Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that I have asked him for five weeks running when we are to get a statement from the Minister of Aviation about the VC10? Is he aware that we were given to understand that he would make a statement today; that this was printed in the Press? In view of the fact that almost daily we read in the Press, in the most intimate details, a statement of what the Minister of Aviation is going to tell his Cabinet colleagues to do—about the numbers affected and all the rest of it—will the right hon. and learned Gentleman either tell us what the rest of the Cabinet think about the Minister of Aviation or, at the very least, tell us whether we are to have this statement before the debate on civil aviation next week?
Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that many of us appreciate the magnitude of the problem regarding the past mistakes of the administration of B.O.A.C., and that we want to be as helpful as possible, but will he convey to his colleagues in the meantime that a great many hon. Members, certainly on this side of the House, would not be prepared to accept a cancellation of the VC10 project?
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that up till now the minutes of evidence of the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries in regard to its Report have not been published? Can we have an assurance that they will be made available to us in ample time so that we may study them before the debate on civil aviation takes place on Wednesday?
In view of certain Press statements, can my right hon. and learned Friend say whether he now expects, before the House rises, the Report of the Lawrence Committee on the remuneration of Ministers and hon. Members, and whether he himself has made any official proposals to that Committee?
The answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's question is "No, Sir". In view of what I had read in the Press, I asked Sir Geoffrey Lawrence about this matter and he wished me to make it clear that it was never expected that the Committee would report before the General Election and that it has not yet come to any decision on the matters referred to it.
In reply to the second point raised by my hon. Friend, I had no authority to make any proposals.
Do I take it from the fact that my right hon. and learned Friend did not mention it in the business for next week that the Vestures of Ministers Measure is not being taken next week? If not, would my right hon. and learned Friend represent to the hon. Member who may be in charge of this Measure that there is a very large body of opinion in the House which thinks that it should not be—
Is it the intention of the Attorney-General to make a statement next week about the directive by the Director of Public Prosecutions on the subject of homosexuality? Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman, in particular, realise the need for the House to have such a statement, since as recently as 1962, when I attempted to put this matter in legislative form, it was rejected by the Home Office? The House would like to know what are the circumstances which have caused this volte face.
On a point of order. A moment ago, Mr. Speaker, you ruled that when I asked my right hon. and learned Friend to bear something in mind about business, it was out of order. You have now allowed a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Sir J. Arbuthnot) asking that time should be allowed. I was merely asking almost the same question—that time should not be allowed, to meet the wishes of many hon. Members who feel that the matter should not be brought forward in this Parliament.
If I fell on the hon. and gallant Gentleman too soon, I much regret the matter. It seemed to me that the business aspect of the question was getting a little equipped with vestments.
Will there be a statement tomorrow, or early next week, on the subject of the Post Office workers' dispute? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman consult his right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General on a problem which is causing some concern? A number of pensioners, including public service pensioners, receive their pensions by post. Could a statement be made as soon as possible about whether postal packages of that nature could be expedited, so as to avoid unnecessary hardship?
Will the Leader of the House consult the Secretary of State for Education and Science and the Secretary of State for Scotland to ensure that a statement is made next week on the siting of the new university in Scotland? Is he aware that a telegram was handed to me only a few minutes ago from one of the leading Scottish educationists saying that the shilly-shallying of the Government over this matter was intolerable, since it might mean the loss of a whole academic year?
Reverting to the question by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse), did I understand the Leader of the House to refer to Questions on the Order Paper? If so, when he is considering what can be done to meet this situation next week, will he bear in mind that although some of us have Questions on this subject on the Order Paper, we cannot possibly reach them, and it is, therefore, essential for the House to have a statement?
Would the Leader of the House be good enough to read the Motions in the names of my hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) and myself?
Am I correct in saying that there will be no time for a further foreign affairs debate in this Session? If so, can the Leader of the House make certain that the Foreign Secretary makes a statement about the situation in South-West Arabia and the Yemen, because our businessmen do not wish to get unnecessarily involved in further complications in that part of the world?
As the communiqué from the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference says that the future of Southern Rhodesia is a matter for the British Parliament, will not the Leader of the House either rearrange the business for next week, or guarantee to the House that there will be a full opportunity for a debate on Southern Rhodesia, and, in particular, the Prime Minister's reports about the representations made for the release of prisoners there, before the House of Commons rises at the end of July?
Does not the Leader of the House think that the best way to deal with this would be to have a debate next week, in view of the great urgency of this situation and of the necessity of the House hearing what representations the Prime Minister has made to Southern Rhodesia about the imprisonment of people without trial?
No, Sir. There are three Supply days next week and one day on which will be debated the Reports on the nationalised industries, so that no time for another debate is afforded.
As the business on Monday week is the Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill, is it not the case that, subject to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, the matter raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse), concerning the Home Secretary's statement on homosexuality, police investigations into alleged bribery and corruption and illegal practices of various sorts, the action of the Home Secretary in the Kenneth de Courcy case, and other subjects, can be raised during that debate? As many hon. Members are anxious to raise the Spanish issue, is not that possible, too?
Is the Leader of the House aware that one of the most successful aspects of his leadership of the House has been the respect which he has gained from the Scots by his willingness to be helpful about Scottish business? Is he aware that he is beginning to lose his touch?
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman have another look at Tuesday's business? He will be aware that on that day the Scottish Grand Committee is meeting at half-past ten to deal with Estimates and that we shall then come to the House to hear Questions to the Prime Minister, fresh from his morning labours in the Committee. We are then to have a debate on Scottish trade and industry, the most important Scottish debate of the year, from half-past three to half-past nine and we are then to start on the Scottish Divorce Bill, which, when it was last in Committee, was discussed from half-past ten in the morning until two o'clock the following morning. Is it fair to take important Scottish business of this kind at half-past nine after a full day's work has already been done?
A few moments ago, the right hon. and learned Gentleman said, in reply to my right hon. Friend the Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Woodburn), that he would require notice of a question about the new university for Scotland. A little later, in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison), he said that he would discuss with his right hon. Friends the question of giving an answer next week. Does he not appreciate that the House will rise in a fortnight? Can he assure me that we will get a statement about the siting of the new university before the House rises at the end of July?
I can answer only the question put to me, and the question was whether a statement was to be made next week, or whether I could announce the date of the statement, and I replied that I could not do so without notice.
While not wishing to encourage racial prejudice at all, may I ask my right hon. and learned Friend whether he agrees that these last questions are an indication that we are spending a disproportionate amount of our time on Scottish affairs?
With regard to the debate next Thursday on the family doctor service, can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether we will get a report, or an interim report, from the Fraser Committee prior to that debate? If not, can the right hon. and learned Gentleman give us an assurance that any information or evidence which the Minister may wish to use with regard to that Committee will be available to hon. Members on the back benches?
I sympathise, not necessarily with the principle of my hon. Friend's Bill, but with the purpose of facilitating private Members in their legislative endeavours, but I cannot hold out much hope.
Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether next week, or before the House rises, there will be a statement and a debate on the constitutional and economic future of Malta?
In view of the fact that the Prime Minister specifically invited me to raise this matter, can the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell me whether it is the intention of the Government to have this matter debated before the House rises for the Summer Recess, or are we to understand that the Prime Minister will announce the date of the General Election within the next fortnight, bearing in mind that it has already become public knowledge that the Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party has referred to 5th October as coming within the General Election time?
This is a matter which affects all hon. Members who may be submitting themselves again for election to this House. There are certain consequences of an official announcement of the date of the election, of which I think most hon. Members will not be unaware.
In the light of the clear and categorical statement on 2nd July, HANSARD cols. 1673–4, by the hon. Lady the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir) concerning the location of the Scottish University, that it would be announced by 16th July "at the latest", will the right hon. and learned Gentleman also make time for a personal statement by the hon. Lady so that she can say why she has not fulfilled this promise?
May I press the Leader of the House to answer that question in view of the great concern in Scotland as to the location of the new university? May I further raise two matters with him: first, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) referred to the Divorce (Scotland) Bill which is to come on on Tuesday. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that during the Committee stage the ostensible sponsor of the Bill withdrew the two principal Clauses of it, one of which includes three additional grounds for divorce?
My hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) subsequently has sought, and will seek again next Tuesday, to put back that Clause with those three new grounds for divorce. I propose to add four more new grounds for divorce. There will, therefore, be no prospect of getting the Bill next Tuesday night, if at all.
Secondly, has the right hon. and learned Gentleman's attention been drawn to Motion No. 160 in my name, about the Prime Minister's dereliction of duty, not only in transferring Questions, but in making speeches in the House?
[This House strongly resents the contemptuous and arrogant way in which the Prime Minister deliberately evades his duty, as evidence by the facts, that in the last two months alone, up to 9th July, he has transferred to other Ministers 98 Questions addressed specifically to him, without giving any reasons for so doing, and that in nine months of office he has made only five speeches in the House, none of which has been on any major domestic issue, a record of comparative silence unequalled in British Parliamentary history; and calls on the Prime Minister, in the very brief time left to him, to show more enthusiasm in presenting his policies to the elected representatives of the people.]
May I make a constructive suggestion—[Laughter.]—which does not merit the levity which the Government's supporters are showing? I wish to support the constructive suggestion made by my hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) about Tuesday's business and the difficulty which he has pointed out will occur if the Scottish business planned for Tuesday is taken on that day.
My suggestion is that the Leader of the House should transpose the business for Tuesday and Wednesday, and take the Kennedy Memorial business on Tuesday, and the Scottish business on Wednesday. That would be suitable to all parties. It is a constructive suggestion which I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to consider favourably.
Earlier, when I referred to a Motion I mentioned my hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior). I was mistaken. I was referring to an important Motion standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell):
[That this House, in view of the continued presence of large numbers of Egyptian forces in the Yemen, in contravention of the Security Council resolution of 11th June, 1963, and of the increasing threat to international security and to British life and other interests in the Middle East, urges Her Majesty's Government to take effective measures to secure the withdrawal of Egyptian invasion forces.]
Line 2, leave out from Yemen, to end and add "urges Her Majesty's Government as a great international power, to forget all passed and trivial differences with the United Arab Republic and to endeavour to implement without question Resolution 1949 of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 11th December 1963 as the basis of discussion at the South Arabian Constitutional Conference now being held in London, and invites Her Majesty's Government to propose to the United Nations the creation of a small neutral United Nations Zone in North Yemen to become the state of the Iman, and, at the same time, to recognise the Republic of the Yemen following the example of members of the Commonwealth, and recommends that President Nasser should be invited to London at once to discuss any differences which might affect Great Britain's oil supplies and full employment in Great Britain or any other British Commonwealth interest in the Middle East.
I hope that the Leader of the House will look again at the business for Tuesday. There is far too great a concentration of very important business on that day. It will probably be nearer ten o'clock before we start to discuss the Divorce (Scotland) Bill, because of all the Votes, and so on, which have to be put. The Bill started in life as a Private Member's Bill, but the only person in the Scottish Office who is pressing it is the Lord Advocate, who is not a Member of the House. Will the Leader of the House think about this again? There is no reason why it should not be delayed. Why not let the Church of England come in that night and have "a bit of a barney"?