HC Deb 07 July 1960 vol 626 cc697-701
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Leader of the House to state the business of the House for next week?

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

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

MONDAY, 11TH JULY—Supply [21st Allotted Day]: Committee.

A debate will take place on the Economic Situation.

Consideration of the Motions to approve the Cinematograph Films (Collection of Levy) and the (Distribution of Levy) (Amendment) Regulations.

TUESDAY, 12TH JULY-Supply [22nd Allotted Day]: Committee, which it is proposed to take formally.

Debate on Industry and Employment in Scotland which will arise on a Government Motion to take note of the White Paper (Command No. 1045).

Consideration of the Motions to approve the Cotton Finishing (Woven Cloth) and the (Yarn Processing) Reorganisation Scheme (Confirmation) Orders.

WEDNESDAY, 13TH JULY—Supply [23rd Allotted Day]: Committee, which it is proposed to take formally.

Conclusion of the debate on Industry and Employment in Scotland.

THURSDAY, 14TH JULY—Second Reading of the Cyprus Bill.

FRIDAY, 15TH JULY—Second Reading of the Nigeria Independence Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Report and Third Reading of the Charities Bill [Lords].

Second Reading of the Films Bill [Lords], which is a consolidation Measure.

MONDAY, 18TH JULY—The proposed business will be, Supply [24th Allotted Day]: Committee.

A debate on the Use and Price of Land.

Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he is aware of the strong feeling which exists on both sides of the House that we ought not to adjourn for the Summer Recess without discussing the problem of our economic relations with Europe? Is he aware that we feel that this is a subject for which the Government ought to find time and that we hope that he will be able to do so before the Recess?

Mr. Butler

I cannot give any undertaking about time. I listened to the interchanges with the Prime Minister just now and I will discuss the matter with my right hon. Friend. I ought also not to put out of my mind that the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends might consider that a suitable subject for a Supply day.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Do I understand that the debate on Tuesday will take place on a Supply day, formally taken, followed by a Government Motion and a Division? Is not this an extraordinary precedent for a Supply day? Does it not fly in the face of the general opinion of the House in the debate on 19th March this year, to which my right hon. Friend responded?

Mr. Butler

This is taking note of a White Paper and there are precedents for this on previous occasions. In fact, this debate will last for two days. There is a precedent for that. I would remind my noble Friend that we are also engaged in discussions about how the House can more closely supervise expenditure. This arises on matters of that sort, but I do not think that it renders invalid the procedure on this occasion.

Mr. Wigg

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he made an announcement about the 24th Supply day, which means that there are only two Supply days left, the 25th and the 26th, and that on both of those days the Guillotine falls? The right hon. Gentleman has made no announcement about what is to happen regarding the Monk Resolutions? Is he aware that this is an important consideration for the Armed Forces, as it is the first time that this procedure has been adopted under the amended Standing Orders. Should not the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what the Government are up to?

Mr. Butler

The Government are conducting business with their usual efficiency. The remaining two Supply days are in the power of the Opposition. There is also the Appropriation Bill.

On the particular point which the hon. Member, with his knowledge of procedure, put to me, if he will give me notice I shall be glad to consider it and the possibility of making a statement.

Mr. S. Silverman

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what consideration he has given to affording time to the House of Commons before we adjourn for the Summer Recess to discuss a situation which is regarded, both inside and outside the House, as disturbing if not alarming? I refer to the use of bases in this country by a foreign air force for flights which are admitted to be in breach of international law and which, obviously, may have very important consequences to this country.

At the moment—I cannot ask a question about it now—the Government are taking the position that they will not tell us whether or not such a flight happened, whether or not they were consulted, whether or not they approve, and what is the situation. This is not a situation in which the House of Commons can be left without an early opportunity to discuss it, so that it may be cleared up. Will the right hon. Gentleman, as Leader of the House and acting in the interests of all hon. Members, tell us whether he will be able to provide time for the discussion of this matter, and for clearing it up before we adjourn for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Butler

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is answering Questions on this issue on Tuesday and I think that we had better wait until then.

Mr. Eden

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the statement on Government expenditure will be debatable either on a Supply day or in the Appropriation Bill debate?

Mr. Butler

It will be essentially a statement of procedure. To that extent it would be difficult to debate it without a special Motion, which I was not at present contemplating. It will not operate until next Session, so that I do not think that hon. Members need be inhibited on the subject. They can always raise it next Session. It is principally an indication of how—in the general interest of hon. Members and after consultation not only through the usual channels, but with private Members—we think that this matter can best be tackled. I will certainly discuss the matter with my hon. Friends.

Mr. Short

Has the Leader of the House seen the resolution from the Scottish T.U.C. asking for legislation on fares, which was passed unanimously, and which I sent to him last week? Will he now give time for the Second Reading of the Public Service Vehicles (Travel Concessions) Act, 1955 (Amendment) Bill?

Is he aware of another development in this matter, that this week a Select Committee in another place threw out the concession Clause in the Newcastle upon Tyne Corporation Bill? Does the right hon. Gentleman recollect saying that he thought that the Public Service Vehicles Measure ought to go through Parliament? Is he aware that in the Committee in another place Mr. Roland Adams, Q.C., said, "You have before you a powerful recommendation from the Minister of Transport that this Clause be disallowed"?

When are we to have an end to this hypocrisy of giving us things with one hand and taking them away with the other? When will the Leader of the House do something about the fares of old, blind, and disabled people?

Mr. Butler

The position is rather more complicated and difficult than would be appear from the intervention of the hon. Member. I have studied the resolution and looked again at the Bill. Very important principles are involved, but I cannot promise to find the time asked for by the hon. Member.

Dame Irene Ward

In the debate on Scottish industry and employment, arising out of the White Paper, may I ask whether the Government will be prepared to allow a discussion of the Chandos Committee's Report? Would it be possible for an Englishwoman to intervene in a debate on Scottish affairs?

Mr. Butler

The question of those who catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, is a matter for your discretion.

Mr. Janner

Will the Leader of the House say whether he proposes to give an opportunity for discussion of the Albemarle Report before the House rises, particularly in view of the fact that it is a very considerable time since it was issued and there is grave concern throughout the country about the youth situation?

Mr. Butler

At this time of year there is always a great number of candidates for discussion. I cannot give an absolute undertaking.

Mr. Janner

Has not the right hon. Gentleman himself expressed the view that this matter is of very considerable importance? Will he say why he now feels that he cannot give time for such an important discussion to take place?

Mr. Butler

I have not withdrawn from my view of its great importance. In fact, we propose to take certain steps to pursue the path suggested, but it is a question of time.

Mr. Healey

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when we can expect publication of the White Paper on the disarmament talks in Geneva?

Mr. Butler

I will consult my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and inform the hon. Member on the matter.