HC Deb 13 April 1960 vol 621 cc1261-5
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Leader of the House if he will state the business of the House for the week after the Recess?

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

Yes, Sir. The proposed business for the first week after the Easter Recess will be:

TUESDAY, 26TH APRIL—Supply [11th Allotted Day]:

It is proposed to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on Civil Estimates, 1960–61.

My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) will move an Amendment relating to Capital Investment in Industry.

WEDNESDAY, 27TH APRIL—Third Reading of the International Development Association Bill.

Report and Third Reading of the Civil Aviation (Licensing) Bill.

THURSDAY, 28TH APRIL—Second Reading of the Charities Bill [Lords], and Committee Stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

FRIDAY, 29TH APRIL—Consideration of Private Members' Bills.

The proposed business for MONDAY, 2ND MAY, will be Supply [12th Allotted Day]: Committee. A debate on Housing and Local Government in England, Wales and Scotland will take place on the appropriate Votes.

Mr. Short

Is the Leader of the House aware that the Newcastle upon Tyne Corporation Bill, which passed its Committee stage last week, has been blocked on two occasions this week by some of his hon. Friends? I have ascertained that this was done on the instructions of the Government Whips. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] As this Bill has had its Committee stage, and has cost the ratepayers of Newcastle-upon-Tyne many thousands of pounds to present to this House, is not this a gross abuse of democratic procedure in this House? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that this Bill is concerned, among other things, with bus fares for aged people, the blind and the disabled, and in view of this, is he not thoroughly ashamed of himself and of the hon. Members behind him?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir. I must entirely repudiate the suggestion that the Bill was blocked on the organisation and advice of the Government Whips. At the same time, I am aware of the value of the Bill, and also that it contains certain provisions which caused people to examine whether these same provisions are in application elsewhere. That may be the reason why there has been some objection to the passage of the Bill, as such. I will certainly speak to the hon. Gentleman and consider the objections, if he cares to see me.

Mr. Gaitskell

Are we to understand from that reply that the right hon. Gentleman contemplates that a Government Measure covering broadly the same ground as this Private Bill, but extending to other authorities, is likely to be introduced?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir, but, having a very lively awareness of what hon. Members are thinking, I have been informed that hon. Members have had some difficulties about the Bill because of the nature of the perfectly humane concessions included in it. I was only imparting that information to the House. I was not undertaking a further Government programme.

Major Legge-Bourke

As I was the Chairman of the Select Committee before which that Bill appeared, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is aware that, if there is a good case for opposing the Bill on Report, the argument is that the 1955 Act ought to be repealed; and if the Government will not repeal it they have no right to oppose the Bill?

Mr. Butler

I see the importance of my hon. and gallant Friend's question, but it has not been the Government who have been opposing the Bill. I am, however, aware of the important issues raised, and I should like to see the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) and have a talk with him on the subject.

Mr. Short

Further to the point raised by the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke), may I point out that the 1955 Act was introduced by myself, but that the Government mucked it up by Amendments, though I warned them that they were doing so. I recently introduced a Private Member's Bill to amend that Act, but Government supporters, also on the instructions of the Government Whips, are blocking that Bill. If they will not let a Public Bill introduced by a private Member go through, or a Private Bill introduced by a local authority go through, how are we to get out of this tangle?

Mr. Butler

I cannot accept that all these machinations are being organised by the Government.

Mr. K. Robinson

Could the right hon. Gentleman say when the Government intend to have a debate on the Report of the Royal Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration, or does the right hon. Gentleman take the view that, since the Government have come to a decision without ascertaining the views of either House of Parliament, a debate would be a waste of time?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir. No debate in this House is ever a waste of time. We are fortified by the views of hon. Members. But what is clear is that there is no time before Easter.

Mr. Callaghan

May I ask the Leader of the House if he has yet been able to consider the Bill proposed by his hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower), about leasehold reform in South Wales? If he has, is he willing to give Government time for the further consideration of the Bill, and so relieve a great many people in South Wales?

Mr. Butler

While not underestimating the importance of leasehold reform in South Wales, I can offer no time at present for such a Bill.

Mr. Willis

Has the attention of the Leader of the House been drawn to the astonishing figures given recently in answer to Questions concerning the industrial situation in Scotland, and, in particular, the figures which have been given today about opportunities for the employment of youth? Will he, in the light of these figures, now consider whether he could provide an opportunity to discuss the Motion on the Order Paper in the names of all Scottish Labour Members regarding special provisions for employment?

[That this House, while welcoming the efforts being made to induce development of private industry in areas of high unemployment, believes that where those efforts prove insufficient it is the duty of Her Majesty's Government to bring full employment to those areas by setting up and operating publicly owned enterprises.]

Mr. Butler

We have had recent opportunities for considering this, and the Opposition had the opportunity of putting this down for a Supply day. I draw this to the attention of the Leader of the Opposition. Apart from that, I cannot see in the immediate future an opportunity of debating this Motion.

Sir S. Summers

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that in one of the early weeks after the Recess he will find time for a debate on the Albemarle Report?

Mr. Butler

I am not sure that we shall have an early opportunity, but I am aware that hon. Members wish to discuss it.

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