HC Deb 30 October 1969 vol 790 cc352-7
Mr. Heath

May I ask the Leader of the House to 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)

The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 3RD NOVEMBER.—The debate on the Address in reply to the Gracious Speech will be continued on Monday, 3rd November, when, subject to the tabling and selection of Amendments, there will be a debate on the economic situation.

TUESDAY, 4TH NOVEMBER.—The debate on the Address will be brought to a conclusion on Tuesday, 4th November, when, subject to the tabling and selection of Amendments, there will be a debate on housing.

This will be followed by a Motion on the Assistance for House Purchase and Improvement (Increase of Subsidy) Order.

WEDNESDAY, 5TH NOVEMBER.—Second Reading of the Local Employment Bill and of the Expiring Laws Bill.

THURSDAY, 6TH NOVEMBER.—Second Reading of the Agriculture Bill.

FRIDAY, 7TH NOVEMBER.—Second Reading of the Insolvency Services (Accounting and Investment) Bill.

Motion on the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) (Colliery Workers Supplementary Scheme) Amendment (No. 2) Order.

MONDAY, 10TH NOVEMBER.—Second Reading of the General Rate Bill. Motions on the Restriction of Merger Order and on the Milk Marketing 1933 Amendment Scheme.

Mr. Heath

Can the Leader of the House say when the Boundary Commission Orders will be taken so that we may have the last stage of this charade with the Government voting against them?

Mr. Peart

I hope they will be taken soon. In fact, I give that assurance.

Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

Could the Leader of the House arrange for an early statement to be made to this House about the strike in Her Majesty's Stationery Office? HANSARD for 21st October, when there was a very important debate, is still not available. It is of very wide interest to industry since it was concerned with the new Ministry of Technology. In addition, today's Order Paper which should have been available early this morning only became available at 12 o'clock. How much longer is this going on? We cannot have our business made so inefficient and crippled in this manner.

Mr. Peart

I accept what the hon. Gentleman says and I recognise the difficulties. As the hon. Member knows, there is a go-slow in the St. Stephen's Press. We had produced an emergency Order Paper. The full Order Paper, I agree, was late today.

There is still the problem of that missing HANSARD. I shall convey the views of the House to my right hon. Friend, with whom I am in close touch on this matter. I will try to make an early statement.

Mr. William Hamilton

Can my right hon. Friend say when he will be setting up again the Select Committee on the Declaration of Members' Interests? There is a great deal of urgency in this matter, which has increased in the last few weeks.

Mr. Peart

I hope to have the arrangements completed this week.

Mr. Grant

Has the Leader of the House received any request from the Home Secretary to provide time to make a personal statement to correct the wildly misleading statements that he made in the House yesterday about Harrow Borough Council housing?

Mr. Peart

I know that there was a lot of controversy and argument in the debate, but I should not have thought that the controversy called for a special statement by the Home Secretary. The matter can still be raised in debate.

Dame Irene Ward

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen my Motions Nos. 3 and 4—

[That this House believes that the people of Great Britain require proper salaries and conditions of service for the nursing profession; requires the Secretary of State for Social Services to deal with this urgent matter without further delay; and urges that a statement as to the procedure to be adopted should be announced in the House of Commons on 30th October.]

[That, in the opinion of this House, the speech of Mr. Kenneth Adam, Governor of the British Film Institute, at the annual meeting of the Northern Arts Association on 25th October, discloses yet another discrimination against Tyneside infavour of the London National Film Theatre; conveys to Mr. Kenneth Adam its grateful appreciation that he is prepared to fight for the implementation of the proposed plan for the establishment of the purpose-built Tyneside Film Theatre with educational and social facilities; and that, in the opinion of this House, any essential economies should be borne by London and not by the North of England with its high level of unemployment.]

With regard to the nurses, could the right hon. Gentleman find out from the Government why they seem to be more interested in the conditions of those who strike than in the conditions of those who do not strike? The nurses would like to know when something is likely to be done about their salaries and conditions, in view of the fact that the whole of the country wants them to be properly treated.

Mr. Peart

I have carefully read the two Motions, one in connection with nursing staff and the other dealing with a super-film theatre at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I am afraid that I cannot find time to debate these Motions, but the hon.Lady has properly conveyed her views and she will have opportunities to raise these matters again, probably on the Adjournment or on some such occasion.

Mr. Sheldon

As the Ministry of Technology now embraces a number of other Ministries, will extra time be given for Questions concerning this Ministry?

Mr. Peart

The roster has been published for the next seven weeks. We have had discussions. If there is any difficulty because of the change of functions of Ministries, I shall look at the question quickly and, after discussions, suggest changes.

Mr. Sharples

Further to the question put by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, will the Leader of the House say when the Home Secretary intends to comply with the legal obligation to lay the Orders relating to the Boundary Commission's recommendations?

Mr. Peart

It was not a question of the Orders having to be laid but of Motions. I think that that is what the right hon. Gentleman was pressing me about.

Mr. John Page

Is the Leader of the House aware that he was not correct in saying that it was merely a matter of argument yesterday between the Home Secretary and my right hon. and hon. Friends, but there was a direct attack on the Harrow Borough Council, giving entirely incorrect information—

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is the business question time. The hon. Gentleman must ask for time to discuss what he wishes to have discussed.

Mr. Page

Does the Leader of the House realise that a statement is demanded and the matter cannot be brushed off as he has tried to brush it off?

Mr. Peart

I am not seeking to brush it off. I can understand the matter being raised by hon. Members. It did excite some controversy, but there was an opportunity then. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman did not catch Mr. Speaker's eye on that occasion, but there are opportunities. I cannot recommend a statement on it.

Mr. Emery

Will the Leader of the House consider further the matter of Questions to the Ministry of Technology. Since we now have a conglomerate structure in which Power, part of the D.E.A. and part of the old Board of Trade, Technology and all of industry are lumped together, without division, will there not be a mess of Questions, with no centralised attention to any subject? Will the right hon. Gentleman give some thought to that aspect of the problem?

Mr. Peart

I shall. I thought that I gave a sympathetic answer. If I feel that it is not working, I shall, following discussions through the usual channels and with colleagues, have to make alterations.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Has the right hon. Gentleman noticed the substantive Motion of censure on the Secretary of State for Education and Science, which appears as item No. 15 on the Order Paper today?

[That this House, noting that Parliament has given local education authorities discretion to determine the form of secondary education in the areas for which they are responsible, but that, nevertheless, the Secretary of State does not hesitate to endeavour by exhortation and circular to persuade them to adopt universally his predeliction for comprehensive secondary education, condemns as hypocritical and insincere his refusal to receive, at the request of the hon. Member for Tiverton, a deputation to discuss the supply of free milk to ratepayers' children at schools outside the state system, on the grounds that, Parliament have given authorities discretion in this matter and I am not prepared to interfere in their free exercise of this discretion, and censures him accordingly.]

Since this concerns the integrity of the Secretary of State for Education and Science, when will the Leader of the House give time for it to be debated?

Mr. Peart

I note the views of hon. Members. There will be opportunities. There are still opportunities in the debate on the Address. Moreover, when my right hon. Friend presents his Bill on education, there will be further opportunities.

Mr. Goodhew

Could the Leader of the House arrange for the Secretary of State for Defence to make a statement next week on his decision to maintain a presence in South-East Asia, as disclosed in the statement by the High Commissioner in Malaysia recently?

Mr. Peart

I know that this matter has given rise to argument. I shall convey the hon. Gentleman's views to my right hon. Friend, but I cannot say next week.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Further to that question, perhaps we could have an answer to my hon. Friend's inquiry in the debate about to begin.

Mr. Peart

I was asked about time for a statement by the Secretary of State for Defence. I said that I should convey the hon. Gentleman's views—and that includes now the views of the hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison)—but I can give no promise.