HC Deb 17 May 1956 vol 552 cc2210-2
Mr. J. Griffiths

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal whether he will state the business for the week after the Whitsun Recess?

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

Yes, Sir. The business for the first week after the Whitsun Recess will be as follows:

TUESDAY, 29TH MAY—Report and Third Reading of the Agriculture (Safety, Health and Welfare Provisions) Bill, and of the Slum Clearance (Compensation) Bill.

It is then proposed to afford an opportunity at about 10 o'clock for the completion of the Committee stage of the Death Penalty (Abolition) Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 30TH MAY AND THURSDAY, 31sT MAY—Report stage of the Road Traffic Bill.

FRIDAY, 1ST JUNE—Government business will be taken, namely, the Third Reading of the Road Traffic Bill and Report and Third Reading of the Administration of Justice Bill [Lords].

Mr. Griffiths

May I ask the Prime Minister whether, if negotiations about Singapore are resumed and there are developments, he will arrange for a statement to be made to the House before we adjourn tomorrow for the Whitsun Recess?

The Prime Minister

I have not had notice of that question. I know that my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary has had certain conversations, and I feel sure that, if he is in a position to do so, he will be happy to make a report tomorrow.

Mr. Bevan

Surely that would be desirable. We understand that discussions have been resumed, and it is hoped that they will reach a conclusion before we rise for the Recess. It might be convenient to the Government to make a statement on the matter either tonight or tomorrow.

The Prime Minister

If we make progress, as we hope to do, on the basis of the proposals that Her Majesty's Government have already put forward, we shall certainly be only too glad to report to the House where we stand.

Mr. Bevan

I understand that other proposals have been made which might result in a modification of the Government's position. Obviously, if negotiations are to be resumed only on the Government's proposals they would represent entirely abortive proceedings. We understand that there are new negotiations. If they break down, the House ought to be told why.

The Prime Minister

As I understand the position—I have followed it carefully —the negotiations are on the basis of the proposals that we have already made, and it is in relation to the proposals that we have already made that any new suggestion is proffered. As I have said, if, as a result of that, progress is made, my right hon. Friend or I will be very glad to make any report that we can.

Mr. Bevan

And if there is no progress?

The Prime Minister

I should not like to pin myself down to that. The right hon. Gentleman knows that if people are still talking—should it so happen; I do not know—it might be better not to do that.

Mr. Edelman

Can the Lord Privy Seal say whether the D.S.I.R. Report on Automation can be debated soon?

Mr. Butler

There is certainly no objection to its being debated on a Supply Day.

Mr. Marquand

Has the attention of the Leader of the House been drawn to a Motion on the Order Paper in my name and the names of a number of right hon. and hon. Friends of mine, now totalling more than 60, concerning the Special United Nations Fund for Economic Development? When he is considering the business after our return from the Whitsun Recess, will he bear in mind that this subject has not been debated in the House for more than two years?

[That this House, while noting that Her Majesty's Government, in its reply to a questionnaire from the United Nations, has given general support to the proposal for the establishment of a Special United Nations Fund for Economic Development, regrets that the Government has not recognised that the making of contributions to such a Fund by the major nations of the world would in itself greatly contribute to the relaxation of world tension and the achievement of disarmament; and, therefore, calls upon the Government to announce that it will co-operate fully and immediately in the establishment of the Fund provided that the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will do the same.]

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir; I am aware of that. For greater accuracy, I have a copy of the Motion with me. I cannot give any undertaking, but I will pay attention to what the right hon. Gentleman has said.