HC Deb 11 June 1964 vol 696 cc632-41
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, 15TH JUNE—Second Reading of the Fishery Limits Bill, which it is hoped to obtain by eight o'clock.

Afterwards, Motions on the Horticulture Schemes, and the Fertiliser Scheme.

TUESDAY, 16TH JUNE and WEDNESDAY, 17TH JUNE—Debate on foreign affairs, for which the Government will be giving one day, and the Opposition a Supply Day.

THURSDAY, 18TH JUNE—Consideration of Private Members' Motions until seven o'clock.

Afterwards, Finance Bill: completion of Committee stage.

FRIDAY, 19TH JUNE—Private Members' Motions.

MONDAY, 22ND JUNE—The proposed business will be: Supply [19th Allotted Day]: Committee.

As the House is aware, the Chairman of Ways and Means has set down Opposed Private Business for consideration at seven o'clock.

Remaining stages of the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Bill.

Mr. H. Wilson

Will the Leader of the House arrange next week, either by a statement or by some other alteration of business, that the Minister of Aviation makes a statement about the cancellation of the VC.10 orders by B.O.A.C.? Is he aware that the Minister was, most unfortunately, unable to get any information on this matter until he ceased to be top of the list for Questoins for oral answer? Since it is understood that he now has the information, will the Leader of the House arrange for him to give it orally to the House?

Mr. Lloyd

I do not at all accept the right hon. Gentleman's imputation, but I shall convey what he has said to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Bullard

Could my right hon. and learned Friend say when we are likely to have a debate on agriculture? In case he should give me the reply that this is generally a matter for a Supply Day, will he say what approaches he has had from the Opposition through the usual channels in order that we might have the debate about which we heard so much during the Recess?

Mr. Lloyd

There will be an opportunity for discussing certain agricultural matters on the business I have announced for Monday, 15th June. However, I think that the idea of a Supply Day is, if I may so, a very good one.

Mr. Shinwell

On business for next week—

Mr. J. Wells

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Could the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) say aloud and on his feet what he said sotto voce sitting down?

Mr. Gordon Walker

I said that the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not regard agriculture as important enough for a Government day.

Mr. Speaker

Observations from a sitting position which do not reach my ear do not merit an answer.

Mr. Shinwell

On business for next week, can the Leader of the House give us an assurance that the Prime Minister will be available to answer Questions on Tuesday and Thursday and, if he is unable to answer those Questions addressed to him, will hon. Members be notified in advance so that they may defer their Questions?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that my right hon. Friend will certainly be here next week to answer Questions.

Mr. Shinwell

But, in the event of the Prime Minister not being available for some reason, good or bad, will hon. Members be notified in advance so they may defer the Questions? That is what I want to know.

Mr. Lloyd

indicated assent.

Sir W. Teeling

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that the Home Secretary considers that the Malicious Damage Bill is likely to be a useful deterrent against "Mods" and "Rockers" going to seaside and other resorts, and is he aware also that the Home Office feels that the Bill cannot be got through much before the end of the Session unless it is brought in very soon? Can the Bill be brought in very quickly; otherwise, it is quite likely that we shall have more trouble in these resorts before it becomes an Act of Parliament?

Mr. Lloyd

I understand the point which my hon. Friend makes, and I think that it would be the wish in all quarters of the House that this Measure should go through as quickly as possible. I hope to be able to arrange for the Second Reading debate in the week after next.

Mr. Grimond

Is it the Government's intention to deal with Cyprus during the foreign affairs debate? Can the Leader of the House say whether there will be a Government statement or a Government speaker dealing with the matter, and, if not, whether the Government will consider making a statement on the present situation in Cyprus on, for instance, the proposal for conscription and the disappearance of Major Macey and Private Platt?

Mr. Lloyd

It is not for me to say what will be in order in the debate, but I imagine that Cyprus will be in order. I shall convey to my right hon. Friends who will take part in the debate the point which the right hon. Gentleman has made.

Mr. Kimball

May I press my right hon. and learned Friend about the suggested debate on agriculture? We have not had one since the Price Review debate. According to the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), we have a meat crisis upon us at present. If the Opposition are funking this issue, may we have Government time for a debate?

Mr. Lloyd

I certainly cannot find Government time for such a debate next week.

Mr. Brockway

In view of the judgment which has been given in the Rivonia trial today at which Nelson Mandela and four others, including a man of white race who holds a British passport, have been found guilty and are subject to the death penalty, and in view of the decision reached by the Security Council which is mandatory upon States that they all exert pressure to secure the liberation of these men, will Her Majesty's Government make a statement either today or tomorrow about what action they have taken?

Mr. Lloyd

There will certainly not be a statement today. I have made no provision for such a statement to be made, but, again, I will convey what has been said to my right hon. Friends concerned.

Mr. F. M. Bennett

My right hon. and learned Friend will be aware that next Thursday there will be a debate, chosen in the most helpful spirit possible to the Opposition, on the benefits or otherwise of nationalisation. There are only about three hours for this. Would my right hon. and learned Friend give us the assurance that, if pressure is brought on him through the usual channels by hon. Members opposite, he will give them a little extra time to expound fully their views on this matter?

Mr. Lloyd

However anxious I may be to accede to my hon. Friend's very helpful suggestion, I do not think it within my power to do so.

Mr. Snow

In connection with the foreign affairs debate, in view of the proposition in the Plowden Committee's Report about the virtual indivisibility of foreign policy and trade, will there be an intervention by a spokesman of the Board of Trade during the debate?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot answer that question today. I will, however, try to find out the answer.

Mr. H. Wilson

Further to the excellent suggestion of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett), will the right hon. and learned Gentleman take into consideration the fact that the hon. Member's suggestion will receive the widest support from both sides of the House? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman think again and give us the whole day?

Mr. Lloyd

I am delighted to hear the right hon. Gentleman's enthusiasm for this. Surely it must mean a Supply Day very quickly.

Mr. Prior

May I follow up the remarks of my hon. Friend the hon. Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Bullard)? Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that many of us are disappointed that we are not to have a debate on meat prices today, as was originally planned? Does he know, through the usual channels, whether the Opposition have cold feet on the subject of meat prices? Has he had any intimation from the Opposition as to when they will ask for a debate on this very important issue?

Miss Herbison

In view of the decision taken at the conference across the road yesterday, has the Leader of the House decided to provide the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance with time to introduce legislation to get rid of the earnings rule for widows and widowed mothers and at the same time, in that legislation, to give a rise to retirement pensioners? If he has made that decision, I can assure him that everyone on this side of the House will facilitate the business.

Mr. Lloyd

I am glad that the hon. Lady recognises the importance of yesterday's conference. The answer to her question is, not next week.

Sir C. Osborne

On future business, will my right hon. and learned Friend see whether he can find time to debate the question of the supply of natural gas from Holland, which it is estimated will supply half of our requirements at a much lower price than the price of the coal gas being produced by the National Coal Board? Can we have time to discuss this possibility and the effect that it may have on the Board's capital requirements in the next ten years'?

Mr. Lloyd

I am very interested in the regulation of the flow of gas, but I cannot promise my hon. Friend a debate on it next week.

Mr. Jay

If this alleged conference across the road is so important, why does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman implement its proposals next week?

Mr. Lloyd

Because there is no time next week.

Mr. Milne

In view of the need revealed at Question Time today for the appointment of a Prime Minister's Deputy, may we expect an announcement next week, and will it be debatable?

Mr. Lloyd

Not next week, I think.

Mr. Shepherd

Can my right hon. and learned Friend indicate when he can afford time to discuss the White Paper on mergers and monopolies, to which many of us on this side of this House attach a very great deal of importance?

Mr. Lloyd

I fully realise the importance of this matter, and I hope to arrange a debate not very far distant. However, I cannot tell my hon. Friend today exactly when it will be.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is the Leader of the House aware that we have been waiting for over 15 months for action on the Report on Lucas's and electrical components, which took six years to produce? In view of the delay of over seven years since the original reference, would the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether it is likely that we may have a statement next week on the Government's intentions about implementing that Report?

Mr. Lloyd

There will certainly be a debate either this month or next month.

Mr. Rankin

On next week's business, and every other week's business, may I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether he is aware that the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee is supposed to answer Questions commencing at No. 45? Does he realise that there is practically no chance of an hon. Member getting an answer to his Question? I know that because of what has happened over the last two months. Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider the position on the Order Paper of Questions to the Chairman of the Kitchen Committee and bring the Chairman nearer to the grasp of those hon. Members who want to ask him Questions and consider starting his Questions at, say, No. 40?

Mr. Lloyd

I will consider the hon. Member's suggestion. There are various ways of remedying the situation. One possibility, of course, is shorter supplementary questions.

Mr. Ross

On the subject of meat, will the Government ensure that we have a statement next week, either from the Secretary of State for Scotland or from some other Minister, to explain the mysteries of the Government's system of import and distribution control of corned beef?

Mr. Lloyd

I will certainly convey to my right hon. Friends what the hon. Member has said.

Mr. Awbery

In view of the inconclusive result of the referendum in Malta, the postponement of the day of independence, the fact that we have not yet had a report from the observers in Malta and the promise of the Colonial Secretary to make a report, will the Leader of the House provide time to discuss the position in Malta at present?

Mr. Lloyd

Not next week. I have noted the lion. Member's suggestion.

Mr. Manuel

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman recognise the great improbability of the House having an opportunity to discuss the Malicious Damage Bill? Would not this be a very suitable subject for a lecture to the Tory women's conference, and will the right hon. and learned Gentleman arrange for the Leader of the Opposition to deliver it?

Mr. Speaker

That is one agenda which we cannot settle on the business question.

Mr. Thorpe

May I press the Leader of the House on the question of the Rivonia sabotage trial? Is he aware that this is a matter of very great urgency? There are six men whose lives are at stake. Does he recollect that last October Her Majesty's Government voted among the 109 nations calling for the abandonment of this trial and the release of political prisoners? Will he bear in mind that one of the accused, Mr. Goldberg, is in possession of a British passport? On those two grounds, Her Majesty's Government have a close interest in this trial. [Interruption.] Although some hon. Members may think that it is somewhat amusing that Mr. Goldberg's passport should be in this country, he is unlikely to require to use it for a very long time indeed as a result of this trial. If we cannot have a debate on it next week, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman try to arrange to have a statement made in the House tomorrow outlining the representations which Her Majesty's Government will make?

Mr. Lloyd

I have already said that I do not think that it will be possible to have a debate on this matter next week but that I will convey to my right hon. Friends responsible the point of view already put forward

Mr. Hector Hughes

In view of the great losses which all classes in Aberdeen have suffered from the outbreak of typhoid fever there, will the Leader of the House provide time to discuss means of providing compensation to employers and workers and all people who have suffered loss in this epidemic, either by way of extending an Act of Parliament, which I think is called the Contingency Act, or otherwise, so that this House may recognise the great losses which the people have sustained and compensate them?

Mr. Speaker

In the common interest, on business questions, we must confine ourselves to business and not to questions of policy.

Mr. Hughes

On a point of order. I was asking the Leader of the House whether he would find time for a debate about this subject. Surely, Mr. Speaker, that is in order.

Mr. Speaker

I beg pardon. There was so much other material that I became confused.

Mr. Hughes

Why am I always out of order?

Mr. Lloyd


Mr. Hughes

Further to that point of order. Other hon. Members have been held to be in order, Mr. Speaker, when they asked the Leader of the House whether he would find time to discuss a specific topic. I asked the Leader of the House whether he would find time to discuss that specific topic, and yet you have invidiously, if I may say so, ruled me out of order.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. and learned Member's distress is due partly, I think, to the fact that he did not hear what I last said. I said that I had not heard him asking for time, and it was on that basis that I thought that what he was asking for was out of order. I apologise to the hon. and learned Member for my mishearing.

Mr. Hughes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I should like now to put my question. The Leader of the House is well aware of the important matter which I have put to him. Will he find time to discuss it?

Mr. Lloyd

Everybody in the House will be sympathetic with the purpose behind the hon. and learned Member's Question. I am not sure, however, that a debate is the best way to pursue it. Perhaps the hon. and learned Member will discuss it with me.

Mr. Hooson

Is the Leader of the House able to find time to enable the House to discuss the recently-published Depopulation Report on Mid-Wales, and particularly to enable the Minister for Welsh Affairs to make his important statement on that Report orally to the House of Commons and not by letter to any outside body?

Mr. Lloyd

That seems to me to be an appropriate topic to be ventilated during the debate on Welsh affairs.

Mr. M. Foot

To save time next week, can the Leader of the House tell us whether the speech currently being delivered by the Prime Minister represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and, if so, who wrote it?

Mr. Lloyd

All I would say to the hon. Member is that the mantle of the hon. Member for Bosworth (Mr. Wyatt) seems to have fallen on strange shoulders.