– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd July 1959.
May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business of the House for next week?
Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:
MONDAY, 6TH JULY—Supply [20th Allotted Day]: Committee. Debate on the Dispute in the Printing Industry.
At 7 o'clock, as the House is aware, the Chairman of Ways and Means has set down opposed Private Business for consideration.
TUESDAY, 7TH JULY—Report stage of the Finance Bill.
Committee stage of the Navy, Army and Air Expenditure, 1957–58.
WEDNESDAY, 8TH JULY—Supply [21st Allotted Day]: Committee, which it is proposed to take formally.
Debate on Foreign Affairs, with particular reference to the Geneva Conferences, will take place on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.
THURSDAY, 9TH JULY—Consideration of the Lords Amendments to the Town and Country Planning Bill, which it is hoped to obtain by 7 p.m.
We shall then consider the Schemes and Order relating to the Herring Industry and the White Fish Industry.
FRIDAY, 10TH JULY—Third Reading of the Finance Bill.
Committee and remaining stages of the Export Guarantees Bill; the Weeds Bill [Lords]; and the Dog Licences Bill [Lords].
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in view of the grave possibility that most of the national Press will cease publication on Monday, we feel that it would be right to choose the subject of the printing dispute for debate to enable the Minister of Labour to give a fuller statement than could have been obtained by Question and Answer, and to enable the House to discuss the matter? However, if, as we all hope, there is better news by Monday, and the Press is not to close down, then we shall wish to substitute another subject for debate, namely, the Report from the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries, relating to the Airways Corporations, on the appropriate Vote.
In the interests of the House, I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman has named an alternative subject so that Members can note it in case the business is changed, because it would not be otherwise possible to give any notice of the business. May we take it that we shall hear from the Opposition in due course on their decision about that debate?
I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. It is impossible for us to decide now, in view of the uncertainty in the printing dispute, but we will let the right hon. Gentleman know at the earliest possible moment.
Did I hear my right hon. Friend aright when he announced that the Schemes and Order for the herring and white fish industries are again to come before the House after some other business on Thursday? Does he not remember representations having been made from both sides of the House year after year about the debating of these Schemes and Orders at so late an hour? Does he think it fair to one of our great industries, or is it that he expects that the other business will be completed so early that we shall have time for a full debate at a reasonable hour?
The business was arranged so that we could have a debate on the herring and white fish industries at a reasonable hour, namely, after 7 p.m., and I trust that that will happen. I do not think that my hon. Friend will find 7 p.m. too late for a discussion, since some of our most enlightened discussions have taken place at that sort of hour.
Does the Leader of the House not realise that this is not the first time that the question raised by the hon. Lady opposite has been raised, and that every time a fisheries debate comes before the House the business is so arranged that the subject comes on far too late for a proper debate to be held? Will the Leader of the House look into that, with a view to providing more time for this very important subject?
I should have thought that although the hour in question may be late for my hon. Friend, it would not be too late for the hon. and learned Gentleman. I think that it is quite a reasonable hour. It is our intention that there shall be a proper discussion.
Has my right hon. Friend's attention been directed to a Motion in the names of 100 hon. and right hon. Members from both sides of the House about the flying of flags from public buildings on St. George's Day?
Yes, Sir. I have reason to believe that my right hon. Friend is sympathetic to the idea, but I must limit the discretion in this matter to England, as I think that it would be undesirable if we were to spread it much wider. However, I will discuss the matter with my right hon. Friend and in the event of there not being time to discuss the Motion, I will communicate with my hon. Friend.
In connection with the Private Business set down by the Chairman of Ways and Means for 7 p.m. on Monday, is the Leader of the House aware that there are not enough printed copies of the Bill available for hon. Members who require them? Does he realise that it will be virtually impossible for hon. Members properly to discuss the Bill unless they have a copy? At present only four copies are available in the Vote Office. Will the right hon. Gentleman, for the benefit of the House, provide a sufficient number of printed Bills, without which it will be impossible to conduct business properly?
My researches, recently undertaken, have revealed that there are exactly that number of Bills in the Vote Office at present. I have made inquiries and we are trying, through the usual channels, to obtain more copies for the benefit of hon. Members.
Has my right hon. Friend given further thought to the proposal which I put to him last week, that we should have a debate on the Commonwealth Education Conference before we rise for the Summer Recess?
I have given a great deal of thought to that request, but I have not been able to find the time for such a debate.
The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that three Private Bills have been set down for debate on Monday. Since the first two are London Bills, which will take a considerable time in view of the interest shown in them, is it reasonable that the third Bill, the South Wales Transport Bill, which concerns a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House, should come on at a very late hour on Monday or early on Tuesday morning? Does the right hon. Gentleman regard that as fair to the people interested in that Bill?
I have to answer for a great deal, but I do not have to answer for the Chairman of Ways and Means, to whose discretion it must be left. I feel sure that the hon. Gentleman would be right to put his representations to him.
Has my right hon. Friend seen a Motion on the Order Paper, signed by more than 100 hon. and right hon. Gentlemen from both sides of the House, calling attention to the plight of some colonial and ex-colonial civil servants?
[That this House draws the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the wide differences between pension scales paid to retired colonial civil servants by Her Majesty's Government and those paid by certain Governments of both dependent and independent territories within the Commonwealth; and urges Her Majesty's Government to use its influence with the Governments of the territories whose scales of pensions fall below present standards to make compensating increases.]
May I remind the Leader of the House that a whole series of pledges was given earlier in this Parliament concerning the intention to legislate to give effect to the Gowers Report on the railways? Many of us suspected that that was not, in fact, the intention, but only a few months ago the pledge was repeated. Can the right hon. Gentleman say what has happened? Are we to take it as a foregone conclusion that nothing will be done about the matter during the lifetime of this Parliament, and that the Government have no intention of doing anything, which is what many railway workers and others connected with the industry now believe to be true?
There are two aspects to this. First, speaking from memory, an Amendment was moved to the last Factories Act to include locomotive sheds in the operation of the Act. That deals with part of the problem. Secondly, as I understand the position, the British Transport Commission is taking steps administratively to improve conditions.
As for the third leg of the problem, namely, further legislation, I cannot make a further statement.