HC Deb 11 July 1963 vol 680 cc1419-26
Mr. H. Wilson

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will 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, 15TH JULY—Supply [25th Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on Science.

At 9.30 p.m. the Question will be put on the Vote under discussion and on all outstanding Votes, under Standing Order No. 16.

Completion of the remaining stages of the Children and Young Persons Bill [Lords].

TUESDAY, 16TH JULY—Resumed debate on the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure.

Remaining stages of the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Bill, and of the Statute Law Revision Bill [Lords], which is a consolidation Measure.

Motions on the White Fish and Herring Subsidy Schemes and Order for the United Kingdom.

WEDNESDAY, 17TH JULY—Supply [26th Allotted Day]: Report.

Debate on Higher Education.

At 9.30 p.m. the Question will be put on the Vote under discussion and on all outstanding Votes, under Standing Order No. 16.

Consideration of Lords Amendments to the Weights and Measures Bill.

THURSDAY, 18TH JULY—Remaining stages of the Water Resources Bill [Lords].

FRIDAY, 19TH JULY—Second Reading of the Malaysia Bill, and in view of the

urgency for this Bill we shall ask the House to take the Committee and remaining stages.

MONDAY, 22ND JULY—The proposed business will be: Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

Motions on the Cinematograph Films Regulations, and on the Commonwealth Preference Area (Removal of West Cameroon) Order.

Mr. H. Wilson

Will the right hon. Gentleman say, first, when he expects to see the publication of the White Paper on defence departmental reorganisation and what arrangements are being made for a debate on the White Paper? Secondly, in view of the postponement of a debate arranged previously on Northern Ireland, will he say when he expects that to take place?

Mr. Macleod

The Defence White Paper will be available to the House next Tuesday, 16th July, and an opportunity will be given before we rise, after the House has studied it, to debate it. That will probably be in the final week. I am also confident that there will be an opportunity for a further discussion on Northern Ireland, but I cannot give a precise date for it.

Sir G. Nicholson

While the Government's action in the arrangements for the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure will be welcomed on all sides, it brings into relief the widely felt dissatisfaction with the present method of dealing with Church Assembly Measures. Will my right hon. Friend see that consideration is given to whether somethiing more satisfactory can be arranged and adopted by the House?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think that that particularly concerns the business of next week, except, of course, indirectly through this Measure, but I recognise the force of what my hon. Friend said, and if there is any way in which I can help I shall be glad to do so.

Miss Bacon

Does the right hon. Gentleman expect to finish on Monday the remaining stages of the Children and Young Persons Bill, of which quite a lot still remains? Is he aware that some of us regard the Bill as of supreme importance, dealing, as it does, with the more unfortunate children of the country? Is he not aware that to deal with it in bits and pieces like this is not good enough?

Mr. Macleod

It is a Bill of great importance, and I am sure that the hon. Lady agrees that that is one reason why it is desirable for the Bill to pass through its remaining stages—I agree after proper examination—as quickly as possible. I have announced the business for Monday as the completion of the remaining stages, but I will very carefully watch the progress of business that night and we will see how we get on.

Sir H. Harrison

Has my right hon. Friend's attention been called to the Resolution passed by the House on 29th May calling for a greater control of the import of foodstuffs? If so, will he say when he will introduce the necessary legislation or lay the Orders to bring it about?

Mr. Macleod

Certainly not next week.

Mr. Brockway

Is it the intention to conclude the Malaysia Bill before the Summit conference of representatives from Malaya, Indonesia and the Philippines to consider the recommendation of their Foreign Ministers that this matter should be referred to U Thant and the United Nations with a view to considering whether the peoples desire Malaysia before it is put into operation?

Mr. Macleod

I hope that the House will be ready to agree to the suggestion that I have made that we should take all the stages of the Bill on one day. There are ample precedents for this step. The last time that we took all the stages on one day was with the independence of Sierra Leone, in 1961. If this can be done on Friday, it would be appropriate to set it down for the Royal Assent before we rise for the Summer Recess.

Dame Irene Ward

Can my right hon. Friend explain a little more why white fish problems are to be discussed so late on Tuesday? Is he aware that in the Adjournment debate which I had on Monday of this week the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said that we should not be debating fish at the usual late hour at night or early hour of the morning? Am I not right in assuming that the Motions on the White Fish and Herring Subsidy Schemes have been put at the bottom of the list of business for Tuesday? If so, how is my right hon. Friend to carry out the undertaking which was given that they would be discussed at a reasonable hour, when everybody's brain was alive and capable of dealing with this very important matter?

Mr. Macleod

I hope that Tuesday's business will work out conveniently to meet the very valid point my hon. Friend makes. One of the Bills in advance of this business is a consolidation Measure, and I think that it was the general wish of the House, although it is not Government business, that the continuation and conclusion of the debate on the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure should be given priority so that the House could discuss it at a reasonable hour. I believe that we will be able to complete Tuesday's business, even bearing in mind the point my hon. Friend makes.

Mr. Bellenger

Now that we are to have the White Paper on Defence next week and as, presumably, the Government are fully cognisant of its contents, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any major legislation is envisaged as a result of the White Paper and, if so, whether it will be taken early in the new Session?

Mr. Macleod

I never forecast legislation precisely in these matters. Any major reorganisation of this size will involve legislation, but I cannot be more precise than that. We must await the debate, which I have undertaken will be before we rise for the Recess.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

On Monday's and Wednesday's business, does my right hon. Friend appreciate that there is a danger of considerable overlapping, especially with regard to technological education coinciding with the debate on science? Would consultation through the usual channels help the House to be able to make the best possible use of Monday's debate on science without it interfering with the debate on higher education on Wednesday?

Mr. Macleod

Both these debates are on Votes. I think that I am right in saying that both the debate on science and the debate on higher education can take place on the Vote on the salary of the Minister, which would enable it to range as widely as possible. Beyond that, I cannot narrow the debate for my hon. Friend.

Mr. Lee

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when the Minister of Aviation will make his promised statement to the House on the Corbett Report on the financial affairs of B.O.A.C.?

Mr. Macleod

I cannot give any date for that. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe that there is a Question down to my right hon. Friend which will come on to the Order Paper in a few days' time on this subject.

Mr. P. Williams

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the Government's policies on shipping, and particularly the provision of £30 million of credit facilities, involve legislation and, if so, whether this willbe taken at a very early date, as this is obviously an urgent matter?

Mr. Macleod

I cannot make a pronouncement on that, beyond the statement that has been made and saying that there is no prospect of legislation this Session.

Mr. Wigg

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that the White Paper to be published next week is a document of very great importance and also one of great complexity? Would he not agree that it is of paramount importance, in the interests of the Armed Forces and of the defence policy of the country as a whole, that the principles of the White Paper—and, indeed, the details—should be fully understood?

If the right hon. Gentleman agrees about that, would he not consider, or ask his right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence to consider, holding a meeting upstairs which hon. Members of all parties could attend so that they could not only understand the basic policy, but would also be able to elucidate the facts so that the debate might be as informed as possible, because the issues transcend all party considerations?

Mr. Macleod

I aree about the importance of the White Paper. It would not be right for me to commit my right hon. Friend, but I will convey that suggestion to him.

Mr. W. Yates

Has my right hon. Friend noticed the deteriorating situation in South-West Arabia? Has he also noticed that there has been a report by the Daily Telegraph correspondent, Mr. Richard Beeston, of the use of poison gas, which was confirmed by Sir Charles Belgrave? As B.B.C. television, in January, said that explosive cigarettes were being dropped by U.A.R. aircraft, and there is a Motion on the Order Paper, ought not the House to debate this question before we rise for the Recess?

[That this House expresses, firstly, its sincere sympathy to the parents and families of those servicemen who lost their lives, secondly, its condemnation of those responsible for authorising and organising a training exercise of service-men and women on the Yemen border, and thirdly, its gratitude to the Government of the United States of America, the United Arab Republic and Dr. Lukman for the help given to secure the release of the servicemen; and considers that Her Majesty's Government should now re-examine the possibility of opening diplomatic relations with the Republican Government of the Yemen who have, in this incident, strictly observed international law by releasing earlier the servicewomen and the sick.]

Mr. Macleod

I do not think that it is at all likely that there will be a specific opportunity to debate this matter, but it may well be that opportunities will present themselves to private Members on some of the traditional occasions that may still be left, perhaps on the Consolidated Fund Bill or on Mr. Speaker's selection of Motions for the Summer Adjournment.

Dr. Stross

Will the Leader of the House give us some advice on the Performers' Protection Bill [Lords], the Third Reading of which was adjourned on 21st June? As the Bill is a most desirable one, should be enacted as quickly as possible, and is needed and wanted by everybody, will the right hon. Gentleman find time for it or advise us how we can get it through tomorrow on the nod?

Mr. Macleod

I am all for getting business through when I can on the nod. Perhaps I may look into this. It is some time since I have studied the progress of the Bill.

Mr. Warbey

With regard to the Malaysia Bill, will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that Malaysia is not Sierra Leone, but that a closer parallel would be the Central African Federation? Does he think that it is proper that a great constitutional Measure, affecting the whole of South-East Asia, should be rushed through all its stages on a Friday?

Mr. Macleod

There are precedents. Apart from the Sierra Leone one, I am sure that there are others. There is nothing whatever unusual in this. These sort of Bills, as is known—this Bill has now been published—are common form Bills, containing provisions which have appeared over and over again in the last few months. I am convinced that there is no parliamentary difficulty involved in taking it in the way I have suggested.

Mr. Denis Howell

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that the Water Resources Bill, which we are to discuss next Thursday, is an extremely complicated piece of legislation which sets up an entirely new pattern for the whole of the water industry. Is he aware that the Minister in charge of the Bill has given at least twenty assurances to consider important points of policy? In view of that, and of the hope to get the Third Reading on Thursday, will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what the Government's intention is for next Thursday?

Mr. Macleod

Our intention and hope is as I have announced. It is true that there are a large number—about 40 or 50—Amendments to the Bill. As the hon. Gentleman has said, a considerable number are to meet undertakings that have been given; and a considerable number beyond that are drafting Amendments. Again, we will see how we get on, but I do not think it unreasonable to expect to obtain all the remaining stages of the Bill on Thursday.

Mr. O'Malley

The right hon. Gentleman promised my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) that he would consider the question of the Performers' Protection Bill. When hedoes so, will he take into account the urgency and importance of this country being represented on the inter-governmental committee which is to be set up to implement the international convention which the Bill, if it goes through the House, will bring into effect?