HC Deb 05 May 1960 vol 622 cc1261-5
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask theright hon. Gentleman whether he willstate the business of the House fornext 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, 9TH MAY—Supply [13th Allotted Day]: Committee.

A debate will take place on Primary Education, on the appropriate Votes, until seven o'clock.

At seven o'clock, as the House is aware, the Chairman of Ways and Means has set down opposed Private Business for consideration.

TUESDAY, 10TH MAY—Conclusion of the Report stage of the Betting and Gaming Bill.

Report and Third Reading of the Indecency with Children Bill [Lords].

Consideration of the Motions to approve the Ploughing Grants Scheme and the Scheme for Scotland.

WEDNESDAY, 11TH MAY—Third Reading of the Betting and Gaming Bill, which it is hoped to obtain by about seven o'clock.

Afterwards, Second Reading of the Dock Workers (Pensions) Bill.

THURSDAY, 12TH MAY—Supply [14th Allotted Day]: Committee.

A debate will take place on Foreign Affairs, related to the Summit Meeting.

FRIDAY, 13TH MAY—Consideration of Private Members' Bills.

MONDAY, 16TH MAY—The proposed business will be Supply [15th Allotted Day]: Committee.

A debate on the Agricultural Price Review, on the appropriate Votes.

Mr. Curran

Can my right hon. Friend say whether his attention has been drawn to the Motion standing in my name and, if so, whether he can give time to discuss it?

[That, in the opinion of this House, the National Assistance scales for retirement pensions should be increased.]

Mr. Butler

I have my hon. Friend's Motion here with me. I cannot give time in the immediate future, but perhaps my hon. Friend would have a talk with me.

Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas

Can time be found to discuss the Motion in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) and myself and about 60 hon. Members, on the Commonwealth Convention of Human Rights, and, if so, can that be done within the next fortnight?

[That this House, recalling the solemn obligation undertaken by the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries to co-operate with the United Nations by joint and separate action in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of race; welcoming the accession by Her Majesty's Government to the European Convention of Human Rights and its application to Crown Colonies and Protectorates: and, recognising that the Commonwealth cannot endure unless all its members recognise and guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms irrespective of race, colour, or creed, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to initiate the study by all member-countries of the Commonwealth of the practicability of formulating a Commonwealth Convention of Human Rights and the establishment of the necessary investigatory and judicial organs necessary for that high purpose, so that all citizens of the Commonwealth, wherever residing, may be assured of the enjoyment of those fundamental rights and of protection against any infringement of the same.]

Mr. Butler

I think that the answer to "within the next fortnight" is "No, Sir." I do not think that we have the opportunity. I realise the importance of this and I suggest that the hon. and learned Gentleman discuss it with his hon. Friends with a view perhaps to the Opposition helping us with a Supply day if they want to.

Mr. Gaitskell

Will the Prime Minister be making a statement on the Commonwealth Conference, on which perhaps a debate might take place and we might take the same subjects as covered by the Motion on the Order Paper?

Mr. Butler

I will put to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, who is at present engaged, as the House knows, at the Conference, the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman. Perhaps then we might consider the points raised in the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Wigg

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are very few opportunities for private Members to put down a Motion before the end of the Session? Therefore, in view of the importance of debating the Peppiatt Committee in advance of legislation, will he give the House an assurance that he will find time to discuss the Report?

Mr. Butler

I cannot go as far as that immediately. It would be very convenient for the Government if we could gain the views of the House on this Report. My right hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary gave the general view of the Government about the desirability of proceeding. We want to proceed in due course, but we cannot unless we get the wisdom of the House. I will bear in mind the suggestion and perhaps we can have a discussion about it.

Dr. Johnson

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he can find time for a general debate on the National Health Service? Is he aware that there are problems of very considerable importance accumulating in this Service, particularly relevant to the general practitioners, rightly described as the basis of the Service? So far, we have not had this Session a general debate on this Service, which is costing the country £700 million or more a year.

Mr. Butler

I think that my hon. Friend's request is perfectly reasonable. It is simply a question of finding time.

Mr. Lawson

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the Motion, standing in the name of all the Members for Scottish constituencies on this side of the House, concerning the high level of unemployment in Scotland? If so, has he considered whether or not we can have an early date on which to discuss this matter, which is very important to us?

[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

There are two Supply days to come, when Scottish matters can be considered, and there are also opportunities in Scottish Grand Committee? These are opportunities which can be taken. Subject to that, I cannot at present give any further promise of an additional day.

Mr. Braine

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether, when considering the respective merits of the suggestions just made to him, he will bear in mind one subject of major importance which the House ought to discuss at a very early date, namely, the effect of divisions between the Six and the Seven in Europe and on the underdeveloped countries, mainly in the Commonwealth? Can he say whether this is a subject for which an early date for debate can be provided?

Mr. Butler

It is obvious that this major issue affects our overseas trade. I cannot give any undertaking of time at present, but perhaps I might see my hon. Friend on this matter.

Mrs. Castle

Is the right hon. Gentleman yet able to announce his proposals for setting up a Select Committee on Accommodation, which he promised the House immediately after the Easter Recess?

Mr. Butler

I do not think that I was guilty of an absolute date in my promise. I think I said that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works was going to publish his plan for improving the accommodation of the House, and at or about the same time, with the aid of consultation with the Opposition, I should like to make a statement of my own on this matter.

Mr. Pavitt

Would the Leader of the House give consideration to finding time very quickly for a debate on the findings of the Royal Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration? In view of the fact that it has been already discussed in another place, preliminary discussions have started between the Minister and the profession, and the profession is having its national conference on 19th May, should not this House have an opportunity of discussing the Commission's Report?

Mr. Butler

That is a point which is analogous to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Dr. Johnson). It shows that it is considered to be important, and rightly so, by both sides of the House.