HC Deb 12 May 1960 vol 623 cc623-9
Mr. Gaitskell

Will the Leader of the House 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, 16TH MAY—Supply [15th Allotted Day]: Comittee.

A debate will take place on the Agricultural Price Review, on the appropriate Votes.

TUESDAY, 17TH MAY—Second Reading of the Ghana (Consequential Provision) Bill; the Merchant Shipping (Minicoy Lighthouse) Bill; and of the Commonwealth Teachers Bill, and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Committee and remaining stages of the Dock Workers (Pensions) Bill.

Consideration of the Motion to approve the Import Duties Order relating to Fresh Tomatoes.

WEDNESDAY, 18TH MAY—We shall begin the Committee stage of the Finance Bill, which will be resumed on Thursday, 19th May.

FRIDAY, 20TH MAY—Consideration of private Members' Motions.

MONDAY, 23RD MAY—The proposed business will be consideration of private Members' Motions until seven o'clock.

Afterwards, Committee and remaining stages of the Ghana (Consequential Provision) Bill; the Commonwealth Teachers Bill; and of the Merchant Shipping (Minicoy Lighthouse) Bill.

Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there will be a statement after the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, and, if so, whether he will find time for a debate fairly soon afterwards on Commonwealth affairs generally?

Mr. Botler

The Conference is not quite finished, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, but I shall put that suggestion to my right hon. Friend. We shall, naturally, endeavour to meet the wishes of the House.

Mr. Bellenger

May I ask whether it is the intention of the Government to implement the Report of the Tucker Committee on Proceedings Before Examining Justices? This is now an urgent matter, because during the last few days, in my own constituency, 10 defendants have been committed for trial, and nobody knows the charges levelled against them except those who were at that time in court, which sat in camera.

Mr. Butler

The right hon. Gentleman has been good enough to draw the case to my attention. I cannot give a definite date for consideration of these important proposals, but the fact is that this case has again accentuated their importance.

Mr. Grimond

Bearing in mind that there are many problems concerning the railways that are not to be studied by the Stedeford Committee, do the Government intend to make any proposals to deal with those problems, or to discuss them before the Committee reports?

Mr. Butler

I think that we had better let the Committee make progress first, but if the hon. Gentleman would let me know the sort of questions he has in mind perhaps I could help him with an answer.

Mr. Brockway

In view of the strong public opinion there is in this country against apartheid in another country, and the desirability of our setting an example, will the right hon. Gentleman provide facilities for my Bill against racial discrimination in public places and social contracts in the United Kingdom?

Mr. Butler

We have never relied, in our Constitution, on legislation on the question of race discrimination. That does not mean that we do not attach the very greatest importance to such questions, but we have never relied on legislation. While I appreciate the objects of the hon. Member's Bill, I cannot undertake to give time for it.

Mr. Gaitskell

Without committing myself on every detail of my hon. Friend's Bill, may I press the right hon. Gentleman to allocate some time for its discussion? In the present circumstances, it would surely be of value that the House of Commons should consider the matter.

Mr. Butler

The right hon. Gentleman will be the first to recognise that, owing to the intense importance of this subject, we should at least precede a discussion in the House with a discussion between ourselves.

Miss Herbison

The Leader of the House will be well aware of the Motion on the Order Paper, signed by all Scottish Members on this side, on unemployment in Scotland. Can he assure us that we shall have an early day for discussion of this Motion? If he cannot give that assurance, will he use all his very great influence with the Secretary of State for Scotland to allow us to discuss it in the Scottish Grand Committee? I ask that further question since, last week, the Leader of the House said: … there are also opportunities in Scottish Grand Committee."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th May, 1960; Vol. 622, c. 1264.] Since the right hon. Gentleman feels that, surely he will use his influence with the Secretary of State for Scotland.

[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

One of two Supply days for Scottish affairs which come a little later in the Session might well be reserved for this important question. One is quite often reserved for Scottish education. There are also opportunities in the Scottish Grand Committee. I certainly have no objection to discussing the situation with my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Darling

Can the Leader of the House tell us whether the selection of Votes for Monday's debate will allow the debate to go wider than just a debate on the Price Review?

Mr. Butler

Which Votes are put down is essentially a matter for the Opposition. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will pay attention to what his hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Gaitskell

May I say that we shall put down sufficient Votes to enable the debate to go rather wider than the Price Review?

Mr. Mulley

In view of recent developments, will the right hon. Gentleman provide time for us to discuss the economic situation in Europe and the proposed organisation to replace O.E.E.C.?

Mr. Butler

This certainly is a most important development. The difficulty is to find time. I must digest what the hon. Gentleman has put before me.

Mr. Short

Is the Leader of the House aware that the Public Service Vehicles (Travel Concessions) Act, 1955 (Amendment) Bill continues to be blocked each Friday by his hon. Friends, the latest hon. Member to add his name to the list of those who wish to deprive old people of concessionary fares being the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Major Hicks Beach)? Does not the Leader of the House think now that he should find some Government time for this worthwhile Measure?

Mr. Butler

There are many worthwhile aspects of this Measure. There is no opposition of an organised character to its consideration. I cannot give any undertaking; the difficulty is to find the time.

Mr. S. Silverman

Since the right hon. Gentleman is considering the finding of time to discuss various Motions on the Order Paper, has his attention been drawn to a Motion put down quite recently, and signed by about 50 of my right hon. and hon. Friends and myself, dealing with a most urgent subject which, apparently, we are to be allowed to discuss this afternoon only on a Motion for the Adjournment, which prevents any expression of opinion on the matters involved? Could the Leader of the House suggest an alteration of today's business so that that Motion might be taken before we proceed to the Motion for the Adjournment?

[That this House warmly welcomes the forthcoming Summit Conference and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to take the initiative in ensuring that it will fulfil the high expectations of the peoples of the world by taking decisive steps towards the ending of the cold war and the arms race, the abolition of nuclear weapons and the solution of the major political problems which threaten world peace, and, in particular, by concluding an agreement on the banning of nuclear weapon tests; by making a joint declaration that no one of the four Powers will ever initiate the use of nuclear weapons; by negotiating a pact of non-aggression and mutual security to supersede the rivalry between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Warsaw Pact Powers and to include a substantial zone in Europe to be nuclear-free and in which armed forces and arms are reduced under international control; by drawing up new directives to the 10-nation Disarmament Committee providing for agreement on the goal of total disarmament to be achieved within a specified period of years by continuous stages, in which each stage represents a real reduction in armed power verified by appropriate measures of control; by renewing discussions on the problems of Germany and the Middle East; and by pledging co-operation through United Nations Agencies in the provision of massive economic aid to under-developed countries.]

Mr. Butler

I will certainly look into what the hon. Gentleman says.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Has the attention of the Leader of the House been drawn to a Motion in my name advocating the institution of a Commonwealth Court? As the Commonwealth Conference has not finished and the Commonwealth Prime Ministers are in this country, and as there are Commonwealth disputes, particularly relating to apartheid, does he not consider that this would be a very appropriate time to discuss the institution of a Commonwealth Court? Will he find time for this purpose in the immediate future?

[That this House, impressed by the fact that there is not now in existence a Commonwealth Court with powers to hear and determine disputes between members of the Commonwealth, appeals from the Supreme Courts of the members of the Commonwealth, questions submitted by the Governments of members of the Commonwealth, or questions submitted by the Supreme Courts of Members of the Commonwealth, recommends Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to initiate conversations with the Governments of all the other members of the Commonwealth for the purpose of agreeing upon and of instituting a Commonwealth Court, with all, or any, of the said powers; and further recommends Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to report to the House from time to time the progress and results of such conversations.]

Mr. Butler

This is a very important matter. I am not aware whether it has been raised in the Commonwealth Conference. I think that there might be just time for the hon. and learned Gentleman to put his case to one of his friends in the Commonwealth.

Mr. C. Pannell

Has the Leader of the House finished his leisurely appraisal of the future of this building? Can he yet announce, or must we wait until next Session for them, the names of the members of the committee which is to consider the affairs which we have already so much discussed?

Mr. Butler

It is proposed to synchronise the announcement of the names of the committee with the production by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works of the plans and models of the future upstairs accommodation. We hope to produce these models and plans in what may euphemistically be described as the early summer.

Mr. Rankin

Is the right hon. Gentleman's continuing search for time an indication that the Whitsun Recess will be for only a week?

Mr. Butler

We had better wait and see.

Mr. Ross

Does not the Leader of the House think that the importance of Scottish employment and unemployment is such that the Government should find time to give the House an opportunity to discuss the subject? Secondly, can he elucidate his reference to one of the Scottish Supply days being used for a discussion of Scottish education?

Mr. Butler

It is normal for two Supply days towards the latter end of the Session to be devoted to Scottish affairs. I should have hoped that one, at least, might have been devoted to this. Further, it would still be possible for Her Majesty's Opposition to choose a subject which clearly interests so many of their supporters and us on this side of the House also, namely, Scottish unemployment.

Mr. Pavitt

Will the Leader of the House try to find time for a discussion of the Report of the Royal Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration? Is it consistent with the dignity of the House that this matter should be discussed elsewhere, that the professions should be calling national conferences, and that negotiations will start without the House having an opportunity of expressing its views upon this very important document?

Mr. Butler

We should like to find time, but I think that it would be very difficult.