HC Deb 19 March 1959 vol 602 cc630-2
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, 23RD MARCH and TUESDAY, 24TH MARCH—Report and Third Reading of the Town and Country Planning Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 25TH MARCH—Committee and remaining stages of the Colonial Development and Welfare Bill.

THURSDAY, 26TH MARCH—It is proposed to meet at 11 a.m., take Questions until 12 noon and adjourn at 5 o'clock. There will be then an adjournment for the Easter Recess until Tuesday, 7th April.

Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask when the Government expect to be able to announce their decision on the proposal to send a Parliamentary commission to Nyasaland?

Mr. Butler

I cannot give an exact date, but I have already noted the request of Her Majesty's Opposition.

Mr. Grant-Ferris

Does my right hon. Friend think that he will be able to give half-a-day, perhaps after the Recess, to a discussion of the White Paper on Government proposals following the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Inland Waterways, especially as there has not been a debate on the Bowes Report? Is my right hon. Friend aware that it would give great satisfaction to hon. Members and to the public outside if this could be done?

Mr. Butler

We shall have to see, first, how we get on, but I will note what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Mitchison

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Town and Country Planning Bill took up 25 Sittings in Committee and that there are on the Notice Paper 155 Amendments, of which 110 come from the Government and their supporters? In those circumstances, is it not somewhat optimistic to suppose, and somewhat unfair to suggest, that the Third Reading will be reached on Tuesday?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir. The Report stage is often merciful. There will be an opportunity of suspension or suspensions of the Standing Order, and I have every hope that we shall be able to conclude all stages of the Bill.

Mr. Mitchison

Does not that mean that to have a proper discussion on Report we shall have to sit until quite unreasonable hours?

Mr. Butler

We had better wait and see. As the Amendments put down by the Government will be almost all of a beneficial and acceptable character, they will ease the passage of the Bill.

Mr. Osborne

Since the Budget will be opened on the first day that we return after the Recess, and we cannot judge the Budget fairly unless we have the Economic Survey beforehand, can my right hon. Friend assure us that we shall have the Survey in plenty of time to do our Easter homework?

Mr. Butler

There is a little difficulty this year which we propose to get over in this way. The Economic Survey cannot be published until 2nd April. We propose to arrange to mail it to all right hon. and hon. Members so that they will be able to have a certain amount of time in which to digest it.

Mr. Woodburn

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm whether the General Election is or is not to take place immediately after the Budget?

Mr. Butler

I can answer a good many questions on business, but I certainly cannot answer that one.

Reverting to the question of the Economic Survey, it will reach hon. Members, we hope, by first post on 2nd April, to give them time to read it.

Mr. C. Pannell

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is his intention to take the Committee stage of the Street Offences Bill next Wednesday until a late hour and even through the night? Does he think that that piece of legislation is likely to win the Government even the Borough of Stepney?

Mr. Butler

The hon. Member should refer to his hon. Friend the Member for Stepney (Mr. W. Edwards), who is one of those who have most ardently supported the Measure. I do not imagine that the situation will be quite so fearful as the hon. Member suggests. If some of the hon. Members on that Committee would be a little more reasonable, it might be possible to get the Bill through in good time.

Mr. Rankin

Will the right hon. Gentleman find the time soon to debate the Report from the Select Committee on Procedure?

Mr. Butler

It is a very important Report and we are very indebted to the right hon. and hon. Members who were members of that Committee. It is simply a question of finding time but, of course, it would be a very good thing to have a debate.

Mr. Ede

Could the right hon. Gentleman let us know when we shall be able to see a print of the evidence put before that Committee?

Mr. Butler

We should not have a debate until there has been time to digest the evidence. It is a rather large volume. I understand that it will be out shortly. I will tell the right hon. Gentleman when I know the date.