HC Deb 11 June 1959 vol 606 cc1182-6
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, 15TH JUNE—It is hoped to complete the Committee stage of the Finance Bill.

TUESDAY, 16TH JUNE—A debate will take place on an Opposition Motion relating to Hola Detention Camp.

WEDNESDAY, 17TH JUNE—Committee stage of the Cotton Industry Bill.

THURSDAY, 18TH JUNE—Supply [16th Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on Local Authority Housing.

FRIDAY, 19TH JUNE—Government business will be taken.

Second Reading of the Chevening Estate Bill and of the Rights of Light Bill [Lords]; and, if there is time, Second Reading of the Metropolitan Magistrates' Courts Bill [Lords], which it is expected to receive from another place today.

Mr. Hale

While bearing in mind the important matter to which I drew his attention last week, will the Lord Privy Seal now turn his mind to an all-party Motion on the Order Paper, in the names of the hon. Member for Graves-end (Mr. Kirk) and my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead, West (Mr. Randall) and 219 other hon. Members—all of whom signed within two or three hours yesterday—which refers to the World Refugee Year, congratulates the Government on their initiative, and asks for a further consideration of the matter which, quite frankly, we hope will be the preliminary to a full debate?

Will the right hon. Gentleman, in bearing in mind this important matter—which is put forward not in a controversial but in a helpful spirit—also remember the very special problem of the Algerian refugees which now requires exceedingly urgent action, as reports this week are that 50,000 or 60,000 people at least are living in Tunisia and Morocco in conditions in which they have no roofs over them or protection from the weather—a state of affairs in which our French allies in N.A.T.O. are deliberately preventing help from being sent?

In those circumstances, as this is important, and as we know the sympathy of both Front Benches with any action to solve these problems, will the right hon. Gentleman give the earliest consideration to the possibility of a debate?

[That this House, appreciating the initative taken by Her Majesty's Government in sponsoring World Refugee Year at the United Nations and the additional help being provided for the world refugees, urges upon Her Majesty's Government the necessity of a further lead towards providing concerted international action and aid to solve this grave problem as soon as possible by rehabilitation and permanent re-settlement; and asks Her Majesty's Government to offer the maximum possible economic and other assistance to this end.]

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I realise the importance of the matter to which the hon. Member has drawn attention. Perhaps we might be able to discuss, through the usual channels, whether one of the available days might be used, or whether there might be another opportunity for such a debate.

Mr. C. Pannell

May I draw to the attention of the Leader of the House a Motion which has now been signed by eight members of the Select Committee on Procedure, which asks that the rule made in 1837 about unpublished evidence should be relaxed in fairness to two distinguished gentlemen who contributed to the Select Committee a paper which, owing to the decision of the Select Committee not to publish, can never be published at all? Is the right hon. Gentleman sensitive to the fact that we ought to be rather more grateful Lo members of universities who try to help us, by being a little more magnanimous, and not clinging too rigidly to an old rule of the House that was framed for a purpose other than this?

[That, notwithstanding the resolution of the House of 21st April, 1837, in the case of memoranda, submitted to the Select Committee on Procedure, but not reported to the House by that Committee, leave be given to the witnesses concerned to publish the memoranda if they think fit.]

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I am grateful to the hon. Member for having given me notice that he would raise this subject. If he will give me some opportunity of examining the implications of accepting this Motion, I will get in touch with him, after taking advice. The very antiquity of the rule causes me to approach the subject with some caution.

Mr. Brockway

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a question about which I. also, have given him notice? In view of the very sympathetic way in which he has received the all-party deputation on race relations, will he now give facilities for my Race Discrimination Bill, which could be amended in such a way as to be in line with the proposals that were then discussed?

Mr. Butler

I have a copy of the hon. Member's Bill here. At this stage, I could not guarantee to give Government time for it, but if he would care to discuss his Bill with me I could try to find out the implication that he has in mind.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

Is the right hon. Gentleman proposing that the House should, in the near future, debate the discussions with the Scandinavian and other countries for a Free Trade Area of the other Six, or the other Seven, which raises extremely important issues of policy?

Mr. Butler

It is clear that important issues of policy are involved, but I am not satisfied that we have reached a stage in the negotiations when a debate would be useful. If the hon. Member would let me discuss the matter with my right hon. Friends principally concerned, I could then give him an answer.

Mr. Gresham-Cooke

Has my right hon. Friend seen the Motion asking for time for a debate on the Report of the Select Committee on Procedure? If so, can he give an assurance that we are likely to have that debate in the fairly near future?

[That this House welcomes the recommendations of the Select Committee on Procedure, which whilst limited in effect will contribute towards the more efficient and expeditious conduct of the business of the House, and calls on Her Majesty's Government to provide an early opportunity for this House to debate the Report.]

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I have discussed this in the last week with several hon. Members, including the Chairman of the Committee, and, subject to finding time, we should like to have a debate. The difficulty is that we are just finishing the Finance Bill and matters of that sort, but I know that it is the desire of the House to have a debate and we will try to meet that desire.

Mr. Ernest Davies

Before the Whit-sun Recess, hon. Members on both sides asked whether the House was to have an opportunity to debate the Bowes Report on Inland Waterways, and the Government White Paper setting forth policy on the subject. Can the Leader of the House say whether time will be found between now and the Summer Recess for a debate, so that the House may have an opportunity of expressing its views?

Mr. Butler

I am not quite so hopeful about the waterways as about the Report of the Select Committee on Procedure, but perhaps it might be raised on a day of Supply, if the Opposition so desire. We shall have some difficulty in fitting it in otherwise.

Mr. Stonehouse

Has the Leader of the House given further consideration to a Motion, signed by 120 right hon. and hon. Members on this side, relating to discriminatory legislation in Southern Rhodesia?

[That this House regrets the discriminatory character of certain measures introduced into the Legislature of Southern Rhodesia by the Southern Rhodesian Government, namely, the Unlawful Organisations Bill and the Bill, presented on 17th March, 1959, to amend the Native Affairs Act; and calls upon the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations to exercise the powers vested in him in relation to such measures by Sections 28 and 30 of the Southern Rhodesian Constitution Letters Patent, 1923, to prevent such measures coming into effect until all provisions of such measures which unfairly discriminate against African citizens of Southern Rhodesia are removed.]

That Motion has now been strengthened by an Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker)—

[After "Act", insert "and the Preventive Detention Bill".]

As those Bills have now been enacted, and the responsibilities of this country now come into play, will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for those responsibilities to be discussed?

Mr. Butler

I could not give any answer without consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies.