HC Deb 23 January 1964 vol 687 cc1277-83
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, 27TH JANUARY—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill, which, if the House agrees, will be taken formally, to allow debate on an Opposition Motion on Education.

Motions on the Representation of the People Orders.

TUESDAY, 28TH JANUARY—Second Reading of the Continental Shelf Bill [Lords].

Remaining stages of the Navy, Army and Air Force Reserves Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 29TH JANUARY—Second Reading of the Administration of Justice Bill [Lords], and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Remaining stages of the Public Works Loans Bill and the New Towns Bill.

Motion on the Rating and Valuation Order.

THURSDAY, 30TH JANUARY—Remaining stages of the Family Allowances and National Insurance Bill.

FRIDAY, 31ST JANUARY—Private Members' Bills.

MONDAY, 3RD FEBRUARY—The proposed business will be; Second Reading of the International Development Association Bill, and of the International Headquarters and Defence Organisations Bill [Lords], and Committee stage of the Money Resolutions.

Mr. Wilson

I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that, apart from the debate on the Newsom and Robbins Reports, next week will be rather dull.

Will he tell us when he expects the publication of the Bill to abolish resale price maintenance and, also, when we can expect the White Paper on granting the Monopolies Commission the powers to be more effective which were taken away by the Government a few years ago?

Mr. Lloyd

It will be a dull but, I think, useful week.

I have nothing further to say today about either the Bill or the White Paper mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman. I hope within two, three or four weeks.

Mr. Wilson

What is to come in two, three or four weeks? Is it the Bill on resale price maintenance? We were told that the Bill was needed only to repeal Section 25 of the 1956 Act. Any hon. Member could draft that in 10 minutes. Or does the right hon. and learned Gentleman mean the White Paper? Will he be more specific? Is it that quarrels in the 1922 Committee are holding up progress?

Mr. Lloyd

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman will find either the Bill or the White Paper quite as simple as he thinks. I have nothing to add to the estimate of time I have given. They will both be produced as soon as they are ready.

Mr. C. Pannell

What is holding up the setting up of an Accommodation Committee, bearing in mind that there are one or two matters of major principle about the future of the House to be settled before the General Election? I understand that it is dilatoriness in setting up the Committee which is really holding up the builders.

Mr. Lloyd

I do not think so. I have been having discussions about this matter and hope to be able to make a statement very soon.

Mr. Cronin

May we have an early debate on the recent Report of the Estimates Committee dealing with transport aircraft, bearing in mind that the Prime Minister today indicated his approval to a suggestion by the hon. Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson) for consideration of the Estimates Committee's Report?

Mr. Lloyd

I will consider that as a possible candidate.

Sir J. Langford-Holt

My right hon. and learned Friend said that it was hoped to take the Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill formally. Will he make it clear that any hon. Member has an absolute right to raise any matter that is in order on that Bill?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes—any matterin order on that Bill. In fact, I understand that it is a fairly narrow Bill.

Mr. Lipton

Is it the intention of the Government that the Bill dealing with resale price maintenance shall reach the Statute Book within the lifetime of the present Parliament?

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir.

Sir G. Nicholson

I hope that my hon. and learned Friend has not forgotten that the Estimates Committee is entitled to a day at a very early date. If we were to put down the Report emanating from Sub-Committee B it would be of the greatest possible help to the House to have the Department's replies first.

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Snow

During Question Time the Home Secretary informed the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir J. Eden) that he would consult small traders concerning the abolition of price mainten- ance. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman publish in a convenient form the names of the organisation or organisations representing small traders that are to be consulted?

Mr. Lloyd

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

Mr. Hastings

Is there the possibility of an early debate on the situation in East Africa? Many of us are deeply concerned by the course which events have taken and the fact that they seem to have come as a surprise.

Mr. Lloyd

I will bear in mind what my hon. Friend says.

Mr. Jay

Can we get this quite clear? Do we understand that we are to have both the Bill on resale price maintenance and the White Paper on monopolies within four weeks from now?

Mr. Lloyd

So I am informed.

Mr. Wigg

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the House is again disappointed by his failure to put down a Motion for the setting up of a Select Committee to inquire into the Canberra replacement? He will recollect that week after week he has said that he would give the matter sympathetic consideration. Can he hold out any hope of this matter coming before the House soon?

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I do not think that I can hold out any hope for the very near future.

Mr. Monslow

Will the Leader of the House find time to discuss ballot rigging in Britain in the light of the revelations made by his predecessor?

Mr. Lloyd

There are ample opportunities within the ordinary Parliamentary procedures for discussing anything which is worth discussing.

Mr. A. Lewis

Further to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow-in-Furness (Mr. Monslow), has the attention of the Leader of the House been drawn to Motion No. 40? As both sides of the House, and certainly the country, are equally interested in knowing exactly what happened, will he accept the Motion without debate next week and let us have a thorough investigation to see what manipulations took place?

[That it is expedient that a tribunal be established for inquiring into a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz., the manner in which advice was tendered to Her Majesty during October 1963 on the person most likely to receive the confidence of the majority of the House of Commons as Prime Minister and in particular the allegations that information was given, as a result of personal prejudices, which was calculated to mislead Her Majesty.]

Mr. Lloyd

I do not see any point in the hon. Member's suggestion, because my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is already sustained by the support of the majority of the House.

Mr. Brockway

Has the Leader of the House now been able to consider the request, which was made to him by a very representative deputation, that facilities should be allowed in this Parliament for the further consideration of my Bill against racial discrimination and incitement?

Mr. Lloyd

I am not in a position to answer the hon. Member's question today. As he knows, I promised that I would consider it, but I am not yet ready to give an answer.

Mr. Mellish

As the Leader of the House has admitted that next week's business is dull, will he make it more interesting by bringing in legislation to ratify the Safety at Sea Convention which has been outstanding since 1960? The Private Member's Bill upon which he is relying does not fully implement it and this is a matter of urgency.

Mr. Lloyd

It is a matter of urgency. I do not agree with what the hon. Member said about my hon. Friend's Private Member's Bill. The best course is to await that Bill, which is to be taken on 13th March, and see how we get on from there.

Mr. Pavitt

Has the Leader of the House given further consideration to the Motion concerning the way in which Ministers deal with Questions? Will he bear in mind that it is necessary not only for the Prime Minister to be satisfied that justice is being done, but for back benchers, too, to know the facts and to be reassured that what happened in this case will not be repeated by other Ministers?

[That this House is of the opinion that Answers to Oral Questions asked by Members should not be given to the Press for publication before the Member receives such Answers; and urges that a Select Committee should be set up to look into the matter.]

Mr. Lloyd

As I promised the hon. Member last week, I have looked into this matter myself, Indeed, I have had a conversation with the hon. Member about it. On the evidence submitted to me, I concluded that the hon. Member's suggestion was unfounded, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had already said. To be fair to the hon. Member, I should say that he is not wholly satisfied that the suggestion was unfounded.

On the whole, the future is probably more important than the past and I am sure that the House will agree that Answers should not be communicated to the Press before being announced in the House.

Mr. Warbey

In view of what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said about the Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill, can he say what opportunity hon. Members will have next week to raise the implications of the tragic death last Friday of a wing commander of the R.A.F. while participating in military operations against anti-Government forces in South Vietnam? So that hon. Members may have an opportunity to discuss the serious implications of this tragic incident, will he at least arrange for the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for Air to reply to Questions on this matter next Monday?

Mr. Lloyd

I shall see that what the hon. Gentleman has said is brought to the attention of my right hon. Friends. I do not see an opportunity for a debate next week, and what will be in order on the Consolidated Fund Bill is not for me.

Mr. H. Wilson

As there seems to be some misunderstanding, will the Leader of the House make it clear that this is not the usual Consolidated Fund Bill, on which we can raise anything, and that it is related to the very narrow issue of the Winter Supplementary Estimates, on which Mr. Speaker will rule, of course? We cannot raise anything except those issues which are within the Supplementary Estimates and the reasons for the increases.

Mr. Lloyd

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman, who is absolutely right. Of necessity, it will be a very narrow debate if there is one at all.

Mr. Lubbock

Can the Leader of the House say whether an opportunity will arise in the foreseeable future to debate the Halsbury Report on decimal currency?

Mr. Lloyd

Certainly not next week, but I will consider it as a candidate.