HC Deb 21 January 1965 vol 705 cc402-6
Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

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, 25TH JANUARY—Second Reading of the Control of Office and Industrial Development Bill, and of the Kenya Republic Bill.

TUESDAY, 26TH 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 the Aircraft Industry.

WEDNESDAY, 27TH JANUARY—Remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund Bill which, if the House agrees, will be taken formally to allow the Opposition to debate Interest Rates.

This debate, which will arise on the Motion for the Adjournment, will last until about seven o'clock, and will be followed by subjects which hon. Members may wish to raise.

THURSDAY, 28TH JANUARY—Second Reading of the War Damage Bill.

Remaining stages of the Superannuation (Amendment) Bill.

FRIDAY, 29TH JANUARY—Private Members' Bills.

MONDAY, 1ST FEBRUARY—The proposed business will be: Second Reading of the Law Commission Bill.

Remaining stages of the Kenya Republic Bill.

Mr. Lloyd

In thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that statement of business, may I say that we are well aware of possible circumstances in which it may have to be altered.

Mr. Ian Gilmour

Has the Leader of the House seen the Motion on the Order Paper in the names of my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker) and myself? As this matter involves a direct misrepresentation of two hon. Members, will the right hon. Gentleman provide time for its early debate?

[That this House regrets that the Chief Secretary, in answer to Question No. 23 on 19th January, 1965, directly misrepresented the views of the hon. Member for Central Norfolk and the hon. Member for Worcester in that he said, referring to a pamphlet written, as he told the House, by the hon. Member for Central Norfolk and the hon. Member for Worcester: "To quote for the benefit of the House, referring to Conservative proposals it [the pamphlet] say: '…if these…' Conservative proposals ' are the right things to do now they were the right things to do before. Why did you not do them long ago instead of wasting 13 vital years?'", thus clearly implying that the hon. Members had expressed views highly derogatory to the Conservative Government, whereas in fact the words quoted were expressly stated in the pamphlet to be a "taunt" that was "intellectually contemptible"; and that this House further regrets that the Chief Secretary, having had these facts drawn to his attention, has refused to correct his misrepresentation or to make any withdrawal.]

Mr. Bowden

This Motion appeared on the Order Paper only this morning and there has not yet been time to discuss it with the Chief Secretary. No doubt, he has seen it by this time.

On the question of a debate, I cannot promise anything at this moment.

Mr. William Yates

With reference to the opportunity which back-bench Mem- bers will have to discuss matters on the Consolidated Fund Bill, will the Leader of the House consult the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary concerning a major lift of arms from Stansted to Saudi Arabia? Is he aware that, during the Recess, the Government were aware of this small-arms lift, but ought not the House to know the exact quantities of arms now being lifted and their destination? Are they going further than Saudi Arabia? Will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary about making a statement before the Consolidated Fund Bill is debated next week?

Mr. Bowden

There may be some misunderstanding in the hon. Member's mind. This is not the type of Consolidated Fund Bill on which anything may be raised. This is a special Bill at this time of year relating solely to the winter Supplementary Estimates. One can raise in order only those matters which are contained within the winter Supplementary Estimates. I have announced that the Opposition propose, on the Third Reading, to take their Motion only until about seven o'clock, after which there will be an opportunity for back-bench Members to raise their own subjects.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Will it be in order on Wednesday to raise the manner in which the Milne Report exceeded its terms of reference and made unjustifiable attacks upon the Medical Officer of Aberdeen and his staff?

Mr. Bowden

It is not for me to rule on matters of order, but I should think that it would be completely out of order on this Consolidated Fund Bill.

Mr. Lloyd

It is proposed, if the remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund Bill are dealt with formally, to take our Motion on the Adjournment. This, I understand, is what the Leader of the House mentioned. I should like to make clear that it would be our intention to raise the subject of interest rates for home buyers.

Mr. Gardner

Will the Leader of the House take into account the very deep and sincere concern which is felt by many hon. Members and in the country at large about the present state of the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill and the need to take the Committee stage on the Floor of the House? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, when the Bill was having its Second Reading debate, there was an understanding—it was certainly understood by many on this side of the House—that the Bill would have its Committee stage on the Floor of the House? Will he now, even at this late moment, seek to restore it to the position where we expected to find it?

Mr. Bowden

I must make perfectly clear that, as far as I was concerned, there was no such understanding. The House decided that the Bill should be taken in Standing Committee. No Motion was moved that the Committee stage should be taken on the Floor of the House until it was moved by a back bench Member, and defeated.

As regards the question which the hon. and learned Gentleman raises, there are, of course, Amendments to be considered in Committee dealing with this point, and I think that it can be adequately debated in that way and brought back to the House, on consideration, if necessary.

Mr. Robert Cooke

With reference to Wednesday's business, am I to understand from the Leader of the House that, because the debate will be on the Adjournment, it will be limited until ten o'clock and will have to stop at that hour, the House, therefore, not having an opportunity to examine quite a large number of Supplementary Estimates for an indefinite period as it would have if the debate were on the Bill?

Mr. Bowden

The question of how Supply time, of which the Consolidated Fund Bill forms part, is dealt with is a matter for Her Majesty's Opposition, and the Opposition have decided to take the Third Reading formally and to initiate a debate on the Adjournment. The hon. Gentleman is quite right: that Adjournment debate will end at ten o'clock.