HC Deb 25 April 1963 vol 676 cc417-22
Mr. H. Wilson

May I ask the Leader of the House to 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, 29TH APRIL—Debate on the British Railways Board's Plan for Reshaping the Railways.

TUESDAY, 30TH APRIL—Supply [14th Allotted Day]: Committee, which, if the House agrees, will be taken formally to allow the debate on the railways to be concluded.

Motion on the Import Duties (General) (No. 2) Order.

WEDNESDAY, 1ST MAY—Remaining stages of the Contracts of Employment Bill.

Second Reading of the Local Employment Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

THURSDAY, 2ND MAY—Supply [15th Allotted Day]: Committee.

There will be a Debate on Housing and Local Government, which will arise on the appropriate Votes.

Motion on the Eggs (Guaranteed Prices) Order.

FRIDAY, 3RD MAY—Private Members' Bills.

MONDAY, 6TH MAY—The proposed business will be: Second Reading of the Finance Bill.

Motions on the Civil Defence (Training in Nursing) Regulations for England and Wales, and for Scotland.

Mr. H. Wilson

Since I understand that there is shortly to be a statement on the publication of the Report of the Radcliffe Tribunal, would the right hon. Gentleman tell us when it is intended that the House will debate that Report?

Mr. Macleod

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be making a statement immediately after business questions. I think that it would be convenient if we debated this matter as soon as possible and I hope that that will be done immediately after the business I have announced, that is, on Tuesday, 7th May.

Mr. W. Yates

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there has not been a debate in this House on foreign affairs since 25th May last year? As he will know, certain changes have been taking place in the Middle East and in Europe, so when do the Government intend to provide an official day for a debate on foreign affairs?

Mr. Macleod

We have certainly had many debates, for example, on the Common Market negotiations, in which certain aspects of foreign affairs clearly arose. I can only take note of my hon. Friend's remarks.

Mr. S. Silverman

The right hon. Gentleman will recall that it is many years since the House had an opportunity of discussing civil defence. Although an opportunity to discuss this matter has been promised many times, no such opportunity has been found. In view of the recent disclosures about civil defence and regional seats of government, is it not high time that the House of Commons had an opportunity of considering these matters and expressing its opinion about them? In these circumstances, will the right hon. Gentleman promise us an early day for these matters to be discussed?

Mr. Macleod

I cannot promise that. We must take all these matters in competition with each other. We are, for example, having a two-day debate on the railways next week and we will be debating the Report of the Vassall Tribunal afterwards.

There are many claimants—like a debate on the police and Rochdale and many other subjects—which must be considered in competition.

Miss Vickers

Since a great many hon. Members are interested in the railways debate, and it is stated that Tuesday will conclude it, if a number of hon. Members have not then had a chance of putting their point of view, will another day be considered?

Mr. Macleod

No. I cannot undertake to carry the debate beyond the two days, one in Government time and the other in Supply time, which I am announcing.

Mr. Lawson

Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been drawn to the Motion standing in my name and the names of several of my hon. Friends concerning the continued absence of the Secretary of State for Scotland from the Scottish Standing Committee? In view of the handicap under which this Committee is operating, could we be given a chance to debate this matter next week?

[That this House, in view of the absence from Parliament of both the Scottish Law Officers of the Crown awl their consequent inability properly to advise the Scottish Standing Committee of this House in the legal interpretation of complex legislation currently before that Standing Committee, expresses the opinion that while these circumstances continue the Secretary of State for Scotland should seek to have himself appointed as a member of that Committee so that the Committee in their deliberations may be guided and advised by at least one senior Minister of Her Majesty's Government.]

Mr. Macleod

I have read that Motion and discussed it with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, but he is satisfied with the arrangements that have been made for the Bill in Committee.

Mr. G. Thomas

Has the Leader of the House seen the Motion on the Order Paper in the name of some of my hon. Friends and myself concerning the fact that ex-public schoolboys only are permitted to have commissions in the Welsh Guards? Although I am not a candidate, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the statement made by the commanding officer has caused very great offence in Wales? Will the right hon. Gentleman provide an opportunity for us to discuss the place of the ordinary State schools in the land?

[That this House, deploring the statement of Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony Charles La Trabe Leatham, Commanding Officer of the Welsh Guards, that the Grammar Schools are not producing men fitted for commissioned rank in the Welsh Guards and that never in the history of the Welsh Guards have any ex-grammar school pupils been so commissioned, calls for a full enquiry into the administration of the Welsh Guards with particular, reference to the bias against ex-grammar school candidates for commissions.]

Mr. Macleod

I am not a candidate either: at least I hope not. No, I cannot undertake to do that. I can only hope that the hon. Member is successful in one of the remaining Ballots available.

Mr. M. Foot

Will the Leader of the House reconsider the answer he gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) about a debate on civil defence? Does he not consider that it is most undesirable that such a matter should be so widely discussed outside the House and not inside? Will he take into account the answer which was given a few minutes ago by the Prime Minister, who said that during Cuba week no measures were taken to put civil defence into operation, presumably because there was no civil defence? Is that the official secret which the Prime Minister is trying to keep?

Mr. Macleod

No, Sir. On the general question of time between now and Whitsun—which we have discussed on a number of occasions in relation to Parliamentary time generally—the House will realise that this period is and has been for years dominated by the time necessary for the Committee stage of the Finance Bill. Recently, a House of Commons Select Committee decided against an alteration of that procedure and, that being so, the opportunities between now and Whitsun are bound to be very limited indeed.

Mr. W. Hamilton

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why he persists in trying to get the Local Employment Bill in a matter of an hour or two on Wednesday? Is he aware that the Bill is an open-ended commitment by the Treasury in which a great number of hon. Members are interested? Why does he not allow at least half a day, early in the day, for this matter, rather than bring it forward at the end of the day following the Contracts of Employment Bill, which is likely to take a considerable time?

Mr. Macleod

We will see how we go on Wednesday. The Government Amendments that have been tabled to the first Order—that is, the Contracts of Employment Bill—are, I think I am right in saying, without exception designed to meet points raised in Committee upstairs; so it may be that the second Order will not come on as late as the hon. Member anticipates.

Mr. H. Hynd

As the Finance Bill will be debated a week on Monday, can we be told when the Bill will be available?

Mr. Macleod

It was published this morning.

Mr. Snow

Since the right hon. Gentleman was not able to give me a reply on a previous occasion, can he now say that the Minister of Housing and Local Government, being responsible for planning, will participate or intervene in the debate on Monday and Tuesday on the Beeching plan?

Mr. Macleod

No, Sir. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will probably be taking part in that debate, apart, of course, from a Treasury Minister, the Minister of Transport, and so on. But there is a day allocated—and announced in the business—for housing and local government, in which, naturally, that Minister will take part.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Will the Leader of the House provide an opportunity for us to debate the statement made yester- day by the Civil Lord of the Admiralty about the substantial sum of £25 million for a Polaris base in Scotland? Since we are given no information about this extra cost, compared with the sum involved when the original statements were made, are we to have a Supplementary Estimate? In any case, when will we have an opportunity of opposing this plan?

Mr. Macleod

There are, naturally, opportunities for doing so if the Opposition wish to raise this particular matter. The statement was made to the House yesterday and I cannot, in addition to that, undertake to find Government time to discuss it.

Mr. Brockway

Does the Leader of the House recollect that when, earlier, I asked if he could provide facilities for the Racial Discrimination and incitement Bill he said that the Government would be making a statement after certain legal proceedings were ended. In view of the fact that Mr. Jordan has now been refused right to appeal to the House of Lords, will the Government make a statement about this matter and will facilities for the Bill be granted?

Mr. Macleod

We shall make a statement at an early date. There are other matters, in addition to this, and I think that hon. Members should await that statement, which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will make to the House as soon as possible.

Mr. Morris

Will the Leader of the House say when we are likely to have the long-awaited debate on the Rochdale Report?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think it likely that we shall debate that Report until after the Whitsun Recess.

Mr. Zilliacus

May I join my plea to the pleas of my hon. Friends the Members for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) and Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), and ask the Leader of the House to fix a date for a debate on civil defence, if not before Whitsun as soon as possible after Whitsun, particularly in view of the Prime Minister's reply to my question a little while ago showing that a civil defence policy either does not exist or is not being put into operation?

Mr. Macleod

I have already replied twice on that point.