§ 3.36 p.m.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
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, 5TH MAY—Post Office Bill, remaining stages.
TUESDAY, 6TH MAY—Second Reading of the Finance Bill.
Motions on the Double Taxation Relief Orders relating to Japan and Norway, and on the Central Banks (Income Tax Schedule C Exemption) Order.
Motion on the Grant-Aided Secondary Schools (Scotland) Grant (Amendment) Regulations 1969.
At seven o'clock opposed Private Business has been put down by the Chairman of Ways and Means for consideration.
THURSDAY, 8TH MAY—Second Reading of the Iron and Steel Bill.
Motions on the Immunities and Privileges Orders relating to Sugar and Coffee.
FRIDAY, 9TH MAY—Private Members' Bills.
MONDAY, 12TH MAY—Supply (19th Allotted Day):
Debate on a subject to be announced later.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
First, can the Leader of the House say when the Government's promised statement on the level of pension contributions will be made? Secondly, can he say when the Industrial Relations Bill will be published?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I hope that hon. Members will restrain themselves as far as they humanly can in the matter of questions.
§ Mr. Hooley
Will my right hon. Friend undertake to provide time for a debate on Rhodesia if the present conversations lead to any change in Government policy?
§ Mr. Biffen
Can the right hon. Gentleman make a statement next week confirming that the Committee stage of the Industrial Relations Bill will be taken on the Floor of the House, and so extinguish the absurd proposition that the Government would resign on a procedural Motion?
§ Mr. Ellis
Is my right hon. Friend aware of the all-party early day Motion No. 94, which refers to the Brambell Report?
[That this House welcomes the report of the technical committee to inquire into the welfare of animals kept under intensive livestock husbandry systems; and urges Her Majesty's Government to take action to make the recommendations proposed effective.]
Will my right hon. Friend ensure that before any legislation is brought forward there is adequate time for a debate on that Report, as more than 60 hon. Members are interested in this matter, and there should be time to debate it?
§ Sir L. Heald
It has been expected and suggested that the Government would give time for the Divorce Reform Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said nothing about it today, but it is widely rumoured that it is to appear as the second Order of the Day tomorrow. If that is so, it will put all those hon. Members who are concerned with the further stages of the Bill in grave difficulty. They have arrangements elsewhere, and no warning whatever has been given of that possibility.
1625 I ask the right hon. Gentleman, in his capacity as Leader of the House and helper of all of us here, to give us an explanation, because it appears that there has been a manoeuvre which would have very serious effects. This is a very important matter. Many hon. Members are concerned about the Report stage, to which they have Amendments, and there is a Motion on the Third Reading—[HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."] Those hon. Members have been led to believe that it would not come up tomorrow. They are entitled to an answer.
§ Mr. Peyton
Would the right hon. Gentleman care to make any forecast about the further progress of the Post Office Bill, to which his hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis) has been making notable contributions? Will it be another Parliament (No. 2) Bill?
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon
When will we discuss the Hunt proposals and the Government's recommendations upon them?
§ Mr. Gwynfor Evans
Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to Motion No. 267, which is concerned with the right of reply by the S.N.P. and Plaid Cymru to the last Labour Party broadcast, which gave three times as much time to attacking these two parties as we get in a year to put our policies before the people?
1626 [That this House notes that the Labour Party's political broadcast of 9th April, which was televised on all frequencies in England, Scotland and Wales, was devoted to misrepresenting and caricaturing the policies of Plaid Cywru and the Scottish National Party and to attacking the caricatures of policy it had invented; while understanding that this dishonest procedure was motivated by fear of the growing strength of the two national parties, deplores the fact that the quarter of an hour given to it is three times as great a period, as the total annual allocation of time allowed on television to the Welsh and Scots parties, which have five minutes a year in Wales and Scotland and no time at all on the English channels; calls upon the leaders of the two major English parties, whose collusion is responsible for this situation, to be fair enough to require the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Independent Television Authority to grant Plaid Cywru and the Scottish National Party the democratic right of reply for an equal period on at least the channels which serve their two nations; and requests the party leaders to devise a pattern of party political broadcasts which will permit the Welsh and Scots parties opportunities of presenting their policies to the people of Wales and Scotland between elections and during the general election campaign comparable with those of which the English parties have enjoyed there hitherto a near-monopoly.]
May we have a debate on the whole issue of party political broadcasts, which is so important for political democracy and free speech?
§ Mr. Russell Kerr
In view of the continuing unrest and turmoil throughout the length and breadth of the trade union movement over the proposed Industrial Relations Bill, may we have an assurance that under no circumstances will the Bill be brought before the House next week or in any subsequent week?
§ Sir Eric Fletcher
On the question put by the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey (Sir L. Heald), how is it that, in the Order Book of the House, there appear about 25 Orders of the Day for tomorrow, Friday, 2nd May, but the Divorce Bill is not among them? Can my right hon. Friend explain, when about 25 Private Members' Bills have been printed in the Order Book and the Divorce Bill is not among them, by what procedure it is apparently announced now, for the first time, to the House that the Bill will be the second Order of the Day?
§ Dame Irene Ward
I do not understand what the right hon. Gentleman is saying about the Divorce Bill being taken tomorrow, because if it does not appear in the list, as the right hon. Member for Islington, East (Sir Eric Fletcher) said, is it fair to the House to insert a Bill—whether it has a right to be there or not—without giving the House due notice that it is to come on tomorrow?
May I say right now that, if the House is to be treated in this way by the right hon. Gentleman, I shall have to make another protest?
§ Mr. Lubbock
In view of the fact that objections are being made to the setting-up of the Committee on Members' business interests, will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for a debate on this subject next week?
§ Mr. Peart
As I said last week, part of the Finance Bill will be taken upstairs and, by agreement, we will have major debates on the Floor of the House. I gave the four subjects for those debates—personal direct taxation, S.E.T., the Betterment Levy and Purchase Tax. The minutiae will be taken upstairs.
The answer to the hon. Gentleman's first question is, "Yes". In view of what has happened, it will inevitably have to be debated.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
Will my right hon. Friend at last find time for my Motion relating to the uneven spread of trade, industry, commerce and employment throughout Scotland, to the neglect of the North of Scotland?
[That this House, realising the uneven distribution of trade, industry, commerce, and employment in Scotland which are mainly concentrated in the South of Scotland, calls on the Government to make better use of modern scientific methods which are now available in this technological age, in order to improve national and external facilities and communications throughout Scotland and in order to attract to and establish in North, North-East and North-West Scotland more industries and employment than at present exist there for the benefit of Scotland's internal prosperity and exports particularly to northern parts of Europe and America in relation to which Scotland stands geographically in an especially favourable position.]
§ Sir D. Walker-Smith
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the taking of the Divorce Bill without notice merely arises from printing difficulties, or does he say that this is a proper and normal procedure? If the latter, what is the point of printing these Measures on the Order Paper if they bear no relation to the time at which they are to be debated?
§ Mr. Deedes
Can the right hon. Gentleman help us by saying under what Standing Order the Divorce Bill automatically secures second place for its remaining stages tomorrow?
§ Sir F. Bennett
During the Prime Minister's Answers today, he made several references to the importance of the latest series of talks between the I.M.F. and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. When will we have a statement about the result of these talks? Can the right hon. Gentleman promise firmly that in any case it will be before the Second Reading of the Finance Bill next week?
§ Mr. Hastings
In view of the wide interest in the House in the Divorce Bill and the lamentable lack of notice given to hon. Members, would the right hon. Gentleman ask the sponsors of the Bill 1630 if they would be prepared, in the circumstances, to defer the Measure?
§ Mr. Iremonger
Is the right hon. Gentleman able to find time for the House to debate my Early Day Motion, accepted by the Table last night, on local authority valuation practice?
[That this House takes note of the obiter dicta of two Lords Justices in the Court of Appeal in the case of Young v. Greater London Council and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to institute an inquiry into the valuation of the private property in issue, which was compulsorily purchased by the London County C'ouncll.]
§ Mr. Younger
Is the Leader of the House aware that taking the Education (Scotland) Bill next Wednesday afternoon will mean that that debate and the deliberations of the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs will be taking place at the same time? Since the same specialist Members must take part in both of those deliberations, would the right hon Gentleman see whether this difficulty can be overcome?