HC Deb 03 February 1955 vol 536 cc1272-4
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, 7TH FEBRUARY—Committee and remaining stages: Cocos Islands Bill.

Colonial Development and Welfare Bill.

Import Duties (Substitution) (No. 1) Order, relating to cut flowers.

Draft Coastal Flooding (Acreage Payments) Scheme.

Purchase Tax (No. 1) Order, relating to cycle motor-attachments.

TUESDAY, 8TH FEBRUARY—Second Reading: Transport (Borrowing Powers) Bill.

Committee stage, Money Resolution.

WEDNESDAY, 9TH FEBRUARY—Committee stage: Army Bill, with which it is hoped to make good progress.

It is also proposed to put down on the same day the two related Bills—the Air Force Bill and the Revision of the Army and Air Force Acts (Transitional Provisions) Bill.

THURSDAY, 10TH FEBRUARY—Debate on Capital Punishment, which will arise on a Motion to take note of the Report of the Royal Commission.

FRIDAY, 11TH FEBRUARY—Private Members' Motions.

Mr. de Freitas

In drafting the Motion for Thursday, will the Leader of the House take account of the early day Motion on the Order Paper upon this subject, which calls for the suspension—as an experiment for five years—of the death penalty for murder?

Mr. Crookshank

I have just said that the debate will arise upon a Motion to take note of the Report of the Royal Commission.

Mr. de Freitas

I am well aware of that. I am asking whether the right hon. Gentleman will take notice of this early day Motion when he is drafting the Motion for Thursday?

Mr. Crookshank

The Motion will ask the House to take note of the Report.

Mr. de Freitas

Yes, but having taken note of it, one can go on to furnish one's opinion that there should be this experiment.

Mr. Robens

When does the right hon. Gentleman feel that he will be able to provide time to implement the promise given by him that we should debate the recent agreement signed by the Government with the High Authority of Luxemburg in relation to the Coal and Steel Community?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not think that any promise was given to that effect, but if a debate is desired the matter can no doubt be dealt with through the usual channels.

Mr. Robens

Surely the right hon. Gentleman made a promise. If he looks at HANSARD he will see that a promise was made that we should have a debate.

Mr. Crookshank

No. It was said that there would be opportunities of debating the matter before a final decision was taken and, of course, every day is an opportunity until the time expires under the Ponsonby Rules. It has long been the practice that, if there is a sufficient desire on the part of the House to discuss a Measure awaiting ratification, time will be provided, but that desire has not yet reached me through the usual channels.

Mr. Robens

I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman should think so lightly of his duties to the House as to produce such a reply. When he made his statement upon this matter there was certainly great feeling in the House that there should be a debate. The inference certainly was that a debate should be arranged. The right hon. Gentleman should look at the position again.

Mr. Crookshank

I can only say that if there is this strong feeling on the part of the Opposition, perhaps they will communicate it to me through the usual channels.

Mr. S. Silverman

Arising out of the question raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas) and the right hon. Gentleman's answer, may I ask whether he will bear in mind that the Royal Commission made a number of important recommendations, on some of which it was unanimous? Is he further aware that none of the recommendations—with, perhaps, one exception—could be put into effect without legislation? May I therefore ask whether the Government propose to make an announcement about their policy, at any rate on those recommendations which were unanimous?

Mr. Crookshank

I really do not think I should be asked to anticipate next week's debate.