§ 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:
TUESDAY, 18TH NOVEMBER.—Second Reading of the Rent (Control of Increases) Bill.
Motions on the Gaming Clubs (Licensing) Regulations, 1969.
WEDNESDAY, 19TH NOVEMBER.— Second Reading of the Ulster Defence Regiment Bill.
THURSDAY, 20TH NOVEMBER.— Supply [1st Allotted Day]:
Debate on a Motion to take note of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Reports from the Committee of Public Accounts in Session 1968–69, and the related Treasury Minute.
FRIDAY, 21ST NOVEMBER.—Private Members' Motions.
§ Mr. Heath
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a further question about the provision of parliamentary papers, which is still thoroughly unsatisfactory? He will agree that it is the Government's 615 responsibility to provide parliamentary papers and the Treasury's responsibility to look after the running of the Stationery Office. What action are the Government taking to deal with this situation?
The Votes and Proceedings of the House arrived today in the Opposition Whips' Office marked, "Rush. Do not delay". We much appreciate this action which, apparently, has been taken by the Leader of the House, but the document arrived at noon today and is for last Tuesday. However much it has been rushed and not delayed, it is of no assistance to us now.
Would the right hon. Gentleman kindly deal with this matter and ensure that we get parliamentary papers on time and give an assurance that no business will be taken for which the papers are not available?
§ Mr. Peart
As the right hon. Gentleman knows, my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury made a statement on Tuesday on this matter. I understand that the situation concerning the industrial dispute is much better and that the men are not going slow. That is the latest information that I have.
Although that is not my responsibility as such, as Leader of the House I am naturally anxious to ensure that Members receive their papers. I recognise inconveniences have been caused and I will do all that I can do remedy them.
§ Mr. Sheldon
Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have tabled a Motion to allow the proceedings of the House to be broadcast on television? The Motion is to be debated on Friday next week, and because we have not received our Order Papers this not yet widely known.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
As the right hon. Gentleman says that he cannot give an assurance that a proper supply of parliamentary papers will be resumed, will he undertake that no Committee stages of Bills, which involve heavy printing of Amendments, are taken until the supply of necessary papers for Members, such at HANSARD and the Order Book, has been properly restored?
§ Mr. John Mendelson
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the House has not had a specific debate on the tragic war Vietnam for several years and that there is strong opinion, at any rate on this side, that we should have an opportunity to question the Government and that they should state their policy because the President of the United States is for ever quoting the views of Western European countries, and of the United Kingdom on particular?
§ Mr. Tom Boardman
The Prime Minister has said from time to time that it is the Government's job to govern. Does not their inability to provide parliamentary papers prove their incompetence to do the job?
§ Mrs. Renee Short
Is my right hon. Friend aware that, despite his favourable and helpful reply last week, there is great concern that for another week he has not announced a date when we can debate the proposals to reorganise the broadcasting services? In view of today's announcement in the Press about additional local radio stations, will he give the House an opportunity to debate this matter at the earliest possible moment?
§ Mr. Rippon
Would the right hon. Gentleman answer the quite clear and specific question of my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter)? Will he give an assurance that the Committee stages of Bills will not he taken until we are up to date with our HANSARDS and Order Papers, which we should have?
§ Mr. John Fraser
In view of the occasional loss of productive capacity on Fridays, can my right hon. Friend say whether it is possible to make sure that Fridays are filled up with business? Can he say anything about tomorrow?
§ Mr. Peart
I> should have thought that we could take all the stages of the Transport (London) Amendment Bill tomorrow.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser
In view of the continuing measure of responsibility which the Government have for the civil war in Nigeria, may we have a debate on this matter as soon as possible?
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon
Can my right hon. Friend say when the House will be given an opportunity to debate the work of the Parliamentary Commissioner, in view of the many proposals now being considered for extending the purview of officials of this nature?
§ Mr. Peyton
Will the Leader of the House consider finding time for a short debate next week when we can discuss the provision of parliamentary papers? This would afford him the opportunity of listening to our views on this subject and to the way in which the House of Commons has been mortified by the Government's failure. It would also give him the opportunity of explaining just what the purpose is in going on discussing last week's Order Paper.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We are not now debating what the hon. Member is asking should be discussed in a debate. The hon. Member at present can ask for time for a debate.
§ Mr. Peyton
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman will explain why he is continuing to distribute last week's Order Paper, which is about as good as last week's menu?
§ Mr. Booth
Is my right hon. Friend aware that many hon. Members on these benches want an opportunity in the Chamber to debate the views put to them by the trade union lobby of the House yesterday afternoon? Will he provide time on an early occasion to debate the urgent need for the Government to dissociate themselves entirely from American military activities in Vietnam?
§ Mr. McNamara
Concerning Monday's business after ten o'clock and Wednesday's business, am I right in assuming that we shall have only Second Readings and no further stages? On Monday's business, which has reference to legislation in Stormont, will my right hon. Friend arrange for copies of that legislation to be available in the Vote Office?
§ Mr. Amery
Does not the Leader of the House recognise that our deprivation of parliamentary papers amounts to a contempt of Parliament? If he thinks that the feelings of the chapel concerned are too delicate to be trampled on, can he not have the photostat copies of papers multiplied and distributed by post or in some other way?
§ Mr. Peart
I have information given to me that the strike is over. I do not want to say something here—and I hope that no hon. Member will do so—which would spoil the situation. I shall certainly look at the question of emergency publication and whether this could be stepped up in certain circumstances.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
May I support the request made by my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) for an urgent debate on Vietnam and also take the opportunity of supporting the proposal for a debate on broadcasting?
§ Mr. Wiggin
Will the Leader of the House bear in mind that his answers to Questions yesterday on the report of the Services Committee will cause a great deal of disturbance to many hon. Members on both sides of the House? Will he say whether the statement on secret 620 arial services and increased travel allowances will be made next week?
§ Mr. Russell Kerr
In view of the widespread concern on this side of the House about several proposals in the White Paper on civil aviation, will my right hon. Friend promise a debate on this matter at least this side of Christmas if he cannot find time next week?
§ Sir A. V. Harvey
The Leader of the House has not been very explicit about the supply of parliamentary papers. Will he try to tell the House accurately this afternoon what the present position is, so that we may know? He seemed to hedge and to be rather cagey about it.
§ Mr. English
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I realise your difficulties, because you do not know what a question is to be before it is uttered. Nevertheless, is it not a waste of time of the House and of hon. Members who wish to ask business questions on individual topics if some questions are repeated over and over again by hon. Members opposite?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member has been long enough in Parliament to know what he has noticed today is not a novelty about questions. Indeed, it is a way in which one side or the other or one group or the other calls attention to what it thinks are grave matters—and this is a grave matter.
§ Mr. Maclennan
In view of the report by "Justice" on the setting up of an Ombudsman and the Government's commitment to do this and the absence of any reference to it in the Gracious Speech, can my right hon. Friend make a statement next week on the progress of consultation with local authorities on this problem?
§ Sir G. Nabarro
May I ask the Leader of the House whether he recognises that seven times in this Chamber he has claimed to have acted quickly in the matter of hon. Members' allowances for travel and secretarial aids, but the fact is that he has now occupied four months since 24th July last on this matter? Does he need four years to deal with it? Will he not undertake to make a statement positively before next Thursday to avoid further wastage of our time?
§ Mr. Peart
I remind the hon. Gentleman, who has been here for a long time, that many of the things already introduced were not done in previous years. When the Services Committee discussed this matter and produced a report I made an announcement just before the Recess and I accepted the report in principle. Inevitably, there must be discussions with Government Departments which are involved. I have acted quickly and I am rather surprised that the hon. Member should be so churlish.
§ Mr. Dickens
While fully recognising the improvements brought about recently in services to Members, will my right hon. Friend take note of the concern felt by many of us about the continuing delay in resolving this problem and our hope that he will be able to make a statement on the matter next week?
§ Sir T. Beamish
If the strike is not settled and the provision of parliamentary papers on time is not assured by tomorrow morning, will the right hon. Gentleman make a statement at 11 o'clock tomorrow?
§ Mr. Leslie Huckfield
May I press my right hon. Friend, for the second time this afternoon, for a debate on the new White Paper on civil air transport in this country? May I draw his attention to a Motion on the Order Paper in my name, when it finally appears, which has 40 signatures attached? May I press for an urgent debate on this very important subject?
§ Mr. Marten
The right hon. Gentleman said that we could have a debate on the Second Reading of the Bill, but what we want is a debate on the White Paper before the Bill.
§ Mr. John Page
If the Leader of the House finds it necessary to ask his right hon. Friend to make a statement tomorrow about parliamentary papers, will he put to him the rather naive suggestion that he might tell the House what the dispute is about?