§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Edward Short)
Yes, Sir. The business for the first week after the Adjournment will be as follows:
MONDAY 13TH JANUARY—Supply [7th allotted day]: Debate on a motion to take note of the First, Second, Third and Fourth Reports from the Committee of Public Accounts in Session 1974, and the related Departmental Minutes.
Motion relating to the Butter Prices Order 1974.
Motion on EEC Documents COM(69)127 and R/2610/74 on Doctors and Dentists.
WEDNESDAY 15TH JANUARY—Progress in Committee on the Finance Bill.
THURSDAY 16TH JANUARY—Debate on the Report of the O'Brien Committee on the Export of Live Animals, Command No. 5566.
Motions on EEC Documents R/3358/74 on Agricultural Prices, and R/1270/74 on Consumer Rights and Protection.
FRIDAY 17TH JANUARY—Debate on the Report of the Nugent Committee on Defence Lands, and on the Sandford Report of the National Park Policies Review Committee.
§ Mr. Heath
I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that statement. Can he tell us the form in which the debate will take place on the O'Brien Report? I think the House would like to know. We are grateful that at long last we are to have a debate on this matter.
Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that there will be a debate on the National Consumer Agency before it is set up?
The Leader of the House will know that this morning an important amendment to the Social Security Benefits Bill, 1815 affecting many thousands of disabled housewives, was carried against the Government, with the support of both parties. Will he give a happy Christmas message to those affected by telling them that the Government will accept the amendment?
§ Mr. Short
The debate on the O'Brien Report will be on a substantive motion and, as far as we are concerned—and I am sure this applies to the Opposition, too—there will be a free vote at the end of the day.
I shall pass the right hon. Gentleman's comments on the Natonal Consumer Agency and on the vote in Committee this morning to my right hon. Friends, and no doubt they will consider what he said.
§ Mr. Jay
Is it not regrettable that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has not found time for a debate this week on the Prayer against the import duties order which raises a number of food taxes on 1st January? Do I understand that he has not even found time for that debate during the first week after the recess? When will he find time for it?
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman not to move Item 4 on page 2386 of the Orders of the Day relating to the Elections (Welsh Forms) Regulations 1974, as such a decision will give time for the hon. Lady the Undersecretary of State for the Home Department to carry out the assurances that she gave the Standing Committee yesterday?
§ Mr. Short
I can certainly meet the hon. Member on that. If that is his wish, I can ensure that the order is not put today. Of course, there could be no debate in the House, when it has already been discussed in Committee; it simply comes here for a vote, if necessary. But if he feels strongly about this, I will certainly ensure that that motion is not moved today.
§ Mr. Molloy
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the great public debate on whether this country should remain in the Common Market has, in the minds of many people, been unfairly presented because of what appears to many of us to be the constitutional impropriety of 1816 commissioners in Brussels, who hold the same status as civil servants in this country, having free access to the media to propound their biased views without anyone having an opportunity to rebut them? Is this not a vital issue that the House should discuss when we return?
§ Mr. Spearing
Can my right hon. Friend tell us on what motion the three EEC orders will arise in the first week after the recess? Will he accept the request of the Scrutiny Committee that such motions should be amendable?
§ Mr. Short
We are considering the whole question of how we deal with these motions. As my hon. Friend knows, only today I have offered to have a long discussion with the Opposition on this question. We are feeling our way in this procedure and are coming up against difficulties the whole time, but I am happy to talk to the Opposition spokesman or any other hon. Member who has views on these matters.
§ Mr. Churchill
Since the Prime Minister has just said that he will make a statement on the doctrine of the collective responsibility of the Cabinet, can we expect that statement in the first week after the recess?
§ Mr. Wigley
When do the Government intend that we should debate the Kilbrandon proposals and the White Paper issued in September? Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that that debate will be a two-day debate?
§ Mr. Spriggs
Has the report on Members' interests been sent to the printers? If so, when may we expect it to be laid before the House?
§ Mr. Winterton
Although the farming industry and many hon. Members will welcome the debate on the O'Brien Report, would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that a crisis still exists in agriculture? Will he seriously consider setting up a Select Committee on agriculture, as has been urged upon him by many hon. Members?
§ Mr. Powell
With reference to the business on the Thursday night of the week after the recess, on the EEC documents, I understood the right hon. Gentleman to refer to "a motion", in the singular. If so, would he reconsider that statement, since the two documents appear to refer to very different subjects?
§ Mrs. Kellett-Bowman
Would the right hon. Gentleman try to arrange for a debate as early as possible in the new year on 1818 the strategic plan for the North-West, so that all hon. Members may express their view? I have been asking for this since 6th May last year.
§ Mr. Adley
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that all hon. Members are concerned that what they say in the House is considered to be accurate? Is he aware that the Foreign Secretary accused me yesterday of inaccuracy, when I told him that the Australian Prime Minister had said that the present Government were shilly-shallying? Would he try to persuade his right hon. Friend to make a statement in the House or to find some other way of apologising to me?
§ Mr. Michael Marshall
When may we expect a debate on the problems of the 1819 steel industry, particularly bearing in mind the desperate shortage of steel in the country, the urgent need for an announcement on the closure review and the intemperate attacks on the Chairman of the Steel Corporation by many Labour Members?
§ Mr. Lamond
Does my right hon. Friend recall that I asked him whether he could ask our right hon. Friend to make a statement about the import of cotton yarn from Mediterranean associates in the EEC? May I remind him that this is a matter of great urgency and ask that he try to get something done about it by tomorrow at the latest?
§ Mr. Dykes
In view of the need for regular monitoring of the economic situation and the fact that the Secretary of State for Employment woefully failed to deal with the essential basis of the current economic crisis last night, when, also, the Prime Minister was not here, would the right hon. Gentleman arrange for an early debate on the economy again in January?
§ Mr. Hannam
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the point of order that I raised on Tuesday concerning the lack of time available for important arts Questions? Would he seriously consider the suggestion, suported by hon. Members in all parts of the House, that time be given at 3.5 p.m. on those days when Education and Science Questions are tabled, for arts Questions to be answered?
§ Mr. Michael Latham
When will there be a debate on the Prayer in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Mr. Scott) on the important regulations entitled the Building (Second Amendment) Regulations, which deal with the thermal insulation of houses?
§ Mr. Peyton
May I take the right hon. Gentleman back to the very important question raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Rost) about a debate on energy? There is a widespread feeling that the Government, having wasted a great deal of time before taking any conservation measures, then did something halfhearted, which amounted to only a frivolous skirmish with the problem. We shall want a debate at an early date.
§ Mr. Short
If the right hon. Gentleman cares to call a statement which will save about £100 million a year a frivolous skirmish, I can only say that I do not. I think that that is a lot of money. However, it was an interim statement. I will certainly see what we can do and whether my right hon. Friend is able to say something else.
§ Mr. Faulds
What are the Government's intentions as to public lending rights? We had understood that a Bill was promised for before Christmas.
§ Mr. Tom King
When shall we hear a statement about the situation in the British motor-cycle industry, and particularly NVT?
§ Mr. Lawson
In the light of the extraordinary performance of the Secretary of State for Employment last night in being determined to say nothing from the beginning to the end of his winding-up speech, may we have a White Paper clearly setting out the precise terms of the social contract?