HC Deb 10 April 1963 vol 675 cc1278-9

45. Sir W. Robson Brown asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will move to appoint a new Select Committee on Procedure with wide terms of reference, to consider, in particular, whether time can be saved by the removal of detailed business from the Floor of the House and whether all-party committees could usefully he appointed to examine and report upon matters of economic, industrial, technical and scientific importance.

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

I will certainly consider this. But I think first we should await the Report of the present Select Committee on Procedure on the Finance Bill. This may be available tomorrow.

Sir G. Nicholson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there will be particularly intense opposition to any idea that the House should surrender its duties as the watchdog over finance by sending any Finance Bills to Committees, and that any idea such as that contained in the Question runs entirely contrary to British Parliamentary tradition? I hope that he is aware of it.

Mr. Macleod

With respect to my hon. Friend, he should not get too indignant before he reads the Report.

Sir W. Robson Brown

Will my right hon. Friend take note of the fact that, quite apart from what the present Select Committee reports, the great majority of the House and the country will be very glad if the Government will take an initiative in this matter and appoint a new Select Committee to consider these new terms?

Mr. Macleod

Among other matters to be considered, quite apart from whether these points should be referred to a Select Committee, is whether it should be a new Select Committee or the Select Committee on Procedure which the House has already set up. I do not think that we can reasonably examine these matters until we have had tomorrow's Report.