HC Deb 06 February 1964 vol 688 cc1345-51
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, 10TH FEBRUARY—Debate on a Government Motion on the Buchanan and Crowther Reports.

TUESDAY, 11TH FEBRUARY—Remaining stages of the International Development Association Bill, and of the International Headquarters and Defence Organisations Bill [Lords], which, if necessary, will be interrupted at seven o'clock, when the Chairman of Ways and Means has set down opposed Private Business.

Motion on the Industrial Organisation and Development Order.

WEDNESDAY, 12TH FEBRUARY—Second Reading of the Income Tax Management Bill, and of the War Damage Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolutions.

THURSDAY, 13TH FEBRUARY—Second Reading of the Uganda Bill.

Second Reading of the Criminal Appeal Bill [Lords], and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Remaining stages of the British Nationality Bill.

FRIDAY, 14TH FEBRUARY—Private Members' Bills.

MONDAY, 17TH FEBRUARY—The proposed business will be: Supply [6th Allotted Day]: Committee stage of the Supplementary Estimates, which, if the House agrees, will be taken formally to allow debate on Government expenditure in the field of aviation.

Mr. H. Wilson

The business looks a bit more interesting than some we have had.

Does the Leader of the House still adhere to the timetable for publication of the Bill on resale price maintenance and for getting it through the House in the present Session? Secondly, can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether the Bill, when it is produced, will deal with price rigging in solicitors' fees and charges by banks and discount houses, estate agents and building societies?

Mr. Lloyd

The answer to the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's question is that I see no reason to depart from the estimates which I have given before.

As regards the second part, I think that the right hon. Gentleman had better await the Bill and see.

Mr. Farr

Will my right hon. and learned Friend try to find time fairly soon for the House to debate some of the risks attached to the use of certain poisons in agriculture and matters related thereto?

Mr. Lloyd

I shall consider my hon. Friend's suggestion.

Mr. A. Henderson

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say who will answer Questions addressed to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary during their absence in Washington?

Mr. Lloyd

I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will not be unduly disappointed with the reply. I have been asked to do so.

Sir C. Osborne

Will my right hon. and learned Friend do his best to find time to debate the position in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer finds himself in the N.E.D.C., in view of the fact that a national incomes policy is so necessary but the trade union representatives will not co-operate in forming such a policy while Mr. Frank Cousins is still in the West Indies? May we debate the matter here?

Mr. Lloyd

I can reassure my hon. Friend by saying that this is a time of year when there are many opportunities for discussing that type of topic between now and, say, the Budget.

Mr. H. Wilson

Since the Leader of the House thinks that we might debate this matter, does not he agree that we should do so not on the basis of completely distorted views expressed by the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne)? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman arrange for the House of Commons to be given the facts of what has been going on in the N.E.D.C. instead of having to rely on Press leaks in various newspapers?

Mr. Lloyd

I should think that a debate would, of course, take place on a factual basis.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

In the light of the very important statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister after Questions, can the Leader of the House say whether we are to have a general debate on what has been announced or whether we are to expect legislation to implement particularly the findings of the Trend Report?

Mr. Lloyd

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister stated that there would not be legislation this Session. I think that the question of a debate could be considered through the usual channels.

Mr. Awbery

Does the Leader of the House recall that, 12 months ago, Lord Colville, in another place, introduced a Bill about burial and cremation which was withdrawn on the Motion for Second Reading on an understanding from the Government that a comprehensive Bill would be introduced shortly to deal with the whole problem? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman now consider introducing such a Bill, seeing that we are in the last stages of a dying Government?

Mr. Lloyd

Without accepting the invitation to indulge in dialectics which the hon. Member offered me. I shall consider the point which he makes.

Mr. W. Yates

Will the Leader of the House take into account the fact that eight Members of Parliament and one member of the Cabinet visited South-West Arabia during the Christmas Recess and that four more Members are on their way? In view of this, does not my right hon. and learned Friend think that it is time that the House had an opportunity to debate the matter forth-with?

Mr. Lloyd

Not next week.

Mrs. Hart

Do I understand from the reply of the Leader of the House with reference to the Prime Minister's statement after Questions today that such profound changes can be made in the relationship between Scottish and English government without legislation being needed? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider the necessity for a very early debate on this subject, and also consider the need to have statements of this importance made during the course of ordinary business in order to allow full opportunity to discover the answers to our questions?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot accept what the hon. Lady has just said. I think that the convenience of the House was met by my right hon. Friend answering the Question of the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) today. I did not understand that there were to be fundamental changes in the position of Scottish universities.

Sir C. Osborne

Now that the Leader of the Opposition has supported the request that all the facts from the N.E.D.C. should be brought to the House and discussed, will my right hon. and learned Friend consider again my suggestion that the matter should be debated at an early oportunity?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that there are opportunities for debating the kind of topic which my hon. Friend wants to debate.

Mr. Woodburn

In view of the short time available and the difficulty of eliciting all the facts regarding the changes in education, would it be possible for the Prime Minister to amplify his statement and clear up the great many points outstanding by a public statement on the relation of the different parts of education and the relation between Scotland and England?

Mr. Lloyd

I will convey that suggestion to my right hon. Friend.

Sir S. Summers

My right hon. and learned Friend has announced the proposed business for Monday the 17th, the suggestion being that, if the House took the Supplementary Estimates formally, certain matters would be discussed. In view of the fact that, by that date, the Report of the Select Committee on Estimates on those Supplementary Estimates will not have been published, may we take it that the procedure announced will not debar discussion of those Supplementary Estimates should the House wish to do so?

Mr. Lloyd

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point. I thought it convenient to suggest that they should be taken formally because the Report is not yet available. I gather that it will not be available until about 20th February. After that, there will be opportunities on each specific item to deal with the Report of the Select Committee.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that that is very much the view which we take also, and that there was no intention on our part, in asking for a Motion, to preclude discussion on these very important Supplementary Estimates? We thought that we ought to have the Report of the Estimates Committee first. As far as we are concerned, we do not intend to take any action after Monday week which would in any way limit full discussion of the Supplementary Estimates.

Mr. Lloyd

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Wigg

Is the Leader of the House aware that yesterday the Minister of Aviation told the House that, as long ago as last August, Ferranti Ltd. was informed that the Comptroller and Auditor General, as a servant of the Public Accounts Committee, had made certain enquiries about that firm's relation to contracts in the public service?

Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman regard it as in the highest degree improper that, before the House has had an opportunity of considering the Report, the Minister of Aviation, who himself was concerned in this matter, should appoint a committee of civil servants to inquire into a matter which must concern the House as a whole? Will he provide an opportunity for the House to debate this procedure?

Mr. Lloyd

It is not for me to say what will be in order, but I think that these matters would be in order in the debate on Monday week.

Mr. Wigg

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is Leader of the House, not only a member of the Conservative Party. Does not he consider that he has a direct responsibility to the House when its procedures are flouted in this way?

Mr. Lloyd

I wish to preserve the interests of the House, and I think that they are preserved by the fact that there will be a debate in the comparatively near future.

Mr. Zilliacus

In view of the growing anxiety about the situation in Cyprus and its repercussions on East-West relations and relations between N.A.T.O. and the United Nations, could the right hon. and learned Gentleman find time for a debate at an early date on this matter?

Mr. Lloyd

I shall take that topic into account as a possibility.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman proposing next week to call for the Writs for the pending by-elections? Is he aware that, in regard to Rutherglen, for example, Scottish Members are receiving letters of protest from publicans and small traders about the actions of the Government? Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman intend, during the passage of the Bill on resale price maintenance, that all these electors will have no Members to state their ease in the House of Commons?

Mr. Lloyd

The hon. Gentleman is too old a Parliamentarian to think that the matter of issuing the Writs is for me.

Mr. Loughlin

Will the Leader of the House reconsider his answer about the situation in Aden? Is he aware that I have been trying to get a debate on this subject for some time, that there has been a state of emergency in Aden since 12th December, and that a considerable number of British subjects are being held without trial? Will not the right hon. and learned Gentleman reconsider this matter as one of grave urgency and let us have a debate on it next week?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot promise a debate next week, but I shall take into account what the hon. Gentleman says.

Mr. Lipton

Does the Leader of the House recollect that two or three weeks ago he said that the White Paper and the Bill on resale price maintenance would soon be available? The period of two or three weeks is now up. What is he doing about the matter?

Mr. Lloyd

I said two, three or four weeks.