last year, there were five days; this year, we have allocated six.

Mr. Churchill

May I ask the Leader of the House if he will be good enough to bear in mind, in arranging business, that we shall certainly require, after the Finance Bill is disposed of, an opportunity to discuss the question of the new rifle, which hitherto has been dealt with only by Question and Answer and which raises very far-reaching issues as to our becoming committed to a weapon in which we shall be separated from some of our Dominions, as well as from the United States, and probably some European countries. Will he bear in mind that that is a matter on which full opportunity should be given for a careful and serious debate by the House of Commons?

Mr. Ede

Yes, Sir, but I should have thought that a matter which would probably come within the ambit of a Supply Day.

Mr. Clement Davies

May I ask the Leader of the House whether his attention has been drawn to a Motion standing in the names of some of my hon. Friends and myself relating to the banishment of Tshekedi Khama, and asking that the Order should be rescinded, or, at any rate, that there should be an impartial inquiry? May I ask, as this is a very important matter of principle and as it is a matter which interests hon. Members in every part of the House, whether in the near future time can be afforded for this matter to be debated by the House?

Mr. Ede

That is a matter to which I will give the most careful consideration.

Mr. L. M. Lever

May I ask the Leader of the House whether time will be afforded for a debate on a Motion which stands in my name relating to the proposed increases in prices of admission by the Football League, and the banning of broadcasts of matches, to the detriment of old age pensioners, the blind, the sick and the community generally?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. I can hold out no hope that I can find time for that. In fact, I cannot find any single one of my colleagues who is willing to accept responsibility.

Mr. William Teeling

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will find time to have some discussion on the two Motions relating to the postponement of the projected summer train services, which is a matter of considerable concern and worry to all seaside resorts at the present moment, and will be of vital importance during the next few weeks?

[That this House notes with concern the failure of British Railways to implement their promise to begin a summer train service on 18th June; deplores the consequent inconvenience caused to holiday resorts and the public and the waste of money in advertising services which are not forthcoming, and calls upon His Majesty's Government to institute an immediate inquiry into the causes of this failure and the administration of British Railways.]

[That this House views with concern the postponement of the projected summer train service, and requests His Majesty's Government, in view of the importance of holidays to all sections of the community, to do everything possible to ensure an adequate service to holiday resorts at the earliest moment.]

Mr. Ede

I will give consideration to that.

Mr. Lever

Arising out of the reply of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, is he not aware of the widespread concern throughout the country relating to this matter? Is he not further aware that the Minister of Local Government and Planning, who is responsible for the welfare of the aged in homes and of the blind, could adequately reply on a matter of such widespread importance?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. I am bound to say that I do not think it could be held that he was responsible for the Football League.

Mr. Charles Ian Orr-Ewing

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when the Government expect to publish a White Paper on the Beveridge Report, and whether he anticipates finding time before the Summer Recess for a debate on that matter?

Mr. Ede

The question of a White Paper is under active consideration, and when it is tabled I think there will be time to consider the second part of the hon. Gentleman's question.

Mr. Logan

Can my right hon. Friend say whether, in view of the all-night Sitting, it is possible to arrange for such an all-night Sitting to be held on a Wednesday night instead of on a Thursday night?

Mr. Ede

Wednesday of this week having passed, it is not a matter of immediate concern, but in this respect I am exceedingly anxious to consult the general convenience of the House. I should be perfectly willing to enter into discussions as to which was the appropriate night if and when an all-night Sitting appeared to be inevitable.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

In view of the raw material shortage, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the House is to be given any information of the result of the visit of the Lord Privy Seal to Washington?

Mr. Ede

Yes, Sir. When we have disposed of the Finance Bill, a Bill to put my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal in the position of accepting the new responsibilities that have been placed on him will be introduced, and I understand that on that occasion my right hon. Friend hopes to make a statement of the kind indicated by the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Churchill

On the previous question of the all-night Sitting, would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that last night he moved to report Progress at a time when it was quite possible for the House to have done another couple of hours of business, and that a combination of Motions to report Progress at an early hour coupled with all-night Sittings and accentuated by unfair use of the Closure, as proposed by the Minister, is likely to prejudice the full discussion which the Finance Bill requires, and which it could well receive in a Session in which the Government are unable to propose any constructive legislation?

Mr. Ede

As I have just said, I am anxious to consult the general convenience of the House. I know that it is extremely inconvenient to very large numbers of Members when the House rises anywhere between 12.30 a.m. and about 6.30 a.m. With regard to what the right hon. Gentleman said about the use of the Closure, I would remind him that the House is protected in its use by the fact that it has to be accepted by either Mr. Speaker or by the Chairman of Ways and Means.

Mr. Churchill

Naturally, I should defer to the decision of the Chairman or of Mr. Speaker on such a matter. Except by the regular procedure allowed by the House of putting a Motion on the Paper, the Closure is moved by the Government, and we are entitled to criticise their unfair use of it.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

For the guidance of the House, may I ask, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, in what circumstances under our rules it is ever possible to have an unfair use of the Closure?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I do not think that question should be addressed to me.

Mr. Nally

I want, if I may, to put two questions on business to my right hon. Friend. The first is with regard to the Report of the Royal Commission on Betting and Gambling which, as my right hon. Friend will be aware, has now been in the hands of the Government for some considerable time. Can my right hon. Friend give us some indication of when we are to discuss that Report, if only for the purpose of congratulating the bookmakers on the kill they made on Derby Day? My second question on business, which is a much more serious one, is this. My right hon. Friend will be aware that last night an announcement was made by the Board of Trade on the subject of utility clothing which will effectively debar a large number of working-class families from acquiring such clothing and will price them out of the market. Will my right hon. Friend note that a number of my hon. Friends and I will be seeking at an early date to have a full discussion on the price of utility clothing, particularly as far as working-class families are concerned?

Mr. Ede

On the first of those two questions, my right hon. Friends and I are giving earnest consideration to the Report of the Royal Commission on Betting and Gambling, and we hope to be able to make a statement regarding our views on it. We accept the recommendation of the Royal Commission that this matter should be legislated for as a whole and not piecemeal. I have noted my hon. Friend's remarks with regard to his second question.