§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Robert Carr)
The Business for next week will be as follows:
§ Motions on the Immunities and Privileges Orders.
§ FRIDAY, 21ST APRIL.—Private Members' Bills.
§ Mr. Foot
First, may I tell the right hon. Gentleman that we wish most strongly to have a debate at a very early stage indeed on the appalling situation in Bangladesh? This should be debated in Government time. Will he undertake to consider that matter and make some proposition to us at a very early stage?
Second, as regards the proposal for the debates on Tuesday and Wednesday on the European Communities Bill, will the right hon. Gentleman take into account that on the Tuesday we shall be discussing possibly two Amendments dealing with the question of how the consent of the people is to be secured for what the Government may be proposing, and would he take into account, and possibly make representations with us about, those two Amendments being discussed separately? That may be the best way for the House to proceed.
§ Mr. Carr
On the hon. Gentleman's first point about Bangladesh, I am afraid that I cannot give any commitment about it, but I take note of what he has said.
On the second point, the hon. Gentle man and the House will realise that this is a matter for the Chair. I understand that the hon. Gentleman did not object when those two Amendments were originally grouped a month ago by the Chairman, no doubt because they deal with related subjects. But, however the debate may take place, it is not unknown, as the hon. Gentleman will realise, that the possibility of separate Divisions for the two Amendments—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I have allowed the question and the answer, but we cannot go any further into the question of what happens in Committee.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser
Further to the point about Bangladesh, which the House must realise is extremely urgent, and appreciating that there is not time for a debate, could my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, or my right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development, come to the House as soon as possible and declare what Her Majesty's Government can do and are doing to carry out relief operations in that country?
§ Mr. Michael Foot
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am sorry that I did not intervene previously on this point. I do so only because it seems that it would be a peculiar precedent to have set that you should rule that when the Minister makes a statement about business next week indicating that we are to discuss matters in Committee representations should not be made at that stage about what further representations the Government may make when we come to that proceeding. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I would hope that that could be the case, particularly as the right hon. Gentleman indicated that he had thought that we had changed our minds on the desirability of those two debates being separate. That is still our view. I ask the right hon. Gentleman—I think it is perfectly in order—to make the same 1435 kind of representations as we have made on this.
§ Mr. Speaker
Sometimes the Chair is in some doubt as to what it should rule. I have no doubt today. The question of separate Divisions in Committee is not for me or for the House. It is for the Chairman of Ways and Means when the Committee is a Committee of the Whole House, and so I rule.
§ Mr. C. Pannell
Would the Leader of the House ask the Home Secretary to make a statement next week on the inquiry that was conducted and concluded some weeks ago into the affairs of the Leeds police? The right hon. Gentleman has been approached several times. The inquiry was started on the instigation of hon. Members on both sides of the House representing the City of Leeds, and it is a matter now causing some concern. It brooks no further delay. May I inquire at this stage whether the Home Secretary has read the report?
§ Mr. Driberg
Has the right hon. Gentleman had time to consider the question of a debate—his predecessor gave firm undertakings of an early debate—on the question of the televising of the proceedings of Parliament?
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
Is my right hon. Friend aware of the weight of legislation already initiated at Stormont, including a local government Bill which is vital to the contentment and reconciliation of the communities? May we have a statement next week on how the Government propose that Parliament should be able to scrutinise and amend that legislation?
§ Mr. Skinner
Crittal Hope Ltd., a subsidiary of Slater Walker, which has some indirect connection with the Secretary of State for the Environment—
§ Mr. Skinner
—has issued a leaflet to its employees indicating that they will be in a position very shortly to buy their council houses as sitting tenants. We have had no statement in the House. So will the Leader of the House arrange for the Secretary of State for the Environment to make a statement very quickly on what can be regarded as a scandalous situation?
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is not the innuendo behind the question from the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) unparliamentary to the extent that the association 1437 of my right hon. Friend's name, while in office, with the procedure the hon. Member has outlined suggests corruption? Should it not be substantiated at once or withdrawn at once?
§ Mr. Speaker
I listened carefully to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) but I do not believe that the suggestion, whether it is well-founded or not, that people should be buying their council houses is necessarily improper.
§ Mr. Faulds
Peterborough falls again! In view of the pressure on the time of the House, would the Leader of the House ease the situation by arranging for his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science to withdraw her petty little Measure, the Museums and Galleries Admission Charges Bill?
§ Mr. Sydney Chapman
In view of the public concern, shared by hon. Members on both sides of the House, at the soaring price of houses and land, and also in view of the statements attributed to my hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Development in this morning's newspapers, can my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House urgently consider the possibility of a day's debate so that positive suggestions can be made from both sides?
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
Would the Leader of the House arrange for the Home Secretary to make a statement, perhaps on Monday, explaining why a sponsored Question was put down last night to the Home Secretary asking for the name of the new chairman of the Tote Board when the details were published last night? Lord Mancroft is to get the job at £6,900 a year on a part-time basis. Why is a sponsored Question put down if the information is already given to the Press? Is that not abusing the normal procedures of the House? Is this not happening almost every day of the week? Will the Leader of the House confirm or deny whether Lord Mancroft has 1438 accepted the job on the conditions that everyone knows about?
§ Captain W. Elliot
In view of the difficulties caused to commuters by the disorganisation already taking place on the railways, can my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House arrange for one of his right hon. Friends to tell us that he is considering emergency parking arrangements in London—the opening of additional areas and so on—for the convenience of Londoners?
§ Mr. David Steel
Among the commitments that the Leader of the House inherited is one for a debate on the Vehicle and General Tribunal. Although this cannot be next week, how soon will it be?
§ Sir T. Beamish
Will my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House discuss through the usual channels the possibility of a voluntary timetable on the European Communities Bill? Would this not be in the best interests of both pro-Europeans and anti-Europeans by ensuring a full debate on all selected Amendments?
§ Mr. Ron Lewis
On the question of railway pay and conditions, and in view of the apparent opposition to the claim from the Government benches, will the Leader of the House agree that the 1439 National Union of Railwaymen is quite justified in trying to establish a £20 a week minimum wage these days?
§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis
May I ask my right hon. Friend at this early stage in his new career about a matter which, even if it does not do so at the moment, may concern the House in due course? Having regard to his previous post, will he promise the House, notwithstanding the progress or otherwise on the E.E.C. Bill, that he will ensure that we shall have a 60-day cooling-off period for our summer Recess?
§ Mr. Freeson
In view of the number of non-attributable statements emanating recently from the Department of the Environment about the scandalous rise in land and property prices and the action being considered, and in view of the statement by the Minister concerned to a back bench group of Conservative M.P.s, may I press for a considered statement by the Minister on this subject and for a debate as soon as possible, in view of what has been said from the Government side?
§ Mr. John E. B. Hill
If the work to rule on the railways continues into next week, would the Leader of the House invite his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment to procure copies of the rule book so that they may be placed in the Library for hon. Members to examine?
§ Mr. Heffer
I hope the Leader of the House has a more peaceful year and also that he has a cooling-off period after his strenuous efforts last year. If he is in a very good mood, which I am sure he will be if he has his cooling-off period, will he arrange for a debate on the problems of the North-West region—the unemployment, the dereliction and the many other problems? We rarely discuss the North-West in the House, and we should like to debate it at the earliest possible moment.