HC Deb 13 November 1967 vol 754 cc2-3
3. Mr. Biffen

asked the Minister of Labour when he expects to receive the report of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. R. J. Gunter)

Next Easter.

Mr. Biffen

In view of the very serious accusations that have been levelled that the trade union movement is at the moment the subject of Communist and Trotskyist activity, can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the terms of reference of this Commission will enable it to comment on the extent to which this alleged conspiracy arises out of the existing law of combination?

Mr. Gunter

I should imagine that the terms of reference of the Royal Commission are wide enough to embrace anything related to industrial relations.

55. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the Minister of Labour if he will invite the Royal Commission on Trade Unions to make an interim report on the subject of contracts of employment.

Mr. Gunter

No, Sir.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

In answer to a previous Question, the right hon. Gentleman agreed that it is the breaking of contracts solemnly undertaken that is the trouble with our industrial relations. Does he think that we can wait until Easter before we start on the problem?

Mr. Gunter

Easter is just a few months ahead. Perhaps it is a Welsh "few"—four or five. It would be impossible to ask Lord Donovan to prepare an interim report upon a matter which is so fundamental to the whole report.

Mr. Scott

Will the right hon. Gentleman nevertheless keep open an option? If the Royal Commission has recommendations, will he keep open the option of introducing legislation this Session so that the necessary urgent action in this field can be taken?

Mr. Gunter

I doubt very much whether the time after Easter until we rise, if we do, in July would be sufficient to enable legislation to be drafted, bearing in mind all the consultations that have to be made. I repeat what I have said, that we will place the Government's conclusions before the House, which will enable me to have time during the Recess to have many consultations, and then we should hope to take the legislation in the following Session.