HC Deb 25 June 1964 vol 697 cc626-33
Mr. H. Wilson

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business of the House for next week?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 29TH JUNE—Supply [20th Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on Agriculture.

Motions on the Cereals (Guarantee Payments) Order, and the Agricultural Lime Scheme (Extension of Period) Order.

TUESDAY, 30TH JUNE—Finance Bill. Report stage.

WEDNESDAY, 1ST JULY—Second Reading of the Diplomatic Privileges Bill [Lords].

Second Reading of the Education Bill [Lords], and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

If there is time, remaining stages of the Perpetuities and Accumulations Bill [Lords].

THURSDAY, 2ND JULY—Supply [21st Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on Education in Scotland.

Remaining stages of the Malicious Damage Bill.

FRIDAY, 3RD JULY—Finance Bill: Third Reading.

Remaining stages of the Refreshment Houses Bill.

MONDAY, 6TH JULY—The proposed business will be: Debate on a Motion to approve the White Paper on Monopolies, Mergers and Restrictive Practices (Command No. 2299).

Mr. Wilson

I think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows, but he did not make clear that on Monday's debate on agriculture we propose, after the House has dealt with Supply, to table an Amendment.

Having now asked the right hon. and learned Gentleman on two successive Thursdays about a statement from the Minister of Aviation, about the VC10s, may I now ask him whether he has yet seen the devastating Report of the all-party Select Committee on the Nationalised Industries on the question of B.O.A.C. and the VC10s? Do the Government propose to find time for a debate on that Report?

Further, has the right hon. and learned Gentleman yet had time, since it was published this morning, to see the no less grave Report of the Estimates Committee on the increase in defence expenditure as a result of his right hon. Friend's activities? May we be told whether we are to have Government time for a debate on that as well?

Mr. Lloyd

I acknowledge what the right hon. Gentleman said about the business for next Monday.

As regards the latter part of his question, as he said, one Report was published, I think, on Tuesday of this week and the other more recently. I think that it would be right for hon. Members on both sides to have time to study the Reports and that then possible time for a debate could be considered.

Mr. Wilson

Yes, but in anticipation of such a debate, since I have raised this matter on two previous occasions, may we be told whether the Minister of Aviation has yet plucked up courage to come to the House and tell us what the position is with regard to the VC10s?

Mr. Lloyd

It is not a matter of plucking up courage or anything like that. The point which the right hon. Gentleman made to me last week has been put to my right hon. Friend, and he will make a statement as soon as possible.

Mr. Wilson


Mr. Birch

Will my right hon. and learned Friend arrange for an early debate on the need for permanent police protection for lady members of the National Executive Council of the Labour Party?

Mr. Lloyd

There is a Motion on the Order Paper dealing with political demonstrations. I know no more about this than I have read in the newspapers, but, of course, if there is any question of continued police protection from their own supporters being needed for hon. and right hon. Members opposite, I shall convey that to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. W. Hamilton

Does the Leader of the House realise that we are to begin the Committee stage next Tuesday of the Divorce (Scotland) Bill [Lords]? Is he aware that this was initiated as a Private Member's Bill in the other place? Do the Government now accept full responsibility for it—since, otherwise, it would have been guillotined tomorrow—and, if they do, what are their intentions about it? if the Government have taken it over, will the Leader of the House say why this particular Private Member's Bill has taken precedence over other Private Members' Bills, in particular over the one which my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) wants to proceed with, on the subject of concessionary fares for old people?

Mr. Lloyd

This Measure, which is agreed to be an important one, has already been through the House of Lords, and it has not yet started its passage through this House. [An HON. MEMBER: "What has that got to do with it?"] I was explaining the position as regards its passage through Parliament. It has not yet started in the Scottish Standing Committee. I think that it was committed some time ago. We consider it to be an important Bill and, if it is reported, we shall be willing to consider the possibility of facilitating it.

Mr. Box

With reference to the further stages of the Finance Bill, will my right hon. and learned Friend consider whether it is possible to allocate a suitable amount of time for the withdrawal of, and apologies for, the highly fictional statements and allegations made by the "shadow" Chancellor of the Exchequer during our debates last week?

Mr. Speaker

On any view, that is hardly a question for the Leader of the House.

Mr. Pavitt

In the light of two news items today, first, that of the Government report that the death rate from lung cancer in Scotland is four times as high as the death rate from road accidents, and, second, the report that the United States is implementing the provision of my Cigarettes (Health Hazards) Bill, will time be found for the resumed debate on the Second Reading of that Bill? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that hon. Members on both sides have already spoken in debate on that Bill and that it would be rather a shame if it were talked out?

Mr. Lloyd

I am aware of the interest taken in this matter in all quarters of the House. I should have thought, however, that there were opportunities for further debate if it was considered necessary.

Lord Balniel

As the House expects fairly soon to debate the proposal to redevelop the Palace of Westminster, will my right hon. and learned Friend, for the convenience of hon. Members, arrange to publish the evidence which was given to the Committee on Accommodation by various authorities and Ministries?

Mr. Lloyd

I am not quite sure of the precedents regarding one of your Advisory Committees, Mr. Speaker, but I shall certainly examine my noble Friend's suggestion.

Mr. Ross

Reverting to the answer which the Leader of the House gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton), is the Leader of the House aware that the Royal Commission which reported on this subject said that there was no substantial evidence for any further grounds of divorce in Scotland, and the Divorce (Scotland) Bill includes three more grounds for divorce?

Will the Leader of the House clarify what he said, that, if it is reported, the Government will decide what action to take, in view of the fact that we are not even starting the Committee stage until after the normal day for finishing Private Members' Bills? Will he bear in mind the rights of the House in respect of Supply Days, Scottish Members being entitled to six days in the Scottish Grand Committee? Are not these days likely to be endangered by what the Government are doing? Does the Leader of the House give this Bill precedence over the discussion of Scottish education, handicapped children, hospitals, and all the other matters which are of vital social importance in Scotland?

Mr. Lloyd

It seems to me that the first part of the supplementary question raises policy issues which we should debate.

Answering the second part of the Question, I do not believe that the rights of Scottish Members would be interfered with at all.

Mr. Goodhart

Will my right hon. and learned Friend say what consultation he has had with the Opposition about finding extra time for the Bill dealing with holiday voting? Does it not seem rather odd that the Opposition seem to advocate one man—one vote for everybody except British holiday-makers?

Mr. Lloyd

I have nothing to add on this subject to what I said last week.

Mr. Lubbock

In view of the fact that the Prime Minister has made only three speeches in the House during the last eight months—

Mr. Lipton

Far too many.

Mr. Lubbock

—will the Leader of the House see whether he can persuade his right hon. Friend to include the House of Commons on one of his whistle-stop political tours?

Mr. Lloyd

The view is frequently put to me that some hon. Members make too many speeches. I am certain that the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) would benefit greatly from listening to my right hon. Friend on every possible occasion.

Sir Rolf Dudley Williams

May I draw the attention of the Leader of the House to Motion No. 133, in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett)?

[That this House expresses continuing confidence in the ability of the Metropolitan Police to deal adequately and fairly with political demonstrations in and around Westminster.]

Is he aware that many of us would like to have a discussion on this subject, especially to find out whether the people who caused the affray in Smith Square yesterday were the subversive elements in the Labour Party to which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science referred in one of his speeches recently?

Mr. Lloyd

I have said all that I want to say on that matter.

Mr. A. Lewis

Turning to something more important, may I ask the Leader of the House whether he is expecting during next week to receive the Sir John Lang Report on the Ferranti affair? If not, will he see that a promise is given that there will be a debate on this report, or that he will get an interim report if the main report is not to be delivered by the time the House adjourns for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Lloyd

I have no information in my possession that I am likely to get either an interim report or the full report next week, but I will certainly bear in mind the possibility which has been mentioned.

Mr. Short

Is it not rather a shocking state of affairs if the Government give time for a Private Member's Bill on Scottish divorce and refuse to give any of their time for a Measure such as my Bill on travel concessions? How much longer will he allow the vested interests of the private bus undertakings on his own side of the House to prevent this humanitarian Measure from reaching the Statute Book?

Mr. Lloyd

I have discussed this matter with the hon. Member, and I cannot accept the imputation which he has made. I think that it must be a matter of judgment. I have nothing to add to what I have said to him previously.

Mr. H. Wilson

As it seems to us to be a matter of bad judgment, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us whether the Government have finally decided not to provide Government time or Government facilities for seeing this Bill on to the Statute Book in this Session?

Mr. Lloyd

I have told the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) that I have nothing to add to what I have previously said to him.

Mrs. Braddock

Will the Leader of the House take note of this matter? Is he aware that the position becomes very difficult in an area where new housing accommodation is being built outside the boundaries within which concessionary fares are allowed? Is he aware that it makes it very difficult for local authorities to persuade old people to move outside the areas in which concessionary fares are granted and into other areas because of the additional cost which falls on them if they lose their concessionary fares?

Mr. Lloyd

That point has already been made to me by some of my hon. Friends who sit for Liverpool divisions.

Mr. Woodburn

May I support the plea of my hon. Friends that this question be dealt with urgently? Will the Leader of the House call the Prime Minister's attention to the fact that while it creates precedents to give concessions to old-age pensioners in terms of money, the concession in this case is simply allowing old-age pensioners to occupy empty seats on buses, which dislocates nobody's transport at all and costs not one extra penny to the community? It merely allows the old people to travel. Is he aware that in some cases old people have to spend as much as 6s 4d. on buses to visit their friends on the other side of their own towns?

Mr. Lloyd

The point which the right hon. Gentleman makes has been put to me. It is not quite as simple as he says.

Dr. A. Thompson

Will the Leader of the House promise to find an early opportunity to debate a Motion on the Order Paper urging the Government to use their best endeavours at Geneva to set up a World Health Research Centre and, furthermore, to bring this centre to the United Kingdom?

[That this House regrets the instruction by Her Majesty's Government to the British representative at the present conference of the World Health Organisation in Geneva not to support the setting-up of a World Health Research Centre, and calls on Her Majesty's Government to reverse its decision and offer a site in the United Kingdom for this important international project.]

Mr. Lloyd

This is a matter which is under consideration and about which I have answered Questions previously. There is a great deal of misrepresentation of the Government's attitude about it. It has not yet been decided whether such an organisation should be set up. I think that we have made it clear that if it is set up we should welcome it very much in the British Isles.

Mr. A. Lewis

As the Leader of the Opposition has promised every facility from the Opposition and as the Liberal Party have promised support for the Bill dealing with concessionary fares, and as it is assumed that the Tory back bench Members would not oppose it, may I ask what is holding the Bill up and why the right hon. and learned Gentleman will not support it, in view of the unanimity in the House?

Mr. Lloyd

The hon. Member may ask, but I can add nothing today to what I said before to the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central.