HC Deb 04 February 1963 vol 671 cc39-41

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a further Supplementary sum, not exceeding £4,314,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1963, for sundry grants and services connected with Her Majesty's Foreign Service, including subscriptions to certain international organisations and certain grants in aid.

Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Chigwell)

On a point of Order. You will have observed, Sir William, on the Order Paper, an Amendment standing in my name and the names of some of my hon. Friends to reduce this Vote by £4 million. I want to say that as the House is to debate unemployment today, which is a subject which concerns all hon. Members of this Committee, I do not propose to move that Amendment, but I hope very much that this question of the Congo and Katanga and the United Nations' bonds may be fully debated on the Consolidated Fund Bill on Thursday, and that the Treasury Bench will fully explain why these moneys have been, or are to be, expended.

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)

May I ask through you, Sir William, a question of the Leader of the House? Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Secretary of State for Scotland will intervene in the debate, as last Thursday—

Hon. Members

Which debate?

The Chairman

We are at the moment dealing with the Vote concerning foreign grants and loans.

Sir Herbert Butcher (Holland with Boston)

I rise, Sir William, to protest against this business being taken formally. I believe that, if the House of Commons is to secure control over Government expenditure, we are not acting in accordance with the best traditions of the House.

I notice the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) making certain observations. It is correct, as he pointed out on Thursday, 24th January, that there may be other opportunities; but, certainly, the Committee stage of these Supplementary Estimates is the right and best occasion for a discussion to take place in detail of the matters now brought before this Committee.

I noticed what the Leader of the House said the other day, that the matter was being taken formally. As I look at the Front Bench, I hope that it is not being taken informally, because I confess that I do not see a representative of the Foreign Office there.

Mr. Rankin

May I return, Sir William, to our real mission today—

The Chairman

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that at the moment the Committee is concerned merely with the Vote—the Question in respect of which has been proposed—dealing with the Foreign Office.

Mr. Paul Williams (Sunderland, South)

I did not, Sir William, intend to make any remarks at this stage, passionately interested as I am in the debate on unemployment that we are to have, but the fact that there is no indication this far of either the Leader of the House or any other Minister rising to respond to the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) causes me to have doubts as to what assurances, if any, have been given about the facilities for a debate on Thursday.

If, at this stage, we could get an indication from the Leader of the House that this matter will be able to be fully debated on Thursday, and that a Foreign Office Minister will be able fully to explain Government action, then I think that we could quite easily let the matter go now.

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

I gave that assurance in full to the House on Thursday, and I repeat it now. There will be such an opportunity on Thursday, and a Foreign Office Minister will reply to the discussion.

The Chairman

Perhaps the Committee will now allow me to put the Question.

Question put and agreed to.

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