HC Deb 11 November 1954 vol 532 cc1403-6
Mr. Attlee

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

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

The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 15TH NOVEMBER—Debate on the Reports and Accounts of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and the British European Airways Corporation for the year ended 31st March, 1954, until 7 o'clock.

Motions for Addresses to continue in force for one year: Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Act, 1945.

Various Defence Regulations and enactments having effect under the Emergency Laws (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1947.

Motions relating to: Patents Act, 1949. Registered Designs Act, 1949.

Report and Third Reading: Pests Bill [Lords.]

TUESDAY, 16TH NOVEMBER—Debate on the Opposition Motion of Censure relating to Old-Age Pensions.

WEDNESDAY, 17TH NOVEMBER, AND THURSDAY, 18TH NOVEMBER—Debate on Western Europe on a Government Motion inviting the House to approve the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

FRIDAY, 19TH NOVEMBER— Lords Amendments: Mines and Quarries Bill.

These Amendments are expected to be received from another place today.

Mr. Rankin

Did I hear the right hon. Gentleman say that the civil aviation debate would terminate at 7 o'clock on Monday? Surely it is not right that we should be asked to deal with two Reports, the Reports of B.O.A.C. and of B.E.A.C., in only three hours. Cannot the matter be reconsidered? I could occupy the three hours myself.

Mr. Crookshank

I am sure that the whole House would be gratified at such a distinguished performance, which it would undoubtedly be, but these arrangements have been made through the usual channels, with the usual agreement.

Mr. C. Davies

Is it right that seven matters are to be taken on Monday, and that after 7 o'clock six of them will remain, one being the very important matter of the continuation of the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Act? Is that a matter which really can be disposed of in a few moments with five other matters which need important consideration?

Mr. Crookshank

The right hon. and learned Gentleman said "a few moments," but we do not usually have only a few moments after 7 o'clock. These are cognate matters which have always been discussed together, and normally after 10 o'clock, but by arrangement it has been decided to bring them forward to 7 o'clock for the convenience of hon. Members.

Mr. H. Morrison

Could the right hon. Gentleman oblige the House by saying whether, on Tuesday, in the discussion about old-age pensions, we may expect a fairly definitive statement from the Government about their intentions and when they propose to take action, so that the old people may know what their situation is?

Mr. Crookshank

The answer to that is quite obvious. The Opposition have put down a Motion of censure and they must wait and see what the reply to it is.

Mr. M. Lindsay

Is there any connection between the Motion of censure on old-age pensions and the by-election which is to take place next Thursday?

Mr. Crookshank

I think that everybody can draw his own deduction, including the electors.

Mr. McKay

May I draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to a Motion on the Order Paper asking for facilities to discuss the relationship of the B.B.C. to this House, and the difficulty we have in getting Questions answered and in securing opportunities to discuss day-to-day matters concerning the B.B.C.? Is he also aware of the immense amount of public feeling on Tyneside about the television broadcast of the Queen's visit? In several places where the Queen stopped for 20 minutes there was not the slightest television coverage. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider affording an opportunity for discussion of the Motion?

Mr. Crookshank

I noticed the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Tyne-mouth (Miss Ward) to the Motion on the Order Paper, but there is no possibility of my finding time now to discuss that.

Miss Ward

On a point of order. As this Motion happens to be my Motion, Mr. Speaker, and I am very grateful to the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. McKay) for supporting me, may I ask the Leader of the House, as this raises a constitutional issue, whether he will find time for a discussion upon it? May I further ask him whether he is aware that great indignation has been aroused on Tyneside by the lack of opportunity to raise this matter in the House? May I have an answer to my question?

Mr. Crookshank

The only reason I did not rise immediately was that my hon. Friend prefaced her question by saying, "On a point of order".

Miss Ward

Further to that point of order, then, Mr. Speaker——

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Lady's question was in no sense a point of order.

Miss Ward

May I ask for your guidance, on a point of order, Mr. Speaker? Is it not usual, in this House, that when an hon. Member puts down a Motion, the name of the hon. Member which is at the head of that Motion takes precedence over other hon. Members who support it? May I ask very respectfully, Sir, why my name, which stands at the head of that Motion, was not called first?

Mr. Speaker

I did not know what the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. McKay) was going to ask. I had no idea.

Mr. Usborne

With reference to the business on Wednesday and Thursday on the Paris Agreements, and while appreciating that we have two days, as this is an extremely controversial matter, may I ask whether the Leader of the House would agree to consider suspending the rule on the first day?

Mr. Crookshank

I have had no official request for that, and I should have thought that two days were enough. In spite of what the hon. Gentleman says, taking the House as a whole, it is not really a controversial matter.