Business of the House

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th January 1970.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington 12:00 am, 28th January 1970

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Fred Peart) rose

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

On a point of order. How can a question be asked, Mr. Speaker, when a point of order has been raised by the hon. Member who wanted to apologise?

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

Order. The Chair is aware at all times that after Question Time is over hon. Members are so enthusiastic that they want to put questions. I noticed that the hon. Member wanted to put a question, but it was half a minute past half-past three.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a short Business statement.

The business tomorrow has been rearranged as follows:

Until seven o'clock, Supply [8th Allotted day] (First Part), when there will be a debate on an Opposition Motion relating to Housing.

Afterwards, as already announced, the Chairman of Ways and Means has named opposed Private Business for consideration.

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

Order. Only one hon. Member may address the House at one time.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

Can the Leader of the House say whether he feels, since on a Thursday the Orders of the Day are usually not reached until ten minutes past four, there will be adequate time for the debate on housing, considering that both Front Benches will take part in it? Will there be adequate time for back benchers? After all, this matter does affect hon. Members with constituency interests. About an hour will be split between the two Front Benches. Does my right hon. Friend consider that this will be a fair and reasonable debate? Could we not have a whole day for it?

Hon. Members:

Sit down!

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

Order. The hon. Member for Knutsford (Sir W. Bromley-Davenport) must behave himself.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis), I agree with him that it is important that back benchers should have opportunities in the debate, but it is not for me to decide this. I would hope that the Front Bench speeches will be short and precise.

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

Order. Point of explanation is an animal I do not recognise.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Walter Bromley-Davenport Lieut-Colonel Sir Walter Bromley-Davenport , Knutsford

Further to that point of order. I am extremely sorry, Mr. Speaker, if I did something, or if I am doing something, not in order, but I am deaf. I am extremely sorry.

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

Order. The House always accepts apologies in the spirit in which they are offered, and I do, wholeheartedly.

Photo of Mr Hugh Jenkins Mr Hugh Jenkins , Wandsworth Putney

Can my right hon. Friend say when the Films Bill, displaced by the change of business tomorrow, will be debated? Will it be in the early part of next week?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

I will make an announcement tomorrow about this.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

In supporting the point made by the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Arthur Lewis) about the lack of time for the housing debate tomorrow, may I ask, why could not the Government have found time for this most important subject? Why did they wait for the Opposition to have this vital subject debated in the House? Cannot even now another half a day, making a full day, be found out of Government time for this matter to be examined in detail?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The hon. Member has been in the House a long time and he knows that the Opposition, quite rightly, takes the initiative on these Supply Days. We have this half day's debate. Let us proceed with it in the normal way.

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield

In view of the short time for this very important debate tomorrow will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the Prime Minister, on his return, will not give us a longwinded statement about his visit to America?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

That is another matter.

Photo of Mr Gordon Bagier Mr Gordon Bagier , Sunderland South

Will my right hon. Friend take serious note of the point made by the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls)? Could we not have a full day to debate the question of housing? Many of us would like to examine in depth many of the reasons why the Tory-controlled councils have cut back on their housing. This lack of time limits the possibility of debating that. We also should like to examine in some depth whether this cutback by Conservative councils is a policy coordinated between the Tory councils and the Conservative Central Office, but opportunity to examine that tomorrow will be denied us because of the shortness of the debate.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

I have announced the business. Quite rightly, under Standing Order No. 18 the Opposition have the initiative in the matter for debate and we are to have this half day's debate.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

I think that the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Sir A. V. Harvey) is very important. Without wanting to particularise, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman, as Leader of the House, will ensure that the business is so arranged that there is the maximum time available for the debate of housing?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

I hope so, but, obviously, if the House wishes the Prime Minister to make a statement he will do so. But I will do all I can. I cannot go further than that.

Photo of Mr Michael Jopling Mr Michael Jopling , Westmorland

Can the right hon. Gentleman say just at what time we can expect a vote on the Private Bill which is to be debated tomorrow?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The normal time, 10 o'clock.

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

Order. We are concerned with a statement only about a half-day's business.

Photo of Mr Fred Blackburn Mr Fred Blackburn , Stalybridge and Hyde

Is my right hon. Friend aware that more time will be available for debate tomorrow if less time than usual is wasted on Business questions?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

That is another matter. I appreciate that hon. Members wish to raise questions and legitimate points on business, but I wish they would not be so verbose.

Photo of Mr Tim Fortescue Mr Tim Fortescue , Liverpool, Garston

Can the Leader of the House say whether the Prayer which was originally set down for after the Private Bill tomorrow will be debated tomorrow?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

Yes, Sir. It will come as soon as the Private Business is disposed of.