HC Deb 26 November 1959 vol 614 cc565-8
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Prime Minister, in the absence of the Leader of the House, whether he will announce the business for next week?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

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

MONDAY, 30TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

TUESDAY, 1ST DECEMBER and WEDNESDAY, 2ND DECEMBER—Committee stage of the Local Employment Bill.

THURSDAY, 3RD DECEMBER—Committee and remaining stages of the Commonwealth Scholarships Bill; and of the Judicial Pensions Bill;

Report and Third Reading of the Sea Fish Industry Bill; and of the Lord High Commissioner (Church of Scotland) Bill.

FRIDAY, 4TH DECEMBER—Consideration of private Members' Motions.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware, first, that in view of the large number of Amendments on the Notice Paper it seems to us that it will be out of the question to conclude the Committee stage of the Local Employment Bill in two days?

Secondly, following on the statement made by the Minister Transport, and on an earlier request from this side, may I ask whether the Government will find time for a debate on the traffic problems in London before the Recess, or, if it is preferred, a wider debate to include other cities as well?

Thirdly, will the Government also find time before the Recess for a debate on the problem of accommodation for hon. Members?

The Prime Minister

On the first point, I think that we must see how we get on with the Bill. Two days have been allocated and I think that we must wait and see what progress we make.

On the second question, if it is the general wish of the House, as I think it may well be, to have a debate on traffic problems. I feel that it should be possible to arrange a suitable day.

On the third point, concerning a debate on accommodation, that depends on whether we discuss the traffic problem and on what other requests are made relating to other Motions, but we will bear that in mind.

Mr. J. Hynd

Are we now to understand that within the next week we are not to have a White Paper on the Stockholm negotiations and Agreement, and an opportunity to discuss this matter in view of its very important implications?

The Prime Minister

It will not be possible to arrange it for next week.

Mr. Hynd

When will it be arranged?

The Prime Minister

I do not know when the White Paper will be published, or when the debate will take place, but it will not be next week.

Mr. Ridsdale

Is the Prime Minister aware of our concern with the long-term problem of nationalisation, particularly in the priorities of investment in the road and rail programmes? Can he arrange for an early debate on this matter?

The Prime Minister

There seems to be general concern about nationalisation from all quarters. I do not think that it will be possible to have this debate, except possibly in private Members' time.

Mr. Short

There is general concern about unemployment, too. In view of the increasing unemployment in shipbuilding on Tyneside, can the Prime Minister say when we are likely to have a statement on the Cunarders?

The Prime Minister

I cannot answer that now.

Mr. Peyton

If we are too have a debate on traffic, would my right hon. Friend be good enough to ensure that the lines of it are very broad? It should deal with urban congestion generally.

The Prime Minister

I think that it would be best to discuss this through the usual channels, to see whether it is the wish of the House that the debate should cover a wider field. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will do his best to answer the points that are raised on either of these methods of discussion.

Mr. Mellish

Is the Prime Minister aware that a number of us are concerned about asking questions about nationalised industries? The right hon. Gentleman gave an undertaking that he would look at this matter and have talks. Can he tell us how the talks are going along? Are we doing all right?

The Prime Minister

This is being discussed with the Leader of the House who, unfortunately, is laid up today, but I hope that the talks will be concluded within a reasonable time.

Mr. Lipton

Will the Prime Minister consider with the Leader of the House, as soon as he is well enough—which we all hope will be soon—the possibility of finding an hour or two for a discussion of the Motion in my name referring to the removal of a magistrate from the list of magistrates?

May I ask the Prime Minister to bear in mind that the only way in which this matter could be dealt with was by way of a substantive Motion and not by an Adjournment debate? As it is desirable, in the interests of the administration of justice, that this matter should be disposed of quickly, would the Prime Minister consult his right hon. Friend the Leader of the House and see what can be done about it?

[That this House takes note that, on 19th October last, at Wokingham Juvenile Court, Mr. Leonard Hackett, J.P., addressed an accused person in the following terms: "What you richly deserve is such a thorough thrashing that you would be senseless for about forty-eight hours. Very unfortunately, this court has no power, and no other court has any power, to order you to be so punished. However, I have no doubt that if you continue in your present way of life this punishment you will receive, and it will not be ordered by a court of law but by other men in whose society you will find yourself"; and this House is, therefore, of the opinion that Mr. Hackett should be removed from the list of magistrates.]

The Prime Minister

I have seen the Motion, and I will bring it to the attention of my right hon. Friend.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will give an assurance that before the House rises for the Christmas Recess we shall have an Order for increasing the pensions for retired police officers and their widows, which fall to be dealt with by an affirmative Resolution under the Pensions (Increase) Act? Am I to understand that if there is a delay it is because the Government are looking at the matter again with a view to doing something really good?

The Prime Minister

I will look into the question. I have not the answer to it today, but I will look into it.

Mr. Ross

I wonder whether the Prime Minister will make it his responsibility to ensure that the Minister in charge of the Bill to be taken on Monday, or the Treasury signatory to the Money Resolution, is sufficiently well briefed or equipped to answer the simple questions that might be asked on the Money Resolution? If the right hon. Gentleman wishes to find the background to this he should look at what happened in relation to the Money Resolution on judges' pensions, when in the inept hands of the Attorney-General the simplest and most obvious questions could not be answered.

The Prime Minister

I cannot accept what the hon. Gentleman says. I am sure that Ministers will continue to give, to the best of their ability, the service that they have always given.

Mr. Paget

On a point of order. I do not for a moment want it to be thought that I support the Motion in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton), Mr. Speaker. I do not, but as a matter of order is it not the custom of this House that when a Motion criticising a member of the judicature is put on the Order Paper it is the duty of the Government to find time at at early date to dispose of that matter, and that a Motion of that sort ought not to be allowed to rest on the Order Paper?

The Prime Minister


Mr. Speaker

I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman raised a point of order. I think that to describe it as a custom is to put the proposition too high.