The business for next week will be as follows:
MONDAY, 13TH JULY.—Supply [1st Allotted Day].
The Chairman will immediately put the Question on all outstanding Votes.
WEDNESDAY, 15TH JULY.—Remaining stages of the National Insurance (Old Persons' and Widows' Pensions and Attendance Allowances) Bill, of the International Monetary Fund Bill and of the Education (Handicapped Children) Bill.
THURSDAY, 16TH JULY.—Second Reading of the Misuse of Drugs Bill.
FRIDAY, 17TH JULY.—Remaining stages of the Harbours (Amendment) Bill and of the Fiji Independence Bill.
MONDAY, 20TH JULY.—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill.
With regard to Wednesday's business, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that, while we shall want to facilitate these Measures as far as possible, we do not yet know how many Amendments will be put down? It looks as though it may be a fairly heavy day. If it means carrying the House late into the night, I hope that he will think again and allow extra time.
Secondly, may we expect a statement next week on the question raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) with the Home Secretary about an all-party delegation going to Northern Ireland? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, while we reluctantly accepted the Home Secretary's view about a delegation going this weekend during the time of the Orange marches, there is strong feeling in many parts of the House that Members may wish to observe the situation even after that? May we expect a statement from the Home Secretary that he is making arrangements for an all-party delegation?
On the first point, I accept what the right hon. Gentleman says. We will just have to see how we get on. If there is too much business, we can certainly put it off to another time.
On the second point, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made his decision reluctantly because of the pressure on the security forces this coming weekend. My right hon. Friend will certainly consider providing facilities for a delegation at some future date.
Has my right hon. Friend had his attention drawn to Motion No. 1, standing in my name and the names of 180 right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House, on the question of postal votes for people on holiday?
[That, so that no one is needlessly deprived of their right to vote and in order to meet the convenience of electors, this House urges Her Majesty's Government as soon as possible to take action so that a postal vote may be claimed by people away from their home on holiday.]
Will my right hon. Friend find time for a debate on this matter, if not next week, at least before the House rises?
I have, of course, seen the Motion. I recognise the strong feelings on this issue, particularly after the General Election was called in a holiday month, although I do not think that we on this side have any complaint about that. There was a Question down for answer by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary today, which was not reached. I cannot promise a debate in the near future, but I can promise that my right hon. Friend will certainly consider the terms of the Motion.
May I draw the attention of the Leader of the House to Motion No. 8, of which I gave him a correct copy last night, which is now supported by over 50 Members, which number I am sure will grow?
[That this House believes that the matter of the rights of hon. Members of this House who have been committed to Her Majesty's Prisons, and of their constituents, be referred to a Select Committee to be appointed for this purpose, and that they do consider and report, in particular, what action should be taken if any person deliberately delays the receipt of mail by an hon. Member, interferes with a Member's right to correspond with any constituent, member of Her Majesty's Government, Department of State or another Member of this House, forcibly prevents a Member from attending this House, or prevents a Member who wishes to do so from interviewing a constituent or a fellow Member who is assisting him in the conduct of his constituency business.]
May I also draw attention to the many unanswered questions in the submission that I made to you, Mr. Speaker, which you properly said were not matters for the Chair? Therefore, on this important and urgent issue, will the Leader of the House consider allowing time for a debate? Further, in view of the difficulty about tabling Questions on this matter, will one of his Ministerial colleagues or himself make a statement to the House so that we may put Questions on the subject?
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Paddington, North (Mr. Latham) for his courtesy in coming to see me personally last night about this Motion.
The conditions under which the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Miss Devlin) is being held are a matter for the Northern Ireland authorities. I recognise that the Motion goes somewhat wider and has other important implications, and I am certainly willing to examine how best this matter can be considered. However, in view of its complexity, I should be wrong at this stage to promise either a debate or a statement.
Order. May I intervene to say that the Motion to which the hon. Member for Paddington, North (Mr. Latham) referred contains an error? The first four words of the Motion as printed did not appear in the manuscript handed in by the hon. Gentleman. They were inserted in error by staff at the printing works. They will be removed the next time the Motion appears on the Order Paper.
On a point of order. I am sorry to delay our proceedings. However, as we are considering Motion No. 8, may I say that I have just noticed that my name is printed as having signed the Motion. I certainly did no such thing. I should be obliged if it could be omitted.
As there appears to be a disastrous rash of circulars being issued by new Ministers, may I ask the Leader of the House whether there will be an opportunity next week to discuss the circular issued by the Minister of Housing and Local Government about the sale of council houses, which is of prime importance?
Does my right hon. Friend recall that towards the end of the last Parliament the Select Committee on Procedure submitted a number of important reports suggesting changes and improvements in our procedure? Will my right hon. Friend arrange for an early debate so that the Government may become aware of the wishes of the House in this matter?
Will my right hon. Friend tell us who in the House of Commons will answer for the arts part of the Ministry of Education and Science? Will he, when giving the name of whoever will answer, say whether whoever does answer will be able to deal with questions in depth, because I am very interested in the arts and I might want to put some rather tricky questions?
The answer is my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science. I am sure that, in view of her sex, my hon. Friend will be extremely pleased that they may have one against the other. My right hon. Friend is certainly able to answer in depth.
Has my right hon. Friend's attention been drawn to Early Day Motion No. 5 which has been signed by more than 40 hon. Members from both sides of the House?
[That the matter of the style and title of the honourable Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed be referred to the Committee of Privileges.]
Would my right hon. Friend be prepared for this matter to be referred to the Committee of Privileges?
Reverting to the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington, North (Mr. Latham) about the Early Day Motion on the rights of Members of Parliament, will the right hon. Gentleman take into account the extreme urgency of this situation because of the denial of rights at the present time to the people of mid-Ulster, particularly as two of the most provocative marches proposed for Monday are to take place in the constituency of the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Miss Devlin)? Does he not think that this matter should be dealt with by the House of Commons at the earliest opportunity?
Reverting to the question of the proposed deputation to Northern Ireland which my right hon. Friend raised with the Leader of the House, and the decision of the Home Secretary not to proceed with it, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether any Government Ministers are to observe the Orange parades on Monday? May we have a report to the House next week following these demonstrations?
I understand from my right hon. Friend that there will not be any Government Ministers observing the marches. I can assure the House that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is most anxious to keep the House informed of any developments, and will certainly do so.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that a number of people, including some of my constituents, are in considerable difficulty as a result of the uncertainty surrounding transactions in which they have been involved with the Land Commission? May we have a statement next week to clarify the matter.
Has the right hon. Gentleman seen Early Day Motion No. 6 dealing with what is reckoned to be one of the most important issues that will face the country this coming winter?
[That this House is deeply concerned at the refusal of Her Majesty's Government to publish the Coal Industry Bill prepared by the previous Government; and urges that whilst the National Union of Mineworkers Conference is in session in the Isle of Man this week a decision be announced forthwith on a matter of such crucial importance to the mining industry.]
Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to find time for a debate on this important subject? If not, will he draw to the attention of his right hon. Friend the fact that a statement is urgently needed before the recess starts a fortnight from today?
On this important question, while last week we understood, since he had been given notice of the question only the day before, or as soon as we saw the Queen's Speech, surely the right hon. Gentleman must recognise that a whole week's delay in being unable to say anything at all will arouse suspicions, not that he has not had time to look at it, but that the Government are hedging on this important issue which has been before the House for some time? Is he saying that it is being reconsidered and the Government do not propose to continue the help that we have been giving to the coal industry at this critical time?
I am not saying any such thing. I am saying that the Government are considering their legislative programme, as they are entitled to do, and I can remember many occasions during the last six years when it took a great deal longer for the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends to produce various Bills in the House.
While noting with satisfaction that my right hon. Friend intends to make a statement about Select Committees in general, may I ask whether he is aware that in the last Parliament the Select Committee on Overseas Aid took a great deal of evidence, much of it abroad, and that its report is now in draft? In order that this valuable work should not be wasted, will my right hon. Friend consider putting down a Motion next week to create a new Select Committee with the task of reporting urgently?
I recognise the important work carried out by this Select Committee during the last Parliament. I must, however, ask my hon. Friend to await what I hope to say tonight if I get an opportunity to do so.
Will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary to come to the House to make a statement about his meeting yesterday with the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ireland, Dr. Hillery? His colleague was beside himself before that meeting to give the House his views about Dr. Hillery. Could he now be brought to the House to tell us the outcome of the meeting?
I shall represent to my right hon. Friend what the hon. Gentleman said, but I could not possibly promise that he will find it necessary to make a statement.
Has my right hon. Friend perceived that Early Day Motion No. 6 on the coal industry has been heavily revised from this side of the House and the Amendment has been signed by a large number of my hon. Friends and myself?
[Line 1, leave out from 'House' to the end insert 'notes that the Coal Industry Bill, prepared by the previous Government, achieved a Second Reading without division on 9th April, 1970, and that for the ensuing 50 days the previous Government took no action to secure progress thus relegating the Measure to low priority, notwithstanding the then Opposition supporting the Bill on Second Reading; and deplores the dilatoriness of the late Government in not securing passage of this important Measure to the Statute Book in more than seven weeks at their disposal between 9th April and Dissolution of the last Parliament on 29th May 1970, which was ample time to complete the Measure.']
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that his legislative intentions are not in question, but that the issue really is whether Lord Robens is to be allowed to increase coal prices by 10 per cent.—
May I come to the question? May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will undertake to ensure that a statement is made before the recess on the future of this Bill, and the fact that we will not have any coal price increases during the long recess?
I think that it would be extremely unwise for me on a purely business question to enter into policy matters of that sort. I have made it clear that the Government are considering the whole question surrounding the Bill as put to me by the right hon. Gentleman. I would not wish, therefore, to get involved in a controversy at this stage. I think this shows how wise the Government are to consider very carefully how best to proceed in this matter.
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider setting up next week the Services Committee, or whatever machinery he wishes to replace it with, to deal with accommodation facilities and the problems of new Members, and also the difficulties which some of our late colleagues have found after leaving the House?
I do not think that the hon. Gentleman can blame me for that rude interruption. I am afraid that on this occasion I must again return to asking the hon. Gentleman to await what I hope to say later this evening.
Will the right hon. Gentleman be more forthcoming about the possible resumption date of the House after the Summer Recess? If he cannot give us the date, will he at least give us the month—[An HON. MEMBER: "Or the year."]—as the belief is spreading that not only is there not to be instant Government, but possibly there is not to be instant Parliament?
It is entirely for the hon. Gentleman to discuss with his right hon. and hon. Friends what sort of opposition they ought to provide. On the question of the date of rising for the Summer Recess, the hon. Gentleman might like to consult the precedents of the last two years when his party was in power. He will find that they were not substantially different from this one.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that before 24th July the Foreign Secretary will make a statement on the supply of arms to South Africa. Second, can the right hon. Gentleman say what form the debate on the Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill will take a week come Monday? Will it go on all through the night? I certainly hope it will.
The hon. Member will have heard what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said when he was answering Questions earlier on the subject to which he referred in the first part of his question. How long the debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill, devoted to subjects raised by private Members, continues depends entirely on the number of subjects put down for debate by private Members.
May I take it that we shall have frequent interim reports on the progress of the Common Market negotiations? If so, will the reports be debatable? Alternatively, will we have a number of debates on the Common Market proposals before the House is asked to make a final decision?
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and other Ministers have promised that the fullest reports will be made to Parliament on the progress of the negotiations. Exactly when and how we shall have debates must depend on how matters proceed. It will be much better to wait to see how we get on.
I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity will be most anxious to keep the House fully informed of the situation, and I understand that, if appropriate, he would be pleased to make a statement to the House tomorrow. Naturally, all of us on both sides of the House hope very much that reason will prevail and that the threatened trouble will not take place.
In view of the comprehensive speech which the right hon. Gentleman has indicated he will make tonight, will he find time, if not tonight then next week, to explain why the Government have reduced the number of three Ministers for Welsh affairs which we had in the Labour Government to two, thereby affronting the people of Wales?
Is it the intention that the Secretary of State for Education and Science will answer Questions on the arts, or will she delegate that matter to a second Minister? Will both Ministers act as subsidiaries to the Minister in the other place, and will there be three people in place of one on this side of the House?
I find the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question somewhat complicated. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science will normally answer Questions on the arts in this House. Naturally, as with all other Ministers, she may occasionally delegate Questions to one of her junior Ministers.
Further to the question of the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), does the Leader of the House intend to move for the reappointment of the Select Committee on Procedure so that it can continue and finalise its report on the scrutiny of taxation and finance?
As the National Insurannce (Old Persons' and Widows' Pension and Attendance Allowance) Bill has proved how quickly the Government can frame and put through legislation, would the right hon. Gentleman agree to rearrange next week's business so as to allow for the introduction of a Bill to abolish selective employment tax and thus carry out the Prime Minister's pledge that it will be abolished this Session?
May I start by welcoming the hon. Gentleman in his new rôle under which he has to live with us instead of looking down upon us? My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister never promised that selective employment tax would be abolished this Session, and certainly a Bill to abolish it will not be introduced next week.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friend did say that selective employment tax would be abolished in the first Budget? He said it last February. If the right hon. Gentleman is now saying that there will not be a Budget at all in this Session, will he tell us when we can expect a Budget?
Naturally I should have thought that there would be a Budget in this Session. I would prefer to rest on my party's manifesto for the General Election in which we made it perfectly clear that this was a programme for a Parliament. We intend to carry out what we said in our manifesto, unlike the Labour Party.
Further to the question put by the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) about the future of the Select Committee on Overseas Aid, would the right hon. Gentleman, in preparing his remarks for tonight, bear in mind that in view of the considerable public expense involved in the work of the Committee last year, it would be a pity to deny the House and the public the benefit or dividend of a considered report?
I recognise the very important work done by the Committee. I do not think that the hon. Gentleman will find that I will say anything tonight to suggest that this work would be in any way lost to the House.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there has been an extensive report made by the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs? When does he intend to place it before the House for debate?
I must ask the hon. Gentleman to await what I have to say tonight. Very soon everyone else will have as much anxiety about the remarks that I am to make tonight as I have myself.