HC Deb 07 July 1966 vol 731 cc672-9
Mr. Heath

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

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Herbert Bowden)

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

MONDAY, 11TH JULY—Supply [3rd Allotted day]: Committee.

General debate on Foreign Affairs, with special reference to Europe and the Middle East.

Second Reading of the Criminal Appeal Bill [Lords].

Motions on the Horticulture Improvement Scheme and on the Death Duties Order.

TUESDAY, 12TH JULY—Report stage of the Finance Bill, which it is hoped to complete on Wednesday, 13th July.

THURSDAY, 14TH JULY—Second Reading of the Prices and Incomes Bill.

FRIDAY, 15TH JULY—Remaining stages of the Reserve Forces Bill, and of the Criminal Appeal Bill [Lords].

Second Reading of the Malawi Republic Bill [Lords].

Motion on the Greenwich Hospital Accounts.

MONDAY, 18TH JULY—The proposed business will be: Progress on the remaining stages of the Selective Employment Payments Bill.

Mr. Heath

Is the Leader of the House aware that we have asked that the debate on the Adjournment on Monday should be with special reference to Europe and the Middle East? It was, I think, the general desire of the House that we should debate Vietnam on the first day and other aspects of foreign affairs on the second day.

As we are not to start the Committee stage of the Selective Employment Payments Bill until Monday, 18th July, is it the right hon. Gentleman's intention still to complete all the remaining stages of this Bill in the House before we rise for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Bowden

It is hoped that Monday's debate will be on Europe and the Middle East. The debate is on the Adjournment, so it would be in order to raise anything else, but it is hoped that the debate will be restricted to Europe and the Middle East.

The Government hope to get all the remaining stages of the Selective Employment Payments Bill before we rise for the Summer Recess.

Sir G. de Freitas

Has my right hon. Friend studied Motion No. 106, which is signed by my hon. Friends the Members for Bilston (Mr. Robert Edwards) and Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller), by hon. Members opposite, and by myself?

[That this House, mindful of the fact that in nearly every Parliament of the eighteen member nations of the Council of Europe, other than the United Kingdom, debates are held at least once a year on the work of the Council, and aware that this subject is not appropriate for inclusion in a general debate on foreign affairs, considers that half a day should be reserved before the summer recess for a debate on the work of the Council of Europe.]

Will my right hon. Friend follow the example of other Parliaments in Europe and arrange a short, concise debate expressly on the working of the Council of Europe?

Mr. Bowden

I am well aware of my hon. Friend's interest and of the high office he holds in Europe, but I cannot promise additional time between now and the Summer Recess for a special debate on the Council of Europe.

Mr. Sandys

Would the Leader of the House arrange, perhaps with the First Secretary of State, that between now and the Summer Recess there should be a full statement on the progress of the talks which have been taking place between Her Majesty's Government and the various European Governments in connection with the possibility of our joining the European Common Market? I understand that Ministers will not be ready to make a full statement in the debate on Monday.

Mr. Bowden

I understand that my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State has already said that a statement will be made when the appropriate moment arrives.

Mr. Lubbock

As an unprecedented number of Amendments have already been tabled to the Selective Employment Payments Bill, and as the Leader of the House has now told us that he intends that all stages of the Bill should be completed before the Summer Recess, will he give urgent consideration, through the usual channels, to discussing this very important Bill on Wednesday mornings?

Mr. Bowden

I have said previously that a special Resolution of the House is required for the House to sit mornings, and that that itself is time-consuming. On the other hand, I think that I can promise the House adequate time to discuss the Selective Employment Payments Bill.

Mr. Frank Allaun

The Leader of the House will be aware that, because of the General Election, there has been no discussion this summer of the Defence Estimates. Since the "small" sum of £2,100 million is involved, surely the House should have a debate on this subject, which is blocking progress on every other point?

Mr. Bowden

My hon. Friend may have forgotten that there was such a debate on the Vote on Account.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

May I remind the House that we have an important debate ahead of us, in which 50 hon. Members are seeking to take part. Hon. Members may wish to bear this in mind when thinking of putting business questions now.

Sir A. V. Harvey

In view of the grave concern in the country about the performance of British European Airways and the staff involved in the Corporation, will the Leader of the House consider having a debate on aviation generally before we rise?

Mr. Bowden

No, Sir. I cannot promise such a debate before we rise. This is, in the first place, a matter for B.E.A. and it could perhaps be raised later on a nationalised industries day.

Dr. David Kerr

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that another place on two occasions, and this House on two occasions, have, by significant majorities, welcomed a liberalising Measure relating to the law on homosexual practices among consenting adults? Will my right hon. Friend say what response the Government propose to make to that indication of the will of Parliament by assisting the Bill in its progress through all its stages during this Session?

Mr. Bowden

The House gave leave to bring in this Bill only on Tuesday. We have approximately 15 months to run in the current Session. Perhaps my hon. Friend would ask me the question later.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

In view of the very alarming reports that Scottish Members are receiving about the effect which the seamen's strike had on the Scottish Islands, would the Leader of the House ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he would make a statement on this matter early next week?

Mr. Bowden

I understand that the Highland and Islands Board is studying the question of the adverse effects of the seamen's strike on the Islands. The Board will be reporting to the Secretary of State. No doubt my right hon. Friend will make a statement after that.

Mr. O'Malley

In view of the disturbing events arising from the existence of pirate radio, will the Leader of the House do everything he can to expedite the publication of the Bill to deal with pirate radio? When will that Bill be forthcoming?

Mr. Bowden

I cannot give a date, but we shall bring the Bill forward as soon as possible.

Mr. Braine

Is the Leader of the House aware that many hon. Members on both sides have been pressing the Minister of Health for many months to implement the recommendations of the Brain Committee on Drug Addiction and that the urgency of this has been underlined by the medical profession during the last few days? Would the Leader of the House urge his right hon. Friend to make a statement sufficiently well before the Recess, so that the House can debate the matter if the necessity arises?

Mr. Bowden

I will certainly ask my right hon. Friend if he can make a statement before we rise.

Mr. George Jeger

Would my right hon. Friend ask whoever is to open the debate on Europe and the Middle East on Monday to pay some attention to the situation regarding ourselves, Spain and Gibraltar and inform the House of the progress of the discussions which are going on?

Mr. Bowden

As far as I am aware, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will be speaking first on this side of the House. I will draw his attention to the point made by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Does this mean that, certainly for the next eight days, the situation continues in which Malawi is a republic by domestic law but a monarchy by British law? When does the right hon. Gentleman expect to get the Malawi Republic Bill through to the Royal Assent?

Mr. Bowden

I did not quite understand the hon. Gentleman's question. Perhaps he would be kind enough to put it again.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

The announcement that on Friday next week the Malawi Republic Bill will come before the House presumably means that, until then, Malawi is a republic under its own domestic law since yesterday, but a monarchy under British law. Should not this be resolved rather more quickly?

Mr. Bowden

The situation is not without precedent. We shall get the Royal Assent as quickly as possible.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Is the right hon. Gentleman able to give any more information about when the White Paper on broadcasting is likely to be published? Is there likely to be any delay because of the Ministerial changes at the Post Office?

Mr. Bowden

I cannot give a firm date for publication. Of course, the changes in the Ministerial responsibility will mean the matter being looked at a little longer.

Sir C. Osborne

In view of the enormous importance of next Thursday's debate on the Prices and Incomes Bill, could we have an extra hour for that debate, since many more hon. Members will wish to take part than there will be time for? Secondly, since the success of this policy will be impossible without the full co-operation of the trade unions, will the right hon. Gentleman use his influence to get the right hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Cousins) to come here and state his case, so that we can thoroughly understand his point of view?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is not exactly a business question.

Mr. Bowden

The second point raised by the hon. Gentleman is a matter for Mr. Speaker and not for me. I will consider whether we can provide an additional hour for the debate.

Mr. Iremonger

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the Motion standing in the name of the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) about the form of address of hon. Members?

[That this House regards the use of expressions such as "honourable gentleman" or "honourable friend" followed by the name of the constituency as archaic and prefers the use of a Member's name with his normal title.]

and my Amendment to it:

[Line 1, leave out from "House" to end and add "recognises that exchanges across the Floor properly cover matters on which there is a conflict of deeply held convictions; that in such exchanges the duty of the House is to clarify the issues and come to a decision on the question putting aside prejudice, private interest and partial affections; that it is psychologically sound in furthering this purpose for Members to eschew the use of personal names and the consequent excitement of more emotional involvement than is necessary; that the best substitute for a personal name is an appropriate generic term; that the generic term best calculated to remind the House of the qualities required of representatives of the people in a sovereign assembly is one which enshrines the ideals of courage, honour and kindness which are not so much archaic as eternal qualities; that terms

such as "honourable gentleman" and "honourable and gallant gentleman" adequately serve this purpose; and that in this respect the dynamics of debate as an efficient process have been shrewdly evolved by the House and should continue to be applied with courtesy and good sense."]

If so, will he help us to come to a conclusion on the matter promptly?

Mr. Bowden

I answered this question last week. I have nothing to add.

Sir C. Orr-Ewing

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to Motion No. 99, concerning the treatment of Jewish people in the Soviet Union, which has now been signed by no fewer than 164 hon. Members on both sides of the House?

[That this House notes with concern the continuing difficulties confronting Jews in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to use its good offices to secure for them the basic human rights afforded to other Soviet citizens.]

Would this not be a suitable subject for the Prime Minister to raise on his visit to Moscow?

Mr. Bowden

I answered a similar question on Thursday last week—I hope sympathetically. I will draw this to the attention of my right hon. Friend.

Mr. McMaster

In view of the urgent need for the reorganisation of British shipyards and the injection of new capital, recommended in the Geddes Report and underlined today by the cancellation of a Shell tanker, will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for a debate on the Geddes Report before the Summer Recess?

Mr. Bowden

I am aware of the importance of the Geddes Report, but I cannot promise Government time before the Summer Recess. If the Opposition wish to use a Supply day, it is up to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite.

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