HC Deb 28 June 1956 vol 555 cc700-3
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal 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, 2ND JULY—Supply [16th Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on Home Office Affairs with particular reference to Aliens, Prisons, Police and Child Care.

TUESDAY, 3RD JULY—Supply [17th Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on Economies in Government Expenditure recently announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

It is proposed to take Supply formally and the debate will arise on a Motion to be tabled by the Opposition.

WEDNESDAY, 4TH JULY—Supply [18th Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on the Mid-Wales Agricultural Report (Cmd. 9631) until 7 p.m.

The House is no doubt aware that the Chairman of Ways and Means has already set down an opposed Private Bill for consideration at 7 o'clock this night, namely, the Liverpool Overhead Railway Bill [Lords], Second Reading.

Committee stage of the Navy, Army and Air Expenditure, 1954–55.

Consideration of the Lords Amendments to the Clean Air Bill; and the Lords Amendment to the Teachers (Superannuation) Bill.

Consideration of the Motion to approve the Draft British Transport Commission (Compensation to Employees) Regulations.

THURSDAY, 5TH JULY—Committee and remaining stages of the Coal Industry Bill, which it is hoped to obtain by about 7 o'clock.

Consideration of the Motion relating to the appointment of a Select Committee on the Reports and Accounts of the Nationalised Industries.

FRIDAY, 6TH JULY—Second Reading of the Public Works Loans Bill; and of the Sexual Offences Bill [Lords], which is a consolidation Measure.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the Leader of the House aware that, as announced, we propose to table a Motion for Tuesday's debate and that the terms of that Motion will be sufficiently wide to cover not only the question of economies in Government expenditure, but the economic situation more generally and, in particular, the alarming situation in the motor car industry?

Mr. Clement Davies

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, once again, to look at the Motion to which I have had to refer so often lately? May I ask him whether he is aware that it was hoped that this Motion might be debated on Monday as part of the debate on the Home Office Vote? Apparently it cannot be raised on the Home Office Vote, nor can it be raised on the Vote of the Ministry of Supply. Apparently there is no way of raising this matter except by specific Motion. That being so, may I ask again whether the right hon. Gentleman can find time for a debate on this matter, which is of vital constitutional importance?

[That this House, being gravely concerned both over the efficiency and humanity of the security services in their actions and decisions as evidenced by the case of Mr. Lang, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to review again the machinery for dealing with cases which arise outside the Civil Service and to institute a panel of independent judicial advisers to whom the evidence in such cases can be brought for consideration and advice before action is taken so that, as recommended in the findings of the Conference of Privy Councillors, the public may be convinced that the procedures in force will not be exercised unreasonably.]

Mr. Butler

I can give no undertaking that there will be time to discuss that Motion, important though it may be. The right hon. and learned Member will realise that a great deal of time is being given to Supply next week and that it is not for us to choose the Motions on Supply. I am sorry that he has not been satisfied in this respect on the Home Office Vote. In reply to the Leader of the Opposition, we take note of what he says.

Mr. Nabarro

Is my right hon. Friend aware that debate on the Coal Industry Bill, on Thursday, may possibly last longer than two or three hours? In view of the great importance of the ensuing business—Parliamentary accountability for the whole of the nationalised industries—would my right hon. Friend consider suspending the rule for the rather crowded programme on Thursday?

Mr. Butler

I will consider any means by which the Government can continue to get their business through up to date, but I anticipate that we shall be able to make progress with the Coal Industry Bill. Subject to what I have just said, I see no reason why we should not get through our programme that evening, but I will bear in mind what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. H. Morrison

Does not the Leader of the House think that the programme for Wednesday is overdone? It is very long and very varied. Is he not expecting the House to swallow things at a gulp in an unreasonable way? Will he look at the programme again?

Mr. Butler

I really reads worse than it is. We have got through very much more business in a day than is set down for Wednesday. It has also been somewhat altered by the introduction by the Chairman of Ways and Means of Private Business. I will certainly look at it, but I think we shall get through the business.

Dame Irene Ward

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I would rather discuss the plight of the small fixed income groups than any of the other business put down for next week in view of the fact that their case has been crowded out of the Finance Bill? They have a right to be heard in Parliament.

Mr. Steele

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's difficulty over Wednesday's business, and the fact that now we are told it will not take very long, may I ask whether it would be possible for us then to discuss the Motion in my name and the names of many hon. Friends, relating to the procedure of the House, and the suggestion that we might be able to get through the business by sitting at 10 o'clock in the morning?

[That this House is of the opinion that the pressure of Parliamentary business would best be relieved if Standing Order No. 1 were amended to provide for the Sitting of the House on the forenoon of each sitting day.]

Mr. Butler

I do not think that the hon. Member will expect me to give him complete satisfaction on that matter—[HON. MEMBERS "Why not?"] I can make no further comment on that. In reply to the hon. Lady the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward), I would ask her to see whether she could not discuss next Tuesday the matter to which she has referred.

Mr. Donnelly

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the answer he gave to the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) was most unsatisfactory? Without going into the particular merits of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's Motion, I must say it raises very serious and wide issues. Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether or not it is the intention of the Government to give some time to debate this vitally important matter before the Summer Recess?

Mr. Butler

No, I have consistently said that I could not give any undertaking on that matter, although I have never underestimated the importance attached to it by the right hon. and learned Member and other hon. Members.

Mr. Osborne

May I ask about Tuesday's business? Apart from the party political aspect, in view of the immense importance of the question, could my right hon. Friend see that we have an extra hour in which to debate its economic implications?

Mr. Butler

I should not like to guarantee an extra hour on a Supply Day. I think there should be time. I think that we should first have a look at the Motion which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition puts down.

Mr. Lewis

In view of the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Steele), and as the Prime Minister appears to want Members of Parliament to set a good example to the rest of the country, would the Lord Privy Seal consider having a three-shift system for Members of Parliament to help solve the problem of the pressure of work and of our hours and conditions?