HC Deb 25 July 1963 vol 681 cc1778-86
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)

Before announcing to the House the business for next week, may I say that in addition to the business already announced the Government propose tomorrow to facilitate consideration of Lords Amendments to the following Private Members' Bills: Limitation, Matrimonial Causes, and Dog Racing (Appointed Days).

There will also be the Second Reading of the Land Compensation (Scotland) Bill [Lords], which is a consolidation Measure.

The business for next week will be:

MONDAY, 29TH JULY—Debate on Welsh Affairs.

Remaining stages of the Land Compensation (Scotland) Bill [Lords], which, as I have said, is a consolidation Measure.

Consideration of the remaining stages of the following Private Members' Bills:

Local Government (Financial Provisions) and Wills.

TUESDAY, 30TH JULY—Remaining stages of the Public Order Bill [Lords].

Consideration of Lords Amendments to the Television Bill and to the Peerage Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 31ST JULY—Debate on a Motion to take note of the White Paper on Central Organisation for Defence (Command No. 2097).

THURSDAY, 1ST AUGUST—Debate on Northern Ireland, until seven o'clock, and then on Accommodation.

These debates will arise on a Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

It is hoped that the House will rise for the Summer Adjournment on Friday, 2nd August.

Mr. G. Thomas

In view of Monday's important debate, will the Leader of the House tell us what steps he is taking to see that the attendance of hon. Members reflects the concern of the House about Welsh interests?

Mr. Macleod

I am sure there will be a crowded House to hear that debate.

Mr. Brockway

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the Motion on the Order Paper, signed by more than 70 Members of the House, asking for an inquiry into matters relating to the death sentence on James Hanratty for what is known as the A.6 murder?

[That this House requests the Secretary of State for the Home Department to institute a full and open inquiry into matters related to the conviction of James Hanratty for the murder of Michael Gregston.]

In view of the very grave issue which is here involved, can the right hon. Gentleman find time during next week for a discussion of this matter?

Mr. Macleod

I have read the Motion. It is directed in part at my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary as a request to him. Clearly, in the business that I have announced for next week there will be no time available, but I imagine that the hon. Member has made a request to Mr. Speaker, who will, in due course, be announcing the subjects for debate on the Motion for the Summer Adjournment.

Miss Herbison

Will the Leader of the House give some consideration to postponing the Adjournment beyond 2nd August in order to give the Government time to produce for debate in the House an overall and, I hope, dynamic plan for relieving unemployment in Scotland, since over 90,000 of our people are suffering very great hardship at the hands of the Government and are awaiting a plan which will give them hope for the future?

Mr. Macleod

I do not want to enter into polemics in these statements. It is hardly appropriate for me to do so. I do not accept what the hon. Lady has said. Clearly, by custom for many years the date of the Adjournment is always fixed, on this occasion at least, by the calendar.

Mr. M. Stewart

Could the right hon. Gentleman find time next week for his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government to make a statement about his apparent reluctance to publish the very interesting report on housing prepared for his Department by the Central Office of Information?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think that there is any reluctance in this matter. [Laughter.] Not at all; anybody can have a copy if he wants it. This is an experimental research exercise. Its existence was known to the Central Housing Advisory Committee. It has been studied by many people. There can be no question of this having been kept a secret. Its existence has been known for a considerable period. AH Ministries carry out these sorts of surveys over and over again.

Mr. Harold Davies

Will it be put in the Library?

Mr. H. Wilson

Will the right hon. Gentleman say on what date he received it, on what date it was placed in the Library of the House and on what date the House was told about it?

Mr. Macleod

So far as this matter is in order on business, it was, I think, put in the Library of the House yesterday. [Laughter.] With respect, I have had considerable experience in two of the great home Ministries—the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour. These sort of research exercises are carried out the whole time, any number of them. There is no particular secrecy about it.

Sir T. Moore

Could my right hon. Friend say when we are likely to reassemble after Adjournment, or have I missed something?

Mr. Macleod

No, we would propose to take the usual Motion for the Adjournment for the Recess on Tuesday, and perhaps on Monday announce the date on which it is proposed to return. Provided the business of the House goes reasonably smoothly during the next few days, there would be no overspill necessary, and so we would, unless something unexpected were to happen, meet to prorogue, and then, after a day or two, open the new Session.

Sir T. Moore

On what date?

Mr. M. Stewart

Could the right hon. Gentleman find time next week to debate the report on housing, to which I have referred? After all, it has been all ready for publication since May, and it is only now that anyone is allowed to see it.

Mr. Macleod

I have considerable admiration for the hon. Gentleman's ingenuity. I would be prepared to wager that if he wants to make any points about it he could find a suitable opportunity today to do so.

Mr. Lipton

Before we rise for the Summer Recess, can we be given any information about the final composition of the Milner Holland Committee which is to investigate housing rackets in London? In particular, could we be given the name and address of the secretary to this Committee to whom representations can be made? I am particularly anxious to report to this Committee on Various Tenancies Ltd. of 113, Clapham Park Road, S.W.4.

Mr. Macleod

If any hon. Members wish to forward information, the obvious thing would be to send it direct to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government, who, of course, would make; it available at once.

If the composition of the Milner Holland Committee is completed before we rise it will, of course, be announced to the House. In any case, we will make the announcement as soon as we can.

Mr. Grimond

In view of what the Leader of the House said about returning in the autumn, may we be assured that there will be no General Election before next year?

Mr. Speaker

That matter does not appear to arise on next week's business.

Mr. M. Foot

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is in the Vote Office this afternoon a Report of a Select Committee, which by an oversight has not been properly presented to the House of Commons? Is he aware that this refers to a question which was fully debated in the House, about Service men who wish to stand for Parliament? Does the right hon. Gentleman propose to find time for a discussion of this important matter next week, particularly as the Select Committee appears to have accepted holus bolus the views of my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), whose views are not shared by all hon. Members, or are the Government working in future on the principle that "anything that Wigg says goes"?

Mr. Macleod

Obviously, I cannot find time within next week's business to debate that matter.

Mr. Bellenger

I suppose that it is too late now to ask the right hon. Gentleman to extend the time for debate on the important White Paper on the Central Organisation for Defence. If, however, as I imagine, there will be substantial major legislation in the new Session arising out of that White Paper, can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that adequate time will be given to debating that legislation, particularly as many hon. Members, both expert and others, will have to restrain themselves in getting into the debate on Wednesday?

Mr. Macleod

I hope so, but that, obviously, is getting us into the business not of next week but of next Session.

Mr. Wigg

Leaving aside the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot), is it not a fact that the Select Committee's Report to which he has referred must in due course be debated by the House?

Mr. Macleod

I should like to take advice on that. I do not think that it must be debated, although such Reports usually are.

Mr. Parkin

Will the Leader of the House arrange for his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government, after consideration of documents which I handed to him yesterday, to make a statement in the House next week about the composition and powers of the Milner Holland Committee, or of some other inquiry working in parallel, so that we can be certain that there is ample opportunity to deal with the wide variety of aspects of the situation that need to be inquired into?

Mr. Macleod

My right hon. Friend tells me that he has already taken appropriate action on the documents which have been handed to him. I have already replied to that point about the Milner Holland Committee.

Mr. Warbey

Has the Leader of the House drawn the attention of his right hon. Friend the Minister of Power to a Motion on the Order Paper in the names of several hon. Members calling for a White Paper on the reasons for the decision to hand over a pipeline concession to the oil companies?

[That this House calls attention to the undertaking given by the Minister of Power, during the passage of the Pipelines Act 1962, to protect the public interest in the operation of this Act, and therefore requests Her Majesty's Government to lay on the Table of the House a White Paper setting out, in detail, the circumstances and considerations which led the Minister of Power to award the valuable transport concession of a cross-country pipeline from the Thames to Merseyside to United Kingdom Oil Pipelines Ltd., a consortium of the major international oil companies.]

May we have an assurance that we shall get the White Paper in time for a possible debate on the subject?

Mr. Macleod

No, Sir. I drew the attention of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power to the exchange which we had last week about the question of a White Paper and he agreed with the answer I gave.

Mr. Ross

Since the business announced in the right hon. Gentleman's statement for next week is likely to be the last week's business in this Session of Parliament, will he tell us the Government's intentions concerning the Law Reform (Succession etc.) (Scotland) Bill, which was discussed in principle in the Scottish Grand Committee this morning, a Bill that follows a Report of a Committee which reported thirteen years ago and one which was promised in the Speech from the Throne in, I think, 1959? Is it the Government's intention that there shall be a Committee stage? If not, will the right hon. Gentleman inform the House that that is not their intention and also inform the Secretary of State for Scotland of this and that his right hon. Friend should not indulge in a rather callous piece of political window-dressing?

Mr. Macleod

The hon. Gentleman knows very well that, on the contrary, we have published the Bill and announced our intention to legislate. I made it clear from the beginning that the Bill was published first for discussion in the way which it has now been discussed. Of course, we will legislate on this matter in the new Session.

Mr. Morris

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Ministry of Power has not yet published the annual report of the Iron and Steel Board to the House? Does he recall that this time last year we had a debate on the steel industry on the basis of the Report that had been published earlier, in June? Will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for a statement to be made by the Minister of Power on the steel industry and, in particular, concerning 4,000 men who are on short time in my constituency?

Mr. Macleod

I will, of course, draw that point to my right hon. Friend's attention, but we have, I think, had the full ration of days for debate on the nationalised industries and their Reports generally. In the next Session this, presumably, becomes a candidate again.

Mr. M. Foot

Turning again to the question of the Select Committee on members of the Armed Forces, will the Leader of the House undertake to look up the debate which we had in the House on this subject, in which he participated and stated that, because of the views which had been expressed on the matter, the Committee would be asked to report as early as possible? The suggestion was made that we could not go on with the existing system because doubts had been expressed. Is it not flouting that opinion when the Leader of the House is prepared to carry on the present arrangements without allowing the House a further opportunity of debating the matter? Will he undertake to read what he said in that debate and make a further statement to the House on this matter before the House rises for the Recess?

Mr. Macleod

I remember that debate very well. Both the hon. Member and I took part in it. It is about the only occasion when we have expressed slightly similar points of view.

Mr. Foot

For once.

Mr. Macleod

Yes, for once. I remember that debate very well. For the moment, however, we are dealing with the business for next week, within which there is no opportunity for what the hon. Member asks.