HL Deb 16 October 1968 vol 296 cc1371-2

My Lords, possibly it would be for the convenience of the House if I made the short Statement on Business to which I referred earlier. The Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 (Continuation) Order 1968 will be taken in this House after other Public Business next Tuesday, October 22. The Order will, of course, be open to debate, though I understand, after consultation, that a general debate is considered not to be appropriate at this juncture. Time for such a general debate can be given at some later date. This means that the House will not be sitting on Monday next.


My Lords, I think that will be very convenient. If anything happens between now and Tuesday which makes it desirable, it will, of course, still be possible, because of the rather wide scope of our Rules of Order, for the House to debate Rhodesia on the Order. But I should have thought that it was the general wish of the House at this moment not to say too much, and though our views on the Orders may not have changed, perhaps we may not have too long a debate on them.


My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Lord. That is our understanding of the position.


My Lords, there are many in this House who retain to the very full their opposition to the original sanctions with which I understand these Orders are to be concerned, and I feel that I should make that clear now. But, with the Leader of the Opposition, I doubt whether it would be in accordance with our usual practice to raise a full debate on the whole subject of Rhodesia on such a comparatively narrow aspect. I think that the House would be prepared—at least I hope it will—not to debate these Orders at any length if the Government will give an absolute assurance that they will give us an early opportunity for a full debate if we ask for it. And when I say "an early date" I mean an early date.


Yes, my Lords. I had the opportunity to have a few words with the noble Marquess. I am very much obliged to noble Lords opposite. It is, of course, always within the power of the House to initiate a debate, but I think it is the basis of our understanding that we should seek to facilitate any such debate.