HC Deb 05 December 1963 vol 685 cc1365-70
Mr. H. Wilson

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

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

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

MONDAY, 9TH DECEMBER—Motions on the Army Act, 1955 and the Air Force Act, 1955 (Continuation) Orders.

Second Reading of the Navy, Army and Air Force Reserves Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

TUESDAY, 10TH DECEMBER—Supply [2nd Allotted Day]: Committee stage of the winter Supplementary Estimates which, if the House agrees, will be taken formally to allow debate on an Opposition Motion on Pensions and other Social Security Benefits.

Remaining stages of the Air Corporations Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 11TH DECEMBER—Supply [3rd Allotted Day]:Motion to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair, when debate will arise on an Amendment to take note of the First, Second and Third Reports 1962–63, from the Committee of Public Accounts.

And, if there is time, Second Reading of the Public Works Loans Bill, and Committee stage on the Money Resolution.

THURSDAY, 12TH DECEMBER—Second Reading of the Agriculture and Horticulture Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Motions on the Pensions (Increase) Acts (Extension) Orders.

FRIDAY, 13TH DECEMBER—Private Members' Motions.

MONDAY, 16TH DECEMBER—The proposed business will be:

Debate on Security and on the Denning Report, which will arise on Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

The House will wish to know that, subject to the progress of business it is intended to propose that we should rise for the Christmas Adjournment on Friday, 20th December, until Tuesday, 14th January.

Mr. Wilkins

In view of the Prime Minister's replies to Questions Nos. Ql and Q6 today, will the Leader of the House give the most serious consideration to having a full day's debate in the very near future—possibly next week, if it is possible for him to arrange it—on Press mergers and amalgamations, to try to allay some of the tremendous anxiety that prevails in our newspaper industry at the loss of employment by so many many men and women?

Mr. Lloyd

I am aware of the importance of this matter. I will certainly take into account what the hon. Member has said, but I doubt very much whether it will be possible before the Christmas Adjournment.

Dame Irene Ward

Has my right hon. Friend noticed a Motion standing in my name, with which I am sure he will agree? If I am fortunate enough to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, can my right hon. Friend arrange that if I am able to raise this matter someone representing the appropriate Department will be able to answer in the affirmative for what I want?

[That this House is of the opinion that it is in the national interest that the National Assistance Act should be amended so as to make possible the payment of National Assistance to married apprentices; that it is intolerable that a married apprentice with a family should he expected to live, work and maintain a family on £4 6s. 0d. per week; that in the North-East apprentices are beneficial to the employment of youth when employment is difficult to come by and that it is detrimental to a human society to fail to provide adequate provision for married apprentices thus encouraging the breaking of apprenticeships and thus destroying a young man's chance of providing a profitable and stable living for his family; and that, in the opinion of this House, immediate steps should be taken to implement Her Majesty's Government's undertaking that there is a level of subsistence below which no human being should fall.]

Mr. Lloyd

I am not sure that that is a question that arises on business.

Mr. Lipton

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the statement on pensions, promised by the Prime Minister, will be made before next Tuesday's debate, or will it be made on some other occasion? We have been waiting for the statement since the beginning of October.

Mr. Lloyd

The answer is "Yes".

Sir G. Nicholson

Can the Leader of the House say whether there will be an opportunity to discuss the Supplementary Estimates themselves, and when there will be available the Report of the Estimates Committee thereon?

Mr. Lloyd

Before Christmas, I hope.

Mr. Wigg

May I express my appreciation to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his ready acceptance of the view I expressed last week, that the debate on the Army Act, 1955, and the Air Force Act, 1955 (Continuation) Orders should be taken first, thus implementing the undertaking given by the then Leader of the House in 1955?

Are we to have a debate on the TSR2? The right hon. and learned Gentleman is aware that there is a Motion on the Order Paper, in the names of my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) and myself, asking that a Select Committee be set up to establish the facts about the Canberra replacement. Last week, the Leader of the House was kind enough to say that, whilst there would not be a debate this week, he would not rule out the possibility, would consider the desirability, of a debate before Christmas.

[That this House expresses grave concern at the failure of Her Majesty's Government to keep the House informed of the difficulties experienced in the development of the Canberra replacement and calls therefore for the appointment of a Select Committee to examine the planning, development and cost of this aircraft, with the power to call for persons, papers and records.]

May I also ask why we are to debate the Denning Report on the Motion for the Adjournment? Surely, it should have carried the seal of Government approval. It is extraordinary procedure for it to take place on the Adjournment.

Mr. Lloyd

As to the hon. Gentleman's first point, I have considered this matter and I discussed it with him. I think that, on the whole, it is more consistent with the spirit of what was said to him to have this the first Order—with the one reservation, that I do not think that there was ever a commitment to give it a full day. There was certainly a commitment to give an opportunity for a discussion, and I think that I have met that point in the way the business has been arranged.

With regard to the hon. Gentlemen's second point, I am sorry that I have nothing further to add to what I said last week.

Thirdly, the form of the debate on the Denning Report was arranged through the usual channels. A debate on the Adjournment was regarded as the most convenient way of proceeding.

Mr. H. Wilson

The Leader of the House would not wish to mislead the House. We would, naturally, have expected the Government, in view of their establishment of the Denning inquiry, to put down a Motion to say that the Government accepted the Report, which, I am sure, the whole House would wish to do. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the decision to debate the Report on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House is a decision of the Government, but that if they are prepared to follow normal practice and put down a Motion that the Government support the Report, we shall certainly support that course of action, and vote for it?

Mr. Lloyd

I thought that the whole purpose of the discussion was to have the debate as wide as possible. That is why the business announcement was framed in this form. However, that is the business proposed for Monday week, so there is time to discuss it in the usual way.

Mr. McMaster

May I ask my right hon. and learned Friend to say whether there will be a statement on Skyvan, which has been promised now for some time, during the coming week?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot say, without notice.

Sir M. Galpern

In view of the adverse decision delivered yesterday in the Court of Session against the Secretary of State for Scotland, declaring that the National Joint Council, the negotiating body for teachers' salaries in Scotland, is improperly constituted, and considering the disastrous result this decision can have on the whole negotiating machinery for teachers' salaries there, will the Leader of the House provide an opportunity for a short debate next week to try to resolve the position?

Mr. Lloyd

I doubt very much whether it can be done next week, but I will bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. Grimond

Do I understand from the right hon. and learned Gentleman's reply about the Denning Report that he is afraid that if there is a Government Motion it might limit the debate so that we could not discuss the need for replacement of the Tribunals (Evidence of Inquiry) Act, 1921? That would be regrettable. Are we having the debate on the Adjournment so that that point can be discussed?

Mr. Lloyd

I understood that there was a general wish to have the debate on the Adjournment so that it could be as wide as possible, both on security and other matters. But this is the business proposed for Monday week, and I would certainly take into fresh consideration what has been said.

Mr. H. Wilson

Does the Leader of the House realise that by taking this on the Adjournment we cannot, as a House, discuss amending the 1921 Act, because on the Adjournment we cannot debate legislation?

Mr. Lloyd

I will take that point into account.

Mr. Hector Hughes

When will the Leader of the House find time to discuss the very important and urgent matter of the damage being done to British shipping, British harbours, and the workers in our harbours and shipping, by the present arrangement between Russia and the United States excluding British ships from the transport of commodities between those two countries?

Mr. Lloyd

Beyond such opportunities as may open themselves up today, I cannot promise anything next week.

Mr. A. Lewis

With reference to Monday's business, the Motions on the Army Act and the Air Force Act, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), is it not the case that, subject to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, the question of the TSR2 could be debated then? As it would appear that the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Sir G. Nabarro) has been absent for the past week, could the right hon. and learned Gentleman get his usual channels working and see that the hon. Member attends on that occasion?

Mr. Lipton

May I revert to my previous question? Will the promised statement by the Prime Minister on pensions be made immediately before Tuesday's debate, or will the right hon. and learned Gentleman use his influence with the Prime Minister to ensure that it is made on Monday so that we have an opportunity to consider it properly in all its implications before the debate on Tuesday?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot hold out any hope of that. I think that it is more likely that the statement will be made on Tuesday.

Dame Irene Ward

Reverting to the question put by the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton), will my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that this is a matter between the Prime Minister and me? [Hon. Members: "No."] To begin with, it is a matter between the Prime Minister and me. [Hon. Members: "No."] As the Prime Minister gave me the assurance, I presume that I do come into the matter.

Mr. Speaker

I am in some difficulty in getting these intimate matters into next week's business.