HC Deb 16 April 1981 vol 3 cc433-5
Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)

May I ask the Leader of the House to make a statement about the business for the week when we return?

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Paymaster General and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Francis Pym)

Yes, Sir. The Business for the week after the Easter Adjournment will be as follows:

  • MONDAY 27 APRIL—Second Reading of the Wildlife and Countryside Bill [Lords].
  • Motion relating to the Diving Operations at Work Regulations.
  • TUESDAY 28 APRIL—Supply [18th Allotted Day]: Debate on the economic and social problems of Greater London, on a motion for the Adjournment of the House.
  • At Seven o'clock, opposed private business has been named for consideration.
  • WEDNESDAY 29 APRIL—Second Reading of the Deep Sea Mining (Temporary Provisions) Bill [Lords] and of the Supreme Court Bill [Lords].
  • Motion relating to the Health and Safety (Fees for Medical Examinations) Regulations.
  • THURSDAY 30 APRIL—Progress in Committee on the Finance Bill.
  • FRIDAY 1 MAY—Private Members' Bills.

Mr. Foot

First, I thank the right hon. Gentleman for making arrangements for the debate on London. We believe, particularly in the light of recent terrible events, that it is most important that the House should discuss this matter. Although we shall no doubt need many further debates on the matter, we are grateful for the right hon. Gentleman's enabling us to debate it next Tuesday, as the Opposition requested.

Secondly, can the right hon. Gentleman indicate when the Chancellor of the Exchequer intends to make his leakage about how he proposes to deal with the petrol increase? Will he do that during the recess, or when we return?

Mr. Pym

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his remarks about the arrangements for the debate on London. I think I can assure him that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be adhering to his view and recommendation about the tax on petrol.

Mr. Speaker

I propose to allow 10 minutes for business questions, to be fair to those hon. Members who have the Adjournment debates that follow.

Mr. Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)

I notice that my right hon. Friend once again has not stated the business for the following Monday in giving the business for the next parliamentary week. Will it be his practice not to do so henceforth, or was it simply for a particular reason today?

Mr. Pym

That is normal form at this range of time. The announcement for the week when we return after the recess normally ends with the Friday, the following Monday being thought by both parties to be too far ahead to be confident.

Mr. James Molyneaux (Antrim, South)

The Leader of the House will remember that on 6 April he informed my right hon. Friend the Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) that the Government hoped to make a statement on electricity prices in Northern Ireland before the end of the month. When may we expect such a statement?

Mr. Pym

I cannot go further than the response that I made before. It is still our intention and expectation to respond on this matter and make a statement about it in one form or another at the end of the month. I am sorry that it will not be possible to do it before then.

Mr. Barry Henderson (Fife, East)

Can my right hon. Friend arrange time to debate the unreasonable slur cast by the Leader of the Opposition in implying that unemployed people are more likely to commit crime than other sections of the community, and to make the point that many unemployed people in other parts of the country where unemployment is greater than in London or in Bristol are not liable to commit crime?

Mr. Pym

That is not a matter for which I would seek to provide time, but the right hon. Gentleman may wish to seek to do so.

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)

Deploring as we all do the crimes and atrocities of the IRA and, indeed, of all the other para-military groups in Northern Ireland, is it not important to provide time as quickly as possible to debate what is happening about the hunger strikers? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that for the hunger strikers to die and thus create yet more martyrs in Northern Ireland will only escalate the tension there and do nothing to resolve the tragedy, which must one day be resolved—in conjunction, of course, with the Government of Ireland?

Mr. Pym

There have been a number of opportunities for debating these important matters in relation to Northern Ireland, but I do not think that I shall be able to find time for the specific issue that the hon. Gentleman seeks to raise.

Viscount Cranborne (Dorset, South)

Will my right hon. Friend find time in the fairly near future to implement his often-repeated assurance that he will find time for a debate on foreign affairs in the near future?

Mr. Pym

I hope to do that soon after we return from the recess.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Keighley)

Will the Leader of the House, over Easter, consider providing time for a debate on the effectiveness and scope of the register of Members' interests? Will he at the same time consider a debate on the Royal Commission report on standards of conduct in public life, which recommends legislation affecting Members of Parliament and was produced to the House in 1976, and for which successive Governments have never provided time for a debate? Is he aware that many people regard that as little short of scandalous?

Mr. Pym

No, Sir.

Mr. Greville Janner (Leicester, West)

May I further press the Leader of the House about the debate on foreign affairs? He assured us that it would be immediately before or after the recess, which it is not. He now only hopes to have it soon after the recess. Does he agree that there are urgent issues that we ought to debate, some major, such as Poland and the Middle East, and some affecting individuals, such as the arrest of Dr. Brailowski in the Soviet Union and the continued persecution and harassment of Jewish activists in that country who are seeking to leave?

Mr. Pym

I do not think that the hon. and learned Gentleman has quoted my words quite accurately, but I will certainly advance on the words that he quotes me as saying—that we hope to have a debate soon after the recess—and say that we expect to arrange one soon after the recess.

Mr. Alfred Dubs (Battersea, South)

Will the Leader of the House find time for a debate on the Public Order Act and the problems concerning the blanket banning of marches? I refer to the intention to ban National Front and racist marches, and the fact that these bans have a wide-ranging effect on many other marches. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is increasing worry about this. Will he find time for the House to discuss it?

Mr. Pym

I do not think that I can find Government time in the foreseeable future, but I hope that the hon. Gentleman will find some other opportunity to raise that important matter.

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