§ 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:
THURSDAY, 27TH NOVEMBER—Supply [2nd Allotted Day]: Until seven o'clock there will be a debate on the £50 Travel Allowance, which will arise on an Opposition Motion, and afterwards on Rural Bus Services, also on an Opposition Motion.
FRIDAY, 28TH NOVEMBER—Private Members' Motions.
MONDAY, 1ST DECEMBER—Private Members' Motions until seven o'clock.
Afterwards, Motions on the Milk Marketing Amendment 1933 Scheme, the West Riding County Council Order, the Cumberland County Council Order, the Defence Powers (Continuance) Order and the British Overseas Airways Corporation (Borrowing Powers) Order.
§ Mrs. Renee Short
For three weeks in succession I have raised with my right hon. Friend the need for a debate at the earliest possible opportunity on the proposals to reorganise the broadcasting services, but he has not yet made a firm announcement. Instead of taking some of the odds and ends which he has announced for debate next week, would he consider substituting an urgently 1514 needed debate on this subject? Is he aware of the concern that is now spreading through the B.B.C. staff, particularly in the regions, and the urgent need for this House to have a say about what is to happen to the broadcasting services in the future?
§ Lord Balniel
Does the right hon. Gentleman recollect that a fortnight ago my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said, and the Prime Minister agreed, that a debate on the second White Paper on pensions would be desirable in view of the widespread concern that is felt about the Government's proposals? Is it not desirable that: we debate the matter at an early date?
§ Mr. Peart
I said that I would look into the matter sympathetically. I repeat that I am trying to be helpful. I realise the importance of the subject—[Interruption.]—which, for some strange reason, hon. Gentlemen opposite appear to reject. I assure the noble Lord that I will convey all these views to my right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Winnick
In view of the serious allegations of mass murder in Vietnamese villages, would my right hon. Friend give serious consideration to having a debate on the Vietnam war, particularly in view of these allegations of mass murder? Is he aware that a Motion on the subject is now being tabled?
§ Mr. Peart
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister answered a number of questions on this specific matter earlier. I was pressed the other week by my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) to have a general debate on Vietnam. I said that I would make representations to my right hon. Friend, and that has been done. However, on the specific point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Winnick), I suggest that the Prime Minister gave satisfactory answers at Question Time.
§ Mr. Jennings
Is it possible for the right hon. Gentleman to squeeze time out of next week's business as a matter of urgency for at least a half-day's debate on the present position of teachers and their salary claim?
§ Mr. Maclennan
Would my right hon. Friend consult his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland about the possibility of initiating a debate in the Scottish Grand Committee on the Report of the Royal Commission on Local Government in Scotland?
§ Dame Irene Ward
Has the leader of the House seem the Motion standing in my name asking for a statement to be made about the strike of maintenance men on the Underground?
[That, in the opinion of this House, a statement should be made on the continued strike by the Underground maintenance men which is causing inconvenience to the travelling public owing to the withdrawal of trains owing to lack of essential maintenance and the stoppage of escalators through lack of repair and on why this strike has caused less attention from the authorities than the unofficial strikes of the guards now settled to their advantage.]
Since quite a lot of information has been given about the guards' dispute, which seems to have been satisfactorily settled, is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the need for a statement to be made about this strike? Is he aware of the difficulties that face people travelling on the Underground when some escalators are out of action? Is he aware that some trains must be taken out of service because there is nobody to fit the necessary spare parts? Can the House be told what is happening in this dispute?
§ Mr. Michael Foot
Does my right hon. Friend recognise that on Tuesday it may not be possible to conclude the business on the Ulster Defence Regiment Bill at a mutually agreeable time for us all'? Will he take into account that we may need further time to complete proper discussion of that Bill?
§ Mr. Crouch
Is the Leader of the House aware of the growing concern in the country and the House at the Government's lack of a proper policy on the Nigerian war? Will he give us an opportunity to debate the question next week?
§ Mr. Faulds
May I emphasise the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Renee Short) about the need for a debate on the B.B.C.s plans to reorganise both its regions and its services, in view of the increasing concern of the staff, who have not been consulted, and the need for a public inquiry into the responsibility of the B.B.C. in the 'seventies?
I have replied to my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Renee Short) on that subject.
§ Mr. Hector Hughes
Will the Leader of the House find time next week for Motion No. 17, for two reasons: it is 1517 topical in relation to the inter-denominational schools in Northern Ireland; and it shows a remarkable change of policy on the part of some Tories—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. and learned Gentleman cannot now debate the subject for which he seeks to ask time to debate.
§ Mr. Hughes
—and my amendments to it rationalise it.
[That this House, recognising the special problems created by a divided community in Northern Ireland, and without prejudice to the rights of parents to decide their children's place of education and form of religious instruction, urges education authorities, voluntary agencies, and the churches, in Northern Ireland to give immediate consideration to the creation of truly inter-denominational secondary schools and teacher training colleges, which will be attended by pupils of all religious persuasions, as a first step towards a more united community.]
[As Amendments to Mr. Henry Clark's proposed Motion (Inter-Denominational Schools in Northern Ireland):
Line 1, after recognising', insert and deploring'.
Line 7, at end add ' and United Ireland '.]
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser
In view of the facts about arms supply given by the Front Bench opposite and the failure, or success, of the Foreign Secretary in misleading the House, will the Leader of the House now urgently consider a debate on the Nigerian war before Christmas?
§ Mr. James Johnson
We have waited a long time for the Merchant Shipping Bill. Can we be told when we can debate it—perhaps before Christmas?
§ Mr. Worsley
Will the Leader of the House reconsider what he said about a debate on broadcasting, and give an assurance that no action will be taken until there has been a debate?
§ Mr. Rose
Now that the latest decision under the Road Safety Act is an open incitement to drivers to take a drink of whisky when stopped by policemen, will my right hon. Friend now consult the Cabinet and, even if it means sacrificing some parliamentary time, initiate a short amending Bill to save a potential 1,000 lives during the next year?
§ Sir D. Renton
Will the Leader of the House give an undertaking that no legislation based upon the Beeching Report on the size of quarter sessions will be introduced in either House until we have had an opportunity of debating the report itself?
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
Will not my right hon. Friend recognise that there have been far too many statements on broadcasting without debate, and will he now arrange a debate before any further statements are made?
§ Mr. John Mendelson
Does the Leader of the House recall that when pressed last week on the urgent need for a debate on Vietnam he said that he would consult his right hon. Friend, and look into it? Does he not accept that this matter has become more urgent because of the announced date of the Prime Minister's visit to Washington? As the House needs an opportunity to express its view on Vietnam, will make haste to make an announcement next week about a debate before Christmas?
§ Mr. Ian Gilmour
Has the Leader of the House gathered from the large number of questions addressed to him about broadcasting that to have the statement he has threatened next week without a debate will be quite unacceptable to the House?
§ Mr. Barnes
As a misleading statement was given to the House earlier in the week about an American guarantee for Biafra, and as this is not the first instance of this kind, can we not have a debate next week so that the Government can make a clear statement on their policy with regard to the Nigerian war?
§ Mr. Peart
I cannot give an assurance about that. This matter has been debated, statements have been made, and Questions have been put to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. I have made representations to my right hon. Friend. I must make representations, even though I may disagree with views expressed by colleagues in the House.
§ Sir Ian Orr-Ewing
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the Select Committee on Science and Technology published its report on Defence Research Establishments six months ago? In view 1520 of the importance of the matter, ought we not to have a debate before the Defence Estimates debates season starts?
§ Mr. Philip Noel-Baker
May I press my right hon. Friend that it is quite essential that the House should have a debate on Vietnam before the Prime Minister goes to Washington, which means that we must have it before Christmas?
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
The Leader of the House has said that he will make a statement next week on salaries for secretaries, or some secretarial assistance—a matter which, incidentally, is reported in the Press—but is he aware that hon. Members rather resent the fact about the way the Committee is selected, and put into operation? No one knows how it operates, and then my right hon. Friend comes along and says that he will make a statement. Is he aware that a lot more is needed than just this method of dealing with hon. Members' salaries and conditions?
§ Mr. Palmer
My right hon. Friend has just said that he cannot promise a debate before Christmas on the Report of the Select Committee on Science and Technology on Defence Research Establishments. Can he promise a debate very soon after Christmas?
§ Sir A. V. Harvey
Is the Leader of the House aware that as a result of what has been shown on television in recent weeks about starving children in Biafra, it is now the clear duty of the House to debate the matter in order to see whether Britain can give a lead? The right hon. Gentleman must not under-estimate the feeling of people in the country as well as in the House.
§ Mr. Heath
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that so far in reply to hon. Members, according to my count, he has spoken of 11 important matters, on four of which he promised to be helpful, five he promised to watch carefully, and the remainder he was vaguely ambiguous about? Can he go away and arrange for the remaining four weeks before Christmas to be used to deal with important matters which the House wants to discuss and statements by Ministers which the House wants to hear, instead of putting forward some of the business in which the House has very little interest?
§ Mr. Peart
I cannot accept that. I believe that the Police Bill and the Ulster Defence Regiment Bill, to be debated next week, are very important. If hon. Members opposite believe that the £50 allowance is a bad subject for their Supply day, why did they not choose a different one?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Is my right hon. Friend aware, in view of what the Leader of the Opposition is demanding, that the Merchant Shipping Bill relates to matters which have been discussed for the last 50 or 60 years and that the industry has been neglected by the Tories? Is it not about time that we dealt with this important matter?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman wish to ask a business question'? It is rather late.
§ Mr. Rippon
Is the Leader of the House suggesting that the question of rural buses is not important?