HC Deb 13 June 1968 vol 766 cc444-9
Mr. Heath

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business of the House for next week?

The Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Fred Peart)

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

MONDAY, 17TH JUNE—Motions relating to the Southern Rhodesia (United Nations Sanctions) Order, to the Cereals (Guarantee Payments) (Amendment) Order and to the Sunday Cinematograph Entertainments (Borough of Middleton) Order.

TUESDAY, 18TH JUNE—Remaining stages of the Medicines Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 19TH JUNE, and THURSDAY, 20TH JUNE—Consideration on Recommittal of the Finance Bill.

FRIDAY, 21ST JUNE—Motions relating to the Iron and Steel (Restrictive Trading Agreements) Order, the Rate Rebates (Limits of Income) Orders, the Computer Merger Scheme and the Cinematograph Films Regulations.

Lords Amendments to the Maintenance Orders Bill.

MONDAY, 24TH JUNE—Supply [24th Allotted Day]:

Debate on a topic to be announced later.

Mr. Heath

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that there will be an interval of a fortnight between the Recommittal of the Finance Bill and Report?

Secondly, will he give an assurance that the House will be kept informed about the supply of arms to Nigeria in the light of the further talks going on?

Thirdly, will he give an assurance that the Report of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations, which is to be published this afternoon, will be debated before the House rises for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Peart

I shall consider the last point. I think that we shall have to wait until Members have read the Report.

I give the right hon. Gentleman the assurance for which he asks in connection with Biafra. I shall make certain that the House is fully informed about that.

With regard to the timetable for the Finance Bill, the right hon. Gentleman probably appreciates that the Business Committee has been sitting this afternoon. I have not as yet heard the result of its deliberations, but I shall keep the right hon. Gentleman informed through the usual channels.

Mr. Heath

The right hon. Gentleman will, I am sure, realise that the seven or eight weeks available before we rise for the Summer Recess ought to be time enough in which to consider the Royal Commission's Report, and that it will be urgent to have a full debate before we rise.

Mr. Peart

I recognise the importance of the Report.

Mr. Murray

As we are falling behind the former Conservative Government on average, can my right hon. Friend say what plans he has for further use of the Guillotine?

Mr. Peart

I hope that my hon. Friend will appreciate that when I put forward a guillotine Motion I did so with reluctance. When I look at the records of past Governments, I find that they did it with enthusiasm.

Sir G. Nabarro

Will the right hon. Gentleman apply himself to Motion No. 266, entitled "Atlantic Tree Trade Area"?

[That this House, taking note of the present state of the negotiations to join the Common Market, believes that Her Majesty's Government should in the meantime begin a feasibility study of an open-ended Atlantic Free Trade Area initially comprising the United Kingdom, the European Free Trade Association, Canada and the United States of America.]

It now has more than 100 signatures appended to it, and includes the names of hon. Members of all parties. Will the right hon. Gentleman confer with the Prime Minister and arrange for appropriate time to be taken next week for a revised policy statement to be made on this critically important matter?

Mr. Peart

I am aware that many hon. Members on both sides—

Sir G. Nabarro

On all sides.

Mr. Peart

—feel that this is an important matter—including hon. Members of the Liberal Party—but I cannot find time next week.

Mr. Swain

Has my right hon. Friend taken note of the changes at the top of the newspaper publishing world? Will he find time to debate Motion No. 278?

[That this House has no confidence in Mr. Cecil King as a member of the Board of a nationalised industry and calls upon the Minister of Power to terminate his office as a part-time Member of the National Coal Board forthwith.]

Alternatively, will he suggest to his right hon. Friend the Minister of Power that he should take the action for which the Motion asks, and dismiss Mr. Cecil King from the National Coal Board.

Mr. Peart

My right hon. Friend is aware of the feelings of hon. Members, but there will not be time for a debate next week.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate the shortness of time between the ending of the Committee stage of the Medicines Bill and the Report stage, which is to be on Tuesday next? Does he agree that further time should be given to enable us to hold the necessary consultations on the issues involved? Will he agree to reconsider his decision, and see whether the Report stage can be put back from next week?

Mr. Peart

I think that the matter has been arranged for the convenience of hon. Members on both sides.

Mr. Ted Fletcher

Will my right hon. Friend provide time next week for a short procedure debate on the use of the Guillotine, as today happens to be the 81st anniversary of the first use of the Guillotine, and such a debate will perhaps establish that the Labour Government neither invented it, nor were the first to use it.

Mr. Peart

I accept my hon. Friend's views, but not next week.

Mr. Richard Wainwright

May we have an assurance that before the Recess we shall have the chance of a general debate on the Report of Mr. Speaker's Conference on Electoral Law, which has been in Mr. Speaker's hands for some time now?

Mr. Peart

I know that that is an important matter, but not next week.

Mr. James Johnson

Can my right hon. Friend say when we can expect a statement on the Government's measures for the future of a deep-sea fishing industry?

Mr. Peart

I know that my hon. Friend represents a very important fishing centre at Hull, and that he regards this issue as extremely important. I shall convey his views to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, but the debate may not be next week.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

As the words used by the Prime Minister today when answering Question No. Q2 showed conclusively that the Selective Employment Tax is preventing the entertainment industry from earning foreign currency which we greatly need, will the right hon. Gentleman ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make a statement next week, taking into account what the Prime Minister said?

Mr. Peart

I do not think that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister conveyed that view.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

He did to me.

Mr. Peart

I thought that it was to the contrary. Perhaps the hon. Gentle- man will read what my right hon. Friend said.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to tell me whether, next week, the Government will announce their new proposals for the granting of passports in Rhodesia? Will he say whether we are to have an explanation of why the right of the Parliamentary Commissioner to discuss Sir Frederick Crawford's position has been denied?

Mr. Peart

I shall convey that view to my right hon. Friend the Commonwealth Secretary. There could be a statement. I note what has been said.

Sir C. Taylor

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to Motion No. 331, which has obviously aroused a great deal of interest on both sides of the House?

[That this House condemns the British Broadcasting Corporation for inviting a well known foreign professional revolutionary agitator, already banned from France, to appear on one of their programmes at the expense of British licence holders and taxpayers.]

Will the right hon. Gentleman find time for a short debate on the Motion?

Mr. Peart

I think that the matter has been reasonably discussed this afternoon by question and answer. I cannot find time for a debate next week.

Mr. Hugh Fraser

Can the leader of the House tell us when there is to be a debate on the Ombudsman becoming a non-Ombudsman? Could he give a date for this before the House goes into Recess?

Mr. Peart

I know what the right hon. Gentleman has said, but not next week.

Mr. Roebuck

Is it not right that the House had an opportunity to discuss the withdrawal of a passport from Sir Frederick Crawford? Will my right hon. Friend strongly resist any attempt to remove from the House these questions to a servant of the House?

The Speaker

Order. That is drifting into merits rather than business.

Mr. James Davidson

Could the Leader of the House say when we may expect the long overdue debate on the Halliday Report, particularly in respect of its re-trictive effect on development in Scotland?

Mr. Peart

Not next week.