HL Deb 13 March 1962 vol 238 cc111-2

My Lords, I would, with permission, rise on a question of Business and draw attention to a Question with regard to Katanga which is down on the Order Paper for the first time to-day in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Colyton. Thirteen or fourteen months ago we had a discussion in this House as to whether we should allow certain types of Question to be on the Order Paper. We have great freedom in this House of ours. This Question seems to offend in one respect in the light of our discussions in February over a Question which was on another subject and which was finally withdrawn, on pressure from your Lordships, because it made a charge before the matter had been discussed. I should have thought that it would be quite easy for the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, whom I have known for many years in another place, to put this Question into the sort of form that the House of Lords is used to, and perhaps refer to "inquiries into allegations", or something of that kind, rather than to leave the Question in its present form.


My Lords, I am quite prepared to substantiate these charges from my personal knowledge and from first-hand evidence furnished to me in Elisabethville and elsewhere. But I am certainly not wedded to the exact terms of this Question. I should be quite prepared to rephrase the Question by inserting the words "allegations of" before the word "atrocities", if that would meet the wishes of the House.


My Lords, I think that would probably meet the noble Viscount's point. I do not necessarily want to say any more than that.


My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton. Then, with the Question in that form, we can have that short amount of discussion of which the House usually approves on an Unstarred Question, and compare his statements with what we can produce on our side.