HC Deb 20 July 1967 vol 750 cc2475-81
Mr. Heath

May I ask the Leader of the House to state the business of the House for next week?

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Richard Crossman)

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

MONDAY, 24TH JULY—In the morning—

Remaining stages of the Irish Sailors and Soldiers Land Trust Bill [Lords].

Second Reading of the Police (Scotland) (No. 2) Bill [Lords], which is a consolidation Measure.

Lords Amendments to the Wireless Telegraphy Bill, the National Insurance (No. 2) Bill and the Aden, Perim and Kuria Muria Islands Bill.

In the afternoon—

Supply [29th Allotted Day]:

Debate on Economic Affairs, on an Opposition Motion.

At 10 p.m. the Question will be put from the Chair on all outstanding Votes.

Lords Amendments to the Water (Scotland) Bill.

Motions on the Furniture Industry Development Council (Amendment No. 3) Order, on the Redundancy Fund Order and on the Sunday Cinematograph Order.

TUESDAY, 25TH JULY—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) (No. 2) Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 26TH JULY—In the morning—

Motions on the White Fish and Herring Subsidies Orders and on the Fishing Vessels Scheme.

In the afternoon—

Remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) (No. 2) Bill which, under Standing Order No. 89, will be formal.

Lords Amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill.

Remaining stages of the Police (Scotland) (No. 2) Bill [Lords], which is a consolidation Measure.

Motions on the Electricity Boards (Standard Amount) (Scotland) Order, on the Valuation (Scottish Gas Board) (Scotland) Order, on the British Railways Board (Amendment of Certified Amount) (Scotland) Order.

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

THURSDAY, 27TH JULY—There will be a debate on a Motion to approve the White Paper on Defence, Command No. 3357.

FRIDAY, 28TH JULY—If it has been so resolved, the House will rise for the Summer Adjournment.

Mr. Heath

Can the Leader of the House tell us when the Prime Minister or the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs will make a statement about Rhodesia, and whether the Government intend to publish Lord Alport's report as a dispatch?

Will the right hon. Gentleman also help us by telling us what other statements he expects the Government to make next week?

Mr. Crossman

I cannot tell the right hon. Gentleman the exact time of the Prime Minister's statement, or what will follow from it. But we shall tell the right hon. Gentleman immediately we can.

I expect a statement on Monday on the family endowment scheme and a statement from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science about public accounts and the U.G.C., but I am not sure whether that will be on Monday.

Mr. Heath

Will there be a statement on Rhodesia before we rise?

Mr. Crossman

Without any question.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

May I remind the House that we have important and long business ahead? I hope that we shall ration ourselves on Business questions.

Mr. Thorpe

Does the answer which the Leader of the House has just given indicate that he does not foresee the likelihood of a debate on Rhodesia before the House rises?

Mr. Crossman

I should not like to prejudge what Lord Alport's report says. We must wait for it before we make up our minds.

Mr. J. Idwal Jones

Has my right hon. Friend considered allocating a day for a debate on Welsh affairs? If so, when will it take place?

Mr. Crossman

I hope to make a reference to that in my next Business Statement before the House adjourns.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the Leader of the House aware that immediately on his announcement that the Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill will be taken on Tuesday I left the Chamber to submit a subject to Mr. Speaker and that 20 hon. Members were in advance of me, although I was back in the Chamber before the end of his Business Statement at 3.33 p.m.? Will he in future make arrangements to see that better co-ordination is made between the various subjects submitted for debate on the Bill?

Mr. Crossman

With respect to the hon. Gentleman, that is not really a matter for me.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Can my right hon. Friend say when there will be a statement about legislation promising votes at 18? If he is short of Parliamentary draftsmen, is he aware that I can lend him my old Bill, which was talked out six years ago?

Mr. Crossman

I am sure that my hon. Friend will lend me anything, but I do not think that we are near legislation. We are awaiting the report of Mr. Speaker's Conference on the subject.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Since the country's economic position seems to be in great peril at the moment, would the Leader of the House consider giving an extra hour if possible on Monday for the crucial debate on economic affairs?

Mr. Crossman

I cannot accept the presupposition of that question, nor can I really believe that one extra hour will make any difference.

Mr. Whitaker

Will my right hon. Friend say on which day my right hon. Friend the Minister of Social Security will make the announcement on family allowances which he said that she would make?

Mr. Crossman

I think that I mentioned that the statement will be on Monday. I will be made by my right hon. Friend the Minister without Portfolio.

Mr. Deedes

Can the Leader of the House say why, as rather critical arrangements depend on the Bill, the remaining stages of the Dangerous Drugs Bill are not being taken and are, therefore, deferred until the autumn?

Mr. Crossman

I have not heard any objection to that. We are considering taking the remaining stages in the autumn in the "hang-over" period, when the Bill will come from the Lords.

Mr. Ogden

Is my right hon. Friend aware that if a statement on family allowances were made on Monday morning that would be most unfortunate?

Mr. Crossman

I am aware of that, and I have taken it into consideration in deciding that the statement shall be made on Monday afternoon.

Mr. Worsley

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the House will have a chance to debate the Government's new policy on family poverty?

Mr. Crossman

We should await the statement. I anticipate that we shall not be able to debate it before the Summer Recess.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Will my right hon. Friend at long last give time to debate my Motion to provide facilities for seamen returning home from the sea to visit their families? Is his sole reason for not doing so as stated by him in a letter to the Shipping Federation, that he wants to cut clerical work? If that is the sole reason, is it not disgraceful?

[That this House is of opinion that for social, family, economic and other reasons the withdrawal by British Railways of the cheap fare railway vouchers hitherto available to seamen and their families is wrong as it frustrates family reunions, deprives British Railways of fares, diminishes British Railways income and now calls upon Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Minister of Transport, by legislation or otherwise, to restore to British seamen and their families the relevant facilities which they have hitherto enjoyed.]

Mr. Crossman

I dare say that it would be, but I now see that my hon. Friend has anticipated and made arrangements so that we can debate the matter by introducing a Bill under the Ten Minute Rule on 25th October.

Sir C. Osborne

Since there is every indication that the pressure on sterling this autumn will be greater than usual, and that responsible quarters fear that there may be pressure for devaluation, will the Leader of the House give an undertaking that before any such serious step is taken the House will be recalled during the long Recess?

Mr. Crossman

I do not like saying this, but I regard that not as a business question but as a mischievous intervention.

Dr. Summerskill

Would my right hon. Friend urge my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health to make a statement on the report of the Sainsbury Committee before the Recess, as the report has been awaited for some years and it is important that we should know its terms?

Mr. Crossman

I shall certainly communicate my hon. Friend's request to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health.

Mr. Sandys

While I quite understand that differences within the Cabinet have made it impossible for the Prime Minister to make a statement about Rhodesia today, may I ask the Leader of the House to try to ensure that we get a statement on Monday at the latest, for otherwise it will be almost impossible to have a debate before the House rises?

Mr. Crossman

While totally repudiating the first part of that question, I cannot give any assurance about Monday. This is a very important issue. I said that my right hon. Friend will make a statement as soon as he possibly can.

Mr. J. E. B. Hill

Does the Leader of the House realise that by arranging a clash of business on the second Wednesday morning running with the business of the Select Committee on Agriculture he is making it very difficult for the Committee to complete its deliberations? This inflicts an inconvenience not only on its members but also on the clerks and other people trying to serve it. Before doing this, did he have consultations with the chairman of the Committee to try to facilitate our joint arrangements?

Mr. Crossman

Is the hon. Gentleman referring to the White Fish Orders?

Mr. Hill

Strictly within our terms of reference.

Mr. Crossman

I appreciate this, but I was asked about agriculture in the first place. It is extremely difficult at this time in the Session to arrange everything to everybody's convenience, and I think that sometimes specialist Committees will have to remember that the House has to organise its own business as well.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Will the right hon. Gentleman find a short time for the Vessels Protection Bill, which passed its Committee stage in 14 minutes flat and which the police are hoping will be passed by the Summer Recess?

Mr. Crossman

I am not without hope. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will have a word with me about the Bill.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

I notice a second stream of questioners suddenly wanting to join in business questions.

Mr. Marten

Has the right hon. Gentleman noticed Motion 613 on the Order Paper—

[That this House expresses its grave concern at the situation which has developed in the Caribbean Islands of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla and, in particularly at the continued detention of a British subject Mr. James Milne Gaskell, and at the treatment accorded to the Opposition in the islands; and urges Her Majesty's Government to use every initiative to achieve a satisfactory settlement without further delay.]

dealing with the situation in St. Kitts and the detention of a British subject, Mr. Gaskell?

May we have an assurance that early next week we shall have a statement about the matter from the Commonwealth Secretary?

Mr. Crossman

Yes, Sir. I discussed this with my right hon. Friend before Question Time. If it is suitable, almost certainly a statement will be made.

Mr. Emery

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider, perhaps in a more serious vein that he did originally, the suggestion by my hon. Friend about consulting through the usual channels to see whether the economic debate can be extended by an extra hour? That would mean that a lot more Members would be able to get in. As the matter is so serious, will he please take up the suggestion?

Mr. Crossman

I have no doubt that we could debate the economic situation for a very long time. Certainly, we are prepared to consider all these things through the usual channels. However, I think that if we are to have a day, and if a day is what we have got, we had better have a normal day.

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