§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Tony Newton)
With permission, I should like to make a short statement. Following representations through the usual channels, the business for Thursday 19 May has been changed and will now be as follows.
THURSDAY 19 MAY—Motion on the Coal Industry (Restructuring Grants) Order.
Motion on the Value Added Tax (Education) Order.
Motion on the Railways Pension Scheme Order.
Motion on the Railway Pension (Protection and Designation of Schemes) Order.
The business for Monday 23 May will be announced on Thursday in the usual way, but it may help the House to know that it is likely to include the Third Reading of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Bill, followed by other Government business.
§ Mr. Derek Foster (Bishop Auckland)
I thank the Leader of the House for his statement and for so readily agreeing to change Thursday's business so that hon. Members who wish to do so can be in Edinburgh on Friday. I also thank the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues for suspending campaigning for the European elections until after the funeral.
§ Mr. Newton
The warmth of the House's reception for the right hon. Gentleman shows both its welcome for his remarks and its pleasure at his breaking the normally Trappist vow of the individual who holds his office.
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for the generosity of his remarks and the way in which we have been able to co-operate on that matter and on another on which the Government planned to make a statement today, which the right hon. Gentleman and I discussed on Friday.
§ Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)
I am certain that I reflect the view of the House when I say that I wish that we could frequently have such statements from the Opposition Chief Whip.
I remind my right hon. Friend that we lost the Report and Third Reading stages of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill last Thursday. Can he say when that business is likely to come forward?
§ Mr. Newton
Perhaps I can be helpful by saying that I anticipate that it will be included in the business that I shall announce on Thursday. We are still giving that matter consideration, so I should not wish that to be taken as an absolute commitment.
§ Mr. Archy Kirkwood (Roxburgh and Berwickshire)
I express my gratitude to the Government for so readily making the concession that they have, in consideration of hon. Members' travel arrangements—particularly those of Scottish Members. I have my sleeper booked already.
Does the Leader of the House acknowledge that some of the motions tabled for Thursday are contentious? It would be helpful for the dispatch of Thursday's business if the right hon. Gentleman can say something about the timetabling of those motions.
§ Mr. Newton
I am not in a position to say anything off the cuff, but I hope to take the generally constructive posture of the Opposition Chief Whip, in indicating that there might be co-operation through the usual channels on agreeing something reasonably tidy in that respect. I will certainly do my best.