HC Deb 15 May 1972 vol 837 cc36-8
The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Robert Carr)

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a short business statement.

Following representations during the business exchanges last week, the business for Thursday has been rearranged as follows:

Second Reading of the National Insurance Bill, which it is hoped to obtain by about seven o'clock.

Afterwards, the remaining stages of the Legal Advice and Assistance Bill.

Motion on the Winter Keep (Scotland) Variation Scheme.

Mr. Harold Wilson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we are glad to see him recovered? He could not be in his place last Thursday. He has obviously had a report on the points we put to the Home Secretary. Is he further aware that we feel that he is being entirely realistic in withdrawing from the business of the House this week the Criminal Justice Bill? We fully support the plans for its replacement, although we feel it to be a little unrealistic, as I said on Thursday, to assume that the National Insurance Bill will be concluded by seven o'clock? Does he appreciate that there are many hon. Members on both sides of the House who will want to make a number of points on it?

Mr. Carr

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his personal remarks. I am glad that I do not have to argue things because I am not sure how long my voice will last. I am happy to be able to concur with the right hon. Gentleman, and I take note of what he has said about the business.

Mr. Biffen

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, while the business which is replacing the Criminal Justice Bill on Thursday is of importance, some of us feel that the situation in Northern Ireland is proceeding at such a rate that we hope he will feel sympathetic towards any request that we should be debating Northern Ireland later this week if it seemed appropriate?

Mr. Carr

Naturally, I take note of what my hon. Friend has said, but I would be wrong to make any undertaking of any kind about this. As my hon. Friend the Minister of State has made clear, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will be making a further statement later in the week.

Mr. Wilson

While not wishing to strain the larynx or pharynx of the right hon. Gentleman any further—I shall be happy to take a nod from him—can I assume, since he has shown by his statement that he has studied what we on this side said to the Home Secretary about this Thursday's business, that he has studied with equal care the other things we said, including our request for a debate in Government time on the steel industry?

Mr. Carr

If I may say so without commitment, I have read every word that was said.