HC Deb 19 November 1959 vol 613 cc1347-51
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will announce the business for next week?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. R. A. Butler)

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 23RD NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Coal Industry Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Consideration of the Coal Industry Nationalisation (Borrowing Powers) Order.

TUESDAY, 24TH NOVEMBER—Committee and remaining stages of Mr. Speaker Morrison's Retirement Bill.

Second Reading of the Judicial Pensions Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

WEDNESDAY, 25TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Commonwealth Scholarships Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Committee and remaining stages of the Atomic Energy Authority Bill; and of the Post Office and Telegraph [Money] Bill.

THURSDAY, 26TH NOVEMBER—Debate on the Radcliffe Report on the Working of the Monetary System.

FRIDAY, 27TH NOVEMBER—Consideration of Private Members' Bills.

Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask what form Thursday's debate will take? Will it be in the form of a Government Motion to welcome the Report?

Mr. Butler

It will take place on a Government Motion to take note of the Report.

Mr. Gaitskell

Could the Leader of the House make arrangements for a debate to take place before Christmas on the traffic problem in large cities? Is it also the intention, as is reported in the newspapers, of the Minister of Transport to make a statement on this problem?

Mr. Butler

I cannot give a definite answer to the latter part of the question—whether my right hon. Friend will make a statement—without consultation with him.

I will take note of the right hon. Gentleman's request for a debate.

Mr. H. Hynd

Can the Leader of the House say anything about the Motion on the Order Paper, signed by myself and by hon. Members on both sides of the House, relating to the desirability of a Minister being responsible for answering Questions about provincial police forces, or will that subject be dealt with by the inquiry that the right hon. Gentleman announced last night?

[That this House, feeling that it may become desirable from time to time for questions to be raised about the actions of police outside the Metropolitan area, asks the Government to examine this matter, with a view to some Minister being authorised to answer such questions.]

Mr. Butler

When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) mentioned the matter last night, I referred to it in my reply as being one of the many issues that might be looked at. I think that it would be preferable that it should be looked at properly before we give an intermediate answer.

Mr. Hamilton

Is it not a reflection on the Government's priorities that two days should have been given to a debate on the Betting and Gaming Bill, and only one day to the Second Reading of the Coal Industry Bill, which affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people? If the right hon. Gentleman will not give further consideration to the possibility of having a two-day debate on the Coal Industry Bill, would he undertake to give us an extra hour on Monday?

Mr. Butler

We would have to ascertain what the general request was for extra time. I do not think that the two subjects can be exactly compared, because no one underestimates the vital importance of the coal industry to the country. In fact, we hope that the "Revised Plan for Coal," which was published on 15th October, will be discussed on Monday. Therefore, I think that it would be better if I paid attention to the hon. Gentleman's request, and found out whether there was general support for it.

Mr. Hector Hughes

On grounds of urgency and humanitarianism, may I ask the Leader of the House to find time for my non-partisan Motion on the conduct of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board in endangering the lives of feeble-minded children in a school near Aberdeen?

[That this House takes note of the proposal of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board to place an electric pylon in, and a high voltage electric line across, the grounds of the Camphill-Rudolf Steiner schools for children in need of special care at Bieldside, Aberdeen; further notes that these schools are in open country where an alternative site could easily be found; recognises that this proposal exposes the children there and the schools to unnecessary danger; considers that this pylon will tend to defeat and impair the very purposes for which these schools exist; and therefore calls upon the Secretary of State for Scotland to take action forthwith to prevent the placing or continuance of any such pylon in the grounds of that school.]

This is a matter of urgency, and I ask that time may be found for it. The Motion has been widely signed.

Mr. Butler

I am aware, as is my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, of the anxiety in reference to this school and what is proposed, but I understand that the matter is at present before the court. Therefore, I could not give a final answer now, but in due course my right hon. Friend would hope to be in a position to say something.

Mr. C. Pannell

Is the right hon. Gentleman yet in a position to name the day when we shall discuss either accommodation or procedure? Is he seized of the necessity of the House putting these matters in order at an early date?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I am so seized of it that I was proposing to see the hon. Member very shortly on the question of accommodation. And I have in mind the question of procedure, which, I hope, we may be able to discuss through the usual channels at an early date.

Mr. Lipton

Is the Leader of the House able to tell us now, or will he be able to tell us in the near future, when it is proposed to begin the Committee stage of the Betting and Gaming Bill, and whether he has found out from the Home Secretary if the Home Secretary will serve on the Committee so that he himself can fight for the betting "butleries" that he has sought to establish?

Mr. Butler

An exact date has not been decided, as far as I am aware, but it will be before Christmas; that is to say, we hope to make a start on the Bill in December.

I should find it extremely difficult to serve on the Committee myself, but I have the great good fortune of having my right hon. Friend the Member for Runcorn (Mr. Vosper) serving as Joint Under-Secretary of State. He himself has been a senior Minister, and his services will be very valuable in dealing with the Bill.

Mr. Zilliacus

In view of the important international meetings and other developments that have either taken place or are impending, will there be any chance of a debate on foreign affairs before the Christmas Recess?

Mr. Butler

There is no such plan at the moment. We shall simply have to wait and see how we get on.