Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I cannot give that assurance, but I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that the Government are determined to protect the rights of the Falkland Islanders.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: My right hon. Friend is pursuing a vigorous policy against lawlessness, principally by strengthening and supporting the police. That is important. I cannot promise a debate, but the subject might well be relevant to the debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I shall consider my hon. Friend's request for a debate on data protection. Following the endorsement by the House of the Government's proposal to undertake an experiment, in which Standing Committees on Public Bills will be permitted to have up to three sittings in Select Committee form, Standing Committees will be able to take evidence in public. The first two Bills selected for the new...
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: Hon. Members did not have only one and a half hours after midnight in which to debate Northern Ireland. They had a full day's debate on the Northern Ireland (Appropriation) Order. That is equivalent to the Consolidated Fund Bill. Indeed, the House rightly sat until late last night debating Northern Ireland affairs. I cannot promise another full debate or. Northern Ireland in the immediate future.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I shall not follow the right hon. Gentleman into animal metaphors. I am certainly willing to consider his suggestion. It is important that major Bills should be included in this procedure, and I shall be happy to discuss this subject further with the right hon. Gentleman.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: We have not got a date for the reception of the Scott report. However, I imagine that the report on index-linked pensions will be before us early in the new year. The Government will then consider the matter, and will draw conclusions. As my hon. Friend raised the subject of the Civil Service, I take this opportunity to pay tribute, on behalf of all hon. Members, to the work of the Civil...
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: As the hon. Gentleman knows, the subject was raised yesterday during the debates on Northern Ireland. As Leader of the House, I am conscious of my duty to all hon. Members. However, the precedents are against the hon. Gentleman. When the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir Harold Wilson) and the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) held the office of Prime Minister, six...
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: No Minister, whether the Prime Minister or the humblest Under-Secretary, has any responsibility for what the Prime Minister of Ireland says in his own Parliament.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I shall certainly consider those matters. I always welcome a free vote which applies to everyone, including the Front Bench. However, free votes have become progressively rare. I cannot promise a debate on this important subject next week.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: Everyone in the House is concerned about unemployment. The situation in South Yorkshire, though difficult, is by no means the most difficult facing the country. I shall certainly bear in mind what the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) said. However, I cannot fit in a debate in Government time next week.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I am grateful for the warning from the Opposition Chief Whip that I must not dissipate the ecumenical atmosphere which prevails at the moment. I have noted the valid point made by my hon. Friend, but it is a matter for the Leader of the Opposition to decide. I am more concerned with the affairs of the real Cabinet than of the Shadow Cabinet.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I shall certainly bear in mind the right hon. Gentleman's request.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I hope that I reassured my hon. Friend on the status of the Falkland Islanders in the reply that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Sir B. Braine). I think that that statement shows that the need for an immediate debate is somewhat Jess pressing, but I shall consider that matter in future. I have already said that the statement on the rate support grant will be made...
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I do not follow events in the Scottish Grand Committee as closely as does the hon. Gentleman. Nevertheless, I am aware of the issues involved. Indeed, I have had considerable correspondence from Scotland on this matter, and I have been in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland on the future of education colleges. My right hon. Friend is very much aware of...
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: We are committed to setting up this Procedure Committee. Discussions are going on between myself and the new Shadow Leader of the House. Discussions are also going on through the usual channels. I hope to be in a position to table a motion next week.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: I am sure that that would give satisfaction to some—[HON. MEMBERS: "All."]—but it would cause difficulties for others. In view of the importance of the matter, I shall see the Secretary of State for Scotland and discuss the matter with him.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: Never mind about withdrawal at this stage. I do not know whether it is better to be an elderly or a juvenile windbag. [Interruption.]
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: There has just been a debate on Welsh affairs in the Welsh Grand Committee—
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: Yes, I know that it was on housing. It was not on the Select Committee's report. We must have a debate on the Committee's report when we return after Christmas. I cannot guarantee that it will be on the Floor of the House, but I can guarantee that there will be a debate. I suggest that the matter of where the debate should be held should be discussed through the usual channels.
Mr Norman St John-Stevas: It is an important White Paper, and I know of the hon. Gentleman's interest in the subject. I shall bear that in mind when planning our programme after the recess.