HC Deb 17 December 1958 vol 597 cc1126-30
Mr. J. Griffiths

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

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

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

TUESDAY, 20TH JANUARY—Second Reading of the Electricity (Borrowing Powers) Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

WEDNESDAY, 21ST JANIJARY—Report and Third Reading of the Agriculture (Small Farmers) Bill.

Committee and remaining stages of the Transport (Borrowing Powers) Bill.

THURSDAY, 22ND JANUARY—Debate on the Education White Paper.

FRIDAY, 23RD JANUARY—Consideration of Private Members' Motions, which will be balloted for today.

Sir A. Baldwin

Will my right hon. Friend provide an early day for a discussion on the Report of the Royal Commission on Common Lands, which was set up three years ago and reported to the House last July?

Mr. Butler

We shall have to consider that request during the Christmas Recess.

Mr. Ede

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the subject mentioned by the hon. Member for Leominster (Sir A. Baldwin) is exciting considerable interest in the country and that an early debate would probably be very helpful to all concerned?

Mr. Butler

Perhaps the Opposition would care to choose it for a Supply day.

Sir T. Moore

I understood that the Home Secretary would tell the House before the Christmas Recess what were his proposals for adequate punishment for crimes of violence. The time is getting late.

Mr. Butler

I cannot regard that as a matter arising out of business, but I do not underestimate the seriousness of the position. I do not think that any further statement could be made before Christmas, though it need not necessarily be indefinitely delayed.

Mr. Foot

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to the Motion which appears on the Order Paper in my name and in the name of some of my hon. Friends, this morning, regarding the allegations made by Mr. Rawson Macaria that perjured evidence was given at the trial of Jomo Kenyatta and others?

[That in view of the statements recently made by Mr. Rawson Macaria in an affidavit and also in an interview with the hon. and learned Member for Ipswich that he gave false evidence at the trial of Jomo Kenyatta and others; that this evidence was dictated to him by a police officer and that he received a substantial consideration therefor, including an air passage to the United Kingdom, a two-years' course at a British University valued at £1,000, subsistence for two years for his family valued at £250 and a promise of employment by the Kenya Government on his return; that six other prosecution witnesses were offered money in his presence and received sums varying from 3,000 to 6,000 shillings; that at Nyeri from 11th November until 23rd November, 1952, the prosecution witnesses were rehearsed twice a day by police officers at a "model court" in the evidence they were to give at the trial; and that, in view also of the fact that the Magistrate who conducted the trial expressly accepted Macaria's evidence in peference to that of ten witnesses for the defence, this House calls upon Her Majesty's Government to institute a public inquiry, presided over by a person of judicial experience, into these allegations by Mr. Rawson Macaria.]

If no sufficient inquiry, or no inquiry at all, has been made in the meantime, shall we have an opportunity of debating this matter when the House reassembles in January?

Mr. Butler

That is a reasonable request. I think that the House has already been informed, in reply to earlier questions, that my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary wants a little longer to consider the comments of the Governor which he has received. I do not think that it would be possible, therefore, to discuss this matter before the Recess, because I do not think my right hon. Friend will reach a conclusion before that date. Meanwhile, the seriousness of the matter is realised by my right hon. Friend and the request of the hon. and learned Gentleman will be noted.

Mr. J. Hynd

Are we not to have any statement of any kind relating to an early debate on our relationship with the Common Market? Has a White Paper not been produced setting out what has been happening up to date? We were given a promise, some weeks ago, that there would be an early debate and that a White Paper would be published so that we should know where we were going.

Mr. Butler

Ministers have just returned from Paris. It is quite clear that the matter is one of great importance to our country and one upon which it is impossible to crystallise the situation in time for a White Paper to be prepared before the Recess. Therefore, there is no chance of discussing this matter before the Recess.

Dr. Summerskill

Do I understand that there is a possibility that the Mental Health Bill might be presented before the House adjourns? If so, could the right hon. Gentleman say when the House will be able to discuss it?

Mr. Butler

Formal presentation of the Bill is being made today and publication will probably take place soon after Christmas so as to give ample opportunity for its consideration.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that there is on the Order Paper a Motion dealing with the Suez campaign?

[That this House, having noted the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs' statement that Mr. Randolph Churchill's articles on Suez in the "Daily Express" were in many respects inaccurate, without specifying these inaccuracies, and, in view of the charges that the state of our military preparedness was staggering and humiliating, that the proof that there was collusion with Israel is now massive and conclusive, that Her Majesty's Government's actions brought about a drain on sterling and a threat to the pound, and that the United States Government insisted that United States financial assistance would only be given after a cease fire order in Egypt, and in view of the failure of Her Majesty's Ministers to answer these charges after the Foreign Office had drawn attention to them, calls for a Select Committee to inquire and report on the events leading to hostilities in Suez, the military operations and the political and economic consequences of Her Majesty's Government's policy.]

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that yesterday the time to debate this matter was so inadequate that the Secretary of State for War completely forgot to answer the charges by Mr. Randolph Churchill? Is he also aware that the Front Bench spokesman on this side of the House had only two minutes in which to deal with that important debate? In view of the fact that Sir Anthony Eden's book is likely to bring up the whole controversy again, and that the controversy is not ending but is just beginning, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that he can provide an opportunity for a full debate?

Mr. Butler

We heard quite a lot on that subject last night. It is a great pity that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War did not have more time in which to deploy the arguments that he would have used.

Mr. Bellenger

Further to the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd), may I ask the right hon. Gentleman this question? He will know that the Common Market arrangements come into force on 1st January, and that it will not be until nearly three weeks thereafter that the House resumes. May we have an assurance that the Government will, by that time, be able to produce a White Paper and make a full and adequate statement?

Mr. Butler

It is, I think, known that it has been decided, by a procedural motion, to have a further meeting in Paris of the nations concerned. I think that the date is 15th January. I do not think that, before then, it will be possible to crystallise the situation sufficiently, but it certainly is most important that the House of Commons should have an opportunity of realising the full import of these matters and also of realising the full significance of British policy. I trust that that will be so at the time we resume.