§ The Lord President of the Council and the Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Fred Peart)
Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows: 583 MONDAY, 16TH DECEMBER—Motions on the Army Act, 1955 and the Air Force Act, 1955 (Continuation) Orders, which, if the House agrees, will be taken formally to allow a debate on an Opposition Motion on the Run Down of our Forces and Reserves.
Remaining stages of the Electricity (Scotland) Bill.
Prayer relating to the Children and Young Persons (Performances) Regulations.
Afterwards, we propose to give the House an opportunity to reach a decision on the Second Reading of the Divorce Reform Bill.
TUESDAY, 17TH DECEMBER—Second Reading of the Transport (London) Bill.
Motions on the Greater London, Kent and Surrey Order, and on the Livestock (Payments for Scientific Research) Order.
Lords Amendments to the Sea Fisheries Bill.
Motion relating to the Patents (Amendment) Rules.
WEDNESDAY, 18TH DECEMBER—Remaining stages of the Representation of the People Bill.
THURSDAY, 19TH DECEMBER—Second Reading of the National Insurance &c, Bill, and of the New Towns Bill.
Remaining stages of the Local Government Grants (Social Need) Bill.
If there is time, Second Reading of the Horserace Betting Levy Bill.
FRIDAY, 20TH DECEMBER—It is proposed that the House should rise for the Christmas Adjournment until Monday, 20th January, 1969.
§ Mr. Heath
Can the Leader of the House say when the Government will be publishing the Bill for the reform of the House of Lords? Does he appreciate that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House will want adequate time to consider the Bill after its publication, and furthermore, that this time should be while the House is sitting, so that they can discuss these matters together?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I would remind the House that there is an important debate ahead. I hope that hon. and right hon. Members will show some restraint during business question time.
§ Mr. C. Pannell
Further to the last question asked by the Leader of the Opposition, do we understand that the Lords Reform Bill will not be published during the Christmas Recess, but when we come back?
§ Mr. R. Carr
Is the Leader of the House aware of the impending industrial relations crisis in the building and construction industries? May I ask him, for the third week running, whether he will arrange for his right hon. Friend the First Secretary to make a statement, and on no account allow the House to adjourn for the Christmas Recess without one?
May I, finally, ask him if he will bear in mind his moral commitment to the House, and arrange for an immediate debate in the event of his right hon. Friend making a direction under prices and incomes legislation?
§ Mr. Lubbock
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that very little time has been allowed between the Second Reading and the Committee stage, and between the Committee and Report stages, of the Representation of the People Bill? Will he give an assurance that adequate time will be available for the Home Secretary to have consultations with interested bodies on all these matters which he promised in Committee to review?
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
Will my right hon. Friend accept that it is appreciated that he has found time for the Prayer on the Children (Performances) Regulations on Monday? Will he advise his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to consider withdrawing the Regulations so that it may not be necessary to divide the House on the matter?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, by finding Government time for the Divorce Reform Bill at this early stage in the Session, the Government are not only intervening in the matter, but are depriving the pro- 586 moters of a good incentive to compromise?
§ [That this House considers that the inordinate delay in setting up the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries, in contravention of undertakings given last Session by the then Leader of the House, casts grave doubt on the Government's good faith in dealing with Select and Specialist Committees and with the House as a whole.]
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. May I again remind the House that there is an important debate ahead—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] The Chair must not be encouraged from one side of the House—on foreign affairs?
Mr. Bruce Campbell
As preferential treatment is to be given to a Private Member's Bill, the Divorce Reform Bill, will the Leader of the House ensure that the debate is attended by Social Service and Treasury Ministers to answer the important questions which are bound to arise? Will he undertake to give time for my Private Members' Bill, which is No. 24 in the list, and which has a much more laudable object, namely, to provide widows with pensions?
§ Mr. Peart
I cannot find time for the hon. Gentlleman's Bill next week, but I will convey to my right hon. Friends 587 what he has said about having Ministers in attendance for the debate on the Divorce Reform Bill.
§ Mr. Doughty
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the horror which will be felt in the country particularly among women, that the Government should be behind the Divorce Reform Bill, which is an undesirable Bill? Secondly, is he aware that to take it late on Monday night or on Tuesday morning means that it will be taken before an empty House?
§ Mr. Goodhew
Why does the right hon. Gentleman have to find Government time for this very controversial Measure, in the middle of the night? Would it not be more appropriate, if the Government wished to get decisions on such important moral issues, for the Government to take Government Bills in normal time?
§ Sir Knox Cunningham
Has the attention of the Leader of the House been drawn to Motion No. 84? When will the Minister come to the House and clarify the position?
§ [That this House condemns the Minister of State at the Treasury for giving misleading information to the House in an answer to a written Question by an hon. Member: in that the Minister of State replied to a written Question by the hon. Member for Torquay asking how many successful prosecutions for currency speculation by United Kingdom citizens or institutions authorised to operate in foreign exchange markets took place during the last four years, by stating that this information is not readily available and to obtain it would involve disproportionate cost (HANSARD, 2nd December, columns 345–346) ; whereas the Financial Secretary only three days later, replying to a similar Question by the same hon. Member, asking what estimate the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made of the cost to public funds of ascertaining the number of successful prosecutions for currency speculation by United Kingdom citizens or institutions 588 authorised to operate in foreign exchange markets during the last ten and four years, respectively, replied that no authorised dealers had ever been prosecuted under the Exchange Control Act in connection with operations in foreign currencies (HANSARD, 5th December, column 551).
§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
Will the Leader of the House explain why he is not prepared to give time next week to debate British Standard Time? Is he not aware of the great concern felt by everyone about it? Does he not appreciate that we particularly want to know the Government's attitude towards the most praiseworthy unilateral action taken by Stornoway last week?
§ Mr. John Page
In view of the great concern on all sides of the building industry about the wage dispute, a concern which is not in the slightest panicky, will the right hon. Gentleman give a definite assurance that his right hon. Friend will make a statement before the House rises?
§ Mr. Jopling
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Minister of Agriculture promised us a statement about the future of the egg marketing scheme early in December? Can he assure us that we shall have that statement before the House rises for the Christmas Recess?
§ Mr. MacArthur
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government, acting in what they admit today to have been ignorance of the facts, have required local education authorities in Scotland to dismiss 1,200 qualified teachers? Will there be a statement next week to guide local authorities in this difficulty and to 589 encourage those teachers who have not registered with the General Teaching Council to do so?
§ Mr. Godber
May I press the Leader of the House a little more on the answer he gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland (Mr. Jopling)? The Minister of Agriculture gave us to understand that he would make a statement on this matter early in December. As it is very urgent, will the right hon. Gentleman ask the Minister to make a statement next week?
§ Mr. David Steel
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that an important independent report will be published tomorrow on the running of the Edinburgh-Carlisle rail service and that copies have already gone to the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister of Transport? Will be arrange for the Minister of Transport to make a statement about his attitude to the report next week before we rise for the Recess?