HC Deb 25 June 1959 vol 607 cc1393-6
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal 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, 29TH JUNE—Supply [18th Allotted Day]: Committee, which it is proposed to take formally.

Debate on the Condition of Private Industry, which will arise on an Opposition Motion.

Consideration of Motions to approve the Potatoes Orders; and the Fertilisers Scheme.

TUESDAY, 30TH JUNE—Report and Third Reading of the New Towns Bill; and of the National Galleries of Scotland Bill.

Committee and remaining stages of the Licensing (Scotland) Bill [Lords], which is a Consolidation Measure.

Consideration of Motions to approve the Parking Places (Extension Outside London) (No. 1) Order; and the Parking Places (Scotland) (No. 1) Order.

WEDNESDAY, 1ST JULY—Committee and remaining stages of the National Assistance Bill; and of the Education Bill.

Report and Third Reading of the Nuclear Installations (Licensing and Insurance) Bill [Lords].

THURSDAY, 2ND JULY—Supply [19th Allotted Day]: Committee, which it is proposed to take formally.

The second day's debate will then take place on a Motion to take note of the White Paper on Industry and Employment in Scotland. (Cmnd. 706.)

Consideration of Motions to approve the Silo Subsidies Schemes (for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and for Scotland); the Agricultural Lime Schemes; and the Agriculture (Stationary Machinery) Regulations.

FRIDAY, 3RD JULY—Second Reading of the Export Guarantees Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Further progress will be made with the Fire Services Bill [Lords].

Second Reading of the Weeds Bill [Lords]; and of the Dog Licences Bill [Lords], both of which are consolidation Measures.

Mr. Gaitskell

Would it be in order to say that that seems to be rather a "dog's breakfast"?

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, first, whether the Government intend to find time for a debate on foreign affairs before the Geneva Foreign Ministers' Conference resumes on 13th July? Secondly, can he now say when the Devlin Commission is likely to report, and how soon afterwards the Report will it be published?

Mr. Butler

We have understood that it would be the desire of the Opposition, and, I think, of the House, that a debate on foreign affairs should take place, and I think that this will probably take place in the week after that for which I have just announced the business. Perhaps we could arrange through the usual channels the day chosen and also the time, and whether that will be provided by the Opposition or not. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] May we not, at least, discuss that? I think that it is quite reasonable.

I cannot tell the House what the date of publication of the Report of the Devlin Commission will be. As I said in my last answer on this matter, it is primarily for the Commission. It is our wish that it should be published before the House rises, and we trust that that will be so. If so, I should wish to have a discussion on it.

Mr. Gaitskell

Could the right hon. Gentleman say when the Report is likely to be finished?

Mr. Butler

No, I could not give an exact date. We hope that it will be finished some time in the coming month.

Sir G. Nicholson

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will consider giving time for a debate on the Treasury control of expenditure? He will recollect that the Select Committee on Estimates reported on the matter last summer, and that the Government's answer to that came out on Tuesday of this week. May I also ask him to bear in mind that the control of expenditure is one of the primary duties of this House, and that this is the first time that a connected study of the whole question has been undertaken, and that a debate is certainly due and required?

Mr. Butler

I do not underestimate the importance of the subject, but, as my hon. Friend will realise, a Treasury statement has been made on this matter. However, I see considerable difficulty in finding a day for a discussion before we rise.

Mr. J. Hynd

Is it not the Government's intention to give the House an early opportunity of debating our relations with the Common Market countries in Europe, because very many Members on both sides are becoming rather uneasy about the apparent tendencies to divide Europe into two competitive camps, rather than making further efforts to get together?

Mr. Butler

In answer to business questions, I would not wish to go into policy, except that I trust that the hon. Gentleman's anxieties on that score, at any rate in the ultimate, will not be realised. I think that is not our objective. I do not think that the conversations have reached a stage yet when we could usefully have a debate. However, if we may remain in contact, we will bear in mind the hon. Gentleman's request.

Mr. P. Williams

May I press my right hon. Friend for a debate on Treasury control? This is a critical matter which has not been debated in the House before, as far as I know. Is he aware that, if he can find some way, perhaps through the co-operation of the Opposition, to have a debate on this matter, it will be worth while?

Mr. Butler

The choice of business on Supply Days is a matter for the Opposition, but I shall bear in mind what my hon. Friend has said. At this stage of the Session, it would not be right of me to hold out hopes which it is difficult to fulfil, particularly as we have undertaken to find a day for a debate on procedure, which we had undertaken to do before this request was made. Therefore, it will be very difficult.

Mr. P. Maitland

Can my right hon. Friend say whether he has given any thought to the possibility of a debate on the forthcoming Commonwealth Education Conference, to be opened on 15th July, inasmuch as the subject matter is of great interest both to us in this House and throughout the Commonwealth, and it might well be useful to air opinions and ideas therein?

Mr. Butler

I admire the apt English of my hon. Friend, but I should find it difficult to find a day.

Mr. F. Noel-Baker

In view of the publication of the British Transport Commission's Annual Report and Accounts today, and their very serious implications, can the Leader of the House give an assurance that we shall have a debate—and, if so, when—on its affairs, particularly on the railways, before the Recess?

Mr. Butler

I could not give an undertaking on that, although I realise the importance of the matter.

Mr. McKay

Is the Minister aware of the disastrous condition into which the mining industry is getting at present? Is he aware that inland consumption has gone down by 8 million tons in 22 weeks, and of the national stoppage in Scotland? Does he not think that it is time that the Government put their mind to the question of organising help for the mining industry and that we had a proper discussion of the whole situation?

Mr. Butler

The hon. Member's question relates to finding time. It will be very difficult so to do, though no doubt his question has come to the attention of the Opposition Front Bench.