HC Deb 26 July 1962 vol 663 cc1729-34
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 30TH JULY—Committee and remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

There will be debates on Southern Rhodesia, and on the Case of the Former Chairman of the Birmingham (Mental B) Hospital Management Committee, which it is thought may last for half a day, and be followed by subjects which hon. Members may wish to raise.

TUESDAY, 31ST JULY—Debate on a Motion to take note of the Memorandum on the Report of the Committee on Broadcasting, 1960.

WEDNESDAY, 1ST AUGUST—Debate on the Common Market, on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

THURSDAY, 2ND AUGUST—Debate on a Motion to take note of the Report on Developments and Government Action in Wales and Monmouthshire, 1961.

It is hoped that the House will rise for the Summer Adjournment on Friday 3rd August.

Mr. G. Thomas

In view of the importance of the business on Thursday, will the Leader of the House endeavour to see that there is a House here to listen to the debate?

Mr. Grimond

Will the Leader of the House ensure that when the Lord Privy Seal makes his further statement on the Common Market next Wednesday, he is also in a position to inform the House what the situation will be during August and September, and that if there is no conclusion about the heads of agreement next Wednesday we shall be informed finally and definitely how the public and the House are to be informed about the progress of these negotiations when the House is not sitting?

Mr. Macleod

Who are to be the Government speakers in the debate will depend on the progress of the negotiations in Brussels, because the negotiations may be at such a point that it would not be possible for my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal to speak on Wednesday, in which case my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State would make the main speech from the Treasury Bench and give the House the fullest information on these matters that we could.

Mr. F. M. Bennett

My right hon. Friend will recall that last Wednesday night he kindly promised to appraise the House of the result of certain representations arising from the debate in Committee on the Uganda Independence Bill and that he said that he would definitely give the House the result of those representations to the Prime Minister of Uganda before the House rose. How and when will he implement that undertaking, bearing in mind that a Question of mine to that effect was unavailing in eliciting any response?

Mr. Macleod

I made it clear to the House that that information would be conveyed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. In the light of the Answer to my hon. Friend's Question on the Uganda situation, I will discuss it again with him.

Mr. L. M. Lever

In view of the widespread and overwhelming opposition to altering the law on abortion and euthanasia, may I ask the Leader of the House whether the Government will resist all suggestions to alter the law in that direction?

Mr. Bellenger

Will the Leader of the House say whether, in relation to Questions which were put to the Prime Minister earlier this week, it has been decided, following the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' conference, to issue a White Paper if decisions had been reached far enough in the negotiations about our entry into the E.E.C.?

Mr. Macleod

No final decisions can be taken on these matters until we see how the present crucial negotiations are concluded, but we will keep the House and the country as fully informed as possible.

Sir C. Osborne

Emergencies apart, can the Leader of the House say how long the Recess will be and when we are likely to come back?

Mr. Macleod

I expect to make a statement on that some time early next week, probably on Tuesday.

Mr. Lipton

Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman's statement on business that it is not the Government's intention to proceed to by-elections in South Dorset, Chippenham and Daventry until some time in the winter? If so, does not that mean that many thousands of innocent electors will be deprived of Parliamentary representation?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think that we will have any announcement on those three by-elections to make next week.

Mr. P. Williams

Can my right hon. Friend say what progress is being made with the issue of Lords reform, so that certain noble Lords presently sitting in the second row of the Gallery may rejoin us here?

Mr. Warbey

Can the Leader of the House say on which day is it proposed to take the Motion for the Adjournment for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Macleod

Tuesday or Wednesday, probably Wednesday.

Mr. Brockway

In view of recent events and the expressions of public opinion, will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider his decision not to provide opportunities for my Bill against racial discrimination? Has his attention been drawn to a leaflet, now being widely distributed in London—[Laughter.] I think that the right hon. Gentleman recognises this as a serious problem— and saying: Hitler was right! … Jewish Control National Decline Racial Ruin issued by the National Socialist Movement, with a photograph—

Mr. Speaker

This is very difficult on a number of grounds. It does not seem to relate to next week's business. What the hon. Member is saying appears to be a verbatim quotation from a document.

Mr. Brockway

I am asking for an opportunity to discuss the Bill, introduced by me and supported by a number of Members, against racial discrimination and incitement. I am asking that, in view of its importance, an opportunity be given to discuss it next week. I am asking the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the racial incitement against communities in our country, more serious than individual slanders and libel, whether he will introduce legislation to make this a criminal offence.

Mr. Macleod

Of course this is an important matter and I have always treated it as such. The hon. Member knows my view about the Bill to which he has put his name. But so far as next week's business is concerned, which is all I can deal with now, there are two possible opportunities for discussing such matters, one the traditional occasion on the Committee and remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund Bill, on Monday, and the other, although the subjects have not yet been announced, the Summer Adjournment debates.

Mr. F. Noel-Baker

In view of Tuesday's debate on the Pilkington Report on broadcasting, will the Leader of the House accelerate the publication of Appendix E of that Report, which contains the evidence, which is still not available to hon. Members and which should be available before the debate?

Mr. Macleod

I do not know whether anything can possibly be done on that matter in time, but I will look into it straight away.

Mr. G. Brown

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he is aware that one hon. Member on his side of the House is to seek an opportunity on Wednesday to introduce a Bill under the Ten Minutes Rule? In the event of the House giving that Bill a Second Reading, will the Government provide opportunities to facilitate its passage?

Mr. Macleod

It would not be a Second Reading. An opportunity might be sought to introduce it, but, clearly, there would be no conceivable prospect of it going through in the time available.

Mr. Woodburn

Will the right hon. Gentleman elucidate the statement that he made about the debate on the Common Market on Wednesday? As I understand, if there is something to be said the Lord Privy Seal will say it, but if there is nothing to be said the First Secretary of State will say it. Is this a tribute to his right hon. Friend's eloquence in saying nothing?

Mr. S. Silverman

Reverting to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway), may I ask whether the Leader of the House realises that on the occasion of the Consolidated Fund Bill it is not possible to deal with any matter which requires legislation? Does he further realise that the agitation that is being feverishly worked up is becoming a really urgent matter and becoming daily more dangerous to public order? Does not he think that the promulgation of this poison has gone far enough and that the House should now take some steps to prevent it, if possible before the end of the Session?

Mr. Macleod

The hon. Gentleman is quite right on the point that he made about not being able to refer to legislation on the Consolidated Fund Bill, but this is, of course, a matter which could come before the House if any hon. Member wished to raise it—perhaps for a comparatively short time, I would hope, because it would cut into another debate —on the Motion for the Summer Adjournment.

Mr. Donnelly

May I return to the question asked by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond)? It appeared to me that the Leader of the House did not answer that question. As I understood it, the right hon. Gentleman was asking whether it was the Government's intention to make a statement about what specific steps would be taken to keep the House informed, when it was not sitting, about the Common Market negotiations, because the Lord Privy Seal cannot come here to make a statement. What are the Government's plans to keep us informed of their policy when the House is not sitting?

Mr. Macleod

I thought that I had answered that earlier. We shall give the fullest information that we can as part of the opening speech on Wednesday.

Mr. Frank Allaun

If the Leader of the House cannot meet the request of my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway), will he give the House a promise that next Session he will either grant facilities for the House to consider my hon. Friend's Bill, or introduce a Government Bill on similar lines?

Mr. Macleod

No, Sir, because I am dealing only with the business for next week and not for next Session. My view, which I have stated frankly to the House, is that from my own studies I do not believe—

Mr. Brockway

Would the right hon. Gentleman look at it again?

Mr. Macleod

I should be glad to, but I have never been convinced that this is a matter which can be effectively dealt with by legislation.