HC Deb 25 July 1957 vol 574 cc610-3
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Prime Minister whether he will state the business for next week?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

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

MONDAY, 29TH JULY—Consideration of the Motion standing in the name of the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr Benn)relating to the action of Mr Speaker on 22nd July.

After this Motion has been disposed of we shall begin the debate on Local Government, which will take place on a Government Motion to take note of the White Papers.

Then we shall consider the Motions to approve the Town and Country Planning (Minerals)(Amendment)Regulations, and similar Regulations for Scotland; and the Housing (Payments for Well-Maintained Houses)(Scotland)Order.

TUESDAY, 30TH JULY—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation)Bill, which it is proposed to take formally.

Conclusion of the debate on Local Government.

Committee and remaining stages of the Governors' Pensions Bill [Lords], which is a consolidation Measure.

WEDNESDAY, 31ST JULY—Committee and remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation)Bill.

Debate on Redundancy at Royal Ordnance Factories, until 7 o'clock.

Afterwards, there will be an opportunity for matters to be raised by private Members.

THURSDAY, 1ST AUGUST—A Debate will take place on an Opposition Motion on Retirement Pensions, until about 8 o'clock.

Then there will be an opportunity to discuss the question of the Attorney-General's Fiat, about which the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman)has tabled a Motion.

If all necessary business is disposed of it is hoped to adjourn for the Summer Recess on Friday, 2nd August. until Tuesday, 29th October.

It may be convenient for me to inform the House that it is expected that Prorogation will take place on Friday, 1st November, and that the new Session will be opened on Tuesday, 5th November.

I would remind the House that power already exists for Mr. Speaker, upon representations being made by the Government, to call the House together at an earlier date if such a course should be necessary in the public interest.

Mr. Gaitskell

Presumably, we shall be able to debate the Motion for the Summer Recess and, therefore, at this stage, I make no further comment on what the Prime Minister has said on that subject.

I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government will suspend the Standing Order for an hour on Monday so that there may be no interference with the debate on local government, from the earlier Motion on the action of Mr. Speaker.

[That this House is of the opinion that the statement made by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on 22nd July, in which he announced that the British authorities in Muscat and Oman had been given discretion, within certain limits, to take military action, constituted a definite matter of urgent public importance under Standing Order No. 9, and regrets that Mr. Speaker did not rule to that effect.]

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we on this side of the House have decided to set aside, out of Opposition time, the remaining part of Wednesday for private Members, in accordance with precedent and, similarly, we have decided to set aside the last two hours on Thursday for the Motion tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman)?

[That this House deeply deplores the refusal of Mr. Attorney-General to grant his fiat to enable John Willson Vickers to appeal against his conviction to the House of Lords, so as to establish on the highest judicial authority whether or not Section 1 of the Homicide Act effectively abolishes the doctrine of constructive malice and prevents a man from being liable to be convicted of murder who had no intention either to kill or to do grievous bodily harm, as the Government assured the House was its purpose during the debates on the Homicide Act.]

The Prime Minister

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. It would be very reasonable, if the Motion on Monday relating to Mr. Speaker's action is pressed, that another hour should be given to the rest of the debate. Perhaps an hour's suspension would be the right amount, so as not to curtail too much the debate on local government.

Sir T. Moore

I may have misheard my right hon. Friend. Could he say which White Paper is to be taken note of on Monday?

The Prime Minister

I think that the plan is to take all the four White Papers as the subject of the debate. It may perhaps be found convenient if the earlier part of Tuesday's debate were devoted more particularly to the Scottish aspect of the question.

Mr. Wigg

If a debate should develop on Wednesday on the two White Papers which the Government published yesterday, would the right hon. Gentleman make arrangements for a Government spokesman to reply?

The Prime Minister

Oh, yes, Sir.

Mr. J. Eden

Could my right hon. Friend say whether, before the House rises for the Summer Recess, we shall have an opportunity of hearing a further statement on the developments in Cyprus?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I do not think that there is any occasion for a further statement after those made in the debate we had a few days ago.

Mr. Patrick Maitland

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there are again rumours in the Press about Cyprus, that these cause anxiety, and that in view of the inconclusive nature of our debate the other day it is desirable for us to have a statement before the House rises?

The Prime Minister

I read the Press and I observe a large number of rumours on a large number of subjects. I do not wish to make myself unduly unpopular with the Press, but I notice that nearly all of them are incorrect.

Mr. George Craddock

May I ask the Prime Minister, in connection with busines tomorrow, whether he will be good enough to give a guarantee that the National Assistance Act, 1948 (Amendment)Bill will have the consideration of the House, because it is a very important Measure for old-age pensioners who use the "meals-on-wheels" service? When the Bill came before the House on Second Reading it had the support of hon. Members on all sides, so will he please give a guarantee that it will have further consideration and will. I hope, go through on the nod tomorrow?

The Prime Minister

I will look into that point. As I understand, this was a Private Member's Bill, and the last Private Member's day has passed. Therefore, I cannot give an undertaking, but I will consider what the hon. Gentleman has said.