Business of the House

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st March 1977.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale 12:00 am, 21st March 1977

With permission, I wish to make a statement about the rearrangement of business.

At the end on Tuesday, following the opening of the defence debate, the motion on financial assistance to the Meriden Motor Cycle Co-operative.

On Wednesday, debate on the Opposition censure motion.

On Thursday, Lords amendments to the Social Security (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, motion on the Family Income Supplements (Compuutation) Regulations and motions on the European Communities (Definition of Treaties) Orders. As already announced, the Chairman of Ways and Means has opposed Private Business for consideration at 7 o'clock.

On Monday 28th March, conclusion of the debate on the Defence Estimates.

Photo of Mr Francis Pym Mr Francis Pym , Cambridgeshire

Will the Leader of the House indicate upon what motion the debate on the defence White Paper will take place tomorrow?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

The debate will open tomorrow and conclude next Monday. Before then we shall have put down a motion—[interruption.]—we shall have put down a motion in plenty of time for the Opposition to make up their minds by how much they wish to increase public expenditure in this field.

Photo of Mr Francis Pym Mr Francis Pym , Cambridgeshire

Are we to assume that the Government have not yet tabled a motion?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

We have not yet tabled a motion but there will be plenty of time for the Opposition to decide by how much they wish to increase public expenditure.

Photo of Mr Francis Pym Mr Francis Pym , Cambridgeshire

Will the Leader of the House indicate whether the motion will be for the Adjournment of the House or will it be a substantive motion on the defence White Paper?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

As I have already indicated, the right hon. Gentleman will have a full opportunity to tell the country by how much his party will increase public expenditure on defence.

Photo of Mr Michael English Mr Michael English , Nottingham West

Can my right hon. Friend suggest where the overwhelming majority of Liberal Members are? Is their absence of any significance. Are they in any particular place?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. We are dealing with the business for the rest of the week.

Photo of Mr Peter Rost Mr Peter Rost , Derbyshire South East

On Wednesday's business, can the Leader of the House reassure us, and put the nation out of its misery, by telling us that Labour Members will be voting on this matter?

Photo of Mr Ioan Evans Mr Ioan Evans , Aberdare

Will my right hon. Friend accept that we appreciate the Opposition spokesman realising that we shall decide which motions we debate next week?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

Let us proceed to the debate on Wednesday, and I am sure that it will then be satisfactory to proceed to the business next week.

Photo of Dr Winnie Ewing Dr Winnie Ewing , Moray and Nairn

Does the Leader of the House appreciate that the Tories' tears on censure are of the nature of crocodile tears? It was only because the Scottish National Party put up two Tellers last Thursday that—

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. I must tell the hon. Lady that we are dealing with business.

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

Will the Leader of the House ensure that before we begin the debate tomorrow we know what motion we are speaking upon?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I am sure that the hon. Member will be capable of making a speech whether there is a motion down or not.

Photo of Mr Ian Gow Mr Ian Gow , Eastbourne

Will the Lord President answer the question put by my right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym)? Upon what motion will tomorrow's debate take place, and does the Lord President intend that the Government will put down a motion on defence?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

I do not think that the House should be worried. There will be the first day's debate tomorrow— [HON. MEMBERS: "On what?"]—and in plenty of time for Monday, when the House will wish to reach a conclusion on the matter, there will be a motion on the Order Paper.

Photo of Mr Ian Gilmour Mr Ian Gilmour , Chesham and Amersham

Will the Leader of the House explain why he is not putting a motion down tomorrow?

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

The right hon. Gentleman can appreciate the situation perfectly well. There is a normal practice in this House whereby when there is a two-day debate on these matters, the Division takes place on the second day. The motion will be put down in plenty of time for hon. Members to put down amendments to it if they wish to do so.

Photo of Sir David Price Sir David Price , Eastleigh

I must press the Leader of the House. It is intolerable to start a two-day debate without a motion in front of us. Surely it is not unreasonable, 24 hours beforehand, to know the motion on which we shall be voting next Monday. In a multi-party Parliament I am sure that the minor parties at least will require that much of the Government.

Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale

It is perfectly simple to debate the matter in the way in which I have indicated. The House will reach a conclusion on Monday in the way I have described.

Photo of Mr Ian Gow Mr Ian Gow , Eastbourne

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Lord President has come here to make a statement on tomorrow's business. Should he not tell us on what motion tomorrow's debate will take place?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

That is not a point of order for me. The Leader of the House decides such matters.

Photo of Mr Cranley Onslow Mr Cranley Onslow , Woking

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. How is it that if there is no motion, the subject of the debate can be confined to defence? If there is no motion surely it is open to the House to talk on all matters of importance?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I shall rule on that when I see the motion.