HC Deb 07 May 1959 vol 605 cc568-72
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, 11TH MAY—We shall begin the Committee stage of the Finance Bill.

Consideration of the Motion to approve the Post-War Credit (Income Tax) Regulations.

TUESDAY, 12TH MAY—Committee stage of the Finance Bill.

Consideration of the Resolution relating to the Comptroller and Auditor-General's salary; and of the Judicial Offices (Salaries) Order.

WEDNESDAY, 13TH MAY—We shall also take the Committee stage of the Finance Bill; and, afterwards, consider the Lords Amendments to the House Purchase and Housing Bill.

THURSDAY, 14TH MAY—Supply [14th Allotted Day]: It is proposed to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on Civil Estimates, 1959–60.

The hon. Member for Abertillery (The Rev. Ll. Williams) will move an Amendment relating to Policy in Development Areas.

FRIDAY, 15TH MAY—It is proposed to adjourn for the Whitsun Recess until Tuesday, 2nd June.

Miss Herbison

No doubt the Leader of the House will have seen two very similar Motions on the Order Paper, signed by Members of the three parties in the House. Both Motions deal with the role of the Church of Scotland in Nyasaland. Since this is a matter of intense interest and concern not only to Scots in the United Kingdom, but to Scots in many parts of the world, can the right hon. Gentleman tell us how soon we will be given time to discuss these Motions?

[That this House, recognising the special position and authority of the Church of Scotland among the African peoples of Nyasaland whom the Church in 1891 brought under the protection of the British Crown, and whose welfare they have served during their long missionary connection, recognises the valuable part which the Church of Scotland can play in fostering the spirit of partnership between Europeans and Africans and in furthering the policy of moderation and orderly political progress in the interests of the people of Central Africa as a whole.]

[That this House, recognising the special position and authority of the Church of Scotland amongst the African people of Nyasaland whom the Church in 1891 brought under the protection of the British Crown, and whose welfare they have served during their long missionary connection, calls on Her Majesty's Government to make the fullest possible use of the good offices of the Church in restoring the spirit of partnership between European and African now interupted by the emergency and in bringing about a new effort at orderly political progress based on the consent of the inhabitants of the territory.]

Mr. Butler

I realise the importance of the Motions, which I have before me, and the intense feeling that there is behind the signatures appended to the Motions. They form part of the larger question of future policy in Central Africa. I cannot give a specific day for discussion but I can say that they are being taken into consideration in relation to the formulation of policy.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Can my right hon. Friend say whether time will be found after Whitsuntide for consideration of the Report of the Select Committee on Procedure?

Mr. Butler

This is a matter that interests all hon. Members. I will discuss it with my hon. Friends and any other hon. Members who wish to find time to discuss this matter.

Mr. Woodburn

With further reference to the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison), is the Leader of the House aware that there is a feeling that once the larger question is discussed this rather more localised question is likely to become lost in the greater considerations? Is he aware that there is considerable feeling throughout the whole of the Church of Scotland that the Government have been receiving rather lopsided advice on certain aspects of the problem? Would it not be desirable for the Government to hear, through Members of the House on both sides, the knowledge and information available to the Church of Scotland?

Mr. Butler

It would be the duty of both my right hon. Friends, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to be fully apprised of the views of the Church of Scotland because of its very great missionary record in that part of the world. Any further steps that can be taken will be taken to inform my right hon. Friends of the position.

Mr. Blackburn

Would the Leader of the House say what he meant by his statement about a debate of the Report of the Select Committee on Procedure when he said that he would discuss it with any other Member who wanted to find time? What does he mean?

Mr. Butler

There are some hon. Members, one of whom was the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), who has already expressed an opinion in an interjection, who think that there is not a lot in it. Other hon. Members feel that it is important in trying to find time for a discussion. One has to have not only the views of the Front Benches, which is the normal channel, but the views of ordinary Members. If anybody feels strongly that time should be found he would be wise to put himself in touch with me.

Mr. S. Silverman

On another subject, would the Leader of the House say when the House can discuss, in advance of any legislation that the Government propose, the textile industry in Lancashire? The President of the Board of Trade told us he hoped to publish a White Paper on Thursday, and, obviously, there could not be a debate before that. Could not we have an early opportunity of discussing this matter after Whitsun?

Mr. Butler

Dependent at the date of publication of the Bill, there would be a coincident opportunity for the matter to be discussed after we returned, on the introduction of the Bill. I will bear in mind what the hon. Member said.

Mr. Osborne

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether it would be possible to introduce emergency legislation to restore flogging as a punishment for men who attack little children, in view of the fact that a number of these attacks have taken place recently and there is strong feeling in the country that something should be done about it? Will he ask the Opposition if they would facilitate such legislation?

Mr. Butler

I cannot undertake, at this stage of the Session, to say that there will be time for the introduction of such legislation. From a visit to my hon. Friend's district I am aware of the anxiety that these cases arouse.

Mr. Mellish

Would the Leader of the House say, because many of us understood that it would be so, whether legislation will be published next week concerning the denominational schools? If it is not being published next week, when will it be published?

Mr. Butler

I cannot go too deeply into questions of policy in a discussion on the business of the House. But it is unlikely that we shall introduce legislation on this subject next week.

Mr. Short

The Leader of the House told me a fortnight ago that he was studying the Motion on the Order Paper in the names of 14 hon. Members and myself on the subject of the Cunarders.

[That this House, bearing in mind the skill and productive capacity of the shipyards of Tyneside and the steelworks of Durham, both of which are at present seriously under employed, expresses the view that Government assistance towards the replacement of the Queen liners should be conditional upon the liner being built in the North-East.]

Will he say whether his study has led him to the view that if £30 to £40 million of public money is to be spent on this project the House should have an opportunity of discussing it? Particularly, should not the House have an opportunity of discussing whether, if this money is to be spent, all shipyards able to build ships should be able to tender for them?

Mr. Butler

Owing to the large amount of public money involved it would be valuable to have the views of all hon. Members representing a variety of shipyards, but I do not think that the matter is one that we can say will be immediately brought to a head.