HC Deb 05 March 1964 vol 690 cc1520-8
Mr. H. Wilson

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business for next week?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 9TH MARcH—Supply [11th Allotted day]: Committee.

Army Votes 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11 and Army Supplementary

  • Defence (Royal Ordnance Factories) Estimate,
  • Defence (Army) Purchasing (Repayment) Services Estimate.
Air Votes 1, 2, 7, 9 and Air Supplementary.

Navy Votes, 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11.

It may be found to be generally convenient to devote two hours to each of the three Services.

Motions on the Local Government Orders.

Second Reading of the Licensing Bill [Lords], and the Television Bill [Lords], which are Consolidation Measures.

TUESDAY, 10TH MARCH—Second Reading of the Resale Prices Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Lords Amendments to the Industrial Training Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 11TH MARCH—Supply [12th Allotted day]: Committee stage of the Civil Estimates and Defence (Central) Estimates, Vote on Account, 1964–65.

A debate will take place on the cost of living.

At 9.30 p.m. the Questions will be put from the Chair on the Vote under discussion, and on all outstanding Votes, under Standing Order No. 18.

Motion on the Secretary of State for Education and Science Order.

THURSDAY, 12TH MARCH—Remaining stages of the Police Bill.

FRIDAY, 13TH MARCH—Private Members' Bills.

MONDAY, 16TH MARCH—The proposed business is Private Members' Motions until Seven o'clock.

Completion of the remaining stages of the Harbours Bill.

Mr. Wilson

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that it may be optimistic to assume that the remaining stages of the Police Bill can be completed in the time he has given? Will he therefore approach this problem with some flexibility? If more time is required, will he be prepared to ensure that the House is given more time?

Secondly, in view of the representations which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has received from at least one quarter about which we know, and perhaps from some quarters about which we do not know, will he say why he is confining the debate on Tuesday to one day in view of the very considerable interest in the matter and concern that there should be an adequate debate on Second Reading?

Mr. Lloyd

I will consider what the right hon. Gentleman said in the first part of his question. There is, however, not much room for flexibility. I hope that the House will be able to succeed in its allotted time on Thursday. I will bear in mind what the right hon. Gentleman has said.

Regarding the right hon. Gentleman's question on the Second Reading of the Resale Prices Bill, it is the Government's intention to propose that the Committee stage be taken on the Floor of the House. In those circumstances, the view which I take is that one day is appropriate for the Second Reading. If there is a desire for a possible extension of time, perhaps that can be discussed through the usual channels.

Mr. Wilson

The right hon. and learned Gentleman, who, to my knowledge, has vast experience of the legislative process on the Finance Bill, must have appreciated by this time the difference between what is in order on Second Reading and the much more limited matter of what is in order on the Committee, Report and Third Reading stages. In view of the general debate which has gone on of what one might call Second Reading points throughout the country and in more than one party, does not he feel that a two-day debate on Second Reading is merited?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that two days on Second Reading are justified only when the Bill is going upstairs to a Standing Committee and when many hon. Members are prevented from having the opportunity of speaking on Second Reading or at any time during the Committee stage. If the Committee stage is to take place on the Floor of the House, it is reasonable to have a one-day debate with, as I say, a possible extension.

Mr. Renton

In view of the concern which was, I think, felt on both sides of the House about the matters raised in Question No. 2 to the Prime Minister by my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. Long-den), I wonder whether my right hon. and learned Friend has seen Motion No. 17 which has been signed by 100 Members of the House asking the Government to do more to encourage emigration and whether Government time might be found for considering this matter.

[That this House welcomes the declared policy of Her Majesty's Government to encourage emigration from the United Kingdom to various countries of the Commonwealth and calls upon the Government to implement that police more fully by spending a larger proportion of the sums voted by Parliament for assisted passages under the Commonwealth Settlement Act.]

Mr. Lloyd

I am afraid I can make no promise to my right hon. and learned Friend of Government time before Easter to discuss that matter.

Mr. Wade

When is there to be a debate on the White Paper on Monopolies, Mergers and Restrictive Practices? Is it intended that it should be debated at the same time as the Second Reading of the Resale Prices Bill on Tuesday? If so, surely a one-day debate will not be adequate.

Mr. Lloyd

I do not think that that would be the intention. The White Paper must be debated in due course and at a convenient time. When such a time would be is a matter for discussion through the usual channels.

Sir G. Nicholson

For Wednesday, my right hon. and learned Friend has announced a debate on the cost of living. Did he not say that a good deal of business would be set down beforehand? Does he expect it to be taken formally?

Mr. Lloyd

The business for Wednesday, 11th March, will be on the Vote on Account.

Sir G. Nicholson

How can my right hon. and learned Friend be certain that hon. Members will confine their speeches to that subject?

Mr. Lloyd

I certainly cannot be sure, but it is a matter of convention.

Mr. Wilson

Is the Leader of the House aware that we have had very much in mind the point which he has just made concerning the desirability of adequate time to debate these Supplementary Estimates, even though the debate on them is inevitably limited in scope? Is he aware that we intend to table what needs to be tabled for next week's debate in such a way as to provide the most adequate time for a full examination when we come to Report stage?

Mr. Jay

Is not the Leader of the House aware that it would be quite impossible to debate the Second Reading of the Resale Prices Bill next week without reference to the monopolies White Paper, which the Government have published today? Would it not be much more sensible and in everybody's interest to have two days and to debate them together?

Mr. Lloyd

I should not have thought that there would be sufficient time to consider the White Paper for that to take place next week.

Mr. Gardner

Has my right hon. and learned Friend now been able to give further thought to the suggestion contained in Motion No. 27 that opportunities be given at the discretion of the Chair for brief speeches during major debates?

[That this House would welcome the implementation of the unanimous recommendation of the Report from the Select Committee on Procedure 1959 that an hour be set aside, at the discretion of the Chair, for brief speeches on the occasions of major debates.]

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that this Motion now has the support of 115 hon. Members, on both sides of the House? Can he allow time to debate this Motion or, alternatively, will he consider referring it to an appropriate Committee of the House?

Mr. Lloyd

The Motion was passed last week to set up the Select Committee on Procedure. I intended to suggest to the House that the matter should be referred to that Committee.

Dr. King

The Prime Minister has told us that on 19th March the South-Eastern Regional Development Report will be published. As this Report is not only of great importance to the South-East but is of national significance, will the Leader of the House consider the possibility some time in the future of debating that Report in the House?

Mr. Lloyd


Mr. Webster

May we have an extra day on defence this year so that we can discuss the future of the Royal Navy in view of the speech of the Leader of the Opposition?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that my hon. Friend has had plenty of opportunities.

Miss Herbison

Since the Leader of the House must be aware of the great dissatisfaction on both sides about the working of the Transport Users' Consultative Committee, will he give time for a debate upon its work? If he decides to give time, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman ensure that the Prime Minister takes part in the debate, since he is very much involved in these matters in Scotland, or will the Prime Minister be so engaged grovelling in the gutter that he cannot find time to do so? [Hon. Members: "Answer."]

Mr. Cole

May I ask my right hon. and learned Friend—

Miss Herbison

May I have an answer, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker

I saw no signs of answer. I called the hon. Member for Bedfordshire, South (Mr. Cole).

Mr. Cole

May I ask my right hon. and learned Friend whether, even though the White Paper on Monopolies, Mergers and Restrictive Practices has been produced only today, it might not be better in the public interest to debate this with the Resale Prices Bill on Tuesday and Wednesday? Will he, therefore, give facilities for the whole matter to be discussed on the Second Reading of the Bill, and will he give us time therefore?

Mr. Lloyd

I have considered that possibility. The appropriateness of references to the White Paper during the debate on Second Reading would be not for me but for Mr. Speaker. I should have thought that references must be in order to some extent. I still think it better to have one day, with a possible suspension, for the Second Reading of the Bill, and then to consider the possibility of a separate debate on the White Paper later.

Mr. Jeger

If I heard the Leader of the House aright, he has set down the Harbours Bill for further consideration at 7 p.m. on Monday, 16th March. Is he aware that the whole of yesterday was taken up with further consideration of that Bill and that we managed to dispose of only about half of the Government's Amendments? Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman propose that we should complete the Bill on 16th March, or is he setting aside further time for Third Reading?

Mr. Lloyd

The Harbours Bill was not the only matter that we dealt with yesterday. We had quite a long discussion on another matter. I thought that fairly good progress was made yesterday and I hope that it will be possible to complete this on Monday week.

Mr. Popplewell

In view of the concern that is being felt in railway circles and towns about the Ministry of Transport refusal to allow the Railway Board to produce equipment for use on British Railways by privately-owned firms will the Leader of the House seriously consider giving Parliamentary time so that this extremely important matter might be adequately debated, if not next week, in the very near future?

Mr. Lloyd

I will, of course, consider any suggestion put forward by the hon. Member, but there is not very much Government time available between now and Easter.

Mr. Lubbock

With regard to Wednesday's business, are we to be allowed only half an hour to deal with the Motion on the Secretary of State for Education and Science Order, or can the debate continue after Ten o'clock?

Mr. Lloyd

It is exempted business.

Mr. Wigg

If I understand the right hon. and learned Gentleman aright, he announced that on Monday there was to be a timetable arrangement as between the three Services. Will he be good enough to tell the House under what Standing Order he is operating in making that announcement?

Mr. Lloyd

It is customary to make that statement. In practice the arrangement is rarely adhered to, but I gather that the custom is to say what I have said.

Mr. Manuel

Is the Leader of the House aware of the Motion in the names of my hon. Friends the Members for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) and South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) and myself dealing with the decision by the Minister of Aviation to withdraw certain S.A.S. services from the International Airport at Prestwick?

[That this House, realising the importance of Prestwick Airport and the part it could play in the development of the Scottish economy and the tourist industry, urges the Minister of Aviation to reconsider his decision to reduce the number of flights of Scandinavian Air Services to Prestwick and to consider plans which will safeguard the interests of Prestwick as an international airport.]

Is he further aware of the great agitation and concern in Scotland at the withdrawal of these services? Will he afford us time to debate this issue before it becomes an accomplished fact?

Mr. Lloyd

I was aware of the hon. Member's Motion. There is, I believe, a Question down by one of his hon. Friends on the matter. We had better await the answer to that Question.

Mr. W. Hamilton

Will the Leader of the House reconsider his answer to the suggestion by my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) to have a two-day debate next week coupling the Resale Prices Bill with the White Paper on Monopolies? Is he aware that his answer that we do not have sufficient time between now and next week adequately to consider these matters comes ill from him and from a Government which accepted the Robbins Report within 24 hours?

Mr. Lloyd

The circumstances may have been completely different. I have answered the hon. Member's Question already.

Mr. Warbey

What opportunity shall we have next week of debating the sordid and unequal bargain which the Prime Minister has entered into with President Johnson over Malaysia and Viet-Nam.

Mr. Lloyd

Of course, the hon. Member does not expect me to accept all that he says.

Mr. Rankin

Why not?

Mr. Lloyd

If the hon. Member is asking whether there will be an opportunity for a debate on foreign affairs next week, the answer is "No".

Mr. Ross

Will the Leader of the House make time available next week for the Prime Minister to explain why he refuses to see a delegation of workers from the Post Office at a time of a pay claim and yet he receives a delegation from farmers in the middle of the Price Review?

Mr. Lloyd

That is not a question which arises on business.

Mr. Jay

As the Leader of the House said that it would not be possible for hon. Members to study the White Paper on monopolies before Tuesday, may I ask whether he is aware that it contains only seven pages and that it should be just as possible for hon. Members opposite to read it in five days as it is for hon. Members on this side?

Mr. Lloyd

Perhaps I might be daring and say that we are not all Fellows of All Souls.