HL Deb 28 July 1972 vol 333 cc1713-4

1.46 p.m.


My Lords, I think it would be for the convenience of the House if I were now to make a short interim Business statement. The noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition and my noble friend Lord Balfour of Inchrye both suggested earlier that the House might wish to have an opportunity in the fairly near future to discuss the industrial relations position. Discussions have been going on through the usual channels on whether there should be such a debate, and I think the general feeling is that no firm decision should be taken before the weekend. The usual channels will meet again on Monday morning, and an announcement will then be made.

If I may suggest it, I think that if it is decided to have such a debate a convenient moment might possibly be on Tuesday, after the second day (a rather shorter day than the first) on the Second Reading of the Local Government Bill. May I also inform your Lordships that it has been decided that tributes to my noble friend the late Lord Swinton should be paid on Monday afternoon.


My Lords, I am very glad that the noble Lord has been able to say what has been proposed in the way of tributes to Lord Swinton. I think it was right to defer them until Monday, when more Members of your Lordships' House will be able to be here and to pay tribute to somebody who was a great figure in this House.

Turning now to the possible debate on industrial relations, I think it is right to postpone the final decision until Monday, according to progress of certain events. There is no doubt that there is a feeling in the House that in such crucial matters, although we are not so well equipped to deal with what may be called immediate issues, this is one that has long-term as well as short-term implications. If such a debate were to take place on Tuesday evening it might be necessary to urge noble Lords not to be too lengthy on the passionate issues that arise in the area of local government (which I think is going to prove a very formidable affair altogether), in order that such a debate could come on at a reasonable hour—say, 6.30 or 7 o'clock in the evening. Possibly we might even meet a little earlier on Tuesday. But we are grateful to the noble Lord for his statement.

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