HC Deb 26 May 1960 vol 624 cc679-85
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, 30TH MAY—Consideration of the Motion standing in the name of the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) relating to Mr. Speaker and the rights of Members.

Afterwards, a debate will take place on Foreign Affairs on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

TUESDAY, 31ST MAY—Committee stage of the Finance Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 1ST JUNE—By agreement through the usual channels, the Adjournment of the House will be moved at the beginning of business in order to debate, until six o'clock, the Government's measures concerning road traffic at Whitsun.

Afterwards, we shall take the Report and Third Reading of the Road Traffic and Roads Improvement Bill; and consideration of the Motion to approve the Import Duties (Chemicals) Order.

THURSDAY, 2ND JUNE—Consideration of Lords Amendments to the Civil Aviation (Licensing) Bill and the Payment of Wages Bill.

Report and Third Reading of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Bill.

FRIDAY, 3RD JUNE—Adjournment for the Whitsun Recess until Monday, 20th June.

Mr. Gaitskell

First, is it intended that the Minister of Transport will open the debate on road traffic with a statement of his proposals for the handling of traffic during Whitsun, or will he make a statement before the debate so that we can be informed about it before discussion begins? Secondly, when does the Leader of the House propose to find time for a debate on Commonwealth affairs, for which we have pressed on several occasions? Thirdly, when are the Government likely to make a statement on the very unsatisfactory state of negotiations in Cyprus?

Mr. Butler

In reply to the right hon. Gentleman's first point, two Orders will be laid, which should appear on the Order Paper tomorrow, about my right hon. Friend's activities and suggestions after Whitsun. I think that he would normally make a statement at the beginning of the debate. That, taken with the Orders—his statement will be wider than the Orders—should give the House some idea of what he has in mind.

I do not think that there will be an opportunity easily before the Whitsun Recess to have a debate on the Commonwealth, and I do not think that a debate on Cyprus would be useful until we have some further indication of how the discussions in Nicosia are going on.

Mr. Gaitskell

I do not ask for a debate. I asked when the Government were likely to make a statement.

Mr. Butler

I do not think that a statement can be made until we have made some further progress with the negotiations.

Mr. W. Hamilton

Has the right hon. Gentleman given any further attention to the possibility of a debate on the Motion now on the Order Paper, and signed by every Scottish Labour Member, on the question of unemployment in Scotland? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, whilst the figures have gone down this month, this is what one could expect in view of the normal seasonal trend? The position is still very serious. Will he give further consideration to it?

[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

I am very glad to say that the figures have improved, as the hon. Member has acknowledged. That is for the good. I agree that the problem remains one worthy of discussion, but I cannot enlarge upon the opportunities which I have previously announced upon which a discussion might take place.

Dame Irene Ward

Will my right hon. Friend arrange for a debate on the Chandos Report to the Minister of Transport, as I understand that it has been announced in Scotland today that the keel of the Cunarder is to be laid in John Brown's? Is it not appropriate that a proper statement giving the full details of the future should be announced to the House of Commons before it appears in the Press in Scotland?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. It is natural that my hon. Friend should wish to have the latest news, but she must give my right hon. Friend an opportunity to consider the Report, which he has only just received. There is no question of any decision having been made. Any announcements which have been made about a decision are premature.

Mr. Rankin

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's continuing difficulty in finding time to debate very important issues, such as Scottish unemployment, how is it that he can afford such a long time for a holday at Whitsun?

Mr. Butler

It has been normal in recent years to permit the House of Commons an opportunity for a fortnight's Recess at Whitsun. Owing to the extreme efficiency and despatch with which Government business has been transacted, we can well afford to permit hon. Members opposite a little relaxation, in which they can examine the sorry state of affairs in their own constituencies.

Mr. Nabarro

Could not my right hon. Friend consider during the Whitsun Recess the matter put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward)? Could not the Minister of Transport consider the Chandos Report before 20th June, and could my right hon. Friend then arrange a debate on this very important topic in conjunction with the Galbraith Report on nuclear-powered merchant ships, which is of general interest to the whole House?

Mr. Butler

I will certainly draw to my right hon. Friend's attention the importance of reaching a decision on these matters in time for the House to have an opportunity of expressing its opinion.

Mrs. Castle

Can the Leader of the House say when he will announce his proposals on the setting up of a Select Committee on Accommodation? Is he aware that it took us months to get a debate and that we have had to wait for months for any action from that debate? He and the Minister of Works have been sitting on their plans like a mallard duck, except that they have not hatched out any eggs.

Mr. Butler

Most of the mallard ducks of my acquaintance have now produced some young. The hon. Lady will be glad to hear that I have submitted to Mr. Speaker the terms of reference of the Committee which we wish to set up, and that my right hon. Friend has produced his models and they are very nearly ready. I hope that the ducklings will shortly be available.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

is the Leader of the House aware that we greatly appreciate his generosity in giving us time on Monday for the discussion of the Motion in the names of my hon. Friends and myself?

[That this House views with regret the failure of Mr. Speaker on the occasion of the Prime Minister's statement on the failure of the Summit Conference to allow questions to be put by any private member not a Privy Councillor or Front Bench spokesman on the Opposition side of the House.]

As there is an important foreign affairs debate, and we understand that the Foreign Secretary wishes to go abroad, and a large number of hon. Members with all kinds of different points of view wish to speak in the debate, we wish to say that we respond to that generosity and that we do not want any time from the right hon. Gentleman now.

I wish to say, also, that there is no imputation of impartiality against you, Mr. Speaker. [Laughter.] All that we wish to do is to live along with you in peaceful co-existence.

Mr. Speaker

May I be allowed, in response to thank the hon. Member for his discourtesy?

Mr. C. Pannell

Next Wednesday is Derby day. Does the Home Secretary appreciate the interest of my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) in that day, and the great hardship it imposes on him to be absent from another place on that afternoon? Cannot we get back to the time-honoured practice of Lord Roseberry, when the House adjourned so that Members might be on Epsom Downs studying the social habits of the people?

Mr. Butler

I think that that proposition would command universal support.

Hon. Members


Mr. Greenwood

Will the Leader of the House say whether we are to have a statement next week on the Anderson Report, and, if not then, when?

Mr. Butler

I think that this is a matter to which my right hon. Friend must give his immediate attention. I shall endeavour to give the hon. Gentleman a reply as soon as possible, but there has not so far been an opportunity to give a final opinion on the Report.

Mr. Ede

Perhaps I may be allowed to say that the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) was put without consultation with me, and that satisfactory arrangements appear to have been made. May I congratulate hon. Members opposite on the fact that the Whitsun Recess has been so arranged as to include the whole of Ascot?

Mr. Harold Davies

In view of the international situation, could the House have a succinct White Paper on the Government's existing controls in relation to N.A.T.O. and our bases? Will the Leader of the House give an opportunity at some time for both sides to discuss this matter in a serious manner?

Mr. Butler

This is not quite a question on business, but I will refer it to my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary; and perhaps the matter could be raised in the foreign affairs debate.

Mr. Fletcher

May I ask when the House will have an opportunity to consider the Report of the Simonds Committee on Powers of Subpoena of Disciplinary Tribunals, which has had a rather unfavourable Press? What are the Government's intentions in respect of that Report in so far as it relates to Bills now before the House?

Mr. Butler

I hope at an early date to give an Answer to Parliamentary Questions on this matter which will indicate the Government's attitude to the Simonds Report. I would not say that the reception had been bad; it has, in some respects, been confused, because there is more than one issue at stake. I think that what the House wants to get clear is what action the Government propose to take about a Bill at present in another place, and that I think I can make clear.

Mr. Mulley

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he has now had time to consider a question that I put earlier: will he find time to debate the important developments in Europe, particularly with regard to the economic problems and the formation of a new organisation to replace O.E.E.C.? If time for this cannot be found before Whitsun—as I understand—will the Leader of the House give an assurance that the House can debate it shortly after the Whitsun Recess?

Mr. Butler

In so far as certain aspects of this question affect foreign policy, there will be an opportunity to refer to them in the foreign affairs debate. In so far as it affects the final conclusion a Government policy in regard to this difficult matter, I think that a little more time would be a good thing, and that will in no way take away from the opportunities of the House to express an opinion.

Mr. Brockway

Is the Leader of the House now in a position to answer a Question I put to him a fortnight ago, when he said that he was prepared to enter into discussions about time being allowed for consideration of the Race Discrimination Bill?

Mr. Butler

The answer is, No, Sir, not in the form in which it is at present presented.

Sir L. Plummer

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that early in February the House gave me permission to introduce a Bill dealing with racial and religious insults. Owing to pressure of other business, and to long-winded speeches made on Fridays, that Bill has not got any further. In those circumstances, will the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is possible to give time for a Second Reading, particularly as I believe that the Government want to make clear their attitude to the problem?

Mr. Butler

I have no doubt about the hon. Gentleman's motives, but we think that this is not a matter that is easily handled by legislation. I cannot, therefore, give any undertaking.

Mr. Ronald Bell

Does my right hon. Friend think that he will be able to find time for a debate on the Cranbrook Report?

Mr. Butler

Well, Sir, I hope so.