HC Deb 18 June 1959 vol 607 cc650-6
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, 22ND JUNE—Second Reading of the Education Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution;

Report and Third Reading of the Post Office Works Bill [Lords];

Second Reading of the Licensing (Scotland) Bill [Lords], which is a Consolidation Measure; and

Consideration of the Anti-Dumping (No. 1) Order.

TUESDAY, 23RD JUNE—Report and Third Reading of the Cotton Industry Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 24TH JUNE—Consideration of the Motion to approve the National Assistance (Determination of Need) Amendment Regulations; and

Second Reading of the National Assistance Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

THURSDAY, 25TH JUNE—Supply [17th allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on the case of Messrs. S. G. Brown, Limited until 7 o'clock; afterwards a debate will take place on

Housing in London.

Motions to approve the Calf Subsidies Schemes.

FRIDAY, 26TH JUNE—Report and Third Reading of the Pensions (Increase) Bill;

Committee and remaining stages of the Chevening Estate Bill; and, if there is time,

Committee and remaining stages of the Metropolitan Magistrates' Courts Bill [Lords]; and of the

Rights of Light Bill [Lords].

Mr. Gaitskell

In view of Thursday's debate on the case of Messrs. S. G. Brown, Limited, and the promise of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he would consider publishing a White Paper if there were a debate on this subject, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Government intend to publish a White Paper or to provide information to hon. Members in detail in some other way before the debate?

Mr. Butler

I have not yet had an opportunity of giving a final answer on that pending further consultation with my right hon. Friend. But we are aware of the request of the Opposition, and perhaps we could convey the information in the usual manner.

Mr. Gaitskell

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean convey the information about what the Government are going to do?

Mr. Butler

indicated assent.

Mr. Gaitskell

Thank you.

May I ask, further, whether the right hon. Gentleman can give any idea about when the Devlin Commission is likely to report to the Government and whether the Government propose to publish the report as soon as possible?

Mr. Butler

I do not think that arises strictly out of business. Of course, it is a matter which is very much under the control of the Commission; but we hope that it will report as soon as is reasonably possible, and if I am able legitimately to obtain any information, I will not only convey it to the right hon. Gentleman, but to the House.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Has my right hon. Friend still in mind the general desire to have a debate on the Report of the Select Committee on Procedure? Can he give any further information about when this is likely to take place?

Mr. Butler

We hope to fit that in before the Recess. I know there is a general demand for a debate, and so we shall, so to speak, cater for such a debate; but at the moment I cannot give the exact date.

Mr. Janner

Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to say whether he will provide an opportunity for the Second Reading of the Small Business Dwelling Houses Bill, which should be a non-contentious matter, in view of the anomaly which has been created regarding small shopkeepers who are now excluded from enjoying the same privileges as persons occupying houses where there are no shops? Will he give consideration to the possibility of this Bill receiving a Second Reading? There will probably be no opposition.

Mr. Butler

I cannot give any assurance. On the last occasion the Bill came up for Second Reading on its own account during private Members' time, but the House was counted out during the discussion on the preceding Bill, with the result that this Bill suffered. I cannot give any assurance about it at the moment.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Has my right hon. Friend studied the Motion on the Order Paper concerning the review of the Charter of the United Nations Organisation and the Amendment to that Motion in the names of about 36 of my hon. Friends and my own name? May we be assured that Her Majesty's Government will take steps to ascertain the views of this House before making or accepting proposals for such a review?

[That this House urges Her Majesty's Government to propose at the forthcoming meeting of the Committee on Arrangements for a Charter Review Conference that the Committee should recommend to the Fourteenth Session of the United Nations General Assembly that a Charter Review Conference be held in 1960, and that, meanwhile, Her Majesty's Government consider what changes should be made in the Charter, with a view to promoting world peace through the development of enforceable world law.]

[In line 6, leave out from "peace" to end and add "on the basis of respect for treaties, international law, the independence of nation-states, and the co-operative exercise of their sovereignty for mutual and general benefit; to preventing subversive or irresponsible interference with the discharge by the United Kingdom, France, the United States of America and other Powers of their special responsibilities for international security and the peaceful advancement of their overseas territories; and to ensuring that the United Nations Organisation and connected international agencies are not misused so as to weaken the Commonwealth, whose strength and solidarity are essential to world stability".]

Mr. Butler

I have before me copies of the Motion and the suggested Amendment. I do not think that at the moment my hon. Friend need feel that his point of view would be neglected by the Government. I do not think there is any immediate likelihood of action.

Miss Herbison

Since the Leader of the House honoured the Church of Scotland by being present for many hours at its debate on Central African Federation and Nyasaland, and since he knows about the deliberations and the nature of the debate and the proposals, is he considering giving time for the House to discuss these matters in an attempt to prevent any further deterioration of the situation in Nyasaland, and in an attempt to bring about better race relations there?

Mr. Butler

These matters are of very great importance and I think that in the usual course of events they will be considered by the usual channels with a view to considering whether a debate should take place. The relevance of my attendance as a visitor at the meeting of the Church of Scotland should not be overrated. It is an assembly of a different character from that of the Imperial Parliament. The education I derived was of course beneficial to me, and I hope to all concerned.

Mr. Grimond

Reverting to the report of the Devlin Commission, can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that it is the intention of the Government that the report will be available before we rise for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Butler

I must stick very closely to the constitutional proprieties. I think it would probably be preferable if it were published before the Houses rises, because we all want to know what the Commission has to say. But I do not think that I can speak for the Commission. I have only said that if I am able to ascertain any information, I will impart it to the House.

Mr. Short

Now that the Government have had before them the proposals of the Cunard Company for some time, can the Minister say when the House is likely to have an opportunity to debate this further subsidy from public funds to yet another private firm?

Mr. Butler

We must be quite sure that we base an answer on this matter on the latest information. I shall have to consult my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation before giving a reply.

Mr. P. Williams

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the Motion on the Order Paper referring to the stockpiling of nuclear warheads? Will he assure the House that he will give an opportunity for debating this matter at an early date, so that the point of view of the Opposition may be made known to this House and to the country?

[That this House, noting the refusal of the French Government to permit nuclear warheads in American custody to be stockpiled in France, is equally opposed to their being stockpiled in this country, and to any transfer to Great Britain from French territory of American nuclear-weapon-carrying aircraft.]

Mr. Butler

I can quite see the relevance and importance of my hon. Friend's question. Whether the opportunity will arise and time be made for a debate, I am not yet able to say.

Dr. Stross

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he has noted that the Gulbenkian Foundation has now reported on the needs of the provinces concerning the arts? Is he aware, also, that the Arts Council will soon be publishing its views on provincial needs, and may we have an assurance that the Government will find time for a debate on this matter before the Recess?

Mr. Butler

We have a somewhat crowded programme. While I do not underestimate the importance of the report of the Gulbenkian Foundation, I cannot give such an assurance on this occasion.

Mr. F. Noel-Baker

Has the right hon. Gentleman noticed the Motion on the Order Paper calling for an inquiry into the advertising industry which has now attracted the support of more than 200 hon. Members? In view of the great interest in what is a very important matter—which should be a non-party matter—both in this House and outside, will he consider giving time for a further debate on the subject?

[That this House, noting the increasing power of the advertising industry and its influence upon our national life, and the growing impact of advertising on the individual, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to set up an independent inquiry to consider whether further safeguards are desirable in the public interest and, if so, what form such safeguards should take.]

Mr. Butler

We have had more requests this afternoon for time for debates than we have ever had before. I cannot give an assurance that there will be time to discuss this Motion, however important it is.

Mr. Janner

Reverting again to the matter to which I have referred previously, will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Minister of Housing and Local Government regarding a Second Reading for the Small Business Dwelling Houses Bill, in view of the extreme urgency of the matter? The people concerned have no protection at all. Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider his decision about giving time for a Second Reading to a Measure which I believe will not be opposed?

Mr. Butler

I will consult my right hon. Friend, who has very conveniently come to sit beside me.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether there will be an opportunity to hear more about the Shipping Conference? I appreciate the work done by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, but I think it would be generally agreed that the future of shipping is of tremendous importance to this country. We have had very little opportunity to hear details of the Conference. Will my right hon. Friend try to find time so that we may be given more details because of the interest in this matter?

Mr. Butler

My hon. Friend is right in attaching importance to the future of the shipping industry. I will discuss the matter with my right hon. Friends and draw it to the attention of the Opposition as being a possible subject for a Supply Day debate.