Mr Tom Driberg: Obviously, the provisions of the Bill will be extremely welcome to candidates of all parties, and we do not oppose it in principle. But I think it legitimate to observe, Mr. Speaker, that the recommendation of your Conference is an explicit recognition of the appalling inflation and atrocious rise in the cost of living which has taken place under this outgoing Conservative Government. Only a...
Mr Tom Driberg: Of course. It goes up every day. That is one of the reasons why we on this side welcome the forthcoming General Election, so that my party, which will then, I believe, be in government—I shall not be here myself—may take practical steps to redeem the present Prime Minister's promise to cut prices at a stroke, or take steps which would reduce inflation at a stroke. The Conservative...
Mr Tom Driberg: —is part of the necessity which arises from the Prime Minister's decision to call the General Election with what is really a quite unseemly rush.
Mr Tom Driberg: As I have said, the early election is welcomed by the Opposition. We have always said the sooner the better. But I remind the right hon. Gentleman that Clement Attlee, at the conclusion of one of his periods of government, announced with general consent from all parties at the time that he was against so-called "snap" elections, that he would not have one, and therefore that he had decided to...
Mr Tom Driberg: Would not the resources be increased greatly if the right hon. Gentleman could stop prescribing under brand names? Secondly, would the right hon. Gentleman say whereabouts in the Government's scale of priority he puts the most under-privileged group of all, who need speech therapy and much more besides—the relatively few children and adolescents who are autistic?
Mr Tom Driberg: Will my hon. Friend mention the cost to the health service of pharmaceuticals and especially those drugs prescribed under brand names?
Mr Tom Driberg: On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. If you are allowing the Minister to read his speech, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will you ask him to read it a little more vividly?
Mr Tom Driberg: Will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for an early statement by the Minister for Energy, in view of yesterday's statement by the Chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board entirely contradicting the Minister's statements and saying that the public have responded satisfactorily to the appeals for economy and that there is no need for the sterner measures foreshadowed by the Minister?
Mr Tom Driberg: When was the decision about parcels taken and why was it announced only very late apparently on Saturday night in a confusing form, so that it could reach only the later editions of the Sunday papers? Will the right hon. Gentleman clarify what is being refused and where?
Mr Tom Driberg: Does the hon. Gentleman know anything about the conditions of non-English-speaking workers from Hong Kong, many of whom are employed in Chinese restaurants in London? Is he aware that in some cases their pay and hours of work are appalling? As they do not speak English, they do not know what is the situation here and what are their rights.
Mr Tom Driberg: Does the Prime Minister recall the great concern shown by a former Prime Minister—Mr. Macmillan—when his attention was drawn to the forecasts by Edinburgh geneticists of the number of babies likely to be born blind or deformed as a result of tests up to that date? Will he say whether any similar research is being done officially here, or in conjunction with scientists in New Zealand and...
Mr Tom Driberg: Can the right hon. Gentleman say when, in the Government's opinion, autumn finishes? The matter is of wider consequence, as we have had no assurance that there will not be a winter Budget.
Mr Tom Driberg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the Lord Chief Justice's recent direction to courts, he will give urgent consideration to what relief can be given in the case of Mr. P. Saint, of 39 Hurstbourne Gardens, Barking, who, having been found not guilty of an alleged offence, was ordered to pay £100 towards the costs of the prosecution.
Mr Tom Driberg: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I beg to give notice that I shall raise on the Adjournment the matter referred to in Question No. 24 if the answer I subsequently receive is not satisfactory.
Mr Tom Driberg: asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at what time on Thursday 25th October 1973 he was officially informed of the United States forces' alert; and if he will seek to ensure that, in any comparable future situation, there will be full prior consultation between the United States administration and Her Majesty's Government.
Mr Tom Driberg: Since the right hon. Gentleman has now said that he was informed early in the morning of 25th October, will he say why he said, after his statement after Question time on 25th October, that he had no information at that moment? Does that mean that Dr. Kissinger had refused him information, or that Dr. Kissinger had said that the right hon. Gentleman should not tell Parliament anything about it?
Mr Tom Driberg: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The right hon. Gentleman asked me if I would read out a quotation from HANSARD. He said: I do not have the information at this moment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th October 1973; Vol. 861, c. 1481.]
Mr Tom Driberg: asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will reconsider his decision not to issue family allowances from the date of birth in respect of children born to unmarried parents, such children having been maintained since birth as members of the existing family of either parent.
Mr Tom Driberg: Since the Under-Secretary of State says that they are founded only on blood ties, why is it that adoptive parents can draw family allowances? If there are only relatively few cases of this kind, why should illegitimacy, as it is called, be penalised in a scheme designed to help all children except the first child? If it is necessary, can the law be amended?
Mr Tom Driberg: Why not to the birth date?