HC Deb 19 December 1968 vol 775 cc1572-6
Mr. Heath

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business of the House for the first week after the Recess?

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Fred Peart)

Yes, Sir. The business for the first week after the Christmas Adjournment will be as follows:

MONDAY, 20TH JANUARY—Debate on a Motion to consider the Fourth Report from the Select Committee on House of Commons (Services) in Session 1967–68, relating to Whitehall Redevelopment.

Motions relating to Privilege.

Motions on the District Probate Regis tries Order, and the Non-Contentious Probate (Amendment) Rules.

TUESDAY, 21ST JANUARY—Second Reading of the Education (Scotland) Bill.

Remaining stages of the Agriculture (Spring Traps) (Scotland) Bill and of the Mines and Quarries (Tips) Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 22ND JANUARY—Second reading of the Immigration Appeals Bill.

Remaining stages of the Foreign Compensation Bill.

THURSDAY, 23RD JANUARY—Second Reading of the Shipbuilding Industry Bill.

Remaining stages of the National Insurance&c, Bill.

FRIDAY, 24TH JANUARY—Private Member's Bills.

Mr. Winnick

Do the Motions relating to Privilege, to be debated on the Monday, include the Motion which the Leader of the House has tabled which removes the centuries-old tradition in connection with the Press?

[That, notwithstanding the Resolution of the House of 3rd March, 1762, and other such Resolutions, this House will not entertain any complaint of contempt of the House or breach of privilege in respect of the publication of the debates or proceedings of the House, except when any such debates or proceedings shall have beer conducted with closed doors, or when such publication shall have been expressly prohibited by the House, or in case of wilful misrepresentation in relation to such publication.]

Mr. Peart

Yes, Sir.

Mrs. Kerr

Will the Leader of the House consider having a debate on Nigeria and Biafra very soon after we meet again in January?

Mr. Peart

I dealt with Biafra on Tuesday. We could not have such a debate in the first week after the Recess.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

I remind the House that there is plenty of business ahead of us again today.

Mrs. Ewing

Is the Leader of the House able to make a statement on the composition of the Commission on the Constitution and the method of selecting its members? Is he able to say that the terms of reference will not preclude it from considering the option of Dominion status within the Commonwealth?

Mr. Peart

I think that there is a Question on this subject. I must look at it, but I do not want to go into details now.

Mr. Whitaker

Can my right hon. Friend say when he will announce any further Specialist Committees?

Mr. Peart

Yes. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for asking that question. I hope to table a Motion today. For the convenience of hon. Members, I may say that I hope to appoint a new Committee to look into Scottish affairs.

Sir D. Renton

If it is not possible to take the Second Reading of the Horse race Betting Levy Bill at a reasonable time tonight, when will it be taken?

Mr. Peart

Let us wait and see. I hope that we can get it tonight.

Mr. Jennings

The debate on the Report of the Services Committee appears to be on the narrow issue of the White hall building. Will it be possible to deal with other matters coming under the auspices of the Services Committee, affecting the welfare and amenities of the House?

Mr. Peart

That seems inevitable when discussing the possibility of new building. Hon. Members may use their own ingenuity within reason. It is for Mr. Speaker to decide, but I think that there will be opportunities.

Mr. William Hamilton

Will the Motion to set up a Scottish Select Committee, which, of course, will be welcome, be debateable?

Can my right hon. Friend say when the Second Reading of the House of Lords Bill will be and when the Bill will be published?

Mr. Peart

The Bill will be published tomorrow. Any Motion may be considered. I am glad that the appointment of this Committee for Scotland has been welcomed.

Mr. Baker

Will the Leader of the House consider having a debate early in the new year on invisible earnings? We have not yet had an opportunity to discuss invisible earnings and the Report of the Bland Committee, although the other place has?

Mr. Peart

I recognise that this is an important matter, but I cannot find time during the period I have mentioned.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that at the earliest possible moment after the House resumes we shall have a debate on what transpires from the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' conference, with particular reference to the subject of Rhodesia and my Motion?

[That this Houses welcomes the Commonwealth Prime Ministers to the forthcoming Conference in London and reiterates its belief that, because of the fundamental human rights at stake in Rhodesia and their significance for race relations throughout the world, the Commonwealth leaders should again declare their commitment to the principle of Nibmar.]

Mr. Peart

It is obviously important to have the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' conference in London. I am sure that the House will be kept in formed, but I cannot say at this stage that there will be a debate on this specific subject.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

The Leader of the House will be aware that the Secretary of State for Scotland has now told local authorities in Scotland to take action which could lead to the with drawing of schooling from thousands of children during the Christmas Recess. Will he therefore ask his right hon. Friend to make a statement in the House tomorrow to tell local authorities what they are to do in this situation?

Mr. Peart

My right hon. Friend dealt with this fully the other day.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Further to the point raised by the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton). As the Horserace Betting Levy Bill is the fifth Order today and is very unlikely to be reached at a reasonable hour, it being only a question of subsidies for the horse-racing fraternity, those who own racehorses, no one is really interested. I believe that it is a conspiracy between the "Wigg" and the Tories—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member must not drift into the merits of the Bill which we are to debate.

Mr. Lewis

I was not going into the merits. I just mention that it is a conspiracy between the "Wigg" and the Tories. There is no merit in that. Could not this matter be brought on the first week when we come back? Why hurry it? No one wants it, except the race horse-owning people.

Mr. Peart

I hope that my hon. Friend will not cast any aspersions on how this was put on the Order Paper. It is an important matter. After all, the horse-racing community, the betting fraternity, is an important section of the community. We must bear this problem in mind. Let us see how we get on.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Is the Leader of the House aware that a Bill is coming up after the Christmas Recess with pro posals in it to turn the County of Rutland into a towpath round a lake, because a massive reservoir is to be built? Will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that there is plenty of time to discuss the matter? Will he support it and get his right hon. and hon. Friends to support it, too, because I want to make sure that I am not the first Member of Parliament to be washed out. We want to keep this reservoir out of Rutland.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We cannot drift into the merits, even of Rutland.

Mr. Peart

I know the hon. Gentleman's interest in his constituency. I will convey the hon. Gentleman's views to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Eadie

Further to the point raised by the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne). Is the Leader of the House aware that the Opposition could have had an opportunity to get rid of their synthetic indignation about the General Teaching Council in Scotland if they had tabled a Question this week?

Mr. Peart

I am aware of this. I dealt with this matter specifically on Tuesday.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

On the proposal for a Selective Committee on Scottish Affairs, which the right hon. Gentleman has just announced, may I ask whether he can say when it will come before the House and be considered?

Mr. Peart

It will be tabled and we will have an opportunity to discuss it when we come back.

Mr. Orme

Can the Leader of the House give an assurance that no Orders relating to Prices and Incomes policy will be laid by the Minister during the Recess against the agricultural workers or the tally clerks in London docks? Secondly, did my right hon. Friend say when the Second Reading of the Lords Bill would be taken?

Mr. Speaker

Order. One business question at once. I think that either would do.

Mr. Peart

I said that the House of Lords Bill would be published tomorrow. I did not mention anything about a debate on Second Reading. It is not for me to go into details about Orders outside.

Mr. Judd

Has my right hon. Friend in mind the appointment of any other Specialist Committees than the one on Scottish affairs which he mentioned?

Mr. Peart

This is a new one. I hope that what we have done will be appreciated. It is an important experiment. I am always considering the possibilities of other reforms.