HC Deb 21 November 1963 vol 684 cc1179-87
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, 25TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Housing Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

And, in view of their urgency, we shall ask the House to take the remaining stages of the Kenya Independence, the

Zanzibar, and the Bahama Islands (Constitution) Bills.

TUESDAY, 26TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Police Bill.

Motion on the Summertime Order.

WEDNESDAY, 27TH NOVEMBER—Committee and remaining stages of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill.

THURSDAY, 28TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Electricity and Gas Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Motion on the Judicial Offices (Salaries) Order.

FRIDAY, 29TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Navy, Army and Air Force Reserves Bill.

Committee and remaining stages of the Nigeria Republic Bill.

MONDAY, 2ND DECEMBER—The proposed business will be: Second Reading of the Air Corporations Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Mr. Wilson

On Monday's business, is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the proposal to take after the Housing Bill the remaining stages of the Kenya Independence, the Zanzibar and the Bahama Islands (Constitution) Bills, in view of the urgency of these matters, meets with no objection to taking them at a late hour? We appreciate that they must be got through.

What arrangements are being made for a two-day debate—and it must be a debate of two days—on the distribution of industry, with particular reference to the two White Papers on the North-East Coast and Scotland?

Mr. Lloyd

I am grateful for what the right hon. Gentleman has said about Monday's business. We are in some difficulty because of the dates which have been fixed for the independence of these countries.

We are discussing through the usual channels the second part of the right hon. Member's question and hope to be able to arrange for a debate to take place during the week after the week for which I have announced business.

Mr. Wise

Is there any prospect in the near future of our being able to discuss the Denning Report?

Mr. Lloyd

All I can say is, not next week.

Mr. G. Thomas

In view of the importance of the White Paper which was issued yesterday on the official status of the Welsh language—[Laughter.] The people v/ill hear that laughter in Wales; I will see to that—and in view of the complete absence of any reference to Wales in the White Paper, will we have an opportunity soon to discuss this official statement?

Mr. Lloyd

I would like an opportunity of talking to the hon. Member about that.

Sir C. Taylor

Will the Committee stage of the Police Bill be taken on the Floor of the House or upstairs?

Mr. Lloyd

It will be taken upstairs.

Mr. Shinwell

Will the Leader of the House consult his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister about the practice of transferring Questions addressed to the Prime Minister to other Ministers? Could he ascertain from his right hon. Friend whether the Prime Minister vets the Questions himself; whether he looks at them and comes to a conclusion about whether or not they should be addressed to him?

Hon. Members


Mr. Shinwell

Am I in order, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker

As far as I heard the right hon. Gentleman, entirely, but I am not sure that I heard all that he said.

Mr. Shinwell

I was asking the Leader of the House to consult with the Prime Minister to ascertain whether the Prime Minister vets Questions himself, or whether someone does it for him and, the Questions having been looked at, there is any interference with the privilege of hon. Members.

Mr. Lloyd

There was a Question to my right hon. Friend on the Order Paper today on this matter. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will await the Answer, which will be contained in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Shinwell

Surely I am entitled to ask a question. Why must I wait until I read the Answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT, whereupon I shall not be able to put a supplementary question?

Mr. Speaker

I cannot make Ministers answer Questions if they do not want to.

Mr. W. Yates

Taking into account the nation-wide interest in the question of televising Parliament, will my right hon. and learned Friend consult the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and arrange for the House to have a discussion first, and simply, on the technical aspects of this problem?

Mr. Lloyd

This is certainly a matter in which many hon. Members on both sides of the House are very interested and I am now seeking to obtain their views on it. I will also consider my hon. Friend's suggestion.

Mr. Willis

Is the Leader of the House aware that the Housing Bill changes the law of Scotland far more than it does the law of England and Wales, and that it contains one Schedule of 20 pages affecting Scotland? Will he consult the Secretary of State and make arrangements for a Scottish Minister to speak in the debate on Monday, and, if possible, to have the Scottish Schedule at least referred to the Scottish Grand Committee?

Mr. Lloyd

I am not sure that I agree with what the hon. Member has said, but I will certainly discuss his remarks with my right hon. Friend.

Mr. McMaster

If there is to be a debate on Government assistance to the development areas, with particular reference to the White Papers on Scotland and the North-East, as mentioned in the Gracious Speech, will my right hon. Friend make sure that the Motion is widely enough drafted to cover Northern Ireland?

Mr. Lloyd

I will certainly consider what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Lawson

Is the Leader of the House aware that one Schedule in the Police Bill, covering 10 pages and more than 20 paragraphs, deals with Scotland alone and transforms the law of Scotland on the basis of legislation by reference? Since this will be an exceedingly difficult part of the Bill with which to deal, will the Leader of the House put the Schedule into a separate Bill and deal with the matter separately for Scotland?

Mr. Lloyd

No, Sir. I think that it is too late to do that.

Dame Irene Ward

Can we expect a new Royal Warrant next week on regular Service widows' pre-1958 pensions in view of the fact that the winter is approaching and that we want these pensions to be raised without further delay?

Mr. Lloyd

Not next week.

Mr. Frank Allaun

Will the Leader of the House consider making an early statement, perhaps jointly with you, Mr. Speaker, about the possibility of setting up a Press cuttings service for hon. Members?

Mr. Lloyd

As I have told the hon. Member, I will certainly consider what he said recently during an Adjournment debate.

Mr. Jennings

Despite the discussion we had during the debate on the Gracious Speech, can my right hon. and learned Friend say whether any time will be given in the near future for a debate on the Robbins Report, the Newsom Report and the Report of the Trend Committee on Civil Science—and, as I have just heard an hon. Member say, on the Jennings report, too?

Mr. Lloyd

I have no doubt that that is a matter that will be discussed through the usual channels.

Mr. C. Pannell

Will the Leader of the House consider making a statement at this time next week about the possibility of setting up an Accommodation Committee? Will he bear in mind that just before the Summer Recess we had a debate in which it was demonstrated that Sir William Holford's plans for Bridge Street would have to receive the consideration of the House to ensure that we got the sort of accommodation we wanted? Will he also bear in mind that the proximity of a General Election might make hon. Gentlemen opposite the principal beneficiaries of any extra accommodation?

Mr. Lloyd

I have already had some conversations with hon. Gentlemen on this matter, without any forecasts included in them, and I will consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.

Mr. Robert Cooke

Will my right hon. and learned Friend try to find time in the near future for a discussion of the perfectly appalling building which the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors proposes to erect in Parliament Square?

Mr. Lloyd

I will consider what my hon. Friend has said.

Mrs. White

Will the Leader of the House try to find time to discuss the cinematograph industry, and the serious state of British film production at present; and also the future of the British Film Finance Corporation?

Mr. Lloyd

I will consider that matter, too.

Mr. Steele

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman reconsider the questions put by my hon. Friends the Members of Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) and Motherwell (Mr. Lawson)? There is a growing practice of adding to United Kingdom Bills the Scottish interpretation, and it becomes ridiculous when it takes a Schedule of 20 pages to enable that to be done? Is it that the Scottish Ministers are now becoming afraid of the Scottish Members in the Scottish Grand Committee? Would it not be possible for the Leader of the House to agree to meet a deputation, to see whether we cannot do something about this, and at least get the Scottish parts of the Bills sent to a Scottish Committee?

Mr. Lloyd

I will gladly meet any hon. Members who want to talk about the matter, and will go into it myself.

Mr. Ross

Can the Leader of the House say whether he consulted the Prime Minister before deciding to insult Scottish law in this way? Or did he consult the Scottish Law Officers, whom we have never seen? Is he aware that he is quite wrong in saying that it is too late to do a certain thing? If he consults his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary he will find that part of the Town and Country Planning Bill had to be reprinted in a special Scottish Bill.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman look at what happened to the Teachers Superannuation Bill, some years ago, when the whole of the Scottish part of that Measure was taken out and sent to the Scottish Grand Committee?

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman knew his job, and appreciated the rights of Scottish Members and of Scottish law, he would not continue with this farce of lumping matters relating to the police and housing in this way. Is he aware that, hitherto, the Scottish aspect of such Measures has always had special legislation?

Mr. Lloyd

I have said, rather more politely than has the hon. Gentleman, that I will look into the matter, and meet hon. Members who want to see me./membercontribution>

Mr. Parkin

Has the Leader of the House seen a couple of Motions on the Order Paper concerning the Church Commissioners? Does he not consider that as seven senior Ministers are members of that body it would not be a bad idea to have a debate in this Chamber from time to time on how they carry out their jobs? Before he answers that general matter, is he also aware that I want to take those Motions off the Order Paper because, in regard to the narrow issue of two or three houses and a particular course of action, the Church Estate Commissioners have taken immediate action, for which I am very grateful?

[That, in the opinion of this House, legislation ought to be introduced to relieve Mr. Speaker of his membership, however nominal, of the Church Commissioners, in view of the fact that the activities of this body have now become controversial in regard to the management of their estates.]

[That this House deplores the terms of letters sent by Milles Day, solicitors, claiming to act for the Church Commissioners of England, to Mr. Kerr, protected sub-tenant of 54 Warwick Avenue, W.9, and to Mr. Gilmore, of 56 Warwick Avenue, demanding possession of their flats, deplores also attempts to evict other sub-tenants, and the previous eviction of sub-tenants from 52 Warwick Avenue, and calls upon the Church Commissioners to formulate a policy directive to the Estates Commissioners and their agents more in tune with public opinion.]

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot promise that I will be able to find time to discuss the Motion that remains on the Order Paper.

Sir C. Taylor

If my right hon. and learned Friend cannot find the time next week, would he bear in mind that many hon. Members on both sides would like a debate in the near future on the whole policy of trading stamps?

Mr. Lloyd

There are already a great many candidates for discussion in the House, and I will simply have to say to my hon. Friend that I will take note of his suggestion.

Mr. Wigg

Is the Leader of the House aware that, just about a year ago, the Government set up a Select Committee to help them out of the difficulty occasioned by large numbers of ex-Service men standing at by-elections? Is he further aware that the Committee, under his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, met during the Recesses? An interim Report was presented to the House, and just before the Summer Recess the final Report was presented, and the then Leader of the House assured my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot)—who, we all hope, will soon be back with us—[Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."]—that an early debate would take place.

As some of us have laboured on this subject for a long time—involving, as it does, the liberty of the subject and the right of Service men to stand for Parliament—will not the Leader of the House take an early opportunity to bring the matter before the House?

Mr. Lloyd

I certainly cannot do so next week, but I will bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. William Hamilton.

Mr. W. Hamilton


Mr. Wigg

I was not asking the right hon. and learned Gentleman to bear in mind what I say, but what his predecessor said.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We cannot make progress unless I am allowed to call hon. Members without two people being on their feet at the same time.

Mr. W. Hamilton

Can the Leader of the House say when the Hire Purchase Bill will be available, and can he give an assurance on this matter that, in view of the much greater abuses of hire purchase in Scotland—with the difference in law there—there will be a separate Scottish Bill this Session?

Mr. Lloyd

The answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is, "Shortly", and the answer to the second part is that 1 will consider it.

Mr. Pavitt

Will the Leader of the House find time to discuss the AnnisGillie Report on General Practice? Does he recall that the Government have published ten-year plans on the other two sections of the profession, and will he consult his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health on how the Government propose to deal with this very important facet of the Health Service, and make an early statement?

Mr. Lloyd

I will certainly consult my right hon. Friend. As for an early debate, I will add it to the list of possibilities.

Mr. Wigg

Further to what I have asked the Leader of the House, will he bear in mind the undertaking given not to him, but to the House of Commons?