HC Deb 11 February 1965 vol 706 cc548-65
Sir Alec Douglas-Home

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

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Bowden)

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

MONDAY, 15TH FEBRUARY—Debate on a Motion to take note of the Report of the Departmental Committee on the Law on Sunday Observance (Command No. 2528).

TUESDAY, 16TH FEBRUARY—Second Reading of the Trade Disputes Bill, and the remaining stages of the Education (Scotland) Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 17TH FEBRUARY—Supply [6th Allotted Day]: Committee which, if the House agrees, will be taken formally.

Thereafter, on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House, a debate on the Manning of the Health Service, until about seven o'clock, and afterwards on the Home Secretary's decision on the Inquiry relating to Local Government Boundaries in Northampton.

THURSDAY, 18TH FEBRUARY—Second Reading of the Development of Inventions Bill, and of the Criminal Evidence Bill.

Motion on the Probation Officers and Clerks (Superannuation) (Amendment) Regulations.

FRIDAY, 19TH FEBRUARY—Private Members' Motions.

MONDAY, 22ND FEBRUARY—The proposed business will be: Debate on Northern Ireland, which will arise on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

I understand that at seven o'clock the Chairman of Ways and Means intends to put down opposed Private Business.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

As there has been a suggestion of delay, may I ask when the Defence White Paper and the Vote on Account will be published?

Mr. Bowden

The date of the presentation of the Defence White Paper, 23rd February, has already been announced. There has been no delay, except in relation to a purely technical point involving the civil Vote on Account.

Mr. Kilfedder

In view of the great anxiety felt by workers in Short Brothers and Harland, and the fact that the Ulster Members were not given an opportunity of speaking in the recent aircraft debate, would the Leader of the House ask his right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation whether he would make a statement about the future of Short Brothers as soon as possible?

Mr. Bowden

There is a debate on Northern Ireland on Monday, 22nd February. I will ask my right hon. Friend to note the point made.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he is aware that there are strong rumours that the Government are contemplating proposing a change in the arrangements for the control of the Palace of Westminster and that it has been said that there may be a statement made upon this matter next week? Would he realise that this is a matter for the House of Commons as a whole and agree that there should be consultations and discussions, and, possibly, a debate before any final decision is announced.

Mr. Bowden

The question of a change in the control of the Palace of Westminster is, of course, a matter for the House of Commons and for another place. I can give firm assurance that there will be consultations through the usual channels.

Mr. Francis Noel-Baker

My right hon. Friend will have seen a new Motion on the Order Paper dealing with the advertising of cigarettes, which has been signed by a number of our hon. Friends and will shortly be signed by a great many more, as evidence of the strong feeling on this subject. Could he say whether we shall have time to extend the very welcome television ban which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health has introduced?

[That this House warmly congratulates the Minister of Health and other Ministers concerned on their decision to prohibit advertisements for cigarettes on commercial television; and urges Her Majesty's Government, in view of the proven dangers to health, including cancer, of cigarette smoking, to persuade and if necessary compel the newspaper, periodical, cinema and poster-site proprietors to follow this example.]

Mr. Bowden

I cannot add to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health on cigarette advertising.

Mr. Peyton

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he would make arrangements for the Ministry of Power to have an opportunity to make a statement next week explaining exactly what he meant in what he said about the coal industry outside the House during this week?

Mr. Bowden

I am fairly sure that there was a Written Answer on this Question, but I will draw it to my right hon. Friend's attention.

Mr. Peyton

The Leader of the House is obviously not aware that the Written Answer was a purely nebulous statement, meaning virtually nothing, and that the whole substance of what the right hon. Gentleman said was delivered outside the House. I am asking for an opportunity to be given to the Minister to explain what he meant.

Mr. Bowden

While the Answer may not have pleased the hon. Gentleman, there was, nevertheless, the Written Answer. I will draw this to my right hon. Friend's attention.

Mr. Powell

Has the attention of the Leader of the House been drawn to the existence on the Order Paper of a Motion for an early day referring to the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell)? Will he provide time for a debate upon this Motion, as such a debate could only be valuable to the economic and constitutional education of the party opposite?

[That this House deplores the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, in which he called for a policy of non-co-operation by industry with Her Majesty's Government, because such a policy would strike at the very roots of our democratic institutions and way of life.]

Mr. Bowden

I notice that the right hon. Gentleman asks for time. There will be opportunities, of course, for this subject to be debated on Supply in the near future.

Mr. Snow

With reference to the reply given by my hon. Friend about Short Brothers and the aircraft industry in general, may I ask whether his attention has been drawn to two Motions on the Order Paper dealing with a further matter concerning the aviation industry and the efficiency, if that is the right word, and competence of the previous Minister of Defence?

Mr. Bowden

I have read Sir Roy Dobson's statement with interest. I should think that the country has, too. As to the first of the two early-day Motions, we will consider whether any further action is necessary. I should think that the whole House, and certainly the country, will agree with Sir Roy Dobson's statement.

Mr. Maude

Leaving that on one side for the moment—[HON. MEMBERS: "Twerp."]—may I ask the Leader of the House whether he will find time for a debate on the Motion standing on the Order Paper in the names of my hon. and right hon. Friends and myself concerning discrepancies in the timing and, perhaps, questions as to the frankness of the Government, in relation to the signing of contracts for American aircraft, or whether he could arrange for the Government to issue a full White Paper giving the details?

Mr. Bowden

Had my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence been given an opportunity to complete his speech, information on the C130 would have been available. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] He is, nevertheless, answering a Question today. He is prepared to answer a further Question if the hon. Member will put it down for Monday of next week. May I, however, say that the review of the C130 in relation to the proposed HS802 was considered and a decision taken before the contract was signed.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home


Mr. Speaker

As a servant of the House, I have a suspicion that we are getting outside the range of business matters. As we have work to do, we must confine ourselves, on the business statement, to matters concerning business.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

On a point of order. When the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude) was asking questions about American aviation, I distinctly heard him called a "twerp". May I ask, Mr. Speaker, whether this is an offensive Parliamentary expression? Should the language of the boardroom be allowed here?

Mr. Speaker

In the context in which the hon. Member heard it, I think that it was a sort of technical term of the aviation industry.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

The supplementary question that I wish to ask has nothing to do with opinion expressed outside the House, but concerns our experience in the House only a few days ago, which will be within the recollection of the Leader of the House. Both the Minister of Aviation and the Secretary of State for Defence made speeches in the air debate. Both of them had the knowledge that the contract had been signed the night before. Neither of them mentioned it. Although the Secretary of State had only 29 minutes, he might have managed to give the information during that time. Does not the Leader of the House agree that on the face of it this appears to be a deliberate act of concealing information?

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

On a point of order. May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether what the Leader of the Opposition is saying is in order as relating to the business of the House?

Mr. Speaker

In the context of business, it is, because the right hon. Gentleman is urging the importance of discussing an early-day Motion.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

If I may complete my question to the Leader of the House, does he not agree that both in the case mentioned by my hon. Friend, and in the case of the coal industry, when a report was given to the newspapers which differed in differing newspapers and differed from the Written Answer, this House has been treated, in this instance and in the case of the aircraft contracts, with scant respect?

Mr. Bowden

On the question of the air contracts, I have already said that if my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence had been given the opportunity, he would have given the information. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I remind the House that out of the so-called 29 minutes, my right hon. Friend had something like 25 minutes. Four minutes were taken up with bogus points of order. The Opposition Chief Whip moved the Closure two minutes before ten o'clock.

Mr. Whitelaw

One minute.

Mr. Bowden

I am trying to be fair about this. I do not blame the hon. Gentleman. I have been in the same position, sitting in the seat which he now occupies, and one can look at the clock only obliquely and cannot really see when it is ten o'clock. The hon. Gentleman will have to sit on the Table to get a direct view.

I have, however, spoken this morning to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence about this matter and he gives me a firm assurance that he would have dealt with the question of the contract had he been given time.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

I want the help of the House about these business questions. We must not try to take them too far.

Sir Rolf Dudley Williams

On a point of order. I have today tabled a Motion, of which I have sent a copy to the Leader of the House. In view of the urgency with which the Motion requires to be discussed, I wonder whether it would be possible—I think that the Leader of the House will bear me out—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member must be misunderstanding me. I do not want discussion of these factual matters at this time. We have not nearly finished with the business questions. We want to get on.

Mr. William Hamilton

May I make what I think would be a helpful suggestion relating to next week's business? My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has announced that next Wednesday is to be a Supply day, which is in the gift of the Opposition, who have chosen as the subject the manning of the National Health Service. Could my right hon. Friend, through the usual channels, seek to persuade the Opposition to have another debate on aviation, when my right hon. Friend could make a statement about the contractual procedures that have been the subject of debate and which would give an opportunity for the "twerps" to do some homework?

Mr. Bowden

This is a matter for the Opposition. If they wish to have further talks through the usual channels, we will, of course, try to meet them.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

In considering the arrangements for statements by Ministers at the end of Questions next week, will the Leader of the House bear in mind that the evasive tactics of the Minister of Power, in giving a Written Answer about an important question of policy with regard to coal, instead of an Oral Answer, which would have been more customary, and thus submitting himself to the questioning of the House, has placed us in difficulty today in discussing the Gas Bill, because we do not know whether he will allow the gas industry to continue to use oil?

Mr. Bowden

If a Question to a Minister is not reached, it is customary to answer it as a Written Answer.

Mr. Pavitt

In view of the three unusual circumstances this year, namely, that August Bank Holiday falls at the end of the month, that the Government have a large amount of important legislation, more than usual, to get through before that time, and that there is undue pressure on hon. Members' time in the House —will my right hon. Friend consider making an unusually early announcement about the Summer Recess, so that hon. Members can arrange their family holidays?

Mr. Bowden

I see the importance of this, but I would prefer to deal with Easter first.

Mr. Turton

Has the attention of the Leader of the House been drawn to early-day Motion No. 85? In view of the great urgency of this matter, as five Commonwealth citizens are under sentence of death, will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for an early debate, or for Her Majesty's Government to make a statement dealing with their representations to the Ghana Government on this matter?

[That this House invites Her Majesty's Government to express to the Government of Ghana their concern at the sentences passed on Mr. Adamafio, Mr. Adjei, Mr. Cofie Crabbe, Mr. Otchera and Mr. Manu, and to urge that sympathetic and immediate consideration be given to their sentences with a view to the commutation thereof, particularly having regard to the previous acquittal of some of them on charges on which they have now been convicted.]

Mr. Bowden

I have seen the Motion on the Order Paper. No doubt, there is a great deal of sympathy with the views expressed in it, but this is an internal matter for the Ghanaian Government. Nevertheless, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations will have it drawn to his attention.

Mr. Ogden

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many hon. Members on this side of the House look forward to the debate on Northern Ireland? Will he tell a newcomer to this place what form the debate is likely to take technically?

Mr. Bowden

I understand that it is likely to take place on the Adjournment of the House. Therefore, anything goes.

Mr. Sandys

The Leader of the House implied in his earlier reply that if the Secretary of State for Defence had had time during the last 30 seconds of his speech he would have told the House about the contractual arrangements with the Americans for the purchase of aircraft. Since the Secretary of State's speech was a fully prepared typescript, will he be good enough to circulate to the House the remaining passage which the Secretary of State was unable to deliver?

Mr. Bowden

I will go further. If the right hon. Gentleman will put down a Question for Monday my right hon. Friend will reply to it.

Mr. Maxwell

Has my right hon. Friend observed the early-day Motion on Opposition and Members' pay? In view of the fact that the majority of hon. Members opposite have been misleading the public on this issue, would he consider making time available for that to be discussed?

[That this House regrets the actions and statements by Conservative Members seeking to exploit for party political purposes the recent increases in Members' salaries, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of them have accepted the increases with alacrity and gratitude, and have ignored that the policy adopted by the House was based upon the initiative of the previous Government. which action was chivalrously endorsed by the present Leader of the Opposition in the statement he made in the House on 16th November, 1964.]

Mr. Bowden

This has been fully discussed on a Motion and on a decision of the House, against which there were no votes at all. Earlier, in the setting up of the Lawrence Committee, for which credit has been given to the former Prime Minister, the present Leader of the Opposition, a free discussion took place on that point and there was, I believe, no dissension.

Sir Rolf Dudley Williams

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he is aware that I have today tabled a Motion which proposes to bring the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill back to the Floor of the House for discussion in Committee of the whole House? In view of the grave event yesterday, in which the police were concerned, will the Government provide an early opportunity for this Motion to be discussed, since it has wide support in the country and those of us who represent constituencies in which there are prisons are gravely disturbed at the passage the Bill is having in Standing Committee?

Mr. Bowden

The Government gave an opportunity for the Bill to be debated on the Floor of the House on Second Reading. The Bill has now gone upstairs for its Committee stage. We have had three meetings and three meetings only in Committee upstairs.

Hon. Members


Mr. Bowden

It cannot be said to be holding up other private Members' time. We must see how we proceed before taking a further decision.

Mr. Goodhew

On a point of order. Will the Leader of the House kindly check the information he just gave? Will he not confirm that this Committee has sat on only two occasions?

Mr. Speaker

It is not a point of order, on however many occasions the Committee has sat.

Mr. Zilliacus

In view of the widespread anxiety felt in the country about the dangerous situation which is developing in and around Vietnam, and in view of the Motion on the subject standing on the Order Paper in the names of 50 and more hon. Members and myself, would my right hon. Friend consider finding time at an early date for a debate on the situation in South-East Asia?

[That this House, realising that British policy in regard to Vietnam is based upon acceptance in principle of the 1954 Geneva Declaration, that United States policy springs from non-acceptance of that Declaration, and that therefore on this point the objectives of the two countries cannot be the same, expresses the urgent hope that the British Government will take an early initiative in order to bring about a cease-fire and a political settlement which is essential to the re-establishment of peace.]

Mr. Bowden

I cannot promise any time at the moment. I have noted that Motion. The Foreign Secretary made a statement on this on Monday and he is answering Questions again on Monday of next week, when, no doubt, further Questions will be put to him.

Mr. Ridsdale

May I press the Leader of the House to find time for a debate on the conduct of the Secretary of State for Defence in not disclosing the facts, particularly as the last few minutes of his speech contained incorrect facts about Japanese aircraft?

Hon. Members


Mr. Mendelson

Reverting to the Motion referred to by the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton), in view of the fact that on past occasions Parliament has found an opportunity under its procedure to express its opinion when people have either been threatened with or under sentence of death, would my right hon. Friend give the House an assurance that an early opportunity will be found to raise the urgent matter of the five people who are under such sentence in Ghana?

Mr. Bowden

I have already said that there is no British Government responsibility here. This is an internal matter for the Ghanaian Government. There is, nevertheless, a great deal of sympathy for the views expressed. I think that at the moment we can do no other than promise to draw this matter to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Commonwealth Secretary.

Sir F. Bennett

Would the Leader of the House answer two questions? First, reverting to the request of the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus), would he do his best to meet that request since we would all like to see how a united party operates in action?

Secondly, since the Leader of the House may have noticed that there are no fewer than three Motions on the Order Paper, signed by hon. Members of all parties, on the question of integration, and since it seems to be the general wish that he should provide for an early debate on immigration, will he remember that if he grants this request he should make it a two-day debate so that plenty of time is available to enable all hon. Members opposite to explain their somersaults on this matter?

Mr. Bowden

My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, in his statement on immigration, dealt with evasion. This part of the matter is a difficult problem. When he is prepared to make a further statement, no doubt he will be here to do so. The question of the integration of immigrants is receiving immediate attention.

Mr. Loughlin

In giving his assurance to draw the attention of his right hon. Friend to the question of people under sentence of death, to which reference has been made, would my right hon. Friend impress upon him that this is a matter on which hon. Members on both sides of the House feel very strongly?

Mr. Bowden

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Referring to the question raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Sir Rolf Dudley Williams), does the Leader of the House recognise that many hon. Members who, like myself, in principle hold the abolishionist view, also resent the fact that this Bill is being discussed upstairs? As it is becoming a farce to regard this as a Private Member's Bill—because it was in the Queen's speech, Government time was found for its Second Reading and the Government Whips decreed that it should go upstairs—could he see that the fullest consideration, including the rest of the Committee stage, takes place on the Floor of the House?

Mr. Bowden

I have already said that we should see how we go with the Bill. I thought that there had been three days in Committee but apparently I was wrong. I stand corrected. There have been two days. Nevertheless, let us see what happens in Committee before considering whether it should be brought on to the Floor of the House.

Mr. Chapman

Does my right hon. Friend remember that many hon. Mem- bers bers on both sides of the House realise that we shall make good progress with business only if more and more Bills go to Committees upstairs?

Mr. Dance

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a Motion on the Order Paper, standing in the names of 40 of my hon. Friends and myself, referring to the punishment of armed criminals and that since that Motion was tabled crimes of violence have increased, culminating yesterday in brutal attacks on the police? Will the Leader of the House see that time is made available for this very important subject to be debated, before more people are murdered?

[That this House, concerned at the increase in crimes of violence, calls upon the Government to take steps to ensure that a realistic and deterrent punishment be imposed upon criminals who, whilst engaged in illegal activities, carry potentially lethal arms, whether or not the weapons are actually used.]

Mr. Bowden

My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is making a statement today.

Sir J. Rodgers

Is the Leader of the House able to find time to debate a Motion standing on the Order Paper in my name dealing with the premature publication of Ministerial statements? Is he aware that last week the Prime Minister's statement on the forthcoming Commonwealth Prime Ministers' meeting appeared almost word for word three hours earlier on the tape and in the Press, and that a similar thing happened in regard to his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government? Is this a new technique in government, or does it constitute an affront to the House?

[That this House takes note of the policy of the Prime Minister in regard to his public relations, which resulted in his recent statements being published in the Press and on the tape some hours before they were delivered to the House of Commons.]

Mr. Bowden

I have had a look at this matter. There is no departure from what has been the usual procedure. What happened was that the Prime Minister was to reply at the end of Questions on the question of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' conference. The Press were notified that he would reply at the end of Question Time. It was not difficult for them to assume, therefore, that a Commonwealth conference was taking place.

Dame Irene Ward

Can the right hon. Gentleman find time to discuss the pros and cons of Government by review?

Hon. Members


Dame Irene Ward

I said "government by review".

Mr. Bowden

I heard the hon. Lady. The answer is "No".

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

Would the Leader of the House give some thought to the increasing practice of Ministers reading speeches at a very high speed? [Laughter.] This is a very real problem, because as we move into more and more highly technical subjects, in both aviation and science, it is becoming increasingly difficult for hon. Members to follow the highly technical information which Ministers are putting before them. May I ask—

Mr. Speaker

Order. If the hon. Member wants to propose some change in our procedure there is a procedure by which he can ask for appropriate steps to be taken, but I do not think that this relates to next week's business.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

As the Motion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton), concerning the Ghana sentences, has received support just now from both sides of the House, will the Leader of the House reconsider what he said about the Government not being able to make a statement because of this being an internal matter? Did not the last Government make representations in South Africa about certain sentences? Will the Leader of the House consult his right hon. Friends, and so prevail upon them that a statement is made to the House?

Mr. Bowden

I have already said on two occasions that I would consult my right hon. Friend. I do not think that we help the position by continuing to debate it this afternoon.

Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that as Leader of the House he is Leader of the whole House, arid not just of the Government side? Does he not think that it would be more helpful to our debates if very important statements, which have to be very carefully considered and which have considerable repercussions on employment and balance of payments were made preferably on the day before the debate, or, if they are to be made during the debate, should be made in the opening speech and not left to the last 30 seconds, as this is very insulting to the House?

Mr. Bowden

I accept the point that where an important statement is to be made in a speech, it should be made slowly and factually so that the whole House can hear it. But I do not accept that when a Minister is making a statement, even at the end of a speech, and is interrupted by points of order and noise generally, he is responsible because the information is not conveyed.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

As it seems to be the practice on this occasion for sponsors of various Motions to draw them to the attention of the Leader of the House, will my right hon. Friend, in taking note of all the other Motions, take note of Motion No. 64 for next week, bearing in mind that it is the subject of two Amendments, one of which has considerable support?

[That this House deplores the persistent rowdyism and barracking during the Debate on the Censure Motion on 2nd February and urges the House to be mindful of its reputation and to remember the example it should set to the nation in responsible debate.]

Mr. Bowden

There are 90 early-day Motions on the Order Paper, and this is No. 64. As far as I recall, it deals with rowdyism in the House, which I am sure every part of the House and every hon. Member regrets.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Would the right hon. Gentleman direct his attention to Motion No. 60, and consider its being placed with the business of the House for the coming week? It is concerned with the deplorable action of the Minister of Transport in refusing to receive a deputation from the Devon County Council and the Teignmouth Urban Council.

[That this House deplores the action of the Minister of Transport in refusing to receive a deputation from the two responsible local authorities, Devon County Council and Teignmouth Urban District Council, accompanied by the Member for the Tiverton Division, to discuss the action necessary to enable the redevelopment of the war-damaged centre of Teignmouth to proceed.]

Mr. Bowden

I understand that a deputation on this matter was received on 23rd September. There is no point in receiving a further deputation until something new can be said.

Mr. Steele

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Can you inform me whether, and when, we are to start the Orders of the Day?

Mr. Speaker

I am always filled with anxiety, but I know of no principle on which I can refuse to hear an hon. Member who rises at this time. Much responsibility rests on those hon. Members who do rise not to abuse the occasion.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Would the Leader of the House allow some time in the near future for a short discussion of Motion No. 84, dealing with the vital question of the motor industry in Scotland? In considering this, would he bear in mind that, up to date, not one minute of Parliamentary time has been allowed for discussion of Scotland's industrial problems, even though many of the Government's Measures have had a very severe effect on Scotland's economic position?

[That this House recognises that the establishing of two major motor manufacturing factories in Scotland's industrial belt in consequence of the actions of the previous administration has stimulated and diversified the Scottish economy and has made a substantial contribution to solving that nation's unemployment problem; and expresses the hope that the needs of Scotland and the desirability of consolidating firmly the motor industry in Scotland will be fully taken into account in any negotiations between the Government and the Ford Motor Company regarding the location of the company's proposed new factory.]

Mr. Bowden

If the hon. Member will speak to his right hon. Friends on the Front Bench, we can, I am sure, through the usual channels, arrange a full day's debate, on Supply, on Scotland's economic problems.

Mr. John Hynd

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are there not adequate precedents over the last 20 years for bringing an end to questions on business?

Mr. Speaker

Yes, there are adequate precedents, but I know of no principle on which the Chair can, of its own notion, decide on these occasions that an hon. Member cannot address a question to the Leader of the House. Until an hon. Member does raise his question, I do not know what is in it—that is the trouble.

Mr. Strauss

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Do not supplementary questions that are addressed to the Leader of the House on these occasions follow exactly the same rules or the same precedents as apply to any supplementary question to any Answer given by the Prime Minister, and has it not frequently happened that the Speaker, when there have been an excessive number of supplementary questions addressed to the Leader of the House on business for the following weeks, has said, "We must get on with business. We have had enough supplementary questions", and has drawn that part of the proceedings to a close?

Mr. Speaker

I beg hon. Members to get on. I am sure that what the right hon. Gentleman says to me is right—I indicated in the last Parliament that I would do that. I do not want to do that—I would rather rely on the House to get on with its business.

Mr. William Yates

Will the Leader of the House consider a debate on Motion No. 80, if not next week then very soon afterwards? At this moment the Foreign Secretary is away in Brussels, and many hon. Members feel that before any discussions take place on the European Common Market the House would like to discuss our judicial, constitutional and economic relationships with the other members, and with other partners in the Commonwealth?

[That this House calls for a two-day debate, firstly, to reconsider the revision of the Statute of Westminster, secondly, to consider what should be its permanent relationship with all Commonwealth Parliaments, and, thirdly, whether it would wish to be part of a Permanent Commonwealth Assembly before Her Majesty's Government attempts to renegotiate Great Britain's irrevocable federal status within Europe.]

Mr. Bowden

I have noticed the Motion on the Order Paper, and will bear it in mind.

Mr. Woodburn

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Referring to the Ruling you have just given, would it not be possible, by putting down Motions, to raise enough business every Thursday to prevent the normal business of the House being carried through? Would you give careful consideration to this point, because it might frustrate the business of Parliament if a new method of sabotage of this kind could be used?

Mr. Speaker

Some point of the procedure is being abused nearly all the time. Before we get to the extreme situation the right hon. Gentleman contemplates, I have not the slightest doubt that the House will deal with it. I do wish that the House would get on now.

Mr. Kershaw

I hope that merely because I am late in rising I shall not be thought to be trying to sabotage the business of the House. Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind, in coming to a conclusion, that when the Secretary of State for Defence spoke the other day it was not a question of his not having the time to make a statement about the aircraft in question. He categorically stated—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I am sure that this is not on next week's business.