HC Deb 23 June 1955 vol 542 cc1505-8
Mr. Attlee

May I ask the Leader of of the House whether he can 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, 27TH JUNE—Committee stage: Rating and Valuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

TUESDAY, 28TH JUNE—Completion of Committee stage: Rating and Valuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

Motions to approve: Draft Fertilisers (England, Wales and Scotland) Scheme; and a similar Scheme for Northern Ireland.

WEDNESDAY, 29TH JUNE—The Austrian State Treaty Bill is urgently required in connection with the ratification of this Treaty. It will be presented tomorrow and made immediately available. We shall ask the House to pass it through all its stages on Wednesday.

Second Reading: European Coal and Steel Community Bill.

Committee and remaining stages: German Conventions Bill.

Motions to approve: four Immunities and Privileges Orders which are on the Order Paper.

Double Taxation Relief Motions relating to the Isle of Man and Pakistan.

THURSDAY, 30TH JUNE—Second Reading: Road Traffic Bill.

Committee stage: Money Resolution.

FRIDAY, 1sT JULY—Second Reading: Miscellaneous Financial Provisions Bill.

Committee stage: Money Resolutions.

If there is time, Second Reading: International Finance Corporation Bill.

Committee stage: Money Resolution.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask the Leader of the House when we are likely to be able to have a debate on the Phillips Committee's Report, in view of the fact that a large number of us want to discuss the Government's policy towards the small fixed-income groups?

Mr. Crookshank

That is one of the matters which I have in mind, but I could not give a date at present.

Mr. S. Silverman

Is it the intention of the Government to provide an opportunity for the House to debate the agenda of the European Consultative Assembly meeting at Strasbourg, in respect of which the Prime Minister made an announcement yesterday? I ask the question because, following a supplementary question on the right hon. Gentleman's statement, it seemed to be indicated, at any rate by the right hon. Gentleman, that the delegation was in some way representative of the House of Commons. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Well, that is what he said. If that is so, ought not the delegation to have the opportunity of knowing the feeling of the House of Commons, which they are to represent, on the matters which the Assembly will discuss?

Mr. Crookshank

Our colleagues are going to Strasbourg in exactly the same capacity and conditions as they have done in previous years. There is nothing new this year compared with any other year. As regards discussing the agenda, that has not been put to me before.

Mr. Nabarro

In view of the great interest caused by the publication last Tuesday of the Report of the National Coal Board, and the Ministerial statement this week that we are to import 12 million tons of coal this year at a cost of £80 million, can my right hon. Friend say whether an opportunity can be provided for a full day's debate on the coal industry before we rise for the Summer Recess? After we return we shall be near the beginning of winter, and that will be too late.

Mr. Crookshank

The Report was published only this week and I dare say that hon. Members will wish to study it. It is true that three days are allotted for the nationalised industries to be discussed in this House, but I should think there was a good hope of our having a debate on this subject at a comparatively early date.

Mr. Benn

Is it the opinion of the Government that we should debate the new Atomic Agreements between ourselves and the United States of America?

Mr. Crookshank

If I receive a request through the usual channels, of course, I will consider it. This matter has not been put to me before.

Mr. Warbey

With regard to the business on Friday week, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the International Finance Corporation Bill raises the very important question of the method of international financing of the development of under-developed areas? Can we have an assurance that this Bill will not be thrown in late in the afternoon?

Mr. Crookshank

I merely said that if there was time on that day it would be taken. We shall have to see how we get along.

Mr. H. Wilson

The President of the Board of Trade has said that next Wednesday an important document—probably the most important yet—from the Monopolies Commission is to be published. Can the Leader of the House say whether a Government statement will be made next week on the Government's proposals for legislation and for the implementation of that Report? Can he also tell us whether we shall have an early debate on the Report when it is published?

Mr. Crookshank

I could not answer those questions without reference to my right hon. Friend. I do not know what his intentions are about making a statement.

Mr. S. Silverman

May I return for a moment to the question which I addressed to the Leader of the House just now? While I fully appreciate what he said about the practice in previous years, does he not appreciate that there are now two new factors? One is the Prime Minister's statement yesterday which, however guardedly, did seem to give a kind of representative capacity to this delegation which, formerly, had not been attributed to it. The second is that over the years it has become increasingly obvious that future discussions in this House are, to some extent influenced—not to say embarrassed—by the commitments which members of the delegation make in discussing similar matters. In those circumstances, will not the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the question whether the House of Commons might discuss these matters?

Mr. Crookshank

I really think that the hon. Member is reading too much into anything which may have been said yesterday. As far as I know, exactly the same thing was said yesterday by my right hon. Friend as has been stated on all previous occasions.