HC Deb 20 December 1962 vol 669 cc1448-52
Mr. G. Brown

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business of the House for the first week after the Adjournment?

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

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

TUESDAY 22ND JANUARY.—SecOnd Reading of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill [Lords], and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Remaining stages of the Commonwealth Scholarships (Amendment) Bill, and the County Courts (Jurisdiction) Bill, and of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Bill [Lords], and the Betting Duties Bill [Lords], which are consolidation Measures.

WEDNESDAY, 23RD JANUARY, and THURSDAY, 24TH JANUARY.—Committee stage of Clause 1 and the First Schedule of the London Government Bill.

At the end of business on Thursday, consideration of the Motion on the Anti-Dumping Duty (No. 3) Order.

FRIDAY, 25TH JANUARY.—Consideration of Private Members' Bills.

Mr. Brown

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is the intention of the Government to provide an early opportunity for the House to discuss the Report of the Joint Select Committee on House of Lords Reform? Will the Government give some indication of their own intentions in this matter?

Mr. Macleod

On a matter of that importance there would be a Government statement and an opportunity for the House to discuss it. I shall not go into details about time, but the assurance is firm.

Mr. Brown

Have the Government considered the White Paper on Broadcasting, Cmnd. 1893? If so, will they give the House an opportunity to debate that White Paper before we proceed to the legislation which the Government are proposing?

Mr. Macleod

I shall be ready to discuss that through the usual channels. Notice of the Bill has been given today and the Bill will be in the hands of the House before we rise for the Christmas Recess, so hon. Members will have both the Bill and the White Paper. I should have thought that it might be convenient to have the discussion on the Second Reading of the Bill, but I should be ready to discuss that point.

Mr. Shinwell

How are hon. Members to be informed about the result of the conversations between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy on a variety of matters including Skybolt, the Congo, and the rest? Are we to be informed by the Press or television, or are we to wait until we come back after the Recess?

Mr. Macleod

Obviously, I cannot say —because this is a matter for those who are taking part in these talks—whether there will or will not be a communiqué. If there is an extended cornmuniqué, if the House wishes we could no doubt lay it in the form of a White Paper.

Mr. Shinwell

Surely the right hon. Gentleman will agree that the conversations now taking place in the Bahamas are of a very serious character, affecting the defence organisation of this country and a variety of other matters. Surely we cannot be expected to wait until 22nd January before expressing an opinion on the communiqué, or what appears in the Press, as a result of the negotiations.

Mr. Macleod

Naturally, they are discussions of the very highest importance, but the right hon. Member, with his experience, will know that it is certainly not unprecedented for discussions of this nature to take place during a Recess and for there usually to be a communiqué and for the House, if it wishes, to return to these matters later. However, I shall consider what he has said today.

Mr. Dugdale

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that no secret pledges will be given by the Prime Minister to President Kennedy such as apparently have been given the Government of Rhodesia?

Mr. Ede

The Leader of the House said that he would give two days, in the week when we come back, to the Committee stage of the London Government Bill. In view of the wide and detailed discussions that must take place, does he expect to get Clause 1 and the First Schedule in Committee of the whole House in those two days?

Mr. Macleod

The right hon. Member has been Leader of the House. There is no harm in hoping, is there?

Mr. Lipton

Would the Leader of the House agree to be a little more specific about the business he has announced for Friday, 25th January? Would he agree to announce that the first and most important business that day will be the Widows' Pensions Bill, which I am introducing with a view to abolishing the earnings rule for widows and to doubling the pension for the 10s. widows?

Mr. Albu

In view of the alarming figures published today about the fall in industrial production and the rise in unemployment, which make complete nonsense of the Government's thesis that the rise in unemployment was due to a rise in productivity, and, in fact, show that it is due to lack of economic expansion, will the Leader of the House assure us that he will, if necessary, by application to Mr. Speaker, have the House recalled to give the Government adequate powers to deal with the increasingly serious situation?

Mr. Macleod

The hon. Member knows that I gave an assurance to the House yesterday that under Standing Order No. 112 there are provisions by which, in certain circumstances, the House can be recalled.

Mr. Reynolds

On Tuesday afternoon, a document called, "Social Changes in Britain", suddenly saw the light of day and, if the by-lines in newspapers are to be believed, it was not sent to the newspapers in the proper way, but was dished out to members of the Press who are accredited to this House. It has now been possible for me to obtain a copy of this document, which has no imprint or any indication to show that it comes from any Government Department—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Would the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Reynolds) be good enough to relate his question to business?

Mr. Reynolds

Certainly, Mr. Speaker. I was merely giving the background first.

Since the Minister without Portfolio has now refused to publish this paper for general consumption, so that members of the public can read only those parts of it which the Press is generous enough to print, does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the only way in which we can ensure that this paper gets sufficient criticism as one of the most biased documents produced in recent years is to have a debate in the near future on the document itself?

Mr. Macleod

I wondered how the hon. Gentleman would relate his question to the business for the first week after the Recess. I cannot see an opportunity for such a debate in that week.

Mr. Stonehouse

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen a Motion on the Congo—

[That this House, whilst recognising the desirability of all the Congo Territories remaining united, but convinced that the principle of self-determination enshrined in the Charter must be upheld, requests Her Majesty's Government to take an immediate initiative in the United Nations Security Council to prevent the imposition in any part of the Congo of a political solution by the use of force or economic coercion.]

which has been put on the Order Paper by some of his hon. Friends, and the Amendment—

[Line 1, leave out from "recognising", to end, and add "regrets the continued separation of the province of Katanga from the rest of the Congo, condemns the efforts of financial, industrial and outside political pressure groups to perpetuate the divisions in the Congo and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to give full support to the United Nations in the implementation of the resolution adopted by the Security Council on 21st February, 1961, towards the reunification of the Congo by all appropriate measures".]

which is supported by hon. Members on this side of the House? If so, will he arrange for a debate on the subject when we return from the Recess?

Mr. Macleod

We will have to see what the position is then. In my short speech yesterday, I dealt with the Government's attitude towards the new position which has arisen in the Congo.

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