HC Deb 14 July 1955 vol 543 cc2113-8
Mr. Attlee

May I ask the Leader of the House 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, 18TH JULY—Consideration of the Motion relating to the Parliamentary constituency of Mid-Ulster.

Report stage of the Civil and Services Supplementary Estimates.

Debates will take place on: Class V. Vote 10. Department of Health for Scotland; Class II, Vote 2, Foreign Office Grants and Services; and on the Navy, Army and Air Supplementary Estimates.

Report stage of the Navy, Army and Air Expenditure, 1953–54.

Consideration of the Motion relating to the Greenwich Hospital and Travers' Foundation Accounts.

TUESDAY, 19TH JULY—Debate on the Health Services in Scotland until about 7 o'clock.

Afterwards, a debate will take place on an Opposition Motion relating to Training and Employment in Remploy Factories.

Consideration of the Motions to approve the Draft National Health Service (Superannuation) Regulations, and similar Regulations for Scotland.

WEDNESDAY, 20TH JULY—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

Debate on the Report and Accounts of the National Coal Board for 1954.

Consideration of the Motion to approve the draft Coal Industry Nationalisation (Borrowing Powers) Order.

THURSDAY, 21ST JULY—Opposition Debate on the Shortage of Scientific and Technical Manpower.

Consideration of the Motions to approve the Agriculture Act (Part I) Extension of Period Order; and the Potatoes (Guaranteed Prices) Order.

FRIDAY, 22ND JULY—Second Reading of the House of Commons Disqualification Bill.

I announced last week that we hoped that all necessary business would be disposed of in time for the House to adjourn for the Summer Recess on Thursday, 28th July, and I can now inform the House that we shall propose that the date of reassembly be Tuesday. 25th October.

Mr. H. Hynd

The Leader of the House will remember that the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation promised to make a further statement about the sale of British Road Services lorries before the House rises for the Summer Recess. Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether that statement will be made next week in time to allow supplementary questions to be put? Can he give an assurance that the statement will not be by way of a Written Answer on 28th July?

Mr. Crookshank

Without consulting the Minister, I cannot reply to the hon. Gentleman. But I will call the attention of the Minister to his question.

Mr. Ellis Smith

But do I understand that a debate is to take place on the mining industry on Wednesday and, if so, am I correct in understanding that it will be exempted business? If not, will the right hon. Gentleman consider consulting my right hon. Friend to see whether the rule can be suspended, in view of the great and controversial issues which are bound to arise?

Mr. Crookshank

The debate will be on the Report and Accounts of the National Coal Board for 1954. That will be followed by the consideration of a Motion to approve the draft Coal Industry Nationalisation (Borrowing Powers) Order.

Mr. Smith

If we are to get the best out of that debate, and satisfy all hon. Members, we should be given more time to debate such a big issue.

Mr. Crookshank

That will be considered by those concerned, but we desire to get the Borrowing Powers Order.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

May I ask the Leader of the House whether the Government have yet considered the Report of the Joint Select Committee on Private Bill Procedure, and, if so, whether we are likely to have a debate on it before the Summer Recess? Do the Government contemplate legislation on this matter?

Mr. Crookshank

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, the matter is very complicated, and we are still considering it. I should not like to make a statement yet.

Mr. S. Silverman

Can the Leader of the House tell us what precise Motion the Government propose to table on Monday in relation to the Northern Ireland constituencies and when the Motion will be put on the Notice Paper?

Mr. Crookshank

To the best of my knowledge it is already on the Notice Paper.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether we may have a debate on the Phillips Report? Is he aware that some of us are beginning to think it very odd that we are not to be allowed to debate it, as hon. Members on this side of the House want to do?

Mr. Crookshank

I note what the hon. Lady has said. It is true that a great number of very odd things happen in the House, but I cannot say when there will be a debate on that subject.

Dame Irene Ward

Does my right hon. Friend think that that is a satisfactory answer, in view of the fact that the Government had a paragraph in their Election manifesto which said that action would be taken?

Hon. Members


Mr. Crookshank

I know from experience that it is very hard to satisfy the hon. Lady.

Mr. Ede

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we have had access to the House of Commons Disqualification Bill for rather less than 48 hours; that it is very complicated and raises the highest constitutional issues? Does not he think that we should have longer to consider this Measure? The Second Reading debate is to take place on Friday. That amounts really to only half-a-day, and may prove a very inadequate period. Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to consider representations to postpone the Second Reading debate, probably until the House reassembles in the autumn?

Mr. Crookshank

One of the reasons why this Second Reading debate was put down for Friday is that in the last few weeks I have been under pressure owing to the possible disqualification of certain hon. Members. That is why I wished the House to see the Bill as soon as possible. Of course, if strong representations are made, we shall, as always, consider them; but I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not press us to postpone the Second Reading. On a Bill of this kind I do not think that the Second Reading debate is the time when most of the argument arises. I think that happens during the Committee stage, when we consider individual qualifications and disqualifications. All that we discuss on Second Reading is the principle of having a Bill, which might be disposed of now and a great deal of time allowed for consideration before we reach the Committee stage.

Mr. Ede

Will the right hon. Gentleman note that I am not quite satisfied with his answer? I hope that representations will be made through the usual channels.

Mr. Crookshank

The right hon. Gentleman will, of course, realise that I get representations both ways, from both sides of the House.

Mr. Brockway

May I ask the Leader of the House when the Government propose to provide an opportunity for hon. Members to discuss the Report of the Royal Commission on East Africa? Does he remember that in our last colonial affairs debate hon. Members refrained from dealing with that subject in the hope that we should be able to discuss the Report of the Commission before the Recess? What opportunity will there be?

Mr. Crookshank

All I can say is that, obviously, there will not be an opportunity next week.

Mrs. Mann

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are a great many things under consideration and a great many things under active consideration? That being the case, why does he propose that the House should go away for three months?

Mr. Crookshank

I think that probably the hon. Lady is just as pleased as anyone else.

Mr. Shinwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain why this year it is necessary to have a rather longer Recess than in previous years when I think that we returned to the House about ten days or a fortnight before it is intended that we should return on this occasion? What is the reason for it? Is there no Government business, or do hon. Members want longer holidays?

Mr. Speaker

The adjournment of the House for the period mentioned will need a Motion to be agreed to by the House, which, I think, will be the appropriate opportunity for discussing the matter. It cannot be discussed at Question Time.

Dame Irene Ward

A very good idea.

Mr. Rankin

My hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) said that a hope of an early debate was expressed in the last colonial affairs debate, but I would point out that it was more than a hope. We were given almost a promise that before the House rose for the Summer Recess there would be a debate on the Report of the Royal Commission on East Africa. The Lord Privy Seal has just said that the debate will not be next week. Are we to conclude, then, that the debate will be the following week?

Mr. Crookshank

No, the hon. Gentleman must not read more into what I said.

Mr. Rankin

Another broken promise.

Mr. Crookshank

I should like to have the words of the alleged promise before me before I comment on them. I certainly gave no undertaking.