§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Robert Carr)
I should like to make a statement about the business for next week. It will be as follows:
§ MONDAY, 17TH JULY—Further progress on the Report stage of the local Government Bill.
§ Remaining stages of the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill [Lords].
§ TUESDAY, 18TH JULY—Supply (26th allotted day): There will be a debate on the economic problems of the north-west region, on an Opposition Motion.
§ Motions on Orders relating to social security, rating and valuation, industrial expansion and sea fisheries.
§ MONDAY, 24TH JULY—Supply (27th allotted day): Debate on a subject to be announced.
§ Mr. Harold Wilson
The right hon. Gentleman will recall that on a number of occasions we have pressed him about the position of undebated delegated legislation. He will recall—I know he recognises this—that this is a matter profoundly affecting the rights of the House for this Session, whatever may be done for the future. Will he at least undertake that there will be a statement before the recess on the Government's intentions concerning undebated Statutory Instruments for this Session before we consider what might be done in future? If this statement is to be made before the recess, will he give one answer, which I think the House would like to hear—on when he expects the recess to begin?
§ Mr. Carr
On the right hon. Gentleman's first point, I certainly will consider the possibility of making a statement. This is a problem. I am not quite sure what further I shall be able to say, but I will take seriously the point he has made.
As to when our holidays may begin, I am as anxious to know that as anybody else and for them to start as soon as possible.
§ Mr. John Wells
Will my right hon. Friend try to find time as soon as possible to debate the report and accounts 1858 of the British Waterways Board? In view of uncertainty about the future of the inland waterways, local government organisation, and all that is stemming from the Department of the Environment, it is important to have at least half a day on this topic as soon as possible.
§ Mr. Faulds
As the excavations in New Palace Yard are already turning up pieces of carved stonework and since other items of archaelogical and historical interest are likely to turn up, will the right hon. Gentleman contact his right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction immediately to ensure that any such objects are preserved and saved and not chucked out on the rubbish heap? What archaeological oversight is there of these operations?
§ Mr. Stratton Mills
Is my right hon. Friend aware that I am a little surprised that there is no mention in next week's business of the legislation on the Northern Ireland referendum on which, he will recall, there was an undertaking that it would come into effect in time to hold a referendum in September or October? Will he confirm that this is a piece of United Kingdom legislation which will have to go through all its stages in the House of Commons before the recess rather than going through under the 90-minutes procedure? Will he make a statement about the Government's intentions in this matter.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
Has the Leader of the House had an opportunity yet of looking at early day Motion No. 414, which deals with the extremely unfortunate and distressing treatment which Miss Evonne Goolagong received from a newspaper?
1859 [That this House deplores the article in the Sun newspaper of 26th June 1972 concerning Miss Evonne Goolagong, which it regards as a debasement of proper standards of journalism; further deprecates such an intrusion into the privacy which Miss Goolagong and other sportsmen and sportswomen have a right to expect, believes that if such an article is not, under the law of libel, defamatory, then it ought to be, and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to refer this type of publication to the Faulks Committee; expresses regret that such a distinguished guest of this country has been occasioned such cause for distress, especially having regard to the qualities of good sportsmanship which Miss Goolagong shows and which are much admired by the British sporting public; and calls for this matter to be referred to the Press Council.]
This has caused great concern to Miss Goolagong and to the tennis authorities, and now, I gather, is producing representations from Australian tennis interests. Since this is an all-party Motion asking the Government to submit the matter to the Faulks Committee on Defamation and to the Press Council, may we have a debate on it? If not, will the Government take the initiative of referring it to the bodies concerned?
§ Mr. Carr
I have a great deal of sympathy with the feelings which prompted this Motion. I know from my own contacts in the tennis world that this matter did indeed cause great distress to Miss Goolagong. It is not the practice of the Government to refer matters to the Press Council. Hon. Members can do so, but the Government do not. I am not sure off hand whether this would come within the terms of reference of the Faulks Committee, but I shall consult my right hon. and learned Friend about it.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am the servant of the House in this matter. It would be easy for me to allow questions to go on for a long time, but there is a very important debate ahead of us and I ask the House to understand if I allow only one or two more.
§ Mr. Fidler
Two weeks ago, and again last week, my right hon. Friend was asked about the proposal of the Palestine Liberation Organisation to establish an office in London. We were told that my 1860 right hon. Friend the Home Secretary might make a statement this week? May we have a statement next week?
§ Mr. Carr
I know the interest in this matter, and statements have been made. I shall speak to my right hon. Friend again, but I hope the House will realise that, whilst organisations may be free to set up offices here, that does not in any way weaken the power of the British Government to prevent the entry of those whom they regard as undesirable immigrants.
§ Mr. Raphael Tuck
Will the right hon. Gentleman attempt to arrange for his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services to make a statement in the House next week on whether he will institute a full inquiry into conditions at Napsbury Mental Hospital?
§ Mr. Hastings
May I revert to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells)? Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that there is a great deal of worry and concern in the country about the proposals for the reorganisation and administration of water resources? Will my right hon. Friend at least make sure that there is a full debate on this matter before the Government come to a final conclusion?
§ Mr. Kaufman
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his reply to his hon. Friend the Member for Bury and Rad-cliffe (Mr. Fidler) does not meet the situation? Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that when my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition last week raised this matter of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, he gave what many of us thought was a commitment that there would be a statement this week? There has been no such statement, and the House is very anxious for one.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams
The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that the important report by the Commission on Privacy 1861 has been published today. The House will be anxious to debate the report in view of the interest shown in the matter before the setting up of the Commission. Will there be time for such a debate in the near future? Has the right hon. Gentleman been able to consider the requests for a debate on Lord Justice Edmund Davies' committee's proposals for changes in the criminal law?
§ Mr. Carr
Those are important matters. On the first one, as was made clear in an answer, my right hon. Friend intends that the report of the Younger Commission and of the associated Government inquiry should be considered and that the Government should publish a White Paper. I think that when that is done that will be the right moment to consider having a debate.
On the second question, I am aware of the strong feelings and deep interest in many quarters about this question of criminal law evidence revision. I shall take note of and pass on to my right hon. Friends the strong feelings which I know exist that there should be a debate before final decisions are taken.
§ Several Hon. Members rose——