Business of the House

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 1964.

Alert me about debates like this

Mr. H. Wilson:

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

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

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

MONDAY, 3RD FEBRUARY—Second Reading of the International Development Association Bill, and of the International Headquarters and Defence Organisations Bill [Lords], and Committee stage of the Money Resolutions.

Motion on a Double Taxation Relief Order.

TUESDAY, 4TH FEBRUARY—Remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund Bill, which, if the House agrees, will be taken formally to allow debate, until seven o'clock, on an Opposition Motion on the Distribution of Political Material by the General Post Office.

And, afterwards, on the Sale of the British Lion Films Limited, on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

WEDNESDAY, 5TH FEBRUARY—Second Reading of the Public Libraries and Museums Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

And, if there is time, the Second Reading of the British Nationality Bill.

THURSDAY, 6TH FEBRUARY—Debate on a Government Motion on Commonwealth Trade, Technical Assistance and other Commonwealth Links.

FRIDAY, 7th FEBRUARY Private Members' Motions.

MONDAY, 10TH FEBRUARY—The proposed business will be: Debate on a Government Motion on the Buchanan Report.

Mr. H. Wilson:

It looks like a more interesting week's business than the business which the right hon. and learned Gentleman announced last week. Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us when it is expected that we shall have the White Paper on the Monopolies Commission and also the Bill dealing with resale price maintenance?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

In answer to the right hon. Gentleman's first comment, I certainly hope that next week will be as useful a week as this week has been.

As for the second question, we are one week nearer to it than we were this time last week.

Photo of Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris Wing Commander Sir Robert Grant-Ferris , Nantwich

Has my right hon. and learned Friend had his attention drawn to the excellent interim Report which was published yesterday by the new Inland Waterways Board? In view of the recommendations published there, can my right hon. and learned Friend say whether it will be possible for the House to discuss them before the Board produces its final Report? Would he consider arranging for the House to have at least half a day's debate on the subject?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Further consultations and discussions were recommended in the Report. It would be wiser to wait until those have taken place before we have a debate.

Photo of Mr John Cronin Mr John Cronin , Loughborough

When can the House expect a statement from the Minister of Aviation on the setting up of a committee under Sir John Lang to investigate excessive profits on a guided missiles contract, bearing in mind that this is not only a matter of great public importance but that this new committee to some extent anticipated the function of a Select Committee of the House, the Public Accounts Committee? Is it not essential that the House should have a statement on this at the earliest opportunity?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

If my memory is right, there are certain Questions down for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation to answer early next week. I think that they will cover the point which the hon. Member is making. I believe that my right hon. Friend is first on the list to answer Questions then.

Mr. H. Wilson:

Since this raises questions which are rather wider than the responsibility of the Ministry of Aviation, and an inquiry was set up by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, may I ask whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman will tell us why, in view of the reported loss of £2·7 million through some very unsatisfactory financial operations, an inquiry has been set up in this way, under the chairmanship of a former Permanent Secretary in a sister Department working under the same system? Why is it not being left to the ordinary machinery of the House to deal with what, on the face of the Comptroller and Auditor General's Report, looks like a public scandal?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I think that before we come to any kind of judgment on what the right hon. Gentleman has said it would be much better to await the Answers of my right hon. Friend to the Questions on the Order Paper.

Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth

On the business for Tuesday, may I ask my right hon. and learned Friend whether, having regard to my Motion on false documentaries by the B.B.C. it would be in order for the Postmaster-General to convey an apology from the Director-General of the B.B.C. to the North Country for the false documentary on our position?

[That, in the opinion of this House, the Postmaster General should require the British Broadcasting Corporation to make a statement on its recent Gallery programme on the North-East of England, which it is alleged was faked in certain respects, as it is in the national interest that documentary programmes should be true representation of fact.]

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

There is some difficulty, I think, in getting the delivery of apologies into business questions.

Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth

On a point of order. I was referring to a Motion on the Order Paper. I think that it would be convenient that my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General should convey the apology.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I know of the Motion on the Order Paper, but, seriously I think that we ought to confine business questions to business, otherwise it will be interminable.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Does the Leader of the House recall that a fortnight ago he said that he would consider the possibility of finding time for the House to discuss the situation in Aden, where a considerable number of people are still being detained without trial and where a state of emergency still exists? Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman considered this matter and, if so, can he find time for a short debate on the situation next week?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I have considered the matter, but I cannot find time for a debate next week.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

Would the Leader of the House consider arranging a foreign affairs debate in which his right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary could give an account to the House of his recent discussions with Common Market countries at the Western European Union and on other occasions on the Government's policy and their desire to participate in political discussions on the future political set-up of Europe?

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman also tell the House whether, if a debate could not be forthcoming next week, the Foreign Secretary could at least make a statement and could be questioned on what apparently are serious departures from statements of Government policy in the House?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I will consider with my right hon. Friend what the hon. Member has said.

Photo of Mr John Jennings Mr John Jennings , Burton

Has my right hon. and learned Friend taken note of the Motion, in the names of about 100 hon. Members from both sides of the House, on public service pensioners and their plight?

[That this House, recognising the hardships of public service pensioners and those retired from the armed forces, and especially of the older pensioners in these groups, whose pensions bear no relation to similar pensions now obtaining in the public service and the armed forces, urges Her Majesty's Government to introduce special provisions to improve such pensions.]

Would my right hon. and learned Friend be prepared to give time in the near future for a debate on this subject?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I will bear in mind both what my hon. Friend has just said and also what is in the Motion.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

Would the Leader of the House not consider the point made by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and find time for a debate on the Report he mentioned? Surely the point made by my right hon. Friend was that that Report has not been considered by the House. It contains the gravest allegations about impropriety in the divulging of information and the obtaining of very large sums of public money. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is fully aware of the difficulties about putting down a Question, although I have one on the Order Paper.

Surely it is only proper that before a Minister who is personally involved in this sets up a committee of inquiry the House should have the opportunity of debating the Report of the Estimates Committee.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

There are certain opportunities open to the Opposition for this sort of thing, and, also, there are certain days devoted to the Reports of the Estimates Committee. In fact, I am at present discussing with my hon. Friend the Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson) and other hon. Members how we handle that matter. I shall bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Photo of Mr John Eden Mr John Eden , Bournemouth West

On Monday's business, the Double Taxation Relief Order, may we expect a statement showing the progress which is being made in negotiations with the Ghana Government to relieve former Gold Coast civil servants and other servants of Ghana from the iniquitous imposition placed upon them by the arbitrary decision of President Nkrumah?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I think that it would be difficult for my hon. Friend or for anyone else to get that in order under the Double Taxation Relief (Shipping and Air Transport Profits) (Lebanon) Order, 1964.

Photo of Mr George Lawson Mr George Lawson , Motherwell

Has the attention of the Leader of the House been drawn to the Written Answer given on Tuesday last to the effect that his right hon. Friend the Minister of Public Building and Works has decided to transfer his accounts department headquarters, employing 1,000 people, to Hastings? Since this appears to be contrary to the advice of the Flemming Report and the Government's declared policy of bringing about a more sensible distribution of Government Departments and offices, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman find time for the matter to be debated?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I was wondering how the hon. Gentleman would bring the point in on business for next week. I shall convey what he has said to my right hon. Friend.

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

Will my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that, on the Consolidated Fund Bill next Tuesday, I shall stand in my place until such time as there is a debate on the emergency now existing in Aden and the Protectorate, as I am not prepared to see British subjects remain in gaol without trial?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Whether my hon. Friend stands in his place or not is not for me.

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

Is the Leader of the House prepared to reconsider his reply about monopolies and the issue of the Government White Paper on resale price maintenance? Does he think that his reply about it being a week nearer than it was this time last week was the brightest way of dealing with a question which is of vital importance to millions of people?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

It was a very factual way to deal with it.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

Since the business on the Consolidated Fund Bill on Tuesday is to be taken formally and the debate on the Post Office is to proceed until seven o'clock, can my right hon. and learned Friend assure the House that there will be plenty of time to discuss the question of British Lion Films, in which great interest has been shown on both sides, or shall we have to finish at ten o'clock?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

It will be taken on the Motion for Adjournment of the House, and the debate will have to finish in accordance with the Standing Order.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Further to the question asked by the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings) about the Motion on public service and military pensioners, the veteran pensioners, will the Leader of the House bear in mind two points, one, that there are already over 100 signatories to the Motion from both sides of the House, and, two, that in the last pensions increase debate both sides of the House promised that they would deal with this matter soon and put it on a permanent basis? Will the Leader of the House give very serious consideration to providing an opportunity for the issue to be debated?

Photo of Mr John Eden Mr John Eden , Bournemouth West

With further reference to that Motion, in view of the fact that a very substantial increase took place under the 1962 Act, the largest single increase ever made in these pensions, will my right hon. Friend consider the aspect of reorganising the method of determining these pensions rather than follow the exact terms of the Motion on the Order Paper?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

That would be a policy matter not for me, but I shall bear in mind the question of a debate.

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. So that there be no misunderstanding in the House about the Consolidated Fund Bill, do I understand that the rules of the House are that, if a Member is standing when the Bill is under discussion, that Member, whatever be agreed between the usual channels, has the absolute right to be called?

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

No one has an absolute right to be called; it depends on his catching my eye. But I think that the point which the hon. Gentleman wishes to raise is clear enough.

Photo of Mr Sydney Allen Mr Sydney Allen , Crewe

In considering an opportunity for a debate on pensions, will the Leader of the House arrange matters so that discussion of the plight of the old railway superannuitants is within order, since they have had the worst deal of all pensioners in this country?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I shall bear that in mind.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

The Leader of the House has told my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) that the White Paper on Defence will be published 13th February. Can he say when there will be a debate on this and, if his answer is "Very soon", will he define "very soon"?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

There certainly will be a debate on the White Paper within a reasonable time after its publication.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

The Leader of the House answered a question on business from me last week about the Government's intention regarding resale price maintenance. Can he now confirm that the Government have decided that the Bill relating to resale price maintenance will be on the Statute Book before the next General Election?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I have nothing to add to what I said last week. I covered that point.

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

If the hon. Member for The Wrekin (Mr. W. Yates) exercises his undoubted right to initiate a debate on the Yemen on the Consolidated Fund Bill next Tuesday, will the Leader of the House, in discharge of his duty, institute a discussion through the usual channels in pursuance of the point made by the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) so that we have adequate time to discuss the position of British Lion Films?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

As I said last week, matters of order are not for me, but the debate on this Consolidated Fund Bill will be a narrow one, and it will have to be within the terms of the Bill.

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask whether the Leader of the House is correct in his statement that, on the Consolidated Fund Bill, the two Front Benches can agree to limit the rights of hon. Members?

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

With respect, the hon. Gentleman does not listen. Nobody said that. The point is that on this Consolidated Fund Bill, as the hon. Gentleman will see if he looks at it, there is some restriction on what can be discussed, because all that will be within its scope will be matters relating to the administration in respect of which there are particular Supplementary Estimates for which the Bill will provide the money, so to speak. I should not like to give a Ruling about the total contents now. I have not got the Supplementary Estimates before me.

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

In that case, Mr. Speaker, are Amendments to the Bill by private Members allowed or not?

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

If the hon. Gentleman wants to make an Amendment, he can try it. I shall consider it then. But let us get on now. I shall protect his rights, strictly.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

The Leader of the House will recall that, last week, he said that it was the Government's intention to have legislation about resale price maintenance on the Statute Book during the lifetime of the present Paraliament. What I am asking him to say now is whether this is still just an intention or whether a decision has been taken by Her Majesty's Government to have the Bill on the Statute Book before the next General Election?

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I have nothing to add. The hon. Gentleman must draw his own conclusions.

Mr. H. Wilson:

If the Leader of the House has nothing to add, has he anything to subtract?