HC Deb 24 July 1958 vol 592 cc680-4
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, 28TH JULY—Supply [26th Allotted Day]: Report.

Debate on Defence, with particular reference to the White Paper on Central Organisation for Defence. (Cmd. 476.)

At 9.30 p.m. the Question will be put from the Chair on the Vote under discussion and on all outstanding Votes.

Consideration of the Import Duties Orders relating to Siloxanes; and the Draft Central Banks (Income Tax Schedule C Exemption) (No. 2) Order.

TUESDAY, 29TH JULY—Consideration of Lords Amendments to the Opencast Coal Bill; the Landlord and Tenant (Temporary Provisions) Bill; the Slaughterhouses Bill; and to the Agriculture Bill.

Committee and remaining stages of the Insurance Companies Bill [Lords], which is a consolidation Measure.

Consideration of the Motions to approve the Special Roads (Classes of Traffic) Order; and the Motor Vehicles (Speed Limit on Special Roads) Regulations.

WEDNESDAY, 30TH JULY—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

Debate on the National Health Service.

THURSDAY, 31ST JULY—Committee and Third Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

Debate on the Unemployment Situation in Wales until about 7 o'clock.

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

If all the necessary business has been disposed of, including any further Lords Amendments to Bills, it is hoped it will be possible to adjourn for the Summer Recess on Friday, 1st August.

I will make a statement early next week about the proposed date of reassembly.

Mr. Gaitskell

When does the right hon. Gent leman propose that we take the Motion for the Adjournment for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Butler

On Thursday, 31st July.

Mr. J. Hynd

Has the right hon. Gentleman any statement to make about the progress of the Free Trade Area negotiations? It seems that the final decisions are now being taken in Paris. Surely there should be a report and, if necessary, a debate before we go into recess. Is nothing to be done about that?

Mr. Butler

The Paymaster-General is at present in Paris negotiating these matters. It is hoped—I underline "hoped"—that he will be able to make a statement next week, but I cannot go further on that until he returns.

Mr. Grey

May I bring to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the Motion signed by me and by more than 100 of my hon. Friends on this side of the House relating to the extension of Question Time?

[That this House, bearing in mind its decision on 9th July, 1958, on a matter of privilege, is of the opinion that it should meet thirty minutes earlier, thus giving one and a half hour's question time, so that honourable Members may lay grievances before Ministers in the form of Parliamentary Questions which they are now prevented from doing by correspondence under the changed circumstances created by the said decision.]

While it is fairly obvious that the Motion cannot be debated next week, I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that Members on both sides of the House will be having on their hands many problems which, in the present circumstances, they will want to put in the form of Questions, and that they will not be able to ask them until we return. The present duration of Question Time, during which an average of 50 Questions are answered each day, is inadequate, so that many Questions which will be put down for answer upon our return will not be reached. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider our having a debate upon the matter upon our return?

Mr. Butler

I know that there are many hon. Members interested in this Motion, which I have here. I would suggest that it is a matter which could properly he considered by the Select Committee on Procedure, in which case we could have the benefit of its advice. That does not preclude our discussing it, but I see no reason why the Select Committee should not give its views upon it.

Mr. Woodburn

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us when he will make a statement on the question of Members' letters to Ministers during the Recess? I understood that he was consulting Mr. Speaker and that he was to make a statement on this question of Privilege to guide Members in their correspondence.

Mr. Butler

I have been in touch with Mr. Speaker. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that he hoped we should be able to make some statement before the Recess. Accordingly, some time next week, before we adjourn, I will keep hon. Members up to date with the position so far as we have been able to get. I put it like that, because it is not easy to find a solution of this difficult matter; but if I can make a progress report before we adjourn, I shall be very glad to do so.

Dame Irene Ward

Is my right hon. Friend aware how disturbed many hon. Members with fishing interests were at the lateness of the hour at which last night the Motions relating to the fishing industry were taken? Can we have from him an assurance that there will be a full-scale debate on the fishing industry at an appropriate hour, when fishing Members may have the privilege of having appropriate Ministers in attendance, so that all the difficulties of the industry may be properly discussed?

It was very disturbing that those Motions should have been taken last night as they were. That was attacked by hon. Members on both sides of the House, who very much regretted that those Motions were taken at that late hour.

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. One hon. Gentleman was very much distressed at his inability to discuss the herring industry. I think that the House of Commons generally was aware that we were not able to reach this matter at an earlier hour. I will pay attention to what the hon. Lady says. I think that, considering it is July, we have got through our business very well and with a minimum of temper. We are running absolutely up to date, but we must try to do better in future.

Mr. Wade

Will the right hon. Gentleman be making a statement next week about arrangements for the recall of Parliament, if need be, during the Recess?

Mr. Butler

Power is always there under Standing Order No. 112, but I think that this is a question that I can refer to on Thursday, when I move the requisite Motion. At any rate, I think that it could be handled next week. It depends a good deal, I think, on the development of the situation, but there is always that power there.

Sir A. Baldwin

Will my right hon. Friend find time, as soon as we reassemble after the Recess, for a debate on the very important matter of the Report of the Royal Commission on Common Land, which is very detailed?

Mr. Butler

I should like to take a little breath first and then give an answer to that, but I will pay attention to what my hon. Friend has said about the desire for discussion.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)

On Thursday's business, Mr. Sneaker has asked me to state that hon. Members who wish to raise matters after 7 o'clock, on the Adjournment, should get in touch with him.


Mr. G. M. Thomson

I understand, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that there is some confusion among hon. Members about the exact nature of the second half of next Thursday's proceedings. Would you make the position clear?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)

I beg the pardon of right hon. and hon. Members. I said "Adjournment" instead of "Appropriation Bill". I am afraid that my mind was on the holidays.

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