HC Deb 03 July 1970 vol 803 cc191-2
The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. William Whitelaw)

I have a short business statement to make.

The debate on the Address in reply to the Gracious Speech will be continued on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week and brought to a conclusion on Thursday. 9th July.

The business on Friday, 10th July, will be Second Reading of the National Insurance (Old Persons' and Widows' Pensions and Attendance Allowance) Bill, of the International Monetary Fund Bill and of the Education (Handicapped Children) Bill.

Monday, 13th July, Supply [1st allotted day]: Debate on a topic to be announced.

Mr. Harold Wilson

In congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on his first business statement, may I ask him if he can now answer the question which the Prime Minister said yesterday he was not in a position to answer but which would be dealt with later—whether the Government intend to proceed with the Coal Industry Bill which was introduced in the last Parliament and, if so, when?

Mr. Whitelaw

May I first thank the right hon. Gentleman for his kind congratulations and say that I hope in my task I shall be able to carry out the same principles of fairness and courtesy which have been handed down to me by my predecessors in this job.

I recognise at once that there are important provisions in the Coal Industry Bill in which hon. Members on both sides of the House are particularly interested. I have represented this to my colleagues and they will take these views carefully into consideration in coming to their decision about the Bill.

Mr. Michael Foot

While congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on behalf of hack-benchers in this House who also have high expectations of him, which I believe will not be miscarried, may I ask whether he will consider making provision for a debate next week if we do not secure a proper decision today in questions which may be raised about the representation of Mid-Ulster? I give him warning that some of us may wish to have a debate on this subject at an early date, considering that this takes into account the whole question of the constitution of this House. Matters are to be raised today, as was indicated by Mr. Speaker yesterday—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman cannot discuss the business that he wants to raise. He can ask for time to discuss it.

Mr. Foot

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman to take account of the fact that it may be necesary to have a debate on this matter next week?

Mr. Whitelaw

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks. I hope that after a few months he will still feel as kindly towards me.

Concerning his comments about the debate, I think it will be right to see how we get on today and what happens thereafter. However, I certainly take note of what he says.