HC Deb 12 July 1962 vol 662 cc1519-26
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business of the House for next week?

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

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 16TH JULY—Second Reading of the Uganda Independence Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Committee and remaining stages of the Building Societies Bill [Lords], and the Town and Country Planning Bill [Lords], and Second Reading of the Education (Scotland) Bill [Lords], which are consolidation Measures.

Afterwards, Motions on the White Fish and Herring and Salmon Orders and Schemes.

TUESDAY, 17TH JULY—Report and Third Reading of the Road Traffic Bill [Lords].

WEDNESDAY, 18TH JULY—Supply [25th Allotted Day]: Committee.

There will be a debate on Aviation, on the appropriate Votes.

At 9.30 p.m. the Question will be put from the Chair on the Vote under discussion and on all outstanding Votes.

Uganda Independence Bill: Committee and remaining stages.

THURSDAY, 19TH JULY—Supply [26th Allotted Day]: Report.

A debate will take place on Industry and Employment in Scotland, on the appropriate Votes.

At 9.30 p.m. the Question will be put from the Chair on the Vote under discussion and on all outstanding Votes.

Committee and remaining stages of the Education (Scotland) Bill [Lords] which is a consolidation Measure.

Motions on the Small Farmer Schemes for the United Kingdom.

FRIDAY, 20TH JULY—Consideration of Lords Amendments to the Transport Bill.

Motions on the Motor Vehicles (Tests) (Extension) Order, 1962, and on the National Health Service (Superannuation) Amendment Regulations for England and Wales and for Scotland.

MONDAY, 23RD JULY—The proposed business will be: Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

There will be a debate on Disarmament, until seven o'clock, and afterwards on Coal Mine Closures. Redundancy and Unemployment in the North-East.

Motion on the Greenwich Hospital and Travers' Foundation Accounts.

Mr. Gaitskell

Will the Leader of the House explain what steps are to be taken to keep the House informed of the progress of Common Market negotiations? May we take it that the Lord Privy Seal will make a statement after the meeting on, I think, 18th July, and after the further meeting about ten days later? What have the Government in mind as a way of keeping the House, and the country, informed if the negotiations continue during the Summer Recess? If the Leader of the House does not yet have any clear idea about how this is to be done—as seems to be the case from the Prime Minister's answers today—will he, at least, make a statement at a very early date?

Mr. Macleod

My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal will, of course, report to the House, as he has done before, on progress. I will certainly consider with him and the Prime Minister the question of a statement.

Mr. Gaitskell

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is intended to have a debate on the Common Market also before the Recess?

Mr. Macleod

We will willingly discuss these matters through the usual channels. If I may answer generally on the question of debates, apart from the two days on the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill, of which I have announced the business for one day—and the Opposition, of course, have the choice of subjects—there are three or four days available; but, of course, the debates on the Pilkington Report and on Welsh Affairs mortgage two of these, but we would gladly discuss these matters through the usual channels.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Referring to next Wednesday's debate on aviation, in view of the serious concern there is in Northern Ireland about the future of Short and Harland's, in which the Government is the majority shareholder, will my right hon. Friend consult the Minister of Aviation with a view to making certain that in that debate there is a clear statement of the Government's future policy in regard to this firm?

Mr. Macleod

I shall certainly draw that matter to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation.

Mr. Strauss

In view of the amount of contentious matter in the Road Traffic Bill and the number of points that hon. Members will want to put forward in Amendments, is the Leader of the House aware that one day for Report and Third Reading may prove to be quite inadequate?

Mr. Macleod

That is similar to the point put last week about the Licensing (Scotland) Bill, which, in the end, we did get at a reasonable hour last night. I give the same answer as I gave last week; I have no intention of pushing this business late into the night. We will see how we get on.

Mr. Montgomery

In view of the enormous amount of time that seems to be spent on Scottish business—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—and as we are to have a full day's debate on Thursday on industry and employment in Scotland, could my right hon. Friend extend the debate to take in the position in north-east England, which is also a very important part of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Macleod

I am not sure whether my hon. Friend heard me, but the business for Monday week is that on the Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill it is proposed that the second subject for discussion then should be, to repeat my statement, "Coal mine closures, redundancy and unemployment in the North-East." I hope that that covers my hon. Friend's point.

Mr. Shinwell

Do I understand from what the Leader of the House previously said that everything has been tied up for the first day of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill, Second Reading? I gather that that is the position and I make no complaint about it, because of the important issues involved, but do I also understand that on the second day of our proceedings on the Bill everything is also tied up, and that back benchers will have no opportunity of raising whatever matters they may desire to put to the House?

Will the right hon. Gentleman remind himself of the request made to him last Thursday about a Motion on the Order Paper dealing with the challenge to the Government's general economic and industrial policy? If he cannot afford facilities for a debate on that matter because of time considerations, will he see that the second day on the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill will not be tied up, so that that matter can be debated?

[That this House, noting the failure of the Government to organise the nation's affairs with the result that unemployment continues and the expansion of industry is prevented in areas previously dominated by the manufacture of textiles, shipbuilding, coalmining, etc.; realising that even the electrical equipment industries, at present prosperous, are vulnerable to fluctuations caused by financial manipulation; disturbed by the growing tendency to the creation of monopolies in private industry; condemns a society in which personal profit rather than social welfare determines the flow of investment capital; calls attention to the menacing growth of the economic power of a small minority of people, to the growth of private monopoly and the concentration of financial capital, and the consequent growth of economic power in organisations which are run for private profit and not in the national interests, to the growth of the giant corporations and private financial trusts which are increasingly dominating British life and economy; and calls for an urgent investigation into this trend and the application of a policy which will provide for an extension of public ownership so that Parliamentary control is established over the means of production, distribution and exchange, to enable a Socialist Britain to play an effective part in providing an expanding standard of living and contribute to the development of world resources in order that economic factors which foster national and international unrest can be removed.]

Mr. Macleod

I have announced the suggested two main subjects for debate on the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill on Monday, 23rd July. The business for the second day's debate on the Bill has not yet been discussed, so it is not, to use the right hon. Gentleman's words, "tied up" in that way. That does not, of course, prevent hon. Members from raising individual matters on the Bill. I imagine that it would be in order to discuss the matter to which the right hon. Gentleman refers.

Mr. Bence

Would not the Leader of the House concede an extra day to debate the calamitous consequences to Scotland of the present Administration? Does he not agree that one day is quite insufficient to debate the serious situation that the Government are creating in Scotland?

Mr. Macleod

No, Sir. The subject for Thursday has been put down at the request of the Opposition and, cleanly, from what I said about the time available, I cannot promise time beyond that.

Mr. Fletcher

Can the Leader of the House tell us whether the House will have an opportunity to consider the Report of the Royal Commission on the Police?

Mr. Macleod

It is not at all likely that there will be any opportunity before the Summer Recess.

Mr. Brockway

Since the events in Trafalgar Square two Sundays ago, has the right hon. Gentleman noticed the wide support there is from many new sources in favour of the House having an opportunity to discuss the Racial Discrimination and Incitement Bill, supported by hon. Members of all three parties? Will he give the House an opportunity to pass its view on that Measure, which many of us regard as a most constructive contribution towards the solution of this problem?

Mr. Macleod

I think that the hon. Gentleman will recognise that even those—and I include myself amongst them—who do not believe that his Bill is the right way of tackling this problem, nevertheless share the thoughts that lie behind it. As I have said before, although in another context, I could not undertake to find time for that Bill but, no doubt, these matters could be raised on the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Trafalgar Square meeting and what took place there lends added urgency to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway)? Can he say when the Home Secretary expects to make a further statement on this matter? Am I right in saying that the Home Secretary promised to consider the points put to him at Question Time recently? May we have another statement?

Mr. Macleod

My right hon. Friend certainly undertook to consider points put to him. It is not my impression, though I will speak to him about it, that he promised a further statement.

Mr. Grimond

Is the Leader of the House aware that many people think that it is genuinely difficult to control meetings in Trafalgar Square or to discriminate between them in the existing state of legislation and, indeed, that this may be undesirable? Would he not agree that some Measure, at least, of the type proposed by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway), would do nothing but good? If the right hon. Gentleman does not like that particular Measure, although it is supported by all parties in the House, will the Government bring forward a Measure of their own in the new Session?

Mr. Macleod

I am not certain that this matter can effectively be dealt with by legislation and my own study of the experience of other countries and difficulties n this field tends to reinforce this. However, I think that we are getting rather away from the subject of the business for next week.

Mr. Thorpe

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that last week I pointed out the need to have a debate on the Annual Farm Price Review, despite the apparent reluctance of hon. Gentlemen opposite—with the exception of five of them—to press for a debate? It is now well over five months since the Review was published. Will the Leader of the House tell us what discussions he has had with the Opposition to end this mutual conspiracy of silence? How much longer must this industry wait before we have a major debate?

Mr. Macleod

I think, not for the first time, that the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) has got this matter quite out of perspective and quite wrong. In fact, during the last ten years Government time has never been given to discussing specifically the Price Review. In that period on only two occasions, in 1956 and 1960, have the Opposition taken Supply time for this purpose. There have been a number of agricultural debates, but it is not the practice of the House to have an annual debate on the Price Review.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In view of the reference that has been made to the new Session, can the Leader of the House assure us that there is no possibility of there being a General Election in the autumn?

Mr. Macleod

Yes; I think I can.

Mr. Mellish

Will the Leader of the House take note of the fact that a report has been published today which shows the grave position of the homeless in London, which has a larger population than Scotland? As we who represent these homeless people will be demanding a debate on this important matter, will the right hon. Gentleman find time to debate it before the end of this Session?

Mr. Macleod

I cannot find Government time for the reasons I have given; that there are so many claimants on it. We would have to push out the Common Market, foreign affairs, or something else. However, this is certainly a subject which individual hon. Members may wish to raise on the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

Mr. W. Baxter

Is the Leader of the House aware that some hon. Members from Scotland are getting a bit tired of the groans and moans of Englishmen when matters pertaining to the wellbeing of Scotland are likely to be discussed? Will he kindly inform some of his hon. Friends—and I will inform some of mine—that Scotland is a nation in its own right and that if they do not want to hear our voices in Parliament the best thing they can do is to give us a Parliament of our own?

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We cannot bring all these land frontiers into the business for next week.

Dr. King

Can the Leader of the House tell us when he hopes to make his promised statement—a promise which gave great pleasure to pensioners —on war service and public service pensioners?

Mr. Macleod

I will not make it myself. I think that it will be made by either the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, on, I think, Tuesday.

Mr. Rankin

In view the question from the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills) about Short Brothers and Harland, may we take it that all the Votes necessary to allow a comprehensive debate on aviation matters will be under discussion on Wednesday?

Mr. Macleod

Yes, Sir. We will put down, at the request of the Opposition, all the appropriate Votes to cover all these matters.