HC Deb 11 March 1954 vol 524 cc2435-40
Mr. Attlee

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal whether he will state the business for next week?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crooksfaank)

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

MONDAY, 15TH MARCH—Second Reading: Town and Country Planning Bill.

Committee stage: Money Resolution.

TUESDAY, 16TH MARCH—Supply [10th Allotted Day]:

Committee stages: Army Estimates, Votes 1, 2, 5, 8, 10 and 11.

Navy Estimates, Votes 1, 2, 6, 9, 10, 13 and 15.

Air Estimates, Votes 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 and 11.

At 9.30 p.m., under the provisions of the Standing Order, the Question will be put from the Chair on the Vote under discussion and on all outstanding Estimates, Supplementary Estimates and Excess Votes required before the end of the financial year.

Committee and remaining stages: Pensions (Increase) Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 17TH MARCH—Committee stage: Atomic Energy Authority Bill.

It is proposed to report Progress on this Bill at about 8 o'clock in order that the Prayers relating to Transport (Additional Charges) Regulations may be moved at an early hour. In view of the importance of this matter, I hope that this arrangement will commend itself to the House.

THURSDAY, 18TH MARCH—Supply [11th Allotted Day]:

Report stage: Civil Supplementary Estimates, which were taken in Committee on 16th February.

Debate on:

Class VI, Vote 10, Ministry of Supply.

Class II, Vote 1, Foreign Services.

Vote 5, United Nations.

Vote 2, Foreign Office Grants and Services.

At 9.30 p.m., under the provisions of the Standing Order, the Question will be put from the Chair on the Vote under discussion, and on all outstanding Estimates, Supplementary Estimates and Excess Votes required before the end of the financial year.

Committee and remaining stages: British Industries Fair (Guarantees and Grants) Bill.

FRIDAY, 19TH MARCH—Private Members' Motions.

Mr. Attlee

Will the right hon. Gentleman note that we shall take an early opportunity on a Supply Day to discuss the Vote of the Ministry of Health.

Mr. Crookshank

I have noted it.

Mr. Royle

As the Press this morning published the fact that the new Constitution of British Honduras is to be suspended, as the draft of the new Constitution is not available in the Vote Office, and as elections are due in that Colony in April, cannot some time be given next week to discuss this very urgent matter?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not see any prospect of debating it next week. We have to get the various Estimates through.

Mr. C. Davies

Can the Leader of the House say when we shall have an opportunity of discussing the Motion in the right hon. Gentleman's own name which appeared on the Order Paper this morning?

[That, during the remainder of the present Session, except in such cases as the House may otherwise order

(1) No proceedings on a motion to which this Order applies shall be entered upon at or after half-past eleven of the clock.

(2) such a motion is under consideration at half-past eleven of the clock, Mr. Speaker shall forthwith put the question thereupon to the House, provided that, if he shall be of opinion that

  1. (a) owing to the lateness of the hour at which consideration of the motion was entered upon, or
  2. (b) because of the importance of the subject matter of the motion,
the time for debate has not been adequate, he shall interrupt the business and the debate shall stand adjourned till the next sitting (other than a Friday).

(3) A debate which has been adjourned under paragraph (2) of this Order shall not be resumed later than eleven of the clock, but shall stand further adjourned till the next sitting (other than a Friday), and the foregoing provisions of this paragraph shall apply to any debate which has been further adjourned under this paragraph as if the further adjournment were an adjournment under paragraph (2) of this Order.

(4) The Motions to which this Order applies are

  1. (a) any Motion for an Humble Address to Her Majesty praying that a Statutory Instrument be annulled, and any Motion that a draft of an Order in Council be not submitted to Her Majesty in Council, or that a Statutory Instrument be not made;
  2. (b) any Motion that, or for an Humble Address to Her Majesty praying that, any other document which may be subject to proceedings in the House in pursuance of a Statute be annulled, or cease to be in force, or be not made.]

Mr. Crookshank

Before I say anything at all, I ought to express on its behalf the thanks of the House to the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues for the work which they put in on the Select Committee dealing with the subject.

We have considered the Committee's Report, and, in consequence, we have decided to propose to the House that as an experiment a Sessional Order be made to give effect this Session to the Committee's recommendations with regard to the discussion of Prayers. The recommendation is in paragraph 105 of the Report.

Hon. Members will be aware of the terms of the draft Sessional Order as it appears on the Order Paper. I have taken soundings in various parts of the House, and I understand that it is generally thought worth making this experiment. As to whether it will be necessary to have a debate on the actual Order when it is moved next week, I am entirely in the hands of the House, but as it is only an experiment perhaps the House would like to proceed and see how it works this Session. Next Session we can see whether it is worth carrying it on, whether we should make a change or whether we should drop it altogether. I am sure we are very much obliged to those of our colleagues who have worked so very hard on this problem.

Mr. Driberg

Would the Leader of the House consider giving time for the Prayer on the Order Paper, signed by 125 hon. Members, relating to political discrimination against a clergyman of the Established Church, bearing in mind that this is a concern of Parliament both because a fundamental issue of freedom is involved and because this action is a clear breach of the spirit of the Incumbents' Discipline Measures which were fully and anxiously debated by this House?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not see my way to giving any time for that at present.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Will the Leader of the House consult his right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Labour about the urgent need for the House to give consideration to the Report which has been presented under the Industrial Courts Act dealing with the position in the engineering industry? The engineering industry has now been involved in negotiations for nine months. Now that the Report has been presented, it is, in the view of many of us, becoming an urgent matter that the House should give consideration to it.

Mr. Crookshank

All I can suggest to the hon. Gentleman is that a lot of time is available to the Opposition for general debates on Supply, the Consolidated Fund Bill, and so on, so perhaps he will make representations in that direction first.

Mr. H. Morrison

To revert to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg), the Leader of the House gave his answer rather quickly and shortly and I wonder whether the subject was rather strange to him and whether he had really thought about it. There may be arguments about the merits when we come to debate the matter—I do not know—but, on the face of it, an important point of principle is involved in it. Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough, between now and next Thursday, to think about it so that he might then give a more considered reply than he has been able to give today?

Mr. Crookshank

I spend all my weeks thinking about this sort of thing. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I will think especially hard about this subject, but that does not alter my preliminary view that I do not think it is very likely that we shall be able to find time for it.

Sir E. Boyle

Would my right hon. Friend consider the possibility of finding time for a short debate on the proposed new Sessional Order on Statutory Instruments, in view of the fact that there were two opinions on the Select Committee about this new form of Closure even as a temporary expedient, and that it might be worth a little discussion?

Mr. Crookshank

I thought I had covered that point when I said that if there was a desire for a short debate we might find time for it.

Mr. Albu

When is it proposed to have a debate on the Second Reading of the. Industrial Organisation and Development Bill? Or is this matter still under discussion on the Government side?

Mr. Crookshank

It is still under consideration. It is not coming up next week, anyway.

Mr. Jay

Does the absence of the Television Bill from next week's business mean that it suffered the same fate upstairs as the Industrial Organisation and Development Bill?

Mr. Crookshank

The right hon. Gentleman would be among the first to object if we asked the House to discuss it in less than a week from its presentation.

Mr. Moyle

When is it proposed to lay before the House the Regulations under the Local Government (Superannuation) Act. 1953?

Mr. Crookshank

The hon. Gentleman must ask that question of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education.

Mr. J. Johnson

Can the right hon. Gentleman find time to discuss the Teachers (Superannuation) Bill, or is that also under discussion by hon. Members opposite?

Mr. Crookshank

It is not down for next week.

Mr. Swingler

May I ask the Leader of the House a question about the rules of procedure applying to Estimates debates, with a view to eliciting—

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are now on business questions. If the hon. Gentleman will wait, I will give him an opportunity later to raise this matter.

Mr. Rankin

On a point of order, which is not on immediate business, but is for the guidance, I hope, of the House. Earlier this afternoon the Home Secretary made a statement which you, Sir, said would be the subject of discussion in the House. Following that statement, my hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Collick) gave notice that he would raise one aspect of the matter on the Adjournment. You have already ruled on many occasions that once notice has been given to raise a matter on the Adjournment no further discussion can take place on the matter until the Adjournment debate comes on. Am I to conclude that when the general discussion ensues, that aspect of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's statement cannot be dealt with until the Adjournment debate has taken place?

Mr. Speaker

There is nothing in that point of order.