HC Deb 05 May 1966 vol 727 cc2007-9

10.2 p.m.

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

I beg to move,

That the Order [27th April] relating to Business of the House be discharged: That Standing Order No. 5 (Precedence of Government Business) shall have effect for the remainder of the Session with the following modifications and additions, namely:—

  1. (1) In paragraph (2) the word "fourteen" shall be substituted for the world "ten" in line 6, and in paragraph (3) the word "ninth" shall be substituted for the word "seventh" in line 8; paragraph (4) shall not apply, and the ballot for private Members' Bills shall be held on Thursday 12th May, under arrangements to be made by Mr. Speaker, and the Bills shall be presented at the commencement of public business on Wednesday 15th June; paragraph (8) shall not apply, and until after Wednesday 15th June, no private Member shall give Notice of a Motion for leave to bring in a Bill under Standing Order No. 13 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of Select Committees at commencement of public business) of for presenting a Bill under Standing Order No. 37 (Presentation and First Reading).
  2. (2) Public Bills other than Government Bills shall have precedence over Government Business on 24th June 1966, 1st July 1966, 8th July 1966, 22nd July 1966, 2nd December 1966, 16th December 1966, 3rd February 1967, 17th February 1967, 3rd March 1967, 17th March 1967, 14th April 1967, 28th April 1967, 12th May 1967, and 16th June 1967.
  3. (3) Private Members' Notices of Motions shall have precedence over Government Business on 25th November 1966, 9th December 1966, 27th January 1967, 10th February 1967, 24th February 1967, 10th March 1967, 7th April 1967, 21st April 1967, 5th May 1967, and 19th May 1967, and ballots for these Notices shall be held after Questions on 9th November 1966m, 23rd November 1966, 21st December 1966, 25th January 1967, 8th February 1967, 22nd February 1967, 22nd March 1967, 5th April 1967, 19th April 1967, and 3rd May 1967, respectively.
  4. (4) On Monday 19th December 1966, Monday 13th March 1967, Monday 3rd July 1967, and Monday 17th July 1967, private Members' Notices of Motions shall have precedence until Seven o'clock, and ballots for these Notices shall be held after Questions on Monday 5th December 1966, Monday 27th February 1967, Monday 19th June 1967, and Monday 3rd July 1967, respectively.
  5. (5) No Notices of Motions shall be handed in for any of the days on which private Members' Notices have precedence under this Order in anticipation of those ballots.
The House will recall that on Wednesday last week when it approved the Motion on private Members' time I gave an undertaking to look at one or two aspects on the Motion then before the House, and approved by the House. I agreed to look at the allocation of time as between Private Members' Bills and Private Members' Motions and to see whether it was possible to introduce some of the Bills before the Summer Recess.

The Motion now before the House is in line with the promise which I gave on that occasion and meets most of the points. I accept at once that it does not meet the Amendment which was tabled on that occasion to provide an additional five days over and above the 24 Fridays which I was allocating. But this new Motion does what I think the House wanted. It provides that the four additional days—additional to the normal sessional run of Bills and Motions—will be taken not for Motions as was originally intended but for Bills.

The Ballot for Bills will therefore take place on Thursday next week, if this proposal is approved by the House. Bills will be presented on 15th June and the first Private Member's Bill will be taken on Friday, 24th June, four days being taken for Bills before 31st July. After the Summer Recess, under these proposals, we shall take an additional 10 Fridays for Private Members' Bills, 10 Fridays for Private Members' Motions and four half-days for Private Members' Motions. In all the total allocation of Private Members' time in this rather longer Session will be 24 full Fridays and four half-days.

In accordance with my promise, I have met the wishes of the House. We shall have Bills brought forward quickly. The four additional Fridays have been changed from Motions to Bills, which in my view was the wish of the House last Wednesday. I therefore hope that the House is prepared to accept this amended Motion.

Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down, will he confirm that the Ballot for Bills on 12th May will have to cover the whole of the Session until the end of the summer of 1967? Will he confirm that there will not be a second Ballot?

Mr. Bowden

Yes. That is so. The Ballot on Thursday of next week will be for the 14 Bill days rather than for the usual number.

Mr. Graham Page (Crosby)

Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down, will he confirm that no extra time will be available for Private Members' Bills? This is merely bringing in a certain amount of time which would have been available during the 12 months. He is simply bringing the time into the period before July. Or it is some extra time? Perhaps he will confirm that it is extra time for Private Members' Bills.

Mr. Bowden

The number of days available in a normal Session is ten Fridays for Private Members' Bills. This Motion provides 14 Fridays for Private Members' Bills. I accept that this is a rather longer Session, but the Motion does give four additional Fridays.

10.5 p.m.

Dr. David Kerr (Wandsworth, Central)

After the strictures to which I was subjected last Wednesday it would now ill become me to detain the House for very long. However, in view of the very magnanimous way in which the Government have responded to the feelings that have been expressed on both sides of the House, it falls to my very happy lot to express the appreciation of the House of the Government's response, and my very profound conviction that the granting of this time by the Government, with whose difficulties I have the greatest sympathy, will be used by the House in a responsible and progressive manner which will accord the Government that same reflected glory that was due to them for the way they handled the previous Private Member's Bill dealing with the abolition of hanging. I thank the Government very sincerely.

Mr. Graham Page

As one of those who attacked the Government from this side on the previous occasion, I thank the right hon. Gentleman for this extension of private Members' time for Private Members' Bills. It is very well received on this side.

Question put and agreed to.