HC Deb 19 June 1969 vol 785 cc714-20
Mr. Heath

Will the Leader of the House kindly state the business of the House for next week?

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

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

MONDAY, 23RD JUNE and TUESDAY, 24TH JUNE—Remaining stages of the Development of Tourism Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 25TH JUNE—Supply [23rd Allotted Day]: Debate on the Letter of Intent.

This will arise on a Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

Motion on the Civil Aviation (Navigational Service Charges) (Third Amendment) Regulations.

THURSDAY, 26TH JUNE—Completion of the remaining stages of the Housing Bill.

FRIDAY, 27TH JUNE—Motions on the Hosiery and Knitwear Industry (Scientific Research Levy) Order, the Cereals (Guarantee Payments) (Amendment) Order, on the Agricultural. Lime Scheme (Extension of Period) Order, the Small Farm (Business Management) Schemes, the Bacon Curing Industry Stabilisation (Variation) Scheme and on the Milk (Extension of Period of Control of Maximum prices) Order.

MONDAY, 30TH JUNE—Private Members' Motions until 7 o'clock.

Afterwards, remaining stages of the Housing (Scotland) Bill.

Mr. Heath

The Government having dropped the Parliament (No. 2) Bill because of the immense urgency of introducing the Industrial Relations Bill, and having now dropped the Industrial Relations Bill, can the Leader of the House say whether time is now to be taken up with a Bill to gerrymander constituencies under the Reports of the Boundaries Commissions?

Mr. Peart

There is no question of any gerrymandering. There will be a debate on this subject this afternoon, when my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will make a statement.

Mr. Heath

If there is to be no gerrymandering, can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the Government will accept the Reports of the Commission in full and implement them?

Mr. Peart

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition will await the Home Secretary's statement today.

Mr. Dickens

Since it appears that the Letter of Intent is to be published either on Monday or Tuesday of next week, may we be told by the Leader of the House whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer intends to make a Ministerial statement on that day prior to the debate on Wednesday?

Mr. Peart

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer expects to be in a position to make a statement on Monday about the Letter of Intent and we shall have a full debate on Wednesday.

Mr. Fortescue

Has the attention of the Leader of the House been drawn to Motion No. 321, standing in my name and in the names of over 70 hon. Members on both sides of the House, on dispensing by doctors in rural areas? Can he find time for a debate on that Motion next week?

[That this House notes the decision of the Secretary of State for Social Services not to amend the National Health Service (General, Medical and Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations, 1966; recalls that his predecessor stated publicly that these Regulations should be amended as agreed by representatives of the pharmaceutical and medical professions; and calls upon him to reconsider his decision so that the best interests of patients in rural areas may be served by ensuring that their prescriptions are dispensed by qualified pharmacists whenever possible.]

Mr. Peart

I cannot foresee time for a debate on the Motion. My right hon. Friend explained the position in reply to an hon. Member on 5th May.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

I would remind the House that we have a lot of business ahead of us.

Mr. Boston

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether his attention has been drawn to Motion No. 337, standing in the names of more than 100 hon. and right hon. Members of the House, including the hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Dudley Smith) and myself, about B.B.C. Radio 3, the Third Programme and music programmes and the very serious concern of hon. Members on both sides of the House about possible threats to the curtailment or closure of these programmes?

May I ask whether my right hon. Friend would consider the possibility of having an early debate on the whole subject?

[That this House recognises the outstanding contribution to broadcasting made by B.B.C. Radio 3, the Third Programme and the Music Programme and the value of the material carried by these services to listeners throughout the country and abroad; regards it as essential that the British Broadcasting Corporation should continue to cater for these sizeable and growing minority interests; views with concern repeated reports that Radio 3 may be closed or curtailed; and urges the British Broadcasting Corporation to ensure that in any charges recommended as a result of the Corporation's current review of sound broadcasting there is no reduction in the quality and quantity of, in particular, the British Broadcasting Corporation's serious music output.]

Mr. Peart

I have noted the Motion which has all-party support. It is an important matter. I will consider it sympathetically, but I cannot alter the business for next week.

Mr. Hooson

Do the Government intend to move the Writ for the Swindon by-election next week, and if not, why not?

Mr. Pearl

That is for my right hon. Friend the Patronage Secretary, not me.

Mr. Tuck

Last week, my right hon. Friend primised sympathetic consideration to the question of a short debate on the closure of S. G. Brown's factory at Watford. May I ask him whether as 50 men have already been laid off, he can be a little more specific?

Mr. Peart

I cannot promise a debate next week. It is an important matter. I will refer it to my right hon. Friend who is responsible.

Mr. Tilney

May I ask whether the Leader of the House, who wrote the preface to the Command Paper on Marine Science and Technology, can say when there is to be a debate on the resources of the sea bed?

Mr. Peart

This very important matter was raised by one of my hon. Friends last week. I will consider this very sympathetically, but I cannot find time next week.

Mrs. Anne Kerr

Has my hon. Friend's attention been drawn to Motion No. 330, standing in my name and the names of 121 other hon. Members—on both sides, I might add? Would he endeavour to provide time to debate not only the appalling conditions of Alexandros Panagoulis, but to debate the conditions of Greek prisoners and the total lack of democracy in Greece under the present junta?

[That this House calls on the British Government to bring to the attention of the Greek Junta the British people's desire that Alexandros Panagoulis should be treated humanely, and not be further subjected to torture.]

Mr. Peart

I am aware of the Motion, dealing with clemency for Mr. Panagoulis. I can assure my hon. Friend that the Greek Government know our views on this matter, but I cannot find time for a debate next week.

Mr. Emery

Would the Leader of the House consider altering the business next week, or, if that is impossible, give an assurance that immediately after next week he will find time for a debate on the report of the Hunt Committee, because so many local authorities are concerned about being able to have the view of the House on this matter?

Mr. Peart

This is an important matter. Discussions are going on with local and regional authorities. But I could not promise to alter the business.

Mr. David Watkins

Will my right hon. Friend make time available to enable us to come to a decision on my Employer's Liability Compulsory Insurance Bill and other Private Members' Bills which were at an advanced stage but were lost last Friday because of the protracted proceedings on the Divorce Reform Bill?

Mr. Peart

I did say that I would consider this very sympathetically. I hope to have a meeting with sponsors of Bills where there is a Bill in an advanced stage and its passage through the House might be completed. I will give the matter very careful consideration.

Sir Frederic Bennett

Referring to the opening question of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, does the Leader of the House recall that the sole reason given for the withdrawal of the Parliament (No. 2) Bill was the pressing need for industrial legislation? Will he therefore now give a date for the introduction of the former Measure, or admit that this was another "phoney" excuse?

Mr. Peart

I think that there were other factors than those mentioned by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Michael Foot

As it appears to be the case that there is no Supply day available next week for a discussion of the industrial relations settlement which we all welcome, will the Leader of the House undertake to inform the whole House as soon as he does receive a request from the Opposition for a future Supply day to be allocated?

Will my right hon. Friend take into account that many of us would think it an abuse of debates in the House that have been promised if it was thought that a debate on the Letter of Intent could be used for the major debate we wish to have on the subject?

Mr. Peart

I agree that this is a matter for the Opposition, but when I know their view I will certainly make a statement to the House.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

When are we to have the Merchant Shipping Bill? After all, a great deal of ground has been cleared in favour of it. Can we expect it before the end of July?

Mr. Peart

I cannot be specific. I have announced the business for next week. I note what the hon. Member has said.

Mr. Archer

In view of the additional time that is now, happily, available to the right hon. Gentleman, and the fact that discussions about the ocean floor are imminent at the United Nations, may we have a debate on this subject at an early date?

Mr. Peart

This has been raised previously this afternoon. It is an important matter. If we do have time available, then I believe that that is the kind of subject which the House would like to discuss; but there are many other pressing matters which also need to be discussed.

Dr. Winstanley

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if he does not speedily provide an opportunity for a debate on the future pattern of broadcasting and the position of the regions, these matters may well have been decided before the House and the public have an opportunity of discussing them?

Mr. Peart

I regret that the hon. Gentleman should have walked out of a private meeting yesterday. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] After all, this matter was being discussed—

Mr. Speaker

Order. We cannot discuss merits on business.

Mr. Peart

I would have thought there were other opportunities outside the House to discuss it. I cannot find time for a debate next week.

Mr. McNamara

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there will be considerable regret in the seaports if we do not have the Merchant Shipping Bill before the end of July? We were given an undertaking that we would see it and we want to see it.

Mr. Peart

I am aware of the feeling on this, as my hon. Friend knows.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Does not the Leader of the House consider that the Adjournment debate on Tuesday showed that it was really urgent to have a full day's debate on the Middle East? Also, now that there is more time available, will he also arrange debates on Rhodesia and Biafra?

Mr. Pearl

I know that there are many important matters in the field of foreign affairs. I will look at this carefully and sympathetically.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that my Motion about cars for disabled persons has been awaiting debate for a long time? Will he at last relent and find time to discuss it next week?

[That this House is of opinion that Clause 12 of the regulation relating to disabled persons' cars, which provides that when the child or children of the disabled person reaches tthe age of 14 years or ceases to depend on the disabled person the car will not be replaced, by substituting a later age which will enable the disabled person to continue his or her care of the relevant child or children.]

Mr. Peart

I admire my hon. and learned Friend's persistency and consistency on this subject, but, despite the worthy objectives of the Motion, I cannot find time for it next week.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Now that my right hon. Friend has a little more time to spare, will he remember that there are a number of important Private Members' Bills which have still not been completed? Will he consider the possibility of making available a little more Private Members' time?

Mr. Peart

I am aware of this, as my hon. Friend knows.