HC Deb 18 April 1962 vol 658 cc505-9
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business for the first week after our return after the Easter Recess?

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. Iain Macleod)

Yes, Sir. The business for the first week after the Easter Adjournment will be as follows:

TUESDAY, 1ST MAY—Second Reading of the Northern Ireland Bill [Lords], and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Sea Fish Industry Bill: Remaining stages.

WEDNESDAY, 2ND MAY—Supply [14th Allotted Day]: Committee.

A debate will take place on Housing in England and Wales, on the appropriate Votes.

THURSDAY, 3RD MAY—Finance Bill: Second Reading.

FRIDAY, 4TH MAY—Private Members' Bills.

MONDAY, 7TH MAY—The proposed business will be: Consideration of private Members' Motions until seven o'clock.

Afterwards, Report and Third Reading of the Health Visitors and Social Workers Training Bill.

Mr. Gaitskell

Can the Leader of the House tell us anything more about the debate on the Central African Federation? Will it take place during the following week and, if so, what form will it take? Can he give us an assurance that whether or not particular Questions are reached tomorrow, the Prime Minister will make a statement on two things before the Easter Recess, namely, the state of the negotiations on nuclear tests and the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' conference?

Mr. Macleod

The debate on Central Africa will follow within a day or two of the business which I have announced. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, we are having discussions about the precise form it should take.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be answering Questions tomorrow and in answer to those, or by means of a statement, I think that he will deal with both points which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has raised.

Dame Irene Ward

Am I to understand that on Monday we are to have only half a day on Report and Third Reading of the Health Visitors and Social Workers Training Bill? As most knowledgeable people concerned with the Bill entirely disapprove of its weakness, although agreeing with the principles involved, does the right hon. Gentleman think that half a day is sufficient? There is a good deal to be said.

Mr. Macleod

Yes, Sir. I think that it can be done in this time, but, of course, we shall suspend the Standing Order for that part of Monday's business and so not be limited to an hour or so. The Bill had only four sittings in Standing Committee and it is a Bill which, on balance at least, both sides of the House want to see on the Statute Book.

Mr. C. Pannell

Presumably in cooperation with you, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the House proposes again to set up a Committee to consider accommodation. Will he consider having half a day to debate this subject when we return from the Easter Recess, as the new terms of reference for the Committee seem even narrower than the old, in that they are concerned with the development on the other side of the road and not with practical problems which will be facing us in the next few months?

I suppose that this building is to be extended and another storey added, but even then we do not know what allocation of accommodation will be made. Already, there is some discontent about the allocation of accommodation in St. Stephens, a discontent which should be aired. Does not the right hon. Gentlemen agree that the House could well devote two or three hours to its own affairs?

Mr. Macleod

The accommodation available on the Bridge Street site will not be available for some years, but I would think it right to ask the advice of a Committee of the House, and Mr. Speaker has agreed to this course. This is a complicated matter to discuss in this way. If the hon. Gentleman would like to come and see me, assuming that he can find his way to my room, I would be very glad to discuss this with him.

Sir C. Osborne

In view of the large number of hon. Members on both sides of the House who, unfortunately, were not able to take part in the Budget debate, would it be possible, because of the difficulties in which you, Mr. Speaker, may be placed on Thursday because of the number of hon. Members who want to take part in the Second Reading debate on the Finance Bill, for the time to be extended?

Mr. Macleod

I would not have thought that that was necessary because the ordinary business of that day is not subject to the usual rule.

Miss Herbison

Will the Leader of the House give further consideration to the time that he has allocated for the Social Workers and Health Visitors Training Bill? I ask that partly for the reasons adduced by the hon. Lady the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward), and partly because the Leader of the House will no doubt be aware that during the consideration of the Scottish part of the Bill no responsible Scottish Minister was aavilable to deal with it, as he was tied up in a Committee on another Bill. Unless further time is provided, the only discussions that will take part on the Scottish part of the Bill will be in the late hours of the night or the early hours of the morning.

Mr. Macleod

I will consider the point made by the hon. Lady. My impression is that the business that I have announced for Monday, 7th May, could easily be taken that day, but I will be glad to consider the hon. Lady's point.

Sir A. V. Harvey

As the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not refer to the pensions of Service widows in his Budget proposals, is the Leader of the House now prepared to find time in the early future to debate the Motion which is supported by more than 200 Members?

[That this House, recognising the hardship suffered by retired officers, pensioned other ranks and widows of the armed services, especially those who are old, whose retired pay and pensions cannot be debated under Pensions (Increase) Bills and bear no relation to current awards, urges Her Majesty's Government immediately to improve the pensions of widows bereaved before 4th November, 1958, and to examine the conditions peculiar to all armed service pensioners and, as soon as economic circumstances permit, to introduce special provisions to improve their retired pay and pensions.]

Mr. Macleod

I am aware of the support for this Motion, but as far as announcing business is concerned, I must rest on my previous statement.

Dame Irene Ward

Up with democracy, down with the Executive.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Having tried five or six times to get this Motion debated, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are consuming our own time by frivolous noises.

Mrs. Braddock

Can the Leader of the House say what happened arising out of his consultation with the Home Secretary about the possibility of seeing the film of the Orpington by-election count?

Mr. Macleod

I understand that the position there was that both the B.B.C. and I.T.V. transmitted it live, and that no film is in existence.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Has my right hon. Friend noted that since the creation of the Department of Technical Cooperation in July last year there has not been a debate on its functions? Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the publication of the annual memorandum by this Department last week could well provide a valuable opportunity for such a debate?

Mr. Macleod

I will take note of that. It seems an appropriate topic for a Supply Day or some other day.

Mr. S. Silverman

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to a number of Questions from both sides of the House to the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Labour showing a great deal of anxiety about the developing crisis in the cotton industry and in Lancashire generally? Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that there is grave public anxiety about this? Can he offer any hope of an early opportunity of debating this in the House?

Mr. Macleod

Apart from the opportunities available in Supply, which are considerable between Easter and Whit-sun, no.

Mr. Loughlin

Has the Leader of the House considered the possibility of finding time to discuss Civil Defence? He must be aware that it has not been discussed for a long time. It has recently been discussed in another place, and it is of prime importance that we should have a full discussion on it. Will he try to find the time to discuss this subject?

Mr. Macleod

Looking ahead in the period that I am covering with this business statement, I cannot see an opportunity for that.