HC Deb 28 April 1966 vol 727 cc954-60
Mr. 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 MAY—Second Reading of the Building Control Bill.

At seven o'clock, as the House is aware, the Chairman of Ways and Means has set down opposed Private Business.

TUESDAY, 3RD MAY—The Chancellor of the Exchequer will open his Budget.

The general debate on the Budget Resolutions and the Economic Situation will be continued on Wednesday and Thursday, and brought to a conclusion on Monday 9th May.

At the end of business on Wednesday, 4th May, remaining stages of the Guyana Independence Bill.

FRIDAY, 6TH MAY—The proposed Business will be: Second Reading of the Agriculture Bill.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Can my right hon. Friend tell the House when the House will have the opportunity of debating the last Report of the Select Committee on Procedure?

Mr. Bowden

There will be opportunities to debate the last Report of the Select Committee on Procedure on Supply and other procedural matters, I hope, within the not too distant future.

Dame Irene Ward

Could the right hon. Gentleman give a date when the House could debate the Motion standing in my name, which, in fact, relates to Question No. 11, which I tabled to the Prime Minister today, but which, unfortunately, was not reached?

[That, in the opinion of this House, in order to protect the rights of back-benchers an independent judicial parliamentary Ombudsman for Members of Parliament should be appointed to which disputes on fact between back-benchers and Ministers could be referred; and that an initial case which would merit such a reference would be the rejection by the Foreign Secretary of the substantiated evidence given by him by the honourable Members for Tynemouth on the action taken by the right honourable Harold Macmillan to appoint and finance an official historian to write an objective history of the work of the Special Operations Executive.]

Mr. Bowden

I have looked at the Motion and made some researches. There is no doubt about it that the hon. Lady is quite capable of looking after herself without the activities of an ombudsman.

The question of the publication of the book to which she refers has been under consideration by Government Departments under successive Governments for about 19 years and I do not think that a debate would be particularly profitable.

Dame Irene Ward

On a point of order. Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment. Am I allowed to do that, Sir?

Mr. Speaker

We are all for modernising Parliament, but this is an innovation which the House has not accepted yet.

Dame Irene Ward

I do not quite understand your Ruling, Sir.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Lady is not in order in seeking to give notice of her intention to raise a matter on the Adjournment.

Mr. Woodburn

Further to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Blenkinsop), has my right hon. Friend given any consideration to changing the methods of discussion during the Budget period, with a view to bringing them into line with the desire of the House and trying to reduce the excessive amount of time spent on Budget debates?

Mr. Bowden

Perhaps my right hon. Friend will read or reread the Report of the Select Committee on Procedure on Supply. There is a great deal of value in this, but one needs to look at it at length. No doubt, we shall debate it, as I have said, in the not too distant future.

Mr. Burden

May I recall the considerable sympathy that is shown for a Motion which was put down in the last Parliament and signed by right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House, relating to the Brambell Committee's Report on the welfare of animals kept under intensive livestock husbandry systems, and the request for a debate?

Will the right hon. Gentleman give very serious consideration to this, and may we have a promise that it will be debated in the very near future?

Mr. Bowden

Yes, Sir. I made this promise in the last Parliament and I will do what is possible to arrange a debate on a half day, if not more, as soon as it can be conveniently done. But there is a great deal of business to get through between now and the Whitsun Recess.

Mr. O'Malley

In view of the absence of any proposal in the Gracious Speech to deal with pirate radio stations, and of the proposed establishment of two new radio stations based on foreign capital, would the Leader of the House say whether there is any possibility of an early debate on broadcasting so that we may discuss this matter?

Mr. Bowden

I cannot promise an early debate on broadcasting, but my hon. Friend might perhaps address a Question to the Postmaster-General on the subject of pirate radio.

Mr. G. Campbell

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there will be an early opportunity of considering on the Floor of the House the White Paper on the Scottish Economy, published in January?

Mr. Bowden

Again, I cannot promise an early opportunity.

Mr. Bessell

Has the right hon. Gentleman observed Motion No. 5 on the Order Paper, relating to the filming of the proceedings in this House?

[That this House deplores the decision to allow a commercial motion picture company the right to film the proceedings in the Chamber of the House of Commons on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament without payment of a fee, as the company concerned will be able to make substantial charges for the use of the film.]

In view of the widespread concern in all quarters of the House about an independent private company obtaining considerable profit from this event, to the exclusion of other companies, is it possible to have a debate on this Motion at an early date?

Mr. Bowden

I answered questions on this subject at length on Monday and Wednesday. I understand that arrangements are being made for Members who have not already seen it to see the colour film which was produced. Perhaps after that we might consider whether time can be found for debating it.

Mr. Iremonger

Has the right hon. Gentleman observed Motion No. 10 on the subject of the dissolution of the Royal Commission on the Penal System and the setting up of the Standing Advisory Council?

[That this House notes with regret the advice given to Her Majesty by the Prime Minister to dissolve the Royal Commission on the Penal System, asks the Home Secretary to make public the names of the six, the two and the eight members referred to in the Prime Minister's statement, looks forward to an early opportunity of debating the Prime Minister's statement, and in the meantime urges the Home Secretary so to frame the terms of reference of the proposed Standing Advisory Council as to include the problem of the prevention of crime in its social origins rather than confining it to the comparatively barren field of treatment of such offenders as are caught and convicted.]

Could the right hon. Gentleman find time for that to be debated, as well as Motion No. 3 on Labour voters and Vietnam—

[That this House takes note of the fact that certain left-wing Labour voters have inserted full-page advertisements in the national Press suggesting that the 36.3 per cent. of the electorate who voted for candidates supporting Her Majesty's Government in the recent general election did so in spite of, rather than because of, Her Majesty's Government's Vietnam policies and suggesting, further, that these policies were not adequately submitted to the judgment of the electorate; also takes note of the fact that the Foreign Secretary was opposed in his constituency by a candidate whose electoral appeal was concentrated primarily upon opposition to these very same Vietnam policies of Her Majesty's Government, and that the candidate in question polled 163 votes out of an electorate of 45,085 in a constituency which in the 1930s influenced the rearmament policy of the then National Government by its voting in a famous by-election; also notes that the National Council for Peace in Vietnam declined a challenge by the honourable Member for Ilford, North, to oppose him in his constituency; and assures President Johnson that the views of fellow-travelling supporters of the Prime Minister are not those of this nation.]

and Motion No. 4 on private Members' rights—

[That this House regrets the steady erosion of the rights of Private Members and in particular the relegation to a late hour in the day's proceedings, with the object of denying them the ear of the Press Gallery, of motions for leave to introduce Private Members' Bills under the ten-minute rule, which motions were formerly debated after Questions and so provided Private Members with a valuable opportunity for bringing to the attention of the House and the public at large matters which they considered important, and resolves to restore this right to Private Members by taking this business in future at the earlier time of day.]

Mr. Bowden

Motion No. 3 would have been in order in the debate on foreign affairs on Tuesday. As to the first point, I think that the hon. Gentleman has Questions down on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Perhaps we should wait for those.

Mr. Maxwell

Could my right hon. Friend say what responsibility and functions the Lord Chamberlain still retains in the Palace of Westminster?

Mr. Speaker

Order. The only questions in order at the moment are business questions.

Mr. Ridley

Has the Leader of the House yet taken the feeling of the House with regard to the allocation of private Members' time? Does he intend to lay another Motion next week to alter the Motion which he tabled last night?

Mr. Bowden

I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman was here in the very early hours of this morning, when we discussed private Members' time. I promised that it would be necessary to bring a new Motion forward in line with my promise that one, two and perhaps three Private Members' Bills days will be taken before 31st July.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Will the right hon. Gentleman provide an opportunity for discussion of the Geddes Report on Shipbuilding? If so, when?

Mr. Bowden

I will look at this, but I cannot promise it immediately.

Mr. Rowland

In view of the fact that the Postmaster-General said in answer to a Question that legislation to deal with pirate radio stations would be introduced as soon as possible, could my right hon. Friend say when "as soon as possible" is?

Mr. Bowden

At the moment, I am dealing with business for next week. It is not next week.

Mr. Lubbock

In answer to the question by my hon. Friend the Member for Bodmin (Mr. Bessell) on Motion No. 5 the Leader of the House stated that the private film company concerned had invited Members to see the film. Could the right hon. Gentleman say what is the relevance of the merits or demerits of the film to the question raised by my hon. Friend in his Motion? Although, as he says, he has answered a number of questions on this subject, does he not appreciate that it is essential that the fullest possible information should be given to the House, which has not been given yet, as to how the circumstances arose?

Mr. Bowden

I am sorry, but the hon. Gentleman has misunderstood me. As I said, I have answered Questions fully on this subject on two days this week. I also said that I understand that arrangements are being made to show hon. Members this colour film which, I hope, will colour their views when they come to consider this matter, if we debate it.

Mr. Robert Cooke

The right hon. Gentleman said that one of the Government Motions about private Members' business will be taken next week. What about the one relating to Ten Minute Rule Bills? Will that be taken next week as well?

Mr. Bowden

In due course.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I hope we shall not start the practice of having a second round of business questions.

Dame Irene Ward

I wanted to ask, Sir, whether the Leader of the House thinks that the Prime Minister would like to see me next week so that I may discuss my business.

Mr. Bowden

I would prefer not to get involved in arrangements of that sort between hon. Members.