HC Deb 01 December 1960 vol 631 cc590-5
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Leader of the House to state 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, 5TH DECEMBER—Second Reading of the Betting Levy Bill.

Committee and remaining stages of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill.

Committee stage of the Civil Supplementary Estimates for the National Health Service, England and Wales and for Scotland.

TUESDAY, 6TH DECEMBER—Supply [1st Allotted Day]:

Motion to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair, when a debate will arise on an Opposition Amendment relating to the Motor Car Industry.

WEDNESDAY, 7TH DECEMBER—Second Reading of the Covent Garden Market Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

THURSDAY, 8TH DECEMBER—Consideration of the Local Government General Grant Orders and Transitional Adjustments Regulations for England and Wales, and of the Local Government General Grant (Scotland) Order.

FRIDAY, 9TH DECEMBER—Consideration of Private Members' Bills.

MONDAY, 12TH DECEMBER—The proposed business will be consideration of private Members' Motions until seven o'clock.

The Government business to be taken after seven o'clock will be announced later.

It may be convenient for me to inform the House that it is proposed to adjourn for the Christmas Recess during the week of Monday, 19th December.

I will announce the definite date as soon as possible, but this will depend upon the progress of necessary business.

Mr. Gaitskell

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that, as I requested last week, there will be a defence debate before the N.A.T.O. Conference begins?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Shinwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman give us an approximate date for the debate on General Norstad's submission?

Mr. Butler

The debate asked for, prior to the N.A.T.O. meeting, will take place in the week after that which I have just mentioned.

Miss Bacon

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this morning Standing Committee B met to consider the Criminal Justice Bill and that that Committee will meet again on Tuesday and Thursday of next week? Does he realise how this Committee will be placed by virtue of the fact that neither he, as Home Secretary, nor his right hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Home Office is a member of that Standing Committee? Since the right hon. Gentleman finds time in the morning, as I understand he did this morning, to go to the Tory Party Central Office and to carry out his duties as Chairman of the Tory Party, cannot he now find the time to pilot his own Home Office Bills through the Standing Committee?

Mr. Butler

On the Standing Committee there are my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General and my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department. I think that the Government are very well represented on that Standing Committee, and I am very well satisfied that they are able to carry out their duties. The greater part of my duties this morning were taken up in attending a Cabinet meeting, and that, I think, is my primary duty.

Mr. Gaitskell

Since this is a very important Bill, and although we all realise that the right hon. Gentleman carries a very heavy burden, and has had to introduce a number of Bills, will he not reconsider attending the Committee on the Criminal Justice Bill which, after all, deals with a subject to which we all know that he himself attaches immense importance?

Mr. Butler

I have given this matter very careful consideration. I quite understand the motives which inspire the questions which have been put to me on this occasion. I am sorry that I have not been able to serve as a member of the Standing Committee, but I am well satisfied that my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General and my hon. and learned Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State are very suitable representatives for the Government.

Mr. Lipton

Will the Leader of the House find time for a Motion on National Health Service charges for drugs, signed by more than 100 of his hon. Friends—

[That this House is of the opinion that private patients should be enabled to obtain their medicines and drugs on the same terms and conditions as National Health Service patients; and urges Her Majesty's Government to introduce the necessary legislation without further delay]—

to which an Amendment has been tabled by nearly 100 of my hon. Friends—

[in line 1, leave out from "that" to end and add "Her Majesty's Government should resist all pressures to enable private patients to receive medicines and drugs free of charge as this would place an increased burden on the taxpayer, would encourage a first and second class service in general practice and adversely affect the incomes of general practitioners wholly or mainly within the National Health Service and would be contrary to the principles on which that Service is based".]

May we not have a friendly discussion on that important matter before the Christmas Recess, in which we should all very much like to hear what the Minister of Health has to say?

Mr. Butler

I cannot undertake that there will be time for that before the Christmas Recess.

Mr. Marsh

Will the right hon. Gentleman try to find time soon after the Christmas Recess for a general debate on the all-important topic of industrial relations in Britain, so that we may discuss this subject objectively rather than, as is usually the case, against the background of a serious dispute?

Mr. Butler

I realise the importance of the subject and I am quite ready to have discussions on it, but it will be very difficult to find time.

Mr. Jay

Will the Government next week, or earlier, make a further statement about the Ford Motor Company, in view of the report that the American Government may not give permission for this transaction? When the Government were in such a hurry to give their own permission, did they first find out whether the American Government would give theirs?

Mr. Butler

I cannot undertake to be sure, from the information in my possession, whether the latter part of the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is correct. All I will say is that I will discuss it with my right hon. Friends.

Mr. Stonehouse

In view of the importance of the subject, and the interest in it indicated at Question Time, will the Leader of the House say whether time is to be given to debate the Report of the Morse Economic Survey Mission?

Mr. Butler

I can only undertake to consider that.

Mr. C. Royle

Returning to the subject of the Criminal Justice Bill, can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that his right hon. and learned Friend and his hon. and learned Friend will have power to accept Amendments in that Standing Committee; or does he expect the Bill to come back to the Floor of the House in the same state as that in which it went to the Standing Committee?

Mr. Butler

I am perfectly satisfied that my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General and my hon. and learned Friend the Under-Secretary of State have the power to take an elastic view of Amendments put down in that Standing Committee, and I do not doubt that, on Report, the Bill will come back greatly improved.

Mr. Shinwell

I want to return to the matter I raised before the Leader of the House announced the business for next week. Will he arrange the business next week in such a fashion as will enable the Prime Minister to answer Oral Questions at 3.15 p.m.?

Mr. Butler

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was present during the interchanges that took place just before the business statement, and I will undertake, not only on my own behalf but on behalf of my right hon. Friend, to pay attention to what has been said in the House, and to give careful consideration to this matter.

Mr. Pavitt

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the House will ever have an opportunity to discuss the Report of the Royal Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration? Next week, we shall be discussing the Supplementary Estimate relating to that Report. Is it not time that the Government took the House into their confidence? We should be able to discuss such important matters rather than that the Government should take decisions without reference to the House at all.