HC Deb 15 May 1952 vol 500 cc1632-6
Mr. Herbert Morrison

Would the Leader of the House be good enough to state the Business that the Government propose to bring before the House next week?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crook-shank)

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

MONDAY AND TUESDAY, 19TH AND 20TH, MAY—Committee stage: Finance Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 21ST MAY—Debate on the White Paper on Transport Policy, which will take place on a Government Motion.

THURSDAY, 22ND MAY—Committee stage: Finance Bill.

FRIDAY, 23RD MAY—Consideration of Private Members' Bills.

Mr. Morrison

Would the right hon. Gentleman favourably consider giving an extension of one hour to the debate on the Government's White Paper on Transport Policy? There are many hon. Members who wish to take part and for a good reason. Further, will the Government Motion be tabled or can the right hon. Gentleman tell us now, as was done sometimes in previous Parliaments, and whether the Motion is to be moved by the Prime Minister in view of the fact that he has taken such a prominent part in transport matters recently? We all hope it will be so.

Mr. Crookshank

If it is the general wish of the House I will put down a Motion to allow for an extra hour's discussion. I am in a position to give the terms of the Motion to the House now if it is thought it would be for their convenience. The Motion will read: That this House approves the policy of Her Majesty's Government for transport as set out in Command Paper 8538.

Mr. Morrison

There is in the Vote Office now a White Paper about the future of broadcasting and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Could the right hon. Gentleman say when it is proposed to take the debate on that White Paper? I am not pressing for it next week because we all want time to study it, but, on the other hand, the B.B.C. Charter comes to an end in June.

Mr. Crooks/tank

The Government are aware of that, but I would not like to be tied to a date now. I think everyone would prefer to study the document first.

Mr. E. Shinwell

Last week I ventured to ask the Leader of the House whether he would consult the Prime Minister with a view to a statement being made as to the course of military operations in Korea. I wonder whether the matter has been considered.

Mr. Crookshank

It has been considered and a statement is in the course of preparation. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will get in touch with me and I will let him know which day it will be convenient for it to be made.

Mr. John Hynd

In connection with the debate on the White Paper on Transport Policy, can the Leader of the House say whether the trade unions were consulted before this document was drawn up, in view of the very important implications of the document affecting the trade unions and the many thousands of workers employed in that industry and other industries indirectly connected with it?

Mr. Crookshank

That is not a question for me at this stage.

Mr. Julian Snow

In view of the disquiet evinced during Question time about the closing of sections of the British Museum, can the right hon. Gentleman say when the British Museum Bill will be taken, bearing in mind that it is now No. 17 on the list of First Readings?

Mr. Crookshank

I cannot give a day for it, though I have noted the disquiet.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Has the Leader of the House seen the Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Brightside (Mr. R. E. Winterbottom)? In view of the grave constitutional importance of matters contained in that Motion, namely, that the reason for the Tory Party implementing their promise on transport is because of the donations they have received from transport employers, can he arrange for a debate on that Motion before the debate on Wednesday on the Government's transport policy?

Mr. Crookshank

No, Sir.

Captain Robert Ryder

Can my right hon. Friend say when we are likely to get a statement about London Transport fares, which is not mentioned in the White Paper on Transport Policy?

Mr. Crookshank

My hon. and gallant Friend must ask my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport about a detailed matter of that kind.

Mr. R. T. Paget

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us when we are to have a debate on agriculture? There has been a fundamental change in agricultural policy by the transference of 40 per cent. of farmers' remuneration to subsidy. On the Agriculture (Ploughing Grants) Bill we were asked to keep the debate within narrow confines, because there was a debate coming on agriculture. When can we expect that debate?

Mr. Crookshan

I thought that would have come along on one of the Supply days.

Mr. Edward Shackleton

Is there any prospect of the Government being able to make a statement on the leakage which took place about the Government's proposals on transport, and if they feel that their investigations are complete may I ask whether an approach can be made to Lord lliffe, whose paper published this leakage?

Mr. Crookshank

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister yesterday, I think, in reply to a Question, stated that inquiries were still proceeding.

Mr. H. Morrison

It has been going on for a week or more and I should have thought that by now the Prime Minister or the Leader of the House would be in a position to make a statement.

Mr. Crookshank

I am not.

Mr. Geoffrey de Freitas

The Home Secretary gave an undertaking at Strasbourg that the Government would do everything within their power to see that the affairs of the Council of Europe were adequately discussed in this Parliament. In view of the fact that next week is the last chance of discussing the Government's intention before the Parliamentary delegation leaves for Strasbourg, what does the Government intend to do to honour this pledge?

Mr. Crookshank

The hon. Gentleman put a Question down to the Prime Minister this afternoon, but unfortunately it was not reached. I do not know whether it is possible for my right hon. Friend to give a reply or whether I should give a summary of it in reply to the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. de Freitas

So far as I am concerned, I am willing to have it in whatever form is most convenient.

The Prime Minister

If you, Mr. Speaker, would allow it, and if the House would treat it with the indulgence that these occasions sometimes merit, I would gladly answer the hon. Gentleman's Question. It is as follows: The statement referred to still represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government, to do everything possible to see that the affairs of the Council of Europe are debated in the House. Whether and how far it is possible to fulfil this undertaking must depend on the course of public business, and on this Questions should be addressed to the Leader of the House. The forthcoming meeting of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe will only last for one week and the major part of the Assembly's work will not be done until September. The matter cannot therefore be considered very urgent.

Mr. Harold Davies

In view of the great changes in policy that have taken place in Malaya, will the Government promise us a debate on Malaya before the Recess?

Mr. Crookshank

I cannot do that.

Mr. Frederick Peart

Referring to the question of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) on agriculture, I was under the impression that there was to be a special White Paper. Would it not be better to have a debate on that immediately and not wait longer?

Mr. Crookshank

I understand that there will be a White Paper. [HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] Quite shortly; I understand that it will be published before Whitsun. But it must not be assumed that every time there is a White Paper we should have a debate on that White Paper. The general subject of agriculture is one which is very suitable for a Supply day.

Mr. Woodrow Wyatt

In view of the unprecedented onslaught that is being made by the Government upon museums and art galleries, ought we not to have a day to debate the matter before too much damage is done to our national heritage?

Mr. Crookshank

One of the proper Supply days might be selected for it.

Mr. Harold Davies

Is the Leader of the House aware of the promise that he made to his own back benchers that a debate on Malaya would be held after the Christmas Recess? May we ask him whether he meant last Christmas or next Christmas?