House Of Commons
Wednesday, 14th April, 1954
The House met at Half past Two o'Clock
[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]
Metropolitan Common Scheme (Ham) Provisional Order Bill
Read the Third time, and passed.
Oral Answers To Questions
Ministry Of Food
asked the Minister of Food what classes of persons will still require ration books after June, 1954, upon the final ending of food rationing; and whether he will give authority for holders of ration books, which are no longer required, to destroy them.
Until next autumn the present ration books will be the basis of title to welfare milk, and the books must therefore be kept for expectant mothers, children under five and handicapped children. Other ration books may be destroyed when rationing is over.
Can my hon. Friend say whether it will be legal when rationing ends for ration books to form the subject of a demonstration of public joy? For instance, will it be in order for my constituents, or others, to use ration books to roast an ox on the village green?
Apart from the beneficiaries to whom I have referred, I have no suggestions to offer as to what people should do with their ration books.
Will the Minister see that adequate paper money goes to the poorer sections of the community so that they can buy the things of which they have been short on their ration books up-to-date?
asked the Minister of Food whether he is now in a position to say what arrangements he has made for the future operation of Recommissioned Mills Limited.
Not yet, for the arrangements are not yet completed under which Recommissioned Mills will operate next year.
Is my hon. Friend aware that to deal with the modern type of harvesting, it is very important that someone should know who will be in charge of the Recommissioned Mills early next autumn?
My hon. Friend will recall the announcement of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture that the Ministry of Food will operate the Recommissioned Mills in the year 1954–55. Some differences exist as to the detailed methods to be adopted, and they are now the subject of consultation.
asked the Minister of Food whether he can now announce the details of the arrangements for marketing of livestock after decontrol in July.
Some information was given in the Appendix to the White Paper (Cmd. 9104) issued on 19th March. The consultations on the further details are almost, but not quite, complete. When they are there will be issued leaflets on cattle, sheep and pigs, giving the full details for the information of farmers and the trade.
Can my hon. Friend say when these details will be issued?
It is hoped to issue them in the first week of May.
Has the hon. Gentleman any idea how many of the auction marts will be re-opened on 1st July?
It is too early to give a precise estimate.
asked the Minister of Food what arrangements are being made for further negotiations on food matters with the Argentine Government.
With the decontrol of meat in July no new contracts for the Government purchase of this or other foods in Argentina will be undertaken.
asked the Minister of Food whether, in view of the announcement of a further increase in price, he will now reintroduce price controls of tea.
I have nothing to add to the reply which my right hop. and gallant Friend gave on 7th April to the hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mrs. Mann).
In view of the fact that the price was increased by 4d. per lb. only a month ago and a further price increase has just been announced, does the Minister not agree that there is a case for intervention now by his Department?
The hon. Gentleman will realise that in the year up to last month the Calcutta prices were up by Is. l½d. per lb., a price increase which saved the tea gardens from disaster. We cannot escape the consequences of that change.
Is it not a fact that these increased prices are largely the result of a steadily improving standard of living among the workers in the tea gardens of the East? That should be welcomed rather than criticised.
It is a fact that the main factors in the increased cost are freight, storage and labour costs.
While we admit that perhaps from the point of view of the producers of tea there has to be an increase, and has been an increase, will hon. Members opposite now cease from stating that the cost of living is not rising?
The index of the cost of living is the index which was statistically virtuous under the last Administration. The same index is being used today.
Butter And Margarine
asked the Minister of Food whether he will postpone the pro posed decontrol of the prices of butter until after the decontrol of margarine, in order to give an opportunity to study the effect of decontrol of one commodity before proceeding to others.
Will the Parliamentary Secretary pay closer regard to the views of the grocers about this, because they have made representations to him that this course should be followed? Is it a fact that the Ministry are to continue allocations to grocers in any case and that there will not be freedom; and if that is the case, would it not be proper also to continue price control?
The Ministry will, of course, continue the issue of butter while its stocks last, but, on the general issue, the hon. Member should realise that arrangements are now being made for the private import of butter, and to continue price control would do what, I am sure, he would regard as undesirable—encourage a black market.
Food And Drugs Bill (Catering Establishments)
asked the Minister of Food what representations he has received from the National Caterers' Federation relating to the Food and Drugs (Amendment) Bill; and what reply he has sent.
The Department received a letter and memorandum from the Federation on 16th March expressing certain views about the new legislation and suggesting further consultation with trade interests about the form of public food hygiene regulations. They attended a conference on 5th April and made a number of points which will be carefully considered.
Will the Parliamentary Secretary bear in mind that there are still far too many filthy eating places in this country and that it cannot be left to certain elements in the catering industry to put their own houses ox kitchens in order? Is he aware that whatever steps he takes towards improving standards in this regard will meet with widespread support in all quarters of the House and outside?
I am very much alive, as are hon. Members on both sides of the House, to the need for improving the standards of food hygiene. What is happening now is that preliminary consultations are taking place on the first draft of regulations which might subsequently be introduced.
Is my hon. Friend aware that caterers are not complaining about the Bill so much as about the possible effect of the regulations being unrealistic? Will he consult the trade before the regulations are formally adopted?
The first draft regulations were issued as long ago as 26th January. I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that widespread consultation is taking place on the precise point with the body named in the Question. That body expressed itself as dissatisfied with the idea of any legislation to amend the Act of 1938.
Will not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that the health of the public is more important than the susceptibilities of the National Caterers' Federation?
Of course, I do so agree. At the same time, we must see to it that the regulations introduced are reasonable and are capable of application in a reasonable time and at reasonable cost.
asked the Minister of Food what responsibilities and duties will remain with his Department after food rationing ends this summer; and what steps he is taking to divest himself of such responsibilities and duties.
In reply to the first part of the Question, I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the main functions of Government now discharged by the Ministry and which will still have to be carried out after the end of rationing in July. As regards the second part of the Question, I cannot at present add to the reply given on 6th April by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd).
Would my hon. Friend resist any temptations or blandishments from hon. Members opposite to retain the fabric of administration of his Ministry or even its nomenclature after rationing ends, and will it be his policy to expunge this unwanted Department at the earliest possible moment?
I think that when my hon. Friend has read the list of residual functions which remain to be discharged by the Government he will appreciate that there is a problem to be solved as to their future destination; and, as the Prime Minister has said, that is a matter upon which there cannot yet be a pronouncement.
In the event of derationing of food proving to be too expensive for the lowest income groups, what does the hon. Gentleman propose to do?
I do not propose to engage in forecasting future price levels, and I suggest to the party opposite that they should similarly desist, bearing in mind their forecasts of the cost of eggs.Following is the list:
(i) Implementation with the Agricultural Departments of the farm price guarantees in free market conditions. (ii) Administration of deficiency payments schemes for the four main cereal crops and for livestock; support prices for eggs and potatoes. (iii) Administration of subsidies totalling £285 million a year, including subsidies on bread and milk and welfare subsidies. (iv) Various responsibilities under continuing long-term contracts, e.g. for bacon, meat (with Australia), coffee, copra, orange juice. Continuing purchase of sugar to implement Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. (v) Oversight of import programmes for balance of payments reasons. (vi) Questions arising under International Sugar Agreement, Commonwealth Sugar Agreement and the International Wheat Agreement and in connection with such bodies-as F.A.O., O.E.E.C., N.A.T.O., E.P.U. (vii) Defence plans—Civil Defence organisation—stockpiling. (viii) Food standards, Food and Drugs legislation, Slaughterhouse legislation. (ix) Welfare foods and nutritional policy. (x) Disposal of stocks; winding up of accounts, etc.
Civil Service Pensions Fund
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the total amount of money paid in by civil servants to the Widows and Orphans Pension Fund of Nigeria; and what are the assets and reserves of the fund.
Until the beginning of this month there was no fund. Contributions were credited to general revenue and the benefits, calculated on actuarial tables, were paid from the same source. On 1st April, 1954, a fund was established and the sum of £4,203,700 has been allocated from Government reserves to finance it, this being the estimated present net liability of the Government as calculated by the Government Actuary.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that what he has said will be much appreciated by the Nigerian Civil Service? Could he say whether this fund will be centred in Nigeria or in Great Britain?
The fund will, I think, be centred in Nigeria where it is held as part of the revenue of the Nigerian Government.
Niger Waters (Reports)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when the report on the Niger waters by the Dutch engineers will be available; whether he will consider publishing an interim report; and when such a report will be available.
The report on investigations of the Niger Delta should be ready about the end of this year. The report on the possibility of extending the period of navigability of the rivers Niger and Benue will not be ready for some years. However, a report on a preliminary reconnaissance for the latter will be ready in a few weeks' time. It will be for the Nigerian Government to decide whether any of the reports should be published.
Could my right hon. Friend make arrangements for that report to be made available in the Library of the House?
It will be for the Nigerian Government to decide whether any report is published, but, on the face of it, it looks as if the preliminary report will not contain enough information of public interest to justify publication in full. If it is not published, the Nigerian Government will certainly deal with it in a Press communication.
Special Elections Committee (Report)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the Report of the Special Elections Committee set up by the British High Commisioner in the Federation of Malaya.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if a study has yet been made of the Report issued by the Special Elections Committee set up by the British High Commissioner in the Malaya Federation; and if he will now make a statement.
My right hon. Friend is now considering the recommendations in the Report in consultation with the High Commissioner and Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Malay States, and he hopes to be able to make a statement soon.
Is the Minister aware that this report has been published for several months and that the answer which he gave is almost exactly the same as that which I was given by the Secretary of State a month or two ago? Will he bear in mind that a little speed in promoting democratic self-government in Malaya would do a lot more to meet the challenge of Communism in South-East Asia than any of the predominently white military arrangements foreshadowed by the Foreign Secretary yesterday?
These questions of constitutions are very important and have to be examined by everybody concerned including, of course, the rulers of the Malay States, who have a statutory right to that.
Rubber Exports (China)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what new steps are now being taken to re-open the trade in rubber between China and Singapore, which is one of the means of which this industry can be revived.
Is the Minister aware that the restriction on the export of rubber is having a serious effect, not only on the industry, but on the standard of living of the workers there? Is he also aware that Russia has recently offered to purchase 100,000 tons of low-grade rubber from Indonesia? Could not Malaya be given an opportunity of competing in that market?
The Question deals with the export of rubber to China, not to Russia. As a matter of fact, there has been a modest improvement in the condition of the industry recently, but rubber could not be exported to China without breaking our obligations under United Nations Resolution of May, 1951, and I am sure the hon. Member would not like us to do that.
Is it not a fact that rubber is already being exported from Colombo and they are taking the market from Malaya?
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress is being made in dividing up the Federation of Malaya into electoral constituencies in readiness for the federal election; and how many constituencies it is proposed to establish.
A Commission of three, with Lord Merthyr as Chairman, began work earlier this month upon the delineation of constituencies. My right hon. Friend hopes soon to announce how many it is proposed that there should be.
Would the right hon. Gentleman take steps to speed up the division of the Federation into constituencies and also speed up the election?
The Commission meets, I think, in about three months' time.
Leper Settlements (Education)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what provision is made for the schooling and teaching of the children in the two leper settlements in Malaya.
I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the two institutions at Sungei Buloh and Pulau Jerejak. I am asking the High Commissioner for the information sought and will write to the hon. Member when I have a reply.
I am referring particularly to the children; in these leper settlements there are a large number of children, and I want to see that their education is not neglected. I wish to ask the Minister to see that something is done to send teachers to these Colonies to educate those children.
The hon. Member will understand that we are already making inquiries into the matter.
Trinidad (Factory Law Prosecutions)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many cases there are in the last annual period of prosecutions in the territory of Trinidad for non-observance of the factory legislation.
Eight during 1953.
Is it not a little surprising that there are not more prosecutions in this territory in view of the number of inspectors which the right hon. Gentleman has claimed that there are in the territory and the reports which are coming from them about the conditions under which the workers have to work?
There were only eight prosecutions but a conviction was obtained in each case.
Factory Laws (Prosecutions)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many cases there are in which prosecutions took place in British Guiana, initiated by the factory inspectors, for non-observance of the territory's factory laws.
None, Sir. General inspections have been carried out by labour inspectors who have so far obtained compliance with the law by persuasion. Detailed inspections must await the arrival of the newly appointed factory inspector.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when he proposes to restore complete freedom of movement to Dr. Cheddi Jagan and other members of the People's Progressive Party of British Guiana.
The repeal of the orders imposing the restrictions is a matter for the Governor. I take this opportunity to say that my right hon. Friend fully supports the action which the Governor has found it necessary to take.
Is the Minister aware that unless those orders are repealed and normal constitutional methods available for the People's Progressive Party to express its point of view, there is going to be more and more civil disobedience and more and more trouble?
I am afraid that as long as Dr. Jagan and his friends continue their present behaviour, it will not be possible to repeal those orders.
Would my right hon. Friend agree that law and order regulations are made to be obeyed, and that it would bring Government into contempt if a man who has already brought his country to the edge of disaster should be allowed to flout these orders and regulations with impunity?
Is it not the case that Dr. Jagan has been sentenced to six months' imprisonment only because he disobeyed the order which does not permit him to go outside the capital town, and does the Minister really think that that is the way in which to limit Communism in that country?
I think that arises on the next Question.
Does my right hon. Friend not think that that is another example of the grave disservice done to the Colonial Territories in encouraging civil disobedience tactics, which can do nothing but harm to the interests of the great majority of the colonial people.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what grounds Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Mrs. Jagan have been arrested in British Guiana.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the events which led to the arrest of Dr. Jagan and other members of the People's Popular Party in British Guiana.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what charges Dr. Jagan and other members of the People's Popular Party have been arrested; and what arrangements are being made for their speedy trial.
Dr. Jagan was arrested on 3rd April for violating the order restricting his movements to Georgetown. Mrs. Jagan and eight other members of the party were arrested on 4th April for holding an unlawful procession.Dr. Jagan was released on bail on 5th April, but he was again arrested, together with seven other members of the party for holding an unlawful procession. They openly incited a crowd of some 2,000 outside P.P.P. Headquarters. Forty-nine other persons have been arrested in Georgetown on such charges as disorderly behaviour and assault. In Berbice, 65 persons have been arrested for taking part in unlawful processions and meetings during demonstrations since the conviction of Dr. Jagan on 12th April. As regards arrangements for trial, a special magistrate has been assigned by the Chief Justice to hear all cases resulting from disorders in Georgetown.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that this repetition of the whole story of the Colonies, of India and everywhere else, does not have the effect of increasing democracy there but has the effect of increasing the very forces of Communism against which it is directed?
There can be no doubt about it that we have to carry on as we have been doing to restore law and order in that territory. This is the first occasion, as far as I know, where any movement for any Colony's independence has taken the form of attempting to set up a Communist State.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied that Dr. Jagan and other mem- bers of the People's Popular Party who have been arrested are financially able to provide for their adequate defence; and if he will make arrangements to provide them with legal advice and aid.
To judge from previous experience, there seems to be little doubt that the persons concerned are quite capable of looking after themselves in this respect.
Is the Minister aware that Dr. Jagan and Mr. Burnham were only able to return to British Guiana from this country as a result of the generosity of people in this country and that Mr. Sidney King and other defendants who were acquitted the other day were only able to be defended by equal generosity in this country? Will the right hon. Gentleman agree that justice should not be denied to people because they have no means in British Guiana, any more than it is denied to people in the same position in this country?
The fact remains that Dr. Jagan and Mr. Burnham were able to take a six months' tour of the British Commonwealth, somehow or other, and were able to brief Mr. Pritt to defend two members of the P.P.P. in proceedings in British Guiana quite recently, and in the summary complaints against Dr. Jagan and seven others for holding an illegal procession only a day or so ago the defendants were represented by five counsel.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the situation in British Guiana.
Since the statement made by my right hon. Friend last Wednesday, there have been further demonstrations in Georgetown and the County of Berbice following the re-arrest of Dr. Jagan on 5th April. During these disturbances two members of the police force were injured and some arrests were made. Some waterfront workers went on strike on the 9th April, but the situation on the sugar estates has returned to normal, except for one estate where a few men remain on strike, and another where cane cutters went on strike on 12th April. The situation in the Colony generally is quiet.
Can the Minister explain why, if Her Majesty's Government are so certain of the justice and wisdom of their behaviour, they should under cowardly conditions refuse to permit a small local party to hold its meetings and state its point of view?
I do not think there is any need again to go into all the arguments on this matter. It has been made perfectly clear by Her Majesty's Government that as long as the present attempt is made by the P.P.P. to overthrow the constitution the present system has got to persist. It is useless to say that there are only a few people hoping to hold party meetings. What they are trying to do is to overthrow law and order by subverting the Government of this small territory.
Will my right hon. Friend accept that most of us in this House are more interested in safeguarding peace and security in British Guiana than making things easier for Communist intrigues there?
Does the Minister not realise that if the slightly swollen-headed and dangerous young man that Dr. Jagan is had been planning the policy that suits him and his friends they would have done exactly what the Minister and the Government have, in fact, done, namely, tried to enforce laws which they cannot enforce and produce a martyr where they ought to have been producing something else?
I think that remains to be seen.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will lay before the House the evidence in regard to preparing to sabotage British Guiana's dyke system on which Dr. Cheddi Jagan and other leading members of his party are held.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make available to the House the evidence in his possession supporting the charge made of the existence of a plot to damage or destroy the sea-walls in British Guiana.
I have no information beyond that which my right hon. Friend gave to the House last Wednesday, namely, that the British Guiana Govern- ment received reports that P.P.P. Agents had been instructed to open the sluice gates at high tide in Georgetown. So far as I am aware, no charge had been made against any member of the P.P.P. in connection with these reports.
Is the Minister aware that a serious aspect of affairs in Guiana is that first a charge was made about plans to burn the whole of Bridgetown, that now there are these rumours, and that none of these charges is supported in a court of law? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is not good enough for a Minister of the Crown to act on rumours about threats to overthrow the constitution by force, and does he not realise that little British Guiana will not knuckle under to this kind of treatment any more than India did?
Is it not a fact that the people of Guiana will not knuckle under to Communism in any respect whatever?
May I ask the Minister whether he appreciates that even those who may be critical of Dr. Jagan and the P.P.P. nevertheless feel that evidence should be produced to support such allegations, and under those circumstances will he not do what he can to provide the House with the evidence upon which this charge is made, otherwise suspicion will be felt that the charge is false?
As I have said, so far as I know, no charges are being made.
May I ask the Minister whether he will reconsider this matter and will realise that to make charges and then not to substantiate them will not help the interests of the good government of the country? And since there seems likely to be a recurrence of this trouble, does he not think it better to make the period of interim government as short as possible, and when does he expect the report of the Commission that his right hon. Friend sent out to inquire into British Guiana?
As regards the last part of the question, the Commission is now back in this country. The Commission is working on its report, and it will be some months probably before it can be made public.
The Minister has used a very expansive term, does he really intend to convey that it will be some months before the Commission presents its report?
A new constitution for British Guiana is a highly complicated question, and it is necessary that the Commission should take its full time to ensure that the report is a good one. I understand it will take some time, and I would not encourage the House to think that the report will come out sooner.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what provision exists for the defence of British Dependencies from external attacks; how far local military forces would be used to defend each dependency attacked or in danger of attack; and how far a system of collective defence is in existence.
While arrangements naturally vary from territory to territory, British Dependencies are normally defended from external attack by their own local forces, reinforced in case of need by those of the United Kingdom. Troops from one territory are of course sometimes used in the defence of another. A present example is the presence in Malaya of the Fiji Battalion and a battalion of the King's African Rifles.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the policy of Her Majesty's Government in regard to the cost of the military forces required for the internal security of Colonies, and the extent to which these forces should be controlled by the Colonial Governments; and if he will publish a list of Colonies and other Dependencies showing how much each proposes to spend on military forces in 1954–55 and what cash subventions Her Majesty's Government proposes to make to each in 1954–55 and the total sum so pledged.
I assume that the hon. Member is referring to colonial forces only. Our general aim is that Colonial Governments should pay for and control such local military forces as are needed for internal security. The application of this principle varies from Colony to Colony and takes into account such factors as the Colony's capacity to pay, the provision of up-to-date training and the local military organisation. The detailed information asked for in the latter part of the Question is not immediately available; when it is, I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Is it not a fact that considerable sums have had to be paid over the year to many of these Colonies to enable them to provide even for local security?
As I say, it varies very much from one territory to another. In some of them they over-contribute towards their own forces; in other cases they are in receipt of assistance from this country.
Can the Minister tell us something which the Secretary of State for War consistently and persistently evades—how many military battalions were raised in the Colonies last year?
I am afraid I cannot answer that question without notice.
University Courses (African Students)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in which Colonies African students leaving to take a university course are required to leave a deposit of £100 with their Government before they are allowed to proceed.
Private students from Nigeria are required, under an arrangement with the Association of Principals of Technical Institutions in the United Kingdom, to deposit the fees for the session with the local authorities as a prior condition to the student's acceptance by a college. The amount varies from college to college but would not normally exceed £100.
Would the Minister consider taking this matter up with the authorities concerned? Is he not aware that it is already extremely difficult for an African student to get this form of higher education and that this additional charge of £100 is a very serious financial obstacle?
The arrangement was made as a result of embarrassment caused by certain Nigerian students in seeking and obtaining places and then failing to take them up on enrolment in the United Kingdom or taking up some different course of study. The deposit is released on enrolment to meet the fees for the first session.
Detained Persons (Care Of Children)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what arrangements are being made for the provision of essential body-building foods for Kikuyu children in the reserves when their fathers have been removed to concentration camps for security reasons.
In general, dependants of men detained under Emergency Regulations still get subsistence from the family or clan farms, or are cared for by the clans in accordance with tribal law and custom. In cases of distress, provincial Commissioners are authorised to give relief.
Is it not essential to see that these children have milk, milk products, meat or some other body-building substances and that they are not entirely dependent on grains because, as he will know, children cannot grow up healthily under those conditions? Will he look into the matter again?
I can only say that all our reports show that there is no evidence whatever that these children are in any way worse off than other African children for body-building foods or other such nutrition, and are no worse off in that respect because their fathers have been removed.
Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government will take as much interest in these children and the conditions under which they live as they presumably take in the case of the prisoners at Spandau?
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what percentage of Kikuyu prisoners are suffering from tuberculosis; and what precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of this disease among the prisoners.
I will send the hon. Member the figure for which he has asked as soon as I receive it from Kenya. The following precautions are taken against the spread of the disease: Regular inspection by medical officers of hygiene conditions in all prisons; medical examination of all convicts on admission to prison; special diets and medicine for all convicts in low physical condition; isolation of all tuberculosis suspects; evacuation of all infected cases to tuberculosis wards in the prison hospital in Nairobi.
Is it not a fact that there is a great deal of tuberculosis in these camps? What action is taken to X-ray suspects and others exposed to infection so as to deal with them by isolation and every other means?
I have said that a medical examination takes place on ad mission of a prisoner—
I could not say in exactly what way, but it may interest the hon. Member to know that, during the year 1953, of the 160 deaths from all causes in the prisons 23 were from tuberculosis.
Police Reserve Officers (Ages)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the number of officers of the Kenya Police Reserve below the ages of 18 to 21, respectively.
Four and 85. Of the first group three are employed on office duties and the fourth operates a telephone exchange.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that his reply will give great satisfaction in dissipating a large number of irresponsible rumours?
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a further statement regarding the situation in Kenya, including the surrender negotiations with Mau Mau leaders, the deportation of all Kikuyus from Nairobi, and the progress of constitutional reform.
There has been no major change in the situation in Kenya since my right hon. Friend's statement on 22nd March. Copies of a statement issued by the Government of Kenya on 11th April, giving a brief account of the surrender negotiations, are being placed in the Library. There can be no question of deporting all Kikuyu from Nairobi, though action will be taken against anyone who directly or indirectly support Mau Mau.Amending Letters Patent, an amending Order in Council and Additional Instructions designed to give effect to the proposals for constitutional reform were approved by the Counsellors of State yesterday. The Order in Council is being laid before Parliament today. The Letters Patent will come into operation as soon as they pass the Great Seal and the Order in Council and Additional Instructions are expressed to come into operation on 15th April.
Is the right hop. Gentleman aware that many of us will welcome the second thoughts regarding the deportation of Kikuyus from Nairobi? Regarding the surrender negotiations, can he say whether it is a fact that there were large numbers of Kikuyus prepared to surrender but they did not do so only because of an unfortunate clash which occurred? In the case of the constitutional reform, when does the right hon. Gentleman expect that he will be able to make an announcement of the members of the new Council of Ministers?
Dealing first with the second part of the question, the following "unofficial" have already expressed their willingness to serve in the following posts in the Government: Mr. Blundell, Minister without Portfolio; Mr. Have-lock, Minister for Local Government, Health and Housing; Mr. Maconochie Welwood, Minister with an Agricultural Portfolio; Mr. Nathoo, Minister of Works; Mr. Patel, Minister without Portfolio; Mr. O'Hanga, Minister for Community Development.
With regard to the statement which the Minister has promised to put in the Library, may I ask whether it covers the point referred to in the Press that over 1,000 Mau Mau had come to surrender but that, unfortunately, shooting began somewhere on the edge, and that the Mau Mau then retired into the forest because they thought this was a trap? It is a pity this happened because otherwise this period in Kenya might have been shortened considerably. Does the statement make that clear? Will the right hon. Gentleman also convey to his right hon. Friend and to the Government in Kenya that they should not be deterred by this unfortunate failure from seizing any opportunity of surrenders by the Mau Mau so as to bring this affair to an end more quickly?
If I may take up the time of the House I would like to enlarge on what was said before. There were about 1,000 terrorists assembling in the forest as a result of these negotiations, but under the arrangements made at the previous meeting on 30th March, it was agreed that there would be no land operations in the forest area until a certain date, 10th April. Therefore, no patrols had gone into the forest and no one was aware that the terrorists were actually assembled.On the other hand, there had been no guarantee given in regard to the reserves, where it was necessary to try to safeguard the lives of the inhabitants, and it was in the reserves that fighting took place because, on 6th April, a certain number of Kikuyu loyalists were killed, bridges and schools were damaged, and military action was necessary. Contact was made with the gang on 7th April and it was as a result of the firing, which took place within earshot of the forest, that the assembled terrorists thought they were being led into a trap. Of course they were not, there was nothing of the kind, but they thought so, and they dispersed. In regard to the second part of the question, I will certainly bring the views of the right hon. Gentleman to the attention of my right hon. Friend. Naturally we are disappointed at the outcome of these negotiations about which we were hopeful at one time, but the Commander-in-Chief and the Acting Governor are satisfied that it would be no good continuing to try to bring about a mass surrender at the present time. The surrender offer of 24th August, 1953, will, of course, still remain open.
May I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that further information and say that we shall study the statement? I am sure that the House will join with me in paying tribute to the officers who did so much in establishing contacts. May I express the hope that the authorities on the spot will not hesitate to take every advantage of any opportunities that may come in the future to learn from the mistakes that occurred this time?
Assistant District Commandant Howell And Lieutenant Hayward
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Jack Howell, the Assistant District Commandant, and Lieutenant Barry Harvey Hayward of the Kenya Police Reserve, who were present when Guchu Gaithongo set fire to oil poured on the head of a suspect under interrogation and were censured by Judge MacDuff for attempting to suppress their part in the incident, are still retained in the service.
Barry Harvey Hay-ward's services have been terminated. Assistant District Commandant Howell has been suspended from duty and is being prosecuted for assault on evidence arising out of the Hayward trial.
Border Patrols (Masai Warriors)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what terms of employment and under what conditions a 500-strong Masai warrior army of volunteers are being used to patrol the border of Kenya and the Northern Province of Tanganyika.
These Masai warriors are unpaid volunteers who offered to assist the Tanganyika police in patrolling the Kenya border in the Loliondo area and preventing persons of mixed Masai-Kikuyu race from supplying Mau Mau gangs in Kenya and harbouring fugitives.
In view of the fact that the Masai are the traditional enemies of the Kikuyu, is it advisable that they should be patrolling this particular border at this particular time?
As I said, they are trying to deal with people of mixed Masai-Kikuyu race. But, as a matter of fact, not more than 30 or 40 have turned up at any one time and lack of interest has led to most of them dropping out altogether.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reply he has made to the memorandum upon land matters which was addressed to him in January last by the Nyasaland African Protectorate Council.
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how much more land it is the intention of the Government of Nyasaland to alienate in the Southern Province for European estate development; and whether he will consider making available unused land for African farming under the Supervision of the agricultural department
As hon. Members will be aware, my right hon. Friend intends to visit Nyasaland next month. While he is there he will take the opportunity of looking into land problems on the spot. He has, therefore, not yet answered the memorandum addressed to him by the African Protectorate Council; and I would ask hon. Members not to press for statements of policy on questions connected with land in Nyasaland for the time being.
Will the Minister convey to his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies that Africans are distinctly perturbed in Nyasaland because a habit is developing whereby the plantations are selling portions of their holdings to individual European settlers? This, to my mind, is a pernicious practice, so can the Minister convey to his right hon. Friend that something should be done about it?
I will certainly draw that to the attention of my right hon. Friend, but the hon. Gentleman can be assured that he will review all aspects of the land problem in Nyasaland.
May I ask the Minister whether there could be a standstill order so that no further land is alienated on the one hand and, equally, that land which is not used, but which is available for African fanning, shall be so used?
Those are all different questions into which my right hon. Friend is looking.
Can the right hon. Gentleman not give a guarantee that there will be a standstill order in this important matter? Four months have already gone by since the memorandum came, and it is natural that the African people should be very anxious.
I cannot commit myself to that. As far as I know, there are no great changes going on at present, and my right hon. Friend will be out there within 10 days or a fortnight and will be looking into the whole question.
European Estates (African Tenants)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how far the Government of Nyasaland is considering the abolition of rent paid by African tenants on European estates in the Southern Province; in what circumstances crops are sold by African tenants to their landlords; and if he can give an assurance that Africans receive the same price for their crops, according to quality, as Europeans receive for similar crops.
The position of African tenants on European estates is bound up with other questions of land policy which my right hon. Friend intends to study during his forthcoming visit to Nyasaland. I should, therefore, prefer not to answer the first part of this Question at present. With regard to the second part, there are no restrictions on the sale of tenants' crops to landlords, nor is there any legal obligation on tenants to sell. For this reason, it is not possible to give a categorical answer to the third part of the Question.
British Honduras (Us Missions Schools)
asked the Secretory of State for the Colonies what complaints he has received to the effect that United States missions in British Honduras which are operating schools and colleges are failing to teach history objectively.
My right hon. Friend has not received any such complaints.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that responsible people in British Honduras are concerned about the manner of the teaching that is taking place in some Middle-Western American missions which are using textbooks with references that axe wholly anti-British? Will he make an inquiry in the Colony to see to what extent this is going on and put a stop to it if he can?
I have heard reports from time to time of anti-British activities on the part of American missionaries in the territory. When I was there last autumn I saw a number of American missionary priests with their schoolchildren. They all turned out and showed every sign of friendship and loyalty to the British Crown, but I should be glad to inquire into the particular point of the history books to which the hon. Member refers.
Uganda (Deportation Order)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what grounds Mr. J. W. Kiwanuka, Vice-Chairman of the Uganda National Congress, has been deported to the Northern Province of Uganda.
The Governor is satisfied that, before his detention under the Emergency Regulations, Mr. Kiwanuka had conducted himself in a manner likely to be dangerous to peace and good order in Buganda, and the present order has been made in order to prevent a recurrence of this conduct.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it is about time that we began to apply in the Colonies the Declaration of Human Rights which we have endorsed? Does he think that we ought to continue still the practice of deporting people in the Colonies without trial in this manner?
The charges under which Mr. Kiwanuka was arrested and on which he has been deported were perfectly straightforward. He 'has been given the opportunity of asking for a judicial officer appointed by the Chief Justice to hear him and consider any representations that he wishes to make and to advise the Governor accordingly.
Mauritius (Legislative Council Members)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what interests the Nominated Members of the Legislative Council in Mauritius represent; and what consultation there is with representative bodies before the appointment of these nominated members.
Nominated Members are appointed in their personal capacity, and not as representatives of any particular interest. In selecting names for submission to Her Majesty the Governor acts entirely in his discretion and in pursuance of the principles referred to in the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to a Question on this matter by the hon. Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) on 18th November last.
Is it not a fact that a Conservative Nominated Member—actually he was an ex-President of the Chamber of Commerce—has been appointed as a labour liaison officer? Did the right hon. Gentleman not think of consulting the trade unions or considering as an appointment a member of the trade unions in Mauritius?
It is within the discretion of the Governor alone and when this Constitution was devised in 1947 by a former Colonial Secretary, Mr. Creecn Jones, the question of consulting bodies of this sort was considered and in fact was expressly rejected.
May I ask whether my hon. Friend the member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) is not right in saying that when a labour liaison officer is appointed there would be every advantage in appointing him from amongst the trade unions? Will the right hon. Gentleman take that up?
Yes, Sir. I will bring it to the attention of my right hon. Friend.
Hong Kong (Constitutional Reform)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will ask the Government of Hong Kong to call for an inquiry on the election of members to the Legislative Council based on a franchise limited to citizens who can prove that they were born in the Colony of Hong Kong.
No, Sir. I would draw the hon. Member's attention to the statement which my right hon. Friend made in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Braine) on 20th October, 1952, to which I have nothing to add.
Atomic Energy (Quebec Agreement)
asked the Prime Minister upon what date, and under what circumstances, he provided the late Senator MacMahon with a copy of the document known as the Quebec Agreement.
I showed the document in question to the late Senator MacMahon at the British Embassy in Washington on 8th January, 1952.
Will the Prime Minister say whether he informed the then President of the United States, and his own Cabinet colleagues, of his intention to show the then highly secret document, known as the Quebec Agreement, to Senator MacMahon? Will he further state, in precise terms, what consequences he expected to flow from such disclosure and what consequences did flow? Will he further state whether he regards his summary and his deductions from that conversation as being an accurate and useful account of what took place?
The hon. Member had a Question on the Order Paper referring to this, or to a portion of what he has now put forward, but he removed it from the Order Paper and, consequently, I thought he did not wish to ask it. The Question he has removed from the Order Paper can hardly be a supplementary to the Question he has left upon the Paper.
On a point of order. It is perfectly true that last week I had originally two Questions on the Order Paper. One of those Questions I removed from the Order Paper. I would be glad to ask your guidance, Sir, as to whether the Prime Minister is entitled to use knowledge, which in any case he ought not to have—namely, when I had removed it—and whether I am still entitled to put as a supplementary question what was contained in the second Question?
I do not remember the Question the hon. Member put on the Paper and withdrew, so I cannot comment on that.
asked the Prime Minister whether he will now make avail able to the House, in a White Paper or other suitable form, all documents relating to agreements concerning atomic energy between members of any British Government and the President of the United States of America, or between the Governments of these two nations since 1st January, 1943.
asked the Prime Minister whether he will take steps to secure the consent of all interested parties, and arrange publication of details of any arrangements made in 1948 for variation, relaxation or otherwise of the Quebec agreement of 1943 in regard to atomic energy development.
I would refer the hon. Members to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary in the House on 5th April, and to the reply I gave yesterday to the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas).
Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that in matters which are admitted to be matters of the greatest possible importance, the time has now come when the people of this country are entitled to know what has been said and done in their name?
I really have nothing to add to what I said. If a request is made from responsible quarters, it will certainly be attended to.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that there are a great many people interested in this matter because their life and fate is bound up with it—people who may have no influence on the "responsible quarters" to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, but who, nevertheless, are entitled to know what is being done and said in their name on this matter?
As I have said if it is desired by the party opposite, or those who speak for it, that there should be a publication of the later agreement, we will endeavour to obtain the permission of the other Powers concerned, and, if that request for publication were extended to other documents besides this one, what I have said would apply to that also.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the more we hear of these matters the more amazed we are at the great care and attention which was taken to proteot British interests during the stress and turmoil of the last war?
Does the Prime Minister appreciate that the whole House knows that it was he who blew the gaff for party advantage in the first case?
European Defence Community (Agreement On British Co-Operation)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make about British Association with the European Defence Community.
Yes, Sir. I am glad to announce that our discussions with the European Defence Community Powers have been completed. An agreement on co-operation between the United Kingdom and the E.D.C. was signed and a statement of common policy on military association between the forces of the United Kingdom and the E.D.C. was agreed in Paris yesterday. Her Majesty's Government have also communicated to the E.D.C. Powers a Declaration, signed by myself, about our policy towards the E.D.C. and N.A.T.O. These documents, together with an unofficial translation of the E.D.C. Treaty itself—for which the House asked a short time ago—are now available to hon. Members in White Papers.As the House knows, the Treaty which we signed in 1952 with the E.D.C. Powers established a close relationship between the United Kingdom and the Community. Our purpose now has been to make this as practical and effective as possible. First, a United Kingdom Minister will attend meetings of the Council of Ministers of the E.D.C. A permanent British representative will conduct day-to-day relations with the Board of Commissioners, which is the executive body of the Community. Secondly, Her Majesty's Government have undertaken to continue to maintain on the mainland of Europe, including Germany, such armed forces as may be necessary and appropriate to contribute a fair share of the forces needed for the joint defence of the North Atlantic area. We have also stated that we have no intention of withdrawing from the continent of Europe so long as the threat exists to the security of Western Europe and of the E.D.C. Thirdly, we have agreed upon certain military arrangements. These are set out in the second document in the White Paper. Our aim has been to confirm that British forces will be present in strength on the Continent of Europe before, and not after, any aggression begins. These arrangements will ensure the integration of British with E.D.C. forces within N.A.T.O. In particular I would draw the attention of the House to the clause which provides for the inclusion of British Army and Air Force units in European formations and vice versa, under the command of the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. I now desire to tell the House the steps which Her Majesty's Government propose to take to fulfil the purpose of this clause. We are ready to place a British armoured division within an E.D.C. corps. This will be one of our armoured divisions now in Germany. General Gruenther has been informed that we will do this as soon as the corps is ready to receive it. As regards air co-operation, the Second Allied Tactical Air Force in Germany at present comprises United Kingdom, Belgian and Netherlands squadrons. When the European air forces have been formed, it is our intention that Royal Air Force units shall participate with European units in each N.A.T.O. air group. They will be controlled by a single, integrated headquarters. These arrangements are designed to last as long as they are desired by the Supreme Allied Commander. They reinforce and fulfil the assurances and guarantees which Her Majesty's Government have previously given to their European partners in the Tripartite Declaration and the United Kingdom-European Defence Community Treaty of 27th May, 1952. The partnership which we are building up between the United Kingdom and the European Defence Community will lie within the wider N.A.T.O. framework. So long as the threat to the Western world remains, we and our partners must be prepared to keep in being over a period of years forces and weapons capable of deterring aggression and of providing effective security. Her Majesty's Government regard the Atlantic Alliance as fundamental to their policy. They can conceive of no circumstances in which they would wish to modify this policy or to denounce this Treaty. They regard N.A.T.O. as of indefinite duration and are confident that it will develop as an enduring association for common action between the member States. The arrangements made public today complete the policy followed by successive British Governments. They fulfil the pledges contained in the Washington communiqué of September 1951. Our intimate relations with our Western European neighbours, which found formal expression in the Treaties of Dunkirk and Brussels, are now extended and reinforced. To her old and new partners alike, the United Kingdom will be a loyal and resolute ally.
May I thank the right hon. Gentleman for laying the White Papers and ask whether he realises that this is an important statement which will require careful examination? He will not expect me to make an extended comment at the moment, and I wish only to ask one question arising out of it. Is there any similar declaration to be made by the United States Government with regard to their continuous interest in the keeping of troops in Europe in support of N.A.T.O.?
Yes, Sir. Of course, in regard to the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's question, I quite understand and agree that the House will want time to study these arrangements. I was only most anxious to give it the fullest intimation at the earliest moment that I could regarding the contribution we are making. I was anxious that the House should know what was our actual physical contribution before the allied Powers, and that detail has only been given to the E.D.C. Governments within the last hour or two, because I thought that the House was entitled to have it at the earliest opportunity.As regards the question of American participation, the United States share with us all the common N.A.T.O. commitments—we share them together—and the United States are also bound with us by the N.A.T.O. Protocol on the guarantees to E.D.C.—I am afraid that is a rather complicated phrase. This is the Protocol which the House will remember was signed—and it approved—two years ago, in May, 1952. We have, of course, been in close consultation with the United States Government throughout these negotiations. I understand that a full statement of the United States position may be expected shortly.
While agreeing with the cautionary words uttered by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition that this requires very careful consideration, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that there will be generally a warm welcome for anything which would strengthen the partnership between this country and the free countries of Europe in defending their common freedom?
Thank you very much.
Will the Foreign Secretary say, first, since he has been willing to go so far now, why these proposals were not made a long time ago when they would have had a better chance of swaying the French? Secondly, since he is prepared to go so far now, what is the difference between our present position and actually joining the European Defence Community, and why does not he take the full and final step, which is so much desired by the French, of actually joining the Community, or an equivalent institution?
Her Majesty's Government do not feel able to advise the House to take the step to which the hon. Gentleman has referred of joining the E.D.C. As the hon. Gentleman knows very well, it is part of the intention of the E.D.C. plan as a whole that it should lead to federation between these six countries. Since Her Majesty's Government—and I think this House—would not feel willing to join in a federation of that kind, we have done the next best that we could, which is to draw as closely as we possibly can to that organisation.
My right hon. Friend referred to an armoured division which is to go into the European corps. As this is a major item, can my right hon. Friend say a little bit more about what this division will comprise and whether it will be exactly the same as one of the two armoured divisions which are now in Germany?
The Government regard the contribution of an armoured division as a very signal example of their desire to give all the help they can in these matters. I think that it is no exaggeration to say that our armoured divisions are nowhere surpassed in quality and equipment, and this division, which is now equipped with Centurion tanks, is, I understand, shortly to be equipped with Conqueror tanks. I feel that by choosing that rather than any other form of organisation we have shown our concern for the success of this endeavour.
Can the right hon. Gentleman elucidate that point a little further? I think that he said that this armoured division was to join E.D.C. Does that mean that it passes out of our political control into the political control of the Community? If not, what does it mean?
It will be under the command of E.D.C. and within an E.D.C. corps. That does not mean that it becomes part of what one might call the E.D.C. amalgamation, but it means that it is there available to them within one of their own corps for as long as the Supreme Commander wishes to keep it.
May we take it that these new commitments are conditional on E.D.C. being ratified by the other members and that if it is not ratified we shall be free to make other arrangements?
Yes. It is certainly conditional on being ratified by others, but 1 hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will not ask me how to work out the alternative, because I have not been able to do that.
May I thank my right hon. Friend for the very great step forward, but will he bear in mind that there are quite a lot of people on both sides of the Channel who think that a federation limited to only six Powers would be an almost equivalent step backwards, and may I ask him to be moderate in his enthusiasm for support of this particular project?
I know that there are opponents of E.D.C. in France and in this country, but the Government intend to help E.D.C. I can assure my hon. Friend that I will not moderate my efforts to try to bring about a successful result.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any other reply than the statement he has just made is to be made to the Soviet Union's latest Note on the subject of a wider European Defence Community? If some other reply than this is intended, can he say when it will be made and what it will contain?
I think I told the House that the N.A.T.O. Powers are to consider jointly their reply to the Soviet Note. I am afraid that I cannot say exactly what the reply will contain because 14 people have to agree on it first, and they have not yet done so.
While welcoming the statement in general, in that I believe it will strengthen the defence of Western Europe, may I have an assurance that we shall continue to be at liberty to use any troops additional to the one armoured division for the protection of these islands in the event of these islands being threatened before the rest of Western Europe?
I thought that I had explained that the redisposition which results from this arrangement means the movement of an armoured division from Germany to E.D.C. It does not mean any change of our troops in this country.
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any further commitment of British land forces beyond this one armoured division; and also what are the steps which would have to be taken by the Government to withdraw this armoured division in the event of its being required somewhere else in the world in the defence of British interests?
I can understand the hon. Member's concern in regard to the last part of the question, but I am afraid that I must tell him that this division is intended to be a permanent commitment so long as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe requires it.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that earlier this week the Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed alarm at our heavy defence expenditure? Will this mean a continuance of the heavy expense expenditure with the result that old-age pensioners will have a reduced standard of life? Has the right hon. Gentleman consulted the Chancellor, and how does this reconcile with the promise to reduce defence expenditure?
All I have said represents a Government decision. Though I agree with the hon. Gentleman that armoured divisions are extremely expensive, they do not really cost very much more in E.D.C. than they do in Germany.
Business Of The House
May I ask the Lord Privy Seal whether he will state the business for the week after the Adjournment?
Yes, Sir. The business for the first week after the Easter Recess will be as follows:TUESDAY, 27TH APRIL—Supply [13th Allotted Day]: It is proposed to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on Civil Estimates and Estimates for Revenue Departments, 1954–55. The hon. Member for Itchen (Mr. Morley) will call attention to the need for a reduction in the size of classes in schools under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Education. WEDNESDAY, 28TH APRIL — Second Reading: Slaughterhouses Bill [Lords.] Committee stage: Money Resolution, which it is hoped to obtain by about 7 o'clock. Second Reading: Transport Charges, &c. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. Committee stage: Money Resolution. THURSDAY, 29TH APRIL—Report and Third Reading: Atomic Energy Authority Bill, which it is hoped to obtain by about 7 o'clock. Second Readings: Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill: and Supreme Court Officers (Pensions) Bill. Superannuation (President of Industrial Court) Bill. Committee stages: Money Resolutions. FRIDAY, 30TH APRIL—Private Members' Motions.
Would it be convenient for the Leader of the House to let us know when the Finance Bill will be available?
It is being brought in today, and I hope that copies will be available tomorrow morning.
Is it not true that yesterday a very important statement was made; that tomorrow this House will adjourn for 10 or 12 days; that when it meets again the Foreign Secretary will be out of the country; and that the Geneva Conference will have started? Does the right hon. Gentleman tell us that there will be no opportunity for the British House of Commons to express its opinion or to hear some explanation from the Foreign Secretary about that very important statement before the international conference takes places, when, undoubtedly, it is bound to influence that conference?
I have given the House the information for which the right hon. Gentleman asked, and that is the proposed business for the first week after the Recess.
Would it be convenient for the right hon. Gentleman to tell us when we shall discuss the Teachers (Superannuation) Bill, in view of the fact that all the teachers will be meeting this weekend at their various conferences?
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will have noticed that it will not be in the week after we come back.
Are we to understand that the Slaughterhouses Bill is put so early to be ready for dealing with the teachers?
It deals with the derationing of meat, which is tnuoh welcomed in all parts of the country.
Council Of Europe (United Kingdom Delegation)
It is my duty, Mr. Speaker, with your permission, to make a statement about the Council of Europe.The Consultative Assembly will meet at Strasbourg on 20th May and I have appointed 18 delegates from the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The distribution of the appointments between the parties is the same as in the previous delegation, that is, nine Members of the Conservative Party, eight Members of the Labour Party, and a representative of the Liberal Party. The appointments of the Labour and Liberal representatives have of course been made on the basis of nominations by the Leaders of those Parties. It would perhaps be more convenient if the names, which are numerous, were circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Following are the names:
United Kingdom Delegation To The Consultative Assembly Of The Council Of Europe
The representatives from the Government benches are my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Nutting), my right hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Maclay), and my hon. Friends the Members for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. R. Bell), Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle), Belfast South (Sir D. Campbell), Devizes (Mr. Hollis), Edinburgh, Pentlands (Lord John Hope) and Bebington (Mr. Oakshott) and the noble Lord, Lord Fairfax.
From the Labour Party, the right hon. Gentlemen the Members for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley), Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) and Blyth (Mr. Robens), and the hon. Gentlemen the Members for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd), Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas) and Workington (Mr. Peart) and the noble Lord, Lord Henderson.
From the Liberal Party, the noble Lord, Lord Layton.
The following substitutes are being appointed to act for the delegates when they are absent from Strasbourg: —
From the Government benches, my hon. Friends the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. J. Foster) and the Parliamentary Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Dodds-Parker), and my hon. Friends the Members for Rutherglen (Mr. Brooman-White), Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke), Clitheroe (Mr. Fort) and Winchester (Mr. Smithers) and the noble Lord, Lord Chesham.
From the Labour Party, the hon. Lady the Member for Coventry, South (Miss Burton) the hon. Gentlemen the Members for Leicester, South-West (Mr. Bowden), Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) and Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson).
From the Liberal Party, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Huddersfield. West (Mr. Wade).
I will, with permission, make a further statement.The Government have given preliminary consideration to the Report of the Select Committee on Members' Expenses. The House will wish me to express on its behalf our gratitude to our colleagues on that Committee for their careful work. The remuneration of Members of Parliament is not a matter on which the Government can or should take undivided responsibility. It is essentially a House of Commons matter, in which a wide measure of agreement between the parties is desirable, for it is the well-being and reputation of the House of Commons as a whole which are involved. It is also important to take account of informed public opinion, and for that reason hon. Members will naturally wish to proceed with all due care. A unanimous report by a Select Committee commands respect, but I must inform the House that, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, it would not be right in present circumstances to proceed in the particular manner recommended by the Select Committee, namely, to increase the Parliamentary salary from £1,000 to £1,500 and to institute a non-contributory pension scheme. There is no doubt, however, that a number of hon. Members are oppressed by serious difficulties because heavy and necessary expenses absorb so much of the Parliamentary salary. The House might wish to consider alternative methods of dealing with this problem. If the Opposition feel that a debate would be of value, perhaps they will discuss the provision of a Supply Day through the usual channels.
I should like to join with the Prime Minister in thanking our colleagues for the very great care and the very skilful way in which they have dealt with a complicated matter. I am quite sure that the House would wish to show all respect to the unanimous conclusions of one of its own Committees. I note that the preliminary consideration of the Government is that they do not feel inclined to accept those conclusions, and I am quite sure that the Government will wish to have the opportunity of stating very fully to the House their reasons why they cannot accept them.I note, too, that the Prime Minister says that this is "essentially a House of Commons matter," and I think we all agree on that. He will, wish, therefore, I am sure, that there should be a free discussion in which all Members of the House of Commons will be able to give their views. I understand from the right hon. Gentleman that what he wants is to collect the voices, but I am afraid I cannot agree with him that this is a matter in which the Opposition should give a Supply Day, for I should have thought that it was only due to the Report of a Committee of this House that the Government should provide an opportunity, when we return after Easter, for a very full discussion in the House. I have no doubt that if there is any question of a vote, in view of what has been said in the statement, the Government will want a free vote of the House to guide them.
It seems to me in this matter, at the stage which we have reached in the Session and having regard to all the pressure of business, that the least the Opposition can do is to facilitate the discussion which they desire. If that is the attitude of the party opposite, it may save a great deal of trouble.
Surely the right hon. Gentleman realises that this Committee was set up by the House of Commons, not by the Opposition. The Opposition's Supply Days are essentially for dealing with Government business. The right hon. Gentleman has expressly explained this as being not a matter of Government business but a matter for the House of Commons. It is surely up to the Leader of the House, who has responsibility to the House besides being a member of the Government, to see that the House of Commons discusses a matter which, as the Prime Minister has rightly said, is a House of Commons matter—the Report of its own Committee.
Ballot For Notices Of Motions
I beg to give notice that on Friday, 30th April, I shall call attention to the Report on Shares of No-Par-Value, and move a Resolution.
Home Timber (Market)
I beg to give notice that on Friday, 30th April, I shall call attention to the deteriorating market for home timber and the ill effect which an uncertain market is bound to have on the future planting programme, and move a Resolution.
I beg to give notice that on Friday, 30th April, I shall call attention to the financial system, and move a Resolution.
That this House do meet Tomorrow at Eleven o'clock; that no Questions be taken after Twelve o'clock; and that at Five o'Clock Mr. Speaker do adjourn the House without putting any Question.—[The Prime Minister.]
Motion made, and Question proposed.
That this Mouse, at its rising Tomorrow, do adjourn till Tuesday, 27th April—[The Prime Minister.]
I speak now because this is the only course open to me in view of the fact that under this Motion the House will adjourn for the Easter Recess. I rise to draw attention to a number of matters connected with the statement which the Foreign Secretary made yesterday.
The hon. Member is entitled to debate the Motion but he must confine himself to the matter of the date. The Motion says, "27th April."