HC Deb 01 December 1955 vol 546 cc2511-5
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)

The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 5TH DECEMBER—Debate on Cyprus, which will take place on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

TUESDAY, 6TH DECEMBER—Second Reading of the Teachers (Superannuation) Bill, and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Committee and remaining stages of the Leeward Islands Bill [Lords].

WEDNESDAY, 7TH DECEMBER—Consideration of the Motion to approve the Draft National Assistance (Determination of Need) Amendment Regulations.

Consideration of the Motions to approve the Draft Coastal Flooding (Acreage Payments) Scheme, the Draft Lace Industry (Scientific Research Levy) Order, and the International Finance Corporation Order.

THURSDAY, 8TH DECEMBER—Report stage of the Finance Bill.

FRIDAY, 9TH DECEMBER—Consideration of Private Members' Bills.

Mr. Attlee

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he thinks he will be able to find time for a debate on agriculture, with special reference to pigs, before the Christmas Recess? Perhaps he would be able to tell us what the date of the rising of the House will be.

Mr. Crookshank

I do not think that there is much likelihood of finding time for pigs this side of Christmas—at least, not for debating them. As regards the time when the House may rise for Christmas. I cannot yet give a firm date, but I should hope that, if we all apply ourselves to our work with assiduity and zeal, it may be possible to rise on the Wednesday before Christmas.

Mr. Nabarro

May I ask my right hon. Friend a question about the nationalised industries? Is he aware that the Select Committee has now virtually thrown in its hand? As hon. Members on this side of the House are largely in the hands of the Opposition as to debating those industries, and, in any event, the debates on their reports and accounts are now months in arrear, can my right hon. Friend say what is being done to restore a modicum of Parliamentary accountability?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not know that I can accept all those statements, but I would remind the House that a Question was put to my right hon. Friend about the Report of the Select Committee and that the Prime Minister then said that it was receiving consideration. If a debate is what is meant by "a modicum," may I say that it is the practice that there should be three days for debate on the nationalised industries during the course of the year, and that I hope it may be possible to arrange the third one, which is due, before we rise for Christmas.

Mr. Rankin

Can the Leader of the House say that he hopes that a debate on civil aviation will take place before the House rises for Christmas?

Mr. Crookshank

That is exactly what I have just been saying—that there is to be a third day on the nationalised industries and that I hope we may be able to fit it in before the Christmas Recess. I understand that the Opposition have chosen civil aviation as the subject for that day.

Mr. Nabarro

Yes, we on this side are in the hands of the Opposition in this matter. That is the point.

Dr. Broughton

May I draw the attention of the Leader of the House to one of the Motions on the Order Paper dealing with the vexed question of the proposed ban on heroin, and the clinical use of heroin in the United Kingdom, which stands in my name and the names of several of my hon. Friends? In view of the concern felt in the House and the country about the ban on the manufacture of heroin and its being prohibited in that way from use, will the Leader of the House give an opportunity for a debate on that Motion before the Christmas Recess?

[That this House, having taken into consideration the opinion of many eminent members of the medical profession who hold the view that there is no adequate and equally effective substitute for heroin, and having regard to the feelings of concern among many practising doctors who are alarmed at the prospect of being denied the use of heroin for the relief of patients in need of the drug, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to reconsider the proposed ban on the manufacture of the drug, and, whilst prepared to support Her Majesty's Government in all reasonable measures to suppress traffic in drugs, is of the opinion that the manufacture of heroin under licence should be continued in order to provide the medical profession with that quantity of the drug that is required for clinical use within the United Kingdom where hereoin addiction is little known.]

Mr. Crookshank

No, Sir, I do not see any possibility of debating that, but I would remind the House that a Question is being answered today by the Home Secretary on that subject.

Dame Irene Ward

I have a Motion on the Order Paper. If my right hon. Friend cannot give a day for a debate on that Motion, can he take action without a debate? May I have an answer?

[That, in the opinion of this House, for the purpose of a correct historical record, the statement of Lord Hardinge of Pensharst giving the part he, the Prime Minister, Mr. Stanley Baldwin, and Mr. Geoffrey Dawson played at the time of the abdication as it appeared in The Times of 29th November, 1955, should be embodied in a White Paper and placed in the Library.]

Mr. Crookshank

I was trying to see to which of the many Motions to which my hon. Friend has put her name she was referring.

Dame Irene Ward

I have only one Motion standing in my name at the moment.

Mr. Daines

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when we shall come back after Christmas? May I inform him that many of us on this side take a very dim view of a long Christmas Recess?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not see how the hon. Gentleman can have any feelings on that matter, because he does not know how long it is going to be. Neither do I.

Mr. M. Lindsay

Will my right hon. Friend take note of the fact that many of us think it is very important that we should have a debate on the nationalised industries before the House rises, in view of the increasing anxiety felt by Members in all parts of the House about the unfair retail trading practices of the National Coal Board?

Dr. King

Since the Leader of the House owes a debt to the teaching profession, but for whose ministrations neither he nor any other Member of the House would be here—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—does he not think he could find a more profitable use for next Tuesday than bringing in a Measure which will create a sense of very bitter injustice among the whole of the teaching profession?

Mr. Crookshank

I think that, as the Bill was presented several days ago, it would be very desirable if the Minister of Education explained its details to the House as soon as possible. I am not the son of a teacher, so I do not know what the hon. Gentleman meant by all that.

Mr. Baldwin

Will my right hon. Friend find time before the Christmas Recess for a debate upon the Report of the Royal Commission on East Africa which was published six months or so ago?

Mr. Crookshank

No, Sir, I do not see any possibility of giving time at present.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the Motion on the Order Paper relating to an extradition treaty with the Republic of Ireland, signed by eight hon. Members who are supporters of the Government? Why is he not finding time to discuss Northern Ireland, in view of the great tension there and the loyal support hon. Members opposite give it?

[That, in view of the repeated attacks on military and police establishments in Northern Ireland by members of illegal organisations originating in the Irish Republic, and in view also of the wholehearted condemnation of these attacks which has been expressed by Mr. De Valera and other responsible leaders of public opinion in the Irish Republic, this House calls on Her Majesty's Government to request the Government of the Irish Republic without delay to negotiate an extradition treaty to include offences committed in Northern Ireland.]

Mr. Hyde

May I also draw my right hon. Friend's attention to that Motion, which stands in my name, and the names of almost all other Members from Northern Ireland? In view of recent events, could my right hon. Friend not find time for a discussion of the desirability of negotiating an extradition treaty with the Republic of Ireland?

Mr. Crookshank

A great number of most interesting proposals are put down as Motions on the Order Paper. I must remind the House that this is the period of the year in which the Ballot is taken for Private Members' Motions, and that some of those proposals could well be chosen as the subjects for debate on those Private Members' days.

Mr. Wade

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House when we may expect to have the promised Bill on monopolies and restrictive practices? Will it be before Christmas?

Mr. Crookshank

I could not say.

Mr. G. Thomas

In view of the interest of many people in Tuesday's business, will it be possible to extend that day's deliberations by one hour? There are bound to be many hon. Members who will wish to speak.

Mr. Crookshank

I could not make any statement now about that, but if it is the desire of the Opposition it could be discussed through the usual channels.