HC Deb 16 March 1965 vol 708 cc1071-3
The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Bowden)

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a short business statement.

It is now apparent that interest in the arrangements for dealing with the Committee stage of the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill is such that I would be justified in allotting a full day to it.

It will be taken on Thursday, 18th March, when the business will be:

A debate on the Procedure Motion on the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill.

Motion on the Census Order.

The House will wish to know that consideration of the privilege question Motion relating to the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey) will be postponed until next week.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Will my right hon. Friend consider starting the proceedings on this Bill at eight o'clock in the morning so that, appropriately, discussions on it will start at the moment when hanging usually starts?

Mr. Bowden

I appreciate the point made by my hon. Friend, but I think that we had better start at 3.30 p.m. on this occasion.

Mr. Shinwell

Do I understand from my right hon. Friend that if the debate is conducted in the fashion that he has indicated it will terminate at ten o'clock?

Mr. Bowden

Yes, Sir. That is the intention, on a Motion to be tabled by the Government.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

I understand the reasons which have compelled my right hon. Friend to propose this change of business, and I therefore make no kind of protest about it, but will he assure the House that we will get an early opportunity of discussing the privilege Motion next week?

Mr. Bowden

I am aware that I promised it for the current week. I promise that it will be taken next week, when it will be allocated two and a half to three hours and will be the first Order of the day.

Mr. Paget

Since, as I understand, it will be out of order to discuss the merits of the Bill on the proposed Motion, and as it is also, as I understand, agreed that it is to be taken on the Floor of the House, what are we to talk about for a whole day?

Mr. Bowden

I think that we had better see the Motion and any Amendments which may be tabled to it.

Mr. Hogg

I am grateful to the Leader of the House for the assurance that he has given to the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Sydney Silverman) about the postponed business, but how can he promise that the time allotted to it will be only two-and-a-half to three hours? The indication that I have received is that quite a number of hon. Members wish to speak on the Motion.

Mr. Bowden

It will be recalled that when I made the business statement on Thursday of last week I said that the privilege Motion would be taken until about seven o'clock. I hope that that will still be the position. I hope that the House will agree that that is a reasonable time. I cannot pledge anyone, but I hope that this will be generally agreeable.

Mr. William Hamilton

Will my right hon. Friend clear up the question about the conclusion of the debate next Thursday? In his original statement, did he not say that it would end at eleven o'clock? In his answer to my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) today he said that it would end at ten o'clock. Which is it?

Mr. Bowden

Today's statement replaces the one made on Thursday of last week. I hope that we shall be able to reach a conclusion by ten o'clock, but we shall have to see what Amendments are tabled.

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