HC Deb 26 November 1953 vol 521 cc526-9
Mr. Attlee

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal to state the business for next week?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

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

Monday, 30th November—Second Reading: Housing Repairs and Rents Bill.

Tuesday, 1 st December—Second Reading: Housing Repairs and Rents Bill.

Committee stage: Money resolution.

Motions to approve: Iron and Steel (Compensation to Officers and Servants) (Nos. 1 and 2) Regulations.

Wednesday, 2nd December—Supply [1st allotted Day]: Committee.

Ministry of Food Supplementary Estimate.

Thursday, 3rd December—Second Reading: Currency and Bank Notes Bill.

We hope we may obtain that by about 7 p.m.

Second Reading: Electoral Registers Bill.

Third Reading: Armed Forces (Housing Loans) Bill.

Report and Third Reading: Navy, Army and Air Force Reserves Bill.

Committee and remaining stages: Cinematograph Film Production (Special Loans) Bill.

Report stage: Ministry of Food Supplementary Estimate.

Friday, 4th December—Private Members' Bills.

Mr. Attlee

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to a Motion on the Order Paper about officers' pensions, which seems to have attracted a good deal of interest on both sides of the House? Does he propose to give any time for it to be discussed?

Mr. Crookshank

I have taken note of that, as I have of the many other Motions on the Order Paper.

Mr. A. Henderson

May I ask the Leader of the House to whom Questions on foreign affairs should be addressed, in view of the departure of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary for Bermuda?

Lieut-Colonel Lipton

The Minister of Works.

Mr. Crookshank

I did not realise that the right hon. and learned Gentleman meant that quite seriously, because the normal procedure will be followed. I think the Minister of State will be back; anyhow, there will be two Under-secretaries of State—and no doubt the more important Questions which are usually answered by the Prime Minister will be answered by somebody else.

Mr. Mellish

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is the intention of the Government to find time to discuss the Motion relating to the persecution of Catholics in Poland, which has been signed by many Members on both sides of the House?

Mr. Crookshank

I did say, last week. that a Motion which was then on the Order Paper was one which was bound to arouse the sympathy of Members in all parts of the House and throughout the country. Since then another Motion of a similar nature has been put down, and it is equally deserving of sympathy, but I cannot say anything about a debate.

Mr. Nabarro

In consideration of the very large number of Questions which are now being asked on the subject of atomic energy and development, and all the highly scientific and difficult matters referred to in the recent White Paper, will my right hon. Friend consider allowing Parliamentary time for a general debate on the White Paper before the Second Reading of the Bill to establish an atomic energy corporation?

Mr. Crookshank

That matter really does not arise at the moment, because there is a draft Order in Council before the House. I should like to know what action might be taken on that before entering into discussions, which I shall be quite ready to do through the usual channels, as well as with my hon. Friend, in due course.

Mr. S. Silverman

Can the Leader of the House say whether he has yet had an opportunity of considering the matter to which I drew his attention last week? Can he now say whether the Government intend, next week or in the near future, to afford the House an opportunity of discussing the Report of the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment?—or have the Government made up their minds to shelve this matter altogether?

Mr. Crookshank

The answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question is that this matter will not be discussed next week, the business for which I have already announced. With regard to the general question of a debate, it would be premature to make any statement, because, as I think everybody knows, it took the Royal Commission about five years to study this question, and the Report was presented to Parliament only in September. This is a matter upon which not only hon. Members of this House but the whole country would desire to form an opinion.

Brigadier Clarke

Has the attention of my right hon. Friend been drawn to the Motion standing in the name of myself and other of my hon. Friends relating to the Piltdown Man hoax?

Mr. Crookshank

Yes, Sir—

Mr. Bowles

On a point of order. The terms of this Motion are: That this House has no confidence in the trustees of the British Museum, other than the Speaker of the House of Commons, because of the tardiness of their discovery that the skull of the Piltdown Man is a partial fake. I can understand your name being left out of this Motion, Mr. Speaker, but surely it is not in order to attack Members of another House. I understand that the Lord Chancellor and the Archbishop of Canterbury are both trustees of this Museum.

Mr. Speaker

My attention has recently been drawn to this matter. I am not sure how serious the Motion is. I should like to consider it. Speaking for my statutory co-trustees, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chancellor, I am sure that they, like myself, have many other things to do besides examining the authenticity of a lot of old bones.

Mr. Crookshank

Perhaps I may now reply to my hon. and gallant Friend's question. I was going to say that it is a very awkward question, because my predecessor, the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) is a trustee and I am, myself, ex officio. As I told the House two years ago, we had quite enough skeletons to examine when we came into office without my yet haying found time to extend my researches into skulls.

Mr. Beswick

May I ask the Leader of the House what has happened to the Dentists' Bill?

Mr. Crookshank

I have no announcement to make beyond the fact that it is not a fake.

Brigadier Clarke

I beg to ask leave to withdraw my name from the Motion relating to the Piltdown Man, in view of the excellent answer which I have received.

Mr. P. Morris

Can the Leader of the House say when the White Paper—promised in the middle of November—in connection with the Report of the Council of Wales will be available?—or am I wrong in assuming that the right hon. Gentleman referred to November, 1953?

Mr. Crookshank

As a matter of fact, it will be available tomorrow. Was the hon. Member also asking about a debate?

Mr. Morris

Yes. I should be very glad to have information on that.

Mr. Crookshank

I thought that would come next. I hope we shall be able to arrange to have it possibly the week after next or, anyhow, this side of Christmas.

Proceedings on Government Business exempted, at this day's Sitting, from the provisions of Standing Order No. 1 (Sittings of the House).—[The Prime Minister.]