HC Deb 07 June 1962 vol 661 cc664-70
Mr. Gaitskell

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

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

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

TUESDAY, 26TH JUNE—Supply [20th Allotted Day]: Committee. A debate will take place, on the appropriate Votes, on the Distribution of Industry.

As the House is aware, the Chairman of Ways and Means has set down opposed Private Business for consideration at Seven o'clock.

WEDNESDAY, 27TH JUNE—Debate on the British Transport Commission.

THURSDAY, 28TH JUNE—Supply [21st Allotted Day]: Committee, which it is proposed to take formally.

There will be a debate on the Cotton Industry, on an Opposition Motion.

Motions on the Silo Subsidies Schemes for the United Kingdom and on the Agriculture (Field Machinery) Regulations, 1962.

FRIDAY, 29TH JUNE—Committee and remaining stages of the Jamaica Independence Bill.

Motions on the General Grant (Increase) (No. 2) Order, and the Ulster Museum Order.

MONDAY, 2ND JULY, and TUESDAY, 3RD JULY—Report stage of the Finance Bill.

Mr. Gaitskell

When does the Leader of the House propose that we should consider the Lords Amendments to the Sea Fish Industry Bill, in particular the Amendment to Clause 3 which restricts the subsidy to vessels purchased in Commonwealth shipyards?

Mr. Macleod

Obviously not in the week's business that I have announced. There is a discussion relating to this matter on the Adjournment tomorrow.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that unless this House has an opportunity of considering that Amendment, very important financial questions will have been settled in another place which are the prerogative of this House? Will he bear in mind that it is necessary that the House of Commons should consider changes in the Government's financial policy of very considerable importance to British shipyards?

Mr. Macleod

I take the point, but it does not concern the business which I have announced. I will bring it to the attention of my right hon. Friend, or one of his Parliamentary Secretaries, who will be speaking tomorrow.

Mr. Gaitskell

May we, at least, have the assurance that the Government do not intend to use their majority in the House of Lords to override a decision made during the Committee stage?

Mr. Macleod

I did not think that we had a majority in the House of Lords.

Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan

Has my right hon. Friend seen the Motion on the Notice Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) and about 60 others on the subject of safeguards against monopoly? What reply, if any, has he given to representations which he may or may not have received from the President of the Board of Trade urging him to find time for the modest Measure put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Sir J. Pitman) which would give him the additional powers which he so urgently needs?

[That this House, concerned at the need for providing adequate safeguards against monopoly, urges the Government to ensure that it has the requisite powers for this purpose, and meanwhile to support and provide time for the consideration of the Bill presented by the hon. Member for Bath (Sir J. Pitman).]

Mr. Macleod

I have no statement on Government business affecting that Motion, but I can tell my right hon. Friend that we are very much concerned with this problem, which we are carefully considering.

Mr. Wade

May I draw the attention of the Leader of the House to a Motion moved by the hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) on 25th May on the subject of Service pensions—a Motion which was approved by the House? May I also draw attention to a Private Members' Bill, the Pensions Bill, introduced by myself without opposition, which has a direct bearing on the same subject? Is it the Government's intention after the Whitsun Recess to carry out the terms of the Motion or to facilitate the passage of the Bill, or both?

Mr. Macleod

I make it quite clear that, as far as the acceptance of that Motion by the Financial Secretary is concerned, we are in no way using this as a pretext for delay. We are taking it as a basis for action, and the House will see that in due course.

Dame Irene Ward

In view of the reverses in another place, would it not be a good idea, when the House reassembles, to have a debate on imagination in order that we might inculcate into the Front Bench the sort of ideas which back-bench Members in another place would like in relation to the policy to be followed by the Cabinet?

Mr. Macleod

With respect to my hon. Friend, she has drawn first place for the second time running in the Ballot for notices of Motion. She can put that down on Wednesday, 4th July. That would be a splendid subject.

Mr. Rankin

Has the Leader of the House noted that there is a Bill now before us on severance pay, introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond)? Is he aware that on Second Reading that Bill was not opposed? Will he therefore consider granting time to see it through its further stages?

Mr. Macleod

No, Sir. I could not give that undertaking. There are so many Private Members' Bills which have had a Second Reading and, perhaps, other stages. I am afraid that they must take their chance.

Mr. Dudley Williams

May I refer to the Motion mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for Reigate (Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan)? Does not the Leader of the House think that there is a good case for this being debated, especially in view of the undertaking which has recently been given by the Leader of the Opposition to Mr. Paul Chambers?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think I should like to add to the answer which I have given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Reigate (Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan). I understand the feelings which have led him and so many of my hon. Friends to put this Motion on the Order Paper.

Mr. Shinwell

The Leader of the House will recall that on several occasions I have asked whether he would find time for a debate on a Motion standing in my name and the names of many of my hon. Friends on the subject of clemency for certain persons who have been sent to prison in connection with a nuclear demonstration. When I have asked him about the debate he has reminded me that the subject was one on appeal. I understand that the appeal has now been rejected. As there is no time for a debate before the Recess, obviously, I wonder whether an alternative—this was represented to the right hon. Gentleman on a previous occasion —might be that he could consult the Home Secretary with a view to his exercising a measure of clemency.

[That this House calls upon the Secretary of State for the Home Department, within the powers vested in him, to advise the exercise of the prerogative of mercy in respect of those persons associated with the Nuclear Disarmament Campaign who were sentenced to terms of imprisonment at the Old Bailey.]

Mr. Macleod

This matter has been previously considered—obviously rightly —to be coming under the sub judice rules under which we operate. I will speak to the Home Secretary on the lines which the right hon. Gentleman has put forward.

Mr. Ridsdale

Shall we be able to find time soon to debate the position of public service pensioners, about which there is a Motion on the Notice Paper signed by hon. Members on both sides of the House?

[That this House, recognising the hardships of public service pensioners and especially of older public service pensioners, whose pensions bear no relation to similar pensions now obtaining in the public service, urges Her Majesty's Government to introduce, as soon as economic circumstances permit, a new Pensions (Increase) Bill to raise the incomes of such pensioners.]

Mr. Macleod

I do not know whether time can be found for that Motion, but all these matters have a close link, as my hon. Friend knows well. I have given an undertaking in relation to the debate which we had and to which the Financial Secretary replied.

Mr. G. Brown

In view of the statement which we saw in the Press yesterday about the suggested take-over by B.O.A.C. of Cunard-Eagle, may I ask the Leader of the House when he will arrange for us to have a statement of Government policy on this matter?

Mr. Macleod

We have no present intention of putting a statement before the House on this matter. There are a number of Ministers concerned. I will draw their attention to what the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition said.

Mr. Gough

Will the Leader of the House give serious consideration to giving another day, and preferably two days, to a debate on the Common Market as soon as possible after the Whitsun Recess? May I draw attention to three short points? First, in yesterday's debate, which lasted for five minutes less than six hours, 72½ per cent. of the time was taken by Privy Councillors. Secondly, on this subject there are some very strange bedfellows, and, with the greatest possible respect, it is almost impossible for the Chair to give a fair allocation of time on the two sides of the topic. Thirdly, at the end of today's debate it is almost certain that at least 50 back benchers will be disappointed because they will not have been able to take part in the debate.

Mr. Macleod

As my hon. Friend realises, all questions and matters affecting the calling of hon. Members are for the Chair and not for me. As for future debates on the Common Market, I gave a general answer on that last week, and my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal dealt with it to some extent in his speech yesterday.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

May I press the Leader of the House to provide an early occasion to discuss the B.O.A.C.-Cunard merger, since this has most interesting reflections upon Government policy of introducing competition in this field?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think that I can go further than what I said in reply to the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown).

Dr. D. Johnson

Will my right hon. Friend find time before the end of the Session for a debate on the Report of the Royal Commission on the Police?

Mr. Macleod

This is a matter which the Government are now studying. We shall need more time for that study, and then it would be appropriate to consider whether an opportunity should be found for a debate.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Going back to the matter raised by the Leader of the Opposition about the occasion recently on which the Government were defeated in the House of Lords, may I ask whether the Leader of the House realises that in not bringing that unusual position immediately before the House of Commons he is guilty of contempt of the House of Commons? Will he reconsider the matter with a view to having it discussed in the first week after we return following Whitsun?

Mr. Macleod

With respect to the hon. and Learned Member, I think that that goes too far. I have taken note of the point made by the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Cole

While I realise that it is still before the Standing Committee, may I ask the Leader of the House to give an assurance that it is intended to deal with Report, Third Reading and the later stages of the Road Traffic Bill before the House finishes its Parliamentary year, because this is a matter of much concern to hon. Members on both sides of the House?

Mr. Macleod

Yes. I understand that position. Naturally it is the Government's hope and intention to secure that Bill.