HC Deb 06 February 1958 vol 581 cc1351-4
Mr. Gaitskell

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

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

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

MONDAY, 10TH FEBRUARY—Second Reading of the Land Powers (Defence) Bill.

Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

TUESDAY, 11TH FEBRUARY—Second Reading of the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Bill.

Second Reading of the Commonwealth Institute Bill.

Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Second Reading of the Recreational Charities Bill [Lords].

Committee stage of the necessary Ways and Means Resolution.

WEDNESDAY, 12TH FEBRUARY—Second Reading of the Life Peerages Bill [Lords].

Consideration of the Instruction to the Committee on the Park Lane Improvement Bill, which is already on the Order Paper.

THURSDAY, 13TH FEBRUARY—Conclusion of the Second Reading debate on the Life Peerages Bill [Lords].

FRIDAY, 14TH FEBRUARY—Consideration of Private Members' Motions.

Mr. Gaitskell

May we take it that in all probability there will be a two-day foreign affairs debate the following week?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I do not like announcing business a week ahead, but I think that the probability is almost certain.

Sir T. Moore

As my right hon. Friend no doubt regrets that last Friday there was not time to debate the second Motion on the Order Paper, dealing with crimes of murder and violence, and as the Motion is again on the Order Paper—no doubt we would be justified in accepting it if we had an opportunity of discussing it—will he now consider giving an early date for its debate?

[That this House expresses its grave anxiety at the marked increase in crimes of violence and murder; and calls on Her Majesty's Government so to amend the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, and the Homicide Act, 1957, as to enable the courts to inflict corporal punishment for crimes of violence, and capital punishment for all crimes of murder.]

Mr. Butler

The best opportunity will be in further Ballots for private Members' Motions. That does not mean that I underestimate the importance of the Motion dealing with crimes and violence to which my hon. Friend refers.

Mr. F. Noel-Baker

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he can tell us when we shall have a statement on Cyprus? Is it not a shocking thing that as day after day goes by the situation gets more and more explosive and dangerous, and the Government still hesitate? When will the Government make up their mind?

Mr. Butler

The Government are not hesitating, but are grappling with the difficulties of the situation in Cyprus. We shall make a statement when we have a profitable statement to make.

Mr. Peart

Will the acting Prime Minister again look at the Motion still on the Order Paper dealing with education and, next week, see that the Minister of Education comes to the House and announces the withdrawal of the circular in question? Will he also indulge in a little nostalgia and realise that this mean circular will frustrate the aims of the Education Act, 1944?

[That, in the opinion of this House, the economies envisaged by Ministry of Education Circular 334, 27th January, 1958, will cause irreparable harm to the education service; and, in view of the need for a rapid expansion of technical education, this House asks Her Majesty's Government to withdraw the circular.]

Mr. Butler

I regard the latter comment of the hon. Gentleman as a patent exaggeration. I do not think that the circular will destroy the aims of the 1944 Act. As for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education not coming to the House, I often see him here. As this is a matter involving public money, I should have thought that it was essentially a subject which the Opposition might use a Supply Day to discuss.

Mr. Brockway

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman when the House will be given an opportunity to discuss the Electoral Bill of the Central African Federation, which has been referred to the Government by the African Affairs Board?

Mr. Butler

I could not give a definite answer to that question.

Mr. Donnelly

While I appreciate the difficulties of the right hon. Gentleman and the Government in finding an opportunity to make a profitable statement on Cyprus, may I ask whether he is aware that the House has been very forbearing up to now? We have waited a long time for a statement. There have been many rumours and harm has been done because nobody knows what is the Government's policy. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman do a bit better than the answer that he gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker)?

Mr. Butler

I fully understand that the House, as well as the Government, is anxious about the position in Cyprus. Developments have been taking place. I do not withdraw the remarks that I made before, but when the House can be given a statement—it should be a statement which forwards the position in Cyprus—we will make a statement. I will register the view of the House, which has been clearly expressed, that it desires to have further information on this subject.

Mr. C. Hughes

Can the Leader of the House say when time will be given to consider the unemployment situation in Wales, which is becoming more serious all the time?

Mr. Butler

I cannot give a day, but my right hon. Friend the Minister for Welsh Affairs is fully aware of the situation.

Mr. Lipton

Will the House be given an early opportunity to discuss the Privy Council's Report on telephone tapping? We should like to "have a go" at that at some time.

Mr. Butler

I dare say that the hon. Gentleman would like to "have a go". It is entirely a matter for any request that we receive. There is not a great deal to add on that subject, but if the Opposition desire to make a representation on this question we will discuss it through the usual channels.

Mr. Pickthorn

Is not redistribution of seats a rather complicated question to be taken at such short notice, particularly in view of the debates at the end of the last Parliament, which were. I suppose, the occasion of the forthcoming Bill?

Mr. Butler

It is important that we should make progress with this Bill. While the general question of redistribution is complicated, this Bill is not very difficult to apprehend. I feel that my hon. Friend, with his great constitutional knowledge, will find it comparatively easy.