HC Deb 04 November 1954 vol 532 cc599-602
Mr. Attlee

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal whether he will 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, 8TH NOVEMBER—Motion to approve Highway Code.

At 7 o'clock, following arrangements made through the usual channels, a debate will take place on South-East Asia and the Manila Treaty, on a Motion in suitable terms.

It is proposed to suspend the Rule for one hour.

TUESDAY, 9TH NOVEMBER—Debate on the Reports and Accounts: Gas Council and British Electricity Authority for 1953–54.

WEDNESDAY, 10TH NOVEMBER—Report and Third Reading: Civil Defence (Armed Forces) Bill [Lords].

Committee stage: Pests Bill [Lords].

Consideration of Double Taxation Relief Orders.

THURSDAY, 11TH NOVEMBER—Report and Third Reading: Food and Drugs Amendment Bill [Lords].

Committee and remaining stages of Consolidation Measures: Pharmacy Bill [Lords].

Trustee Savings Bank Bill [Lords].

Post Office Savings Bank Bill [Lords].

Consideration of Amendments to Transport Charges &c. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which may be received from another place.

FRIDAY, 12TH NOVEMBER—It is proposed to afford an opportunity for a debate on the Reports from the Select Committee on the Army and Air Force Acts.

Mr. L. M. Lever

Is the Leader of the House aware that no fewer than 313 signatures, more than half the Members of the House, have been appended to the Motion in the name of the hon. Member for Brierley Hill (Mr. Simmons) relating to pensions and comfort allowances for the ageing limbless of the 1914–18 war? Is he also aware that many hon. Members are in full sympathy with the Motion, and would have supported it by signature were it possible? Shall we be allowed time to debate this Motion before the end of the present Session?

Mr. Crookshank

I am aware of the sympathetic reception which has been given to this Motion. The House knows that this is one of the many matters which are being considered by the Government, but at the moment I could not promise any time for a debate.

Mr. K. Thompson

Will my right hon. Friend reconsider the possibility of providing time for a discussion on the White Paper on the Exchequer Equalisation Grants, which was laid at the end of the Summer Recess?

Mr. Crookshank

I noted what was said last week.

Mr. Mikardo

Will the right hon. Gentleman say when he will allow time for consideration of the Seventh Report of the Scientific Advisory Council, which was laid during the Recess? If he does not propose to allow time, will he tell the House what is the good of laying these reports from high-level committees on vital topics if the House is never to have a chance of discussing them?

Mr. Crookshank

I must admit that I did not consider that that was a very urgent matter for discussion during the remaining short period of this Session.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Reverting to the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Walton (Mr. K. Thompson), will the Leader of the House bear in mind the injustice worked by the present operation of the Exchequer equalisation grants on many counties and county boroughs, arising out of the lack of uniformity of assessment and other matters?

Mr. Crookshank

I am sure my right hon. Friend has that matter well in mind.

Mr. S. Silverman

While these claims for time are being considered, may I ask whether the Leader of the House recalls that I have on a number of occasions, as have other hon. Members, asked him for time when the House might consider the Report of the distinguished Committee on Capital Punishment which sat for a number of years, heard a great deal of evidence and produced a most important Report on some aspects of which they were quite unanimous? Does the right hon. Gentleman not consider that the time has now come when we should have an opportunity to consider the state of the law which this Commission unanimously found to be unsatisfactory?

Mr. Crookshank

I have not forgotten that either, but if we are to debate all these things we shall never prorogue at all.

Mr. Black

Does my right hon. Friend hope to find time in the immediate future for a debate upon the White Paper on the Gatwick Airport proposals?

Mr. Crookshank

If there were to be a debate on civil aviation, on one of the nationalised industries, it is possible that that might come into the debate.

Mr. C. Hughes

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether time is likely to be given for a debate on the Government's White Paper on Wales?

Mr. Crookshank

I answered that question last week and I said that I hoped that it would be before the Prorogation. I hope to be able to announce it soon, but if all these threatened Motions of censure that I have read about were to take place, that might be squeezed out.

Mr. J. Hudson

If only half a day is being set aside next week for a discussion of the Highway Code—I appreciate that it was right to provide half a day for another important matter—will the Government reconsider the position, bearing in mind that this is a very important matter affecting the whole community in view of the continuing road accidents? Will the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, consider providing more time to debate that subject?

Mr. Crookshank

We all agree about the importance of discussing these matters, but the Highway Code has been before the House for some considerable time, and I should think that if speeches on Monday were not too long a great number of expressions of opinion might be heard before seven o'clock.

Mr. P. Morris

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that if he failed to provide a day for discussion of the Government action in Wales, it would only add to the list of censure Motions which are coming before him?

Mr. Crookshank

That sounds to me like a vicious circle resulting in no time being given for anything.