HC Deb 29 July 1965 vol 717 cc688-93
Mr. Edward Heath

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, 2ND AUGUST—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill, which it will be proposed should be taken formally to allow a debate on the Opposition Censure Motion.

Lords Amendments to the Monopolies and Mergers Bill.

Remaining stages of the Consolidation Measures, which were read a Second time on Wednesday, 28th July, and Second Reading of two further consolidation Bills:

Hire Purchase Bill [Lords]

Hire Purchase (Scotland) Bill [Lords.]

Afterwards, the Motion on the Prayer Book (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure.

TUESDAY, 3RD AUGUST—Committee and remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

Debate on Roads until seven o'clock, to be followed by subjects which hon. Members may wish to raise.

WEDNESDAY, 4TH AUGUST—Debate on a Motion to take note of the Annual Report and Accounts of the Electricity Council and of the Central Electricity Generating Board.

Remaining stages of the Hire Purchase Bill [Lords], and the Hire Purchase (Scotland) Bill [Lords], which are consolidation Measures.

Afterwards, we propose to facilitate consideration of the following Private Members' Bills:

Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Bill [Lords] and Criminal Procedure (Attendance of Witnesses) Bill.

THURSDAY, 5TH AUGUST—It Will be proposed that the House should meet at 11 a.m., take Questions until 12 noon and adjourn at 5 p.m.

Mr. Heath

May I ask the Leader of the House three questions? First, can he assure the House that the Prime Minister himself will be present to take part in the debate on the Opposition Motion of Censure on Monday? Secondly, can he tell us when the Motion for the Adjournment for the Recess will be taken? Thirdly, can he tell us the date on which the House will resume after the Recess in order to complete the Government's business, which still remains uncompleted as a result of their mismanagement of our affairs?

Mr. Bowden

On the first question, I should like to ask the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath) whether he will be in his place on Monday to take part in the debate. I can assure him that he need have no worries and that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be in his place on Monday to reply to the debate.

The right hon. Gentleman has forgotten one of his former occupations. He has forgotten that it is usual to announce the date of the Recess and the date of resuming and the date of Prorogation and the date of the next Session of Parliament on a day in the week before the Adjournment of the House.

As to when the Motion for the Adjournment will be taken, I refer him to a reply given by a famous predecessor of his at this Box who said, "One day in the week before it actually happens".

Mr. Grimond

When will the promised statement on the negotiations with Rhodesia be made? Will the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that during the Recess no agreement with Rhodesia will be made contrary to the statements by the Government in the House?

Mr. Bowden

The statement will be made tomorrow, but we ought to await the statement before making up our minds about what is likely to happen during the Recess.

Mr. Charles Morris

In any consideration which my right hon. Friend gives to the allocation of parliamentary time, will he bear in mind the desirability of finding time to discuss the important North-West Study?

Mr. Bowden

All these things will be borne in mind, but very little Parliamentary time is now left in this Session.

Sir Rolf Dudley Williams

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that during the life of the present Government there has been a Budget every 95 days? In view of that, and as the next is due on 30th October, will he ensure that the House meets before then?

Mr. Bowden

I take note of the fact that the hon. Gentleman objects.

Mr. Mendelson

In view of the very serious announcement by President Johnson last night on the extension of the war in Vietnam and the general worsening of the international situation, will the Leader of the House consult the Foreign Secretary and ask him to make a statement before the House goes into the long Recess, so that we can have at least a brief review of this very dangerous situation, with all its implications for the people of this country?

Mr. Bowden

I will certainly consult my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, but there will be an opportunity to discuss this matter by raising it on the Adjournment on Thursday of next week, or on the debate on the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.

Mr. Godber

The right hon. Gentleman will recall that in a statement yesterday the Minister of Transport referred in passing to the Report of the Devlin Committee. We had previously expected the publication of this Report in May and later at the beginning of July. Can he now give an assurance that that important Report will be out before the House rises next week?

Mr. Bowden

I understand that that is to be the position, but I cannot absolutely be sure.

Mr. Popplewell

Can my right hon. Friend announce what steps he has taken to meet the request, made to him some few weeks ago, to arrange for some type of proxy voting for sick Members? Is he aware that now Members are being brought to the House and put to bed in the House? This is very serious indeed and beneath the dignity of this assembly. Can he say whether the Select Committee on Procedure has yet given consideration to this very important matter, and, if so, with what result?

Mr. Bowden

This is an extremely serious matter, as I think both sides of the House would agree. I promised to refer this to the Select Committee on Procedure and that has been done. I am not quite sure how far it has got with its deliberations.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Can the Leader of the House tell us whether the Government will be able to provide time before the end of this Session to discuss the Hunter Committee Report on salmon fisheries in Scotland?

Mr. Bowden

No, Sir. I do not think so. Not before the end of the Session.

Dr. David Kerr

Can my right hon. Friend now say when the House will have an opportunity to debate the recent Report of the Select Committee on Procedure dealing with the Finance Bill?

Mr. Bowden

During the present Session, Sir. I hope to have a full day's debate, a debate on the three Reports and any recommendations which the Government may make.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Can the right hon. Gentleman now tell us when the White Paper on land policy, about which he has been answering questions regularly since Easter, will appear, or will he now say that it will not appear and has been scrapped, together with the bulk of the Queen's Speech?

Mr. Bowden

The answer is precisely the same as the one I have been making since Easter.

Mr. William Hamilton

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the debate on electricity on Wednesday will include Scottish electricity? I understand that he has given time for certain Private Members' Bills on Wednesday. Can he tell me why he is not giving time to my own Parliament Bill, which seeks to give a courteous smack in the eye to the House of Lords?

Mr. Bowden

I am not absolutely sure whether the Scottish Generating Board will be included in Wednesday's debate. I would have to have notice of that question. The Private Members' Bills down for next Wednesday are the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Bill, Third Reading, which has been through all stages in the House of Lords, and is non-controversial, and the Lords Amendments to the Criminal Procedure (Attendance of Witnesses) Bill, which is also non-controversial. I very much doubt whether my hon. Friend's Bill on Parliament is non-controversial.

Mr. Hooson

Is the Leader of the House aware that this is the first year for many years that there has not been a debate on Welsh affairs on the Floor of the House? Is he aware that we in the Principality take a very poor view of the Government not finding time for such a debate?

Mr. Bowden

I know of no reason why the hon. and learned Gentleman should imagine there will not be a debate on Welsh affairs this year.

Sir Knox Cunningham

At the specific request of his right hon. Friend the Minister of Power, may I ask the Leader of the House whether there will be time for the Steel Bill to be introduced this Session?

Mr. Bowden

There would be time if the Session were extended, but I do not anticipate that that will now happen.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Has my right hon. Friend noticed Motion No. 220, on Public Service and Armed Forces Pensions—

[That this House, recognising the hardship of public service pensioners and those retired from the armed forces, and especially of the older pensioners in these groups whose pensions bear no relation to similar pensions now obtaining in the public service and the armed forces, urges Her Majesty's Government to introduce special provisions to improve such pensions.]

which has been signed by a number of his hon. Friends, and the Amendment to it—

[Line 5, at end add "and to make a statement before the end of this Parliamentary session".]

asking for a statement to be made before the end of this Session? Will my right hon. Friend say whether such a statement can be made?

Mr. Bowden

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour dealt with this point in his winding-up speech last night. I do not know that I can add to it.

Mr. Chataway

In view of Press reports today that the Education Department is unable to give any details about the stop on university building, on college education building and on technical college building, will the Leader of the House say that we may have a statement on the subject, to clear up the confusion?

Mr. Bowden

I will certainly communicate with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science. It would be an appropriate subject for the Consolidated Fund Bill debate, if the hon. Gentleman so wishes.

Mr. Snow

Would my right hon. Friend consider, in connection with Monday's business, the publication of the popular edition of the O.E.C.D. Report, which shows quite clearly where the blame lies for our present economic difficulties?

Mr. Bowden

I have read this very interesting Report and I understand that copies ate available, by signing a green form in the Vote Office, for hon. Members who desire them.

Mr. Sandys

Can the Leader of the House say, whether before the Recess, a further statement will be made about the serious situation in Cyprus, about which concern was expressed on both sides of the House yesterday?

Mr. Bowden

I cannot say anything finally, but I will certainly ask my right hon. Friend about it.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

I think that we must go on now.