HC Deb 27 May 1954 vol 528 cc613-7
Mr. Attlee

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal to state the business for next week?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows: MONDAY, 31sT MAY—Television Bill [4th Allotted Day]: Committee stage.

Consideration of Amendments to Atomic Energy Authority Bill, which are expected to be received from another place today.

Committee and remaining stages: Supreme Court Officers (Pensions) Bill.

Superannuation (President of Industrial Court) Bill.

TUESDAY, 1ST JUNE—Television Bill [5th Allotted Day]: Committee stage (conclusion).

Motions to approve: Draft Ploughing Grants Scheme.

Draft Agriculture (Ploughing Grants) (Scotland) Scheme.

WEDNESDAY, 2ND JUNE—Conclusion of Report stage, and Third Reading of Housing (Repairs and Rents) (Scotland) Bill.

The House will recall that it was agreed across the Floor of the House on Monday, 17th May, that this Bill should be completed in one sitting without a suspension of the Rule.

Second Reading: Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Bill [Lords], which is a consolidation Measure.

THURSDAY, 3RD JUNE—Supply [17th Allotted Day]: Committee.

The subject for debate will be announced later.

FRIDAY, 4TH JUNE—Adjournment for Whitsun Recess until Tuesday, 15th June.

Mr. H. Morrison

On the Television Bill, may I draw the attention of the Lord Privy Seal to the series of Amendments affecting the advertising of alcoholic liquors, religious questions and Sunday advertising, and ask whether, in view of their nature, the right hon. Gentleman would be willing to take off the Whips on those Amendments?

Mr. Crookshank

That is not a question I can answer at this stage.

Mr. Morrison

But would the Lord Privy Seal give it consideration? There are precedents. The Whips were taken off in connection with certain Sunday arrangements for the Festival of Britain. They were also taken off when, during the war, we discussed the proposal to open theatres on Sundays for the benefit of the troops. There are ample precedents for such matters to be debated with the Whips off.

Mr. Crookshank

That may very well be, but I have had no notice of the question. I should certainly want to consider the whole position.

Captain Waterhouse

Has my right hon. Friend had time to give further consideration to the request I made last week—that he should provide time for the House to consider the second special Report of the Estimates Committee?

Mr. Crookshank

Yes, I have found time to consider my right hon. and gallant Friend's request, but the trouble is that I cannot find time for it next week.

Mr. Beswick

Does the fact that the Food and Drugs Amendment Bill [Lords] does not appear in next week's business mean that this Bill also has been shelved?

Mr. Crookshank

No, Sir; and I cannot imagine why I should be asked a question like that.

Mr. Blenkinsop

In view of the importance of this Measure cannot the Lord Privy Seal at least say whether there is any expectation of the Bill coming forward within a reasonable time?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not see why now. After all, this is a Bill which has been through the Upper House, but at this time of year we are generally getting forward with our own Bills, in order to send them to the other place before we can find time to discuss Bills which come down from there to us.

Mrs. Braddock

Would the Leader of the House say whether or not it is correct that very strong pressure has been put upon the Government by private enterprise in order that the Food and Drugs (Amendment) Bill [Lords] shall not be dealt with this Session?

Mr. Crookshank

I cannot be expected to cope with all the rumours which may come the hon. Lady's way.

Mr. T. Brown

Can the Leader of the House say when the Government propose to find time to debate the Motion on the Order Paper relating to the economic and social conditions of old-age pensioners?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not see any possibility next week, anyhow.

Mr. M. Stewart

The Leader of the House said that he could not imagine why he should be asked a question such as that asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick), but since he has been asked it could he not answer it? Because the Leader of the House is defective in imagination that is no reason why the House should not have an answer.

Mr. Crookshank

It is the hon. Gentleman who is defective in imagination, because I have answered various supplementary questions with regard to various aspects of that matter.

Mr. H. Morrison

Reverting to my remarks about the Television Bill, I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman was not given notice of the question I put to him, but would he be prepared to make a statement at the end of Questions on Monday?

Mr. Crookshank

I cannot bind myself to do that. I have taken a note of what the right hon. Gentleman has said. We shall, of course, consider these things, but I cannot promise to consider at any particular time any particular question as to how the Government will deal with an Amendment in Committee.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Would the Lord Privy Seal, when he considers this, remember that when we debated this subject last week Amendments dealing with religious matters were put down on that side of the House as well as this?

Mr. Crookshank

I had noted the point. I do not need to have it repeated more than twice.

Captain Waterhouse

In view of the very alarming reports appearing in the Press, would my right hon. Friend consider finding time for a debate on Egypt? May I also ask if he will convey to his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister the view that, before any negotiations are reopened a statement to that effect should be made in this House?

Mr. Crookshank

I will, of course, convey to the Prime Minister any suggestions my right hon. and gallant Friend makes, but I do not know that I could necessarily accept the adjective "alarming" about any reports I have seen. As far as I am concerned, there is no Government time available in the immediate future in which to arrange a debate on this subject.

Mr. Hudson

I realise that the right hon. Gentleman does not wish to be pressed too hard about the Amendments to the Television Bill which deal with intoxicating liquor and with religious matters, but does he appreciate that those Amendments are largely of a private character, likely to meet with support on both sides? I am only pressing him now to give more careful consideration than he appears to have done to the necessity of fairness all round and of freedom to the House to discuss such matters.

Mr. Crookshank

I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's point of view, but I do ask for a little time to consider a matter of importance which was not mentioned to me at all until the right hon. Member for South Lewisham (Mr. H. Morrison) rose.

Mr. Amery

Would the Lord Privy Seal give consideration to the question raised by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Leicester, South-East (Captain Waterhouse)? Is he aware that as a result of the crisis in Indo-China there is widespread anxiety about the security of communications between this country and South-East Asia?

Mr. Crookshank


Major Legge-Bourke

May I reinforce the plea made by my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North (Mr. Amery) and ask whether my right hon. Friend will bear in mind that we are to go away for 10 days at Whitsun and that many developments might take place during that period about which the House would like to express an opinion?

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Scotland there is no enthusiasm for the Housing (Repairs and Rents) (Scotland) Bill, which will increase rents, and that Scottish Members are quite prepared to give up Wednesday to a discussion on Egypt?

Mr. Crookshank

I cannot accept that, but that we should have the ending of the Report stage and Third Reading of that Bill in the forthcoming week was not only agreed last week, but has also been confirmed today.

Mr. Yates

In view of the promise given by the Leader of the House last week and the week before to discuss the question of the Estimates Committee's Report through the usual channels, does he think that, as two deputations have already waited upon him, and the Report has been in his hands for six weeks, it is quite fair to treat the House in this discourteous manner?

Mr. Crookshank

All I said about this, and I do not hesitate to repeat it, was that I have considered the representations which have been made. I did say that this could be discussed through the usual channels; but I find that there is no time next week for a debate on this subject.

Mr. Foot

In view of the fact that the Leader of the House has told us that he cannot find time next week for a whole variety of subjects, can he say what he—or anyone else—has up his sleeve for next Thursday?

Mr. Crookshank

I have nothing up my sleeve. Supply days are, of course, at the disposal of the Opposition. Quite rightly, the Leader of the Opposition is not prepared today to tell me the subject which his party wish to select, but as soon as I know I shall inform the House for the convenience of Members on both sides and in all parties.

Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

Would it be possible, Mr. Speaker, to stop listening to the stupid questions from the Lobby fodder opposite and get on with the business of the day?