HC Deb 27 June 1963 vol 679 cc1655-62
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, 1ST JULY—Debate on the Ninth Report, 1961–62, and the Fifth Special Report, 1962–63, from the Estimates Committee relating to Naval Dockyards.

At seven o'clock, private Members' Motions.

Motions on the Tuberculosis (Extension of Payments Period) Orders for England and Wales and for Scotland, and the Fertilisers (United Kingdom) (Amendment) Scheme.

TUESDAY, 2ND JULY, and WEDNESDAY, 3RD JULY—A two-day debate will take place on Foreign Affairs.

The Government are allocating one day and the Opposition propose, if the House agrees, that an allotted Supply day shall be taken formally.

At the end on Wednesday, Motion on the Parking Places (Scotland) Order.

THURSDAY, 4TH JULY—Supply [23rd Allotted Day]: Committee.

There will be a debate on Scottish Housing on the Votes.

Motion on the Import Duties (General) (No. 4) Order.

FRIDAY, 5TH JULY—Remaining stages of the Children and Young Persons Bill [Lords].

MONDAY, 8TH JULY—The proposed business will be: Supply [24th Allotted Day]: Committee, when the subject will be Housing and Urban Land Prices.

Motion on the Town and Country Planning (Minerals) Regulations.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the House will, in the fairly near future, want to debate the question of Southern Rhodesia? Will he convey to his right hon. Friend the First Secretary, on his return from the conference at Victoria Falls, the desirability of his making a full and urgent statement on the results of the conference, and on the whole question of Southern Rhodesia, so that the House can debate the matter with the fullest possible information that the First Secretary can give us?

Mr. Macleod

I am sure that my right hon. Friend the First Secretary would be willing to do that, and I will, of course, take into account what has been said about a debate. There is a possibility—and, perhaps, more than a possibility—that we might have to bring legislation before the House before the end of the Session.

Mr. Turton

Following my question last week about the possibility of a debate on Commonwealth trade and the G.A.T.T. negotiations, can my right hon. Friend now say whether, out of either Opposition time on Supply days, or out of Government time, there will be a debate on these important matters, on which early day Motions have been put forward by hon. Members on both sides, and widely supported?

Mr. Macleod

My right hon. Friend has made his point about Supply days; he knows that the responsibility for their allocation lies with the Opposition. As to Government time, he will realise from the letter I sent him that I did not make any firm promise, but that I have undertaken to consider the important case he makes with those of the other claimants for time during the remaining weeks of the Session.

Mr. Shinwell

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in the foreign affairs debate, the Government spokesmen will state the Government's proposals about the mixed-manned multilateral force? Do the Government propose to present their views on that force to the House during the debate?

Mr. Macleod

Not in the sense that any final conclusions would be announced to the House, but no doubt the subject will come into that debate. The form of the debate is a matter for the Chair, but I understand that the debate each day would probably be taken on the Adjournment, and it might be convenient for the House if the debate on one of the days concentrated on foreign affairs generally and the other generally on defence, although, naturally, if the debates are taken on the Adjournment this is a matter for hon. Members themselves.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is the Leader of the House aware that we welcome his statement that there is not to be any final decision, or commitment, if it is the one that some of us fear may be in the Government's mind; and that it is highly desirable that the Government should hear the views of hon. Members on both sides of the House on this question before coming to any decision or commitment?

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is not trying to lay down any rules about the form of the debate, but does he not realise that, in present circumstances, it is almost impossible to divide the debate in the way that he has suggested? For example, if we want to talk about disarmament, or proposals far the ban on the spread of nuclear weapons and an anti-proliferation agreement, or if we want to talk about East-West relations in general, or the possibility of a nuclear test ban, it is impossible to divorce from those matters the question of nuclear arms for Germany, and the multilateral force which involves some German participation.

Would the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, think again, and, perhaps, have consultations with a view to its being a general debate on both days, because we simply cannot break up the subjects in the way that he suggests?

Mr. Macleod

I entirely agree with the Leader of the Opposition, and, in so far as we can be of help to the House, by all means let us have consultations, but I made the point, to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred that, subject to the ordinary rules, if the debate is to take place on the Adjournment the form is a matter for the House. But we would wish to meet the convenience of the House by, for example, having speakers like the Lord Privy Seal and the Minister of Defence, if they are to speak in the debate, at the appropriate stages of the two-day debate. I think that consultations on things like that could be helpful.

Captain Orr

As the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure is not to be taken tonight, can my right hon. Friend say when it will be taken, and will he bear in mind his promise to take it at a reasonable hour of the day?

Mr. Macleod

I cannot say when it will be taken—it is not Government business. All I can do is to try to be helpful to the House, because this is a matter that many hon. Members regard as of great importance, and try to see that it comes on at a reasonable hour. I cannot be more precise than that. I would hope to find a suitable opportunity in, say, the next two or three weeks.

Mr. M. Foot

What does the Leader of the House propose to do about the Motion that appears on the Order Paper in my name, expressing disapproval of the fact that the Leader of the House in another place should, in a debate there, have made imputations against the conduct of business in this House?

Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that this is a separate question from that of the exchange of letters with Mr. Speaker, which, we were told, was to be discussed through the usual channels, and that my Motion would not take much time because it would be accepted by the whole House, which recognises the need to maintain the rights of this House? Why, therefore, has not the Leader of the House announced in his business statement that we will have a short debate on this Motion next week?

[That this House deplores the fact that Lord Hailsham should, in a personal statement on 20th June, have made imputations as to the way in which business is conducted in the House of Commons.]

Mr. Macleod

I should not have thought that the two matters are quite as separate as the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) has suggested. On the second, and perhaps more important, matter, some consultations have taken place. I have no proposal for finding time for the hon. Member's Motion.

Sir H. D'Avigdor-Goldsmid

May I remind my right hon. Friend that nearly two years have gone by since my right hon. Friend the present Minister of Defence, then Minister of Aviation, promised early legislation on the establishment of an authority to deal with the international airports of England? May I suggest to my right hon. Friend that this would be an agreeable and relatively uncontroversial matter to include in the legislative programme which he is surely thinking about?

Mr. Macleod

I am certainly thinking about the legislative programme, but it does not concern next week's business.

Mr. Wigg

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) about his Motion, and our exchanges yesterday, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the possibility that the action of the Leader of another place may have been in contravention of Article IX of the Bill of Rights?

Mr. Macleod

I have not had that point drawn to my attention. I am quite ready to look at it.

Mr. Graham Page

Having regard to Monday's debate on naval dockyards, may I ask my right hon Friend whether he can say when time can be found to debate the Rochdale Report on the docks?

Mr. Macleod

No, Sir, but there is an undertaking that it will be debated before we rise for the Summer Recess.

Miss Herbison

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether the Parking Places (Scotland) Order designates places in the Midlands and the south of England where work may be found by some of our 90,000 unemployed for whom the Government have so miserably failed to find work in their own country?

Mr. Macleod

I doubt even the ingenuity of the hon. Lady to get that point in the debate.

Mr. F. Harris

As my right hon. Friend knows, many of us have been expecting any day now a statement by the Colonial Secretary on the outcome of his discussions with Mr. Mboya and the Kenya Government delegation who have been over here. Can my right hon. Friend say why it has not been made and when it will be made?

Mr. Macleod

My right hon. Friend will certainly be making a statement at an early date—I think within the period of the business which I have announced.

Mr. Bellenger

The right hon. Gentleman will remember that the House has been promised a White Paper on defence. Can he say when that will be published and will a debate take place before the House rises for the Summer Recess?

Sir. Macleod

I cannot give an undertaking about that. It is a possibility.

Mr. Loughlin

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the fishing industry is likely to face serious difficulties at the end of this year? Is he also aware that his right hon. Friend is initiating a European conference of the fishing industry countries? Could the House have an opportunity of discussing the whole of the fishing industry of this country before that conference takes place?

Mr. Macleod

I cannot see an early opportunity for that. I certainly agree about its importance, but we are concerned with business for a fairly limited period before the House.

Mr. Pavitt

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when the Government will find time to discuss their own 10-year plan for the development of the health and welfare services? Is he aware that in the event of an autumn election it is not unlikely that the Conservative Party will wish to put this in its programme and that it is desirable, therefore, that the House should discuss it before we rise for the Recess?

Mr. Macleod

I am not very enthusiastic about finding time to discuss election manifestoes.

Mr. C. Pannell

The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, in announcing next week's business, has not given a date, about which there was a reasonably firm promise, on which we could discuss the future of the House and accommodation for hon. Members. In view of the fact that we probably have a week or two for him to consider it in collaboration with the Minister of Public Building and Works, will the right hon. Gentleman consider issuing a White Paper to show hon. Members the kind of things which are contemplated for their convenience in future? Will the right hon. Gentleman do this, particularly bearing in mind that the scheme for building above the Chamber is to start this summer and that work on the precincts is to start next year, and that it is as well that the House when consulted should know what it is talking about?

Mr. Macleod

That is an admirable proposition. I will, of course, consult my right hon. Friend. It may well be that we can find a convenient way of giving information to the House before the debate.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Will not the House be handicapped in the debate on defence by the fact that there is not a Secretary of State for War? [Hon. Members: "There is."] Who is he?

Mr. H. Wilson

While my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) is obviously a little behind the times in this matter, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that the transfer of the Minister of State from the Foreign Office—the only Minister, as far as we know, who has departmental responsibility for disarmament—to become Secretary of State for War means that there will be no Minister available to the House next week to talk about the important question of disarmament?

Mr. Macleod

I am not sure whether this is in order, but I must say that I do not think that that follows.