HC Deb 05 July 1956 vol 555 cc1545-8
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business for next week?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 9TH JULY—Supply [19th Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on New Towns and Overspill, in England and Wales.

Consideration of the Draft Wool Textile Industry Levy Orders; and the Draft Sale of Food (Weights and Measures: Bacon and Ham) Regulations.

TUESDAY, 10TH JULY—Report stage of the Finance (No. 2) Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 11TH JULY—It is hoped to complete the Report stage of the Finance (No. 2) Bill at a reasonable hour, and afterwards take the Committee and remaining stages of the Public Works Loans Bill; the British Caribbean Federation Bill; and the Governors' Pensions Bill.

THURSDAY, 12TH JULY—Supply [20th Allotted Day]: Committee, which it is proposed to take formally.

A debate will take place on Members' Salaries on a Motion to be tabled by the Opposition.

FRIDAY, 13TH JULY—Third Reading of the Finance (No. 2) Bill.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the Leader of the House aware that his statement about Thursday's business is slightly misleading, perhaps inaccurate? The position is that the Opposition decided that the question of Members' salaries should be discussed and that they would make available to the House generally one of their Supply days for that purpose. The debate will have to take place on a Motion because, otherwise, discussion of Ministers' salaries and Members' pensions would be out of order, but it is not the view of the Opposition, since the Prime Minister has made it plain that there is to be no free vote on this matter, that the Motion should be pressed to a Division, since we believe that this should be treated entirely as a House of Commons matter and not as a party issue.

Mr. Butler

I was not intending to give an inaccurate view, but the initiative in tabling a Motion will, I understand, be taken by the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues. Subject to that, we shall certainly be ready to discuss the matter in the atmosphere suggested by the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Lewis

We want to get the debate on Members' salaries in its correct perspective. When this matter was last discussed, more than 140 hon. Members opposite voted against any increase and said that they would not accept it, if granted. As there is only one hon. Gentleman who is now carrying out that honourable decision, could we find out from the Chancellor who he is, so that we may pay him the tribute that he deserves?

Mr. Butler

Every effort will be made to ascertain this noble character before Thursday, but I very much doubt whether, either constitutionally or practically, we shall be successful.

Mr. Callaghan

May I ask whether the Leader of the House has read the Motion put down by a group of hon. Members on the question of retrospection of pay for the police? Is he aware that although the Motion was tabled less than 48 hours ago, already nearly 150 hon. Members have signed it? Although I do not press him for a debate next week will he, in return, undertake to discuss the matter with his colleagues and give us a favourable reply?

[That, in the opinion of this House, the federated ranks of the Police Service should no longer be excluded from the benefits of retrospective pay agreements where appropriate, and, in particular, urges the Government to take the necessary action by legislation or otherwise, that will permit the recent Award of the Independent Police Arbitration Tribunal to be implemented.]

Mr. Butler

It is the intention of my right hon. and gallant Friend the Home Secretary to state his opinion on this matter, and that will no doubt give guidance to the House. I can give no undertaking about time for a debate. I am aware of the Motion and of the number of hon. Members supporting it.

Mr. Callaghan

We have always understood that the Home Secretary would give his views about the future. Will his answer also include his reasons for not accepting arbitration awards in the past?

Mr. Butler

I think I must let my right hon. and gallant Friend speak for himself.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the Leader of the House aware that it is, in our opinion, necessary that very shortly there should be a debate on foreign affairs, and that since there has not been a general debate on foreign affairs for a very long time we believe that this should be a two-day debate? If we are prepared to set aside one Supply day for that purpose, will be be prepared to find the rest of the time from Government time?

Mr. Butler

I was aware that the Opposition would wish a debate on foreign affairs and of the sort of proposal which the right hon. Gentleman has put forward. I suggest that we discuss the matter through the usual channels.

Mr. John Hall

May I reinforce what the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) has said about the Motion, in the names of many hon. Members on both sides, relating to the award of the independent police arbitration tribunal, and ask my right hon. Friend that when our mutual right hon. and gallant Friend gives a decision it will be a favourable one, and that we shall find the police receiving what they think is necessary?

Mr. Speaker

I do not think that that is relevant to the business for next week.

Mr. Edward Evans

Is the Leader of the House aware that the new Orders in respect of subsidies for the fishing industry must come into operation on 1st August? Is he aware that there has been no debate in the House on the fishing industry since last December? In view of the industry's importance, does he not think that the Government should have the opinion of hon. Members about their proposed plans? Otherwise, it will be too late. There will be no debate on the industry, the Government will have made up their minds, and the views of hon. Members will not have been heard.

Mr. Butler

There will be an opportunity for debate when the Orders are laid. We shall certainly pay attention to what the hon. Member has said.

Mr. Benn

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when it is proposed to debate the Motion setting up the Select Committee on procedure?

Mr. Butler

I cannot give any definite time at present.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is it not rather unfortunate that the Governors' Pensions Bill should come up on Wednesday, in view of the fact that it increases the pensions of colonial Governors? Does the Lord Privy Seal think that this is the appropriate time to discuss that Bill?