HC Deb 16 July 1959 vol 609 cc589-95
Mr. J. Griffiths

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business of the House 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, 20TH JULY—Supply [24th Allotted Day]: Committee. Debate on Aid to Underdeveloped Areas until 7 o'clock.

Afterwards, a debate on the Report from the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries relating to the air Corporations and the Report on the Civil Aircraft Accident at Southall.

Consideration of Motions to approve the Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (Immunities and Privileges) Order; and the Purchase Tax (Lawn Mowers, &c) Order.

TUESDAY, 21ST JULY—Supply [25th Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on Pig Production and the Bacon Industry, until 6.30 p.m.;

Afterwards, a debate on the Unemployment of Disabled Persons and the Position of Remploy.

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

Consideration of Motions to approve the Cotton Industry Reorganisation Orders.

Second Reading of the Statute Law Revision Bill [Lords]; and the Wages Councils Bill [Lords], which are consolidation Measures.

WEDNESDAY, 22ND JULY—Supply [26th Allotted Day]: Report.

Debate on Central Africa.

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 Lords Amendments to the Factories Bill.

The Government also propose to afford time for the consideration of Lords Amendments to the following Private Members' Bills: Obscene Publications;

Fatal Accidents; and Landlord and Tenant (Furniture and Fittings).

THURSDAY, 23RD JULY—Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

Second Reading, which it is proposed to take formally.

Debate on Opposition Motion relating to the Coal Industry.

Motion to approve the Import Duties (Temporary Exemptions) (Chemicals) Order.

FRIDAY, 24TH JULY—Consideration of Lords Amendments to the Mental Health Bill, which are expected to be received from another place today.

Second Reading of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Bill, which re-enacts the law.

Committee and remaining stages of the Statute Law Revision Bill [Lords]; and of the Wages Councils Bill [Lords], which are consolidation Measures.

Mr. Griffiths

Can the Leader of the House say when the Report of the Devlin Commission will be published?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir. I can only say that it was received by my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary shortly before one o'clock today, and that it will be printed and published as soon as it is convenient to do so. It will take a little time under present circumstances, but we shall publish it as soon as we reasonably can.

Mr. Hirst

In relation to Thursday's business, could my right hon. Friend explain the Import Duties Order, which revokes the temporary exemption of import duty on rutin?

Mr. Butler

I am informed that rutin is a drug used in the treatment of disease states which are characterised by capillary bleeding associated with increased capillary fragility, such as degenerative vascular diseases, allergic states, diabetes mellitus—commonly known as sugar diabetes—and other disorders.

Mr. Grimond

If the Devlin Commission's Report is published, will hon. Members be able to debate it on Wednesday, or is the debate to be about the future constitution of Central Africa? If the debate is not to include discussion of the Devlin Report, even if it is published by then, can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that time will be given to debate the Report before we rise?

Mr. Butler

As I understand, the debate on Wednesday, which has the wish of the Opposition behind it, is to be on matters concerning the constitution, federation and things of that sort in Central Africa. There has been no agreement or understanding yet about a debate on the Devlin Report, which, as I have said, my right hon. Friend received this morning. I suggest that we discuss that matter through the usual channels.

Lieut.-Commander Maydon

May I direct the attention of my right hon. Friend to the Motion on the Order Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney), which concerns the pensions of ex-colonial civil servants? Can time be afforded to discuss this important and pressing subject?

[That this House draws the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the wide differences between pension scales paid to retired colonial civil servants by He Majesty's Government and those paid by certain Governments of both dependent and independent territories within the Commonwealth; and urges Her Majesty's Government to use its influence with the Governments of the territories whose scales of pensions fall below present standards to make compensating increases.]

Mr. Butler

I do not think that we have time for any further additions to our programme in view of the present very heavy programme. Although I realise the importance of this matter, I doubt whether there will be time to discuss it unless there are facilities on the Adjournment, or anything of that sort.

Mr. Rhodes

Throughout the passage of the Cotton Industry Bill we were continually told that it was an enabling Bill. Many questions were left unanswered because we were told by the President of the Board of Trade that the important part of the scheme would be in the Orders to be put before the House. We asked the right hon. Gentle- man to give us adequate time to discuss the matter. I notice that the three Orders on the Order Paper are to be puckered into about half an hour on Tuesday night, when £30 million of public money will be given to private industry in a few minutes. This really will not do.

Mr. Butler

First, I would counter the hon. Gentleman's observation that the matter will necessarily be dealt with in half an hour. It is to come on at 9.30 and I see no reason why the Orders should not be discussed for a reasonable time. Furthermore, this matter was discussed through the usual channels and I think that the arrangement was thought to be reasonable; and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will find it so on Tuesday.

Sir S. Summers

Has my right hon. Friend any information to give us about the rising of the House for the Summer Recess? If he is not in a position to make a statement on the subject today, will he consider making an announcement earlier than this time next week?

Mr. Butler

I will certainly do my best to make an announcement before this time next week if I can. I am not yet in a position to name the exact date. We have a full week's business next week and other business to complete during the week after next. I realise that it will suit the convenience of hon. Members to know the date as soon as possible. I will, therefore, simply make an announcement when we are clear as to the date.

Mr. Jay

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that it will be possible to continue the cotton industry discussion after ten o'clock on Tuesday night?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. We have looked into that matter, and that is so.

Mr. Jennings

Can my right hon. Friend tell the House whether there will be a debate on the reappraisal proposals of the British Transport Commission before the Recess?

Mr. Butler

I think that that is possible. The matter is under discussion and I will inform my hon. Friend.

Mr. Holt

May I urge the Home Secretary to have another look at the way in which the cotton industry is to be dealt with on Tuesday? The fact that discussion can go on after ten o'clock is beside the point. I should have thought that such an important matter should be discussed at a proper hour, and should not be allowed to continue, with dwindling numbers of Members present, right on until midnight. This is an extremely important matter. A promise was given to the House when the Bill was under discussion. Constantly matters were pushed on one side and we were told that we should have an opportunity for debate when the Orders were brought before the House.

Mr. Butler

I think that there will be reasonable time in which to consider the matter and I do not think that the number of Members need necessarily dwindle if the interest shown this afternoon is maintained at 9.30 in the evening. I would, therefore, hope that we might at least make a legitimate effort to consider the Orders at that hour.

Mr. Short

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when we are likely to have the statement which he promised us on the proposals of the Cunard Company?

Mr. Butler

It is not literally a business question, but I will confer with my right hon. Friend. If it is possible to give any information, we shall endeavour to do so.

Mr. S. Silverman

Will the right hon. Gentleman not reconsider the answers he has given concerning the Cotton Industry Reorganisation Orders? Will he bear in mind that the procedure he mentioned has usually been accepted by the House when all matters of principle have already been discussed and agreed, but that that is not the case in this instance, because a great many matters which we wished to pursue in the earlier discussions were, at the request of the Minister, deferred until the Orders came before the House and the scheme had been worked out and agreed?

Considering the importance, the amount of public money involved and the widespread interest in the matter in Lancashire, would it not be much better to have a proper, half-day debate earlier in the day so that it can be discussed properly?

Mr. Butler

We have got very near the end of the Session and these Motions are necessary to assist the cotton industry. They must be taken in a certain degree of hurry, in any event. I feel that we shall have an opportunity on Tuesday evening and I hope that the hon. Member will be satisfied when he sees what an opportunity there is.

Mr. Rankin

Concerning the second part of Monday's business, will the debate on the Report of the Select Committee on the air Corporations and the Southall disaster continue after 10 o'clock? If not, it will be rather farcical because of the lack of time.

Mr. Butler

This business has been put down by the Government at the request of the Opposition and the debate in question has been chosen by the Opposition to come on at 7 o'clock and to end at 10 o'clock, which is the time when a normal Supply Day ends. I must, therefore, refer the hon. Member to those who sit immediately in front of him.