Before I sit dawn, I should like to say with what sadness we have all heard of the death of Lord Dalton, who was for so long a tremendous figure in our political life. He was a man of strong opinions who gave great service to his country and to his party, and his outstanding abilities were widely recognised and respected. I should like to pay tribute to his memory.
On this side of the House, we are grateful to the Leader of the House for what he has just said about our old friend. We think of him here a man who spent twenty-five years of his life in the House of Commons, although he was out of the House for a few years between 1931 and 1935. We recall his speeches both from the back benches and from the Government and Opposition Front Benches and his relaxed but robust performances. We think of him, too, as an ebullient personality who enriched our proceedings and whose place in history is secure.
I should like to associate myself with what has been said about Lord Dalton. Many of us who disagreed with his policies had deep affection and respect for the man himself.
No, Sir. Two days have been allocated by the Allocation of Time Motion for Report and Third Reading and the business on Thursday, 22nd February, will be preceded by a Report from the Business Committee, suggesting how those two days should be allocated; in other words, whether Report should take one day and Third Reading one day, or whatever is suggested. This will be before the House before a decision is taken.
In view of the decision taken in another place on Thursday on the Manchester Corporation Bill, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will consider finding time in the immediate future for a debate on the Proud-man Report on the Growing Demand for Water, particularly as the main recommendation of that Report suggests that the matter ought to be dealt with centrally and by the Government themselves? Is my right hon. Friend aware that many authorities are the prisoners of statutes passed by Parliament, that they have to supply water to an ever-increasing number of authorities, and that at least their case ought to be heard by Parliament?
Has the right hon. Gentleman noted that a very substantial number of hon. Members from both sides of the House have signed a Motion calling for a world security authority?
[That this House, noting the numerous areas of likely conflict in the world and the need to prevent them exacerbating the main ideological conflict, and noting the effort made by the United Nations in Sinai and Congo, believes that such efforts would be more effective, were they to be within a framework of law enforcement known in advance, and to this end urges that Her Majesty's Government should propose at the United Nations that an autonomous commission should be set up to explore and report on the creation of a permanent force with an individually recruited personnel owing allegiance direct to the United Nations and paid by it, and whose prime purpose would be the enforcement, in areas where it was directed to operate, of laws preventing the ownership use or manufacture of arms, or the incitement to such, except by consent of the United Nations and in fulfilment of the United Nations' force's task of preventing violation of frontiers; and that Her Majesty's Government should announce in advancethat if acceptable proposals were to result, it would give its support and supply bases and personnel.]
Would the right hon. Gentleman consider giving some time to debate this matter so that our negotiators might go to Geneva reinforced with the opinion of the House, and put forward the constructive ideas contained in the Motion?
I should like to support that request still further on the ground that the Motion goes right to the root of what is to be debated at the eighteen-Power conference and the whole of the disarmament issue, in that we have got absolutely nowhere with disarmament, and the ideas in the Motion seem to offer the only possible hope of progress in the future.
Could the Leader of the House find a little time next week to make a statement about the change in the employment of women cleaners in some of the Government offices? Is he aware that this is causing great concern, that it looks as if a complete change of policy has taken place and that the cleaning of Government offices is to be handed over to a private firm? Would he make some reference to this situation so that the women affected may have some information?
In view of the fact that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has very generously provided two days to discuss London government, may I ask whether, so that I might emphasise that there are other smaller places, he will provide me with just half a day to draw attention to the need to preserve the independence of Rutland?
Reverting to the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mrs. Braddock), may I also ask the Leader of the House to consider the point that she made? Is he aware that the Question referred to has been transferred from the Order Paper for next week to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose turn to answer Oral Questions is a long time ahead? In the meantime, these women are losing their jobs and suffering as a result.
This does not arise on the business which I have announced for next week, but in view of what the hon. Lady the Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mrs. Braddock) and the hon. Lady the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) have said, I will discuss this with my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
It is, in fact, a plan which has been very widely welcomed and we must debate it in the House. I give that assurance. If hon. Members would like a little more time to study it, which probably would be wise, we could discuss it in the ordinary way in a subsequent debate.
Would my right hon. Friend apply the same thinking to the plan for Scotland, which is not completely agreed upon among Scottish hon. Members on both aides of the House?
In view of the general and deep concern throughout the country about the proposed nuclear tests in Nevada and on Christmas Island, may I ask the Leader of the House when there will be a debate on the subject? Can he give us an assurance that there will be a debate specifically on the question of tests and that full time will be given to it so that the House may decide and vote before any action is taken in proceeding with the tests?
It is, of course, of the very first importance, but I think that we had better proceed in the usual way—which is that if an approach were made on this matter I would be very glad to discuss it.
Will my right hon. Friend find time for a debate on the Jack Committee's Report on Rural Transport? We have had nothing but evasion from the Minister of Transport. Three months ago he said that he would consult with my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House about the provision of Government time for a debate, but nothing happened. Is my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House aware that the only debate we had was on the initiative of a back bencher?
I read the exchanges on the Jack Report a day or two ago—indeed, I also heard them. But I regret to say that I see no prospect, at this time of the year, of Government time for this subject. There was, of course, the debate which, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, took place some time ago.
In view of the large increase in unemployment-41,000, of which 15,000 are in Scotland—and of the difficulties created in Scotland and, no doubt, in the north-east and northwest of England, will the right hon. Gentleman find time soon for a discussion on the distribution of industry?
On the question of the "Mrs. Mops", who are friends of all of us, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will bear in mind that this matter affects both sides of the House? Will he also bear in mind that I should not much like to see the "Mrs. Mops" having to bear the first brunt of any economies? Would it not be a good thing if economies of this kind were discussed with women Members on both sides of the House before the Government started getting busy with widows?
[That this House strongly condemns the action of Her Majesty's Government in agreeing to United States nuclear tests on Christmas Island.]
Will he give an assurance that the House will have an opportunity of considering this on a Government Motion, in such a way that every hon. Member will be able to cast his votes freely and that we will not be side-tracked as we were in the case of the Polaris agreeement?