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Commons Chamber

Volume 530: debated on Thursday 15 July 1954

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House Of Commons

Thursday, 15th July, 1954

The House met at Half past Two o'Clock


[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Oral Answers To Questions


Skilled Craftsmen


asked the Minister of Labour if he will appoint a committee to investigate and report on the relative position of the skilled craftsman, which has been worsening for 40 years.

No, Sir. I do not think that this would be a useful step to take.

The facts do not appear to me to need investigation. I have put some facts, which the hon. Member wanted, very fully before him. I do not want to interfere with the system of free negotiation which governs relative wage movements.

Does that mean that the Minister is willing to agree to the exports of the country being, subsidised at the expense of highly-skilled craftsmen?

No, Sir. I did not say that. I merely said that I did not want to interfere. If anything can be done to put right any relative unfairness in this, I shall be delighted to see it, but I doubt whether it would be welcome to some of the hon. Member's Friends if I tried to enforce it.

Glass Fibres (Lung Effects)


asked the Minister of Labour if the report promised to the hon. Member for Stoke, South, in May, 1953, on the effect of fibre glass on the lungs of workers, is ready; whether the promised air and dust samples have yet been taken, and the microscopic examination made; and with what results.

Investigations, including microscopic examination and dust counts at factories processing resin bonded glass fibres, have now been completed. They have not produced any evidence of dust concentrations injurious to the lungs of the workers concerned.

Does that answer mean that it is accepted scientifically that fibre glass is not an irritant to lung tissue when it is inhaled?

I should not like to say that. All I can say is that the investigations which I promised have taken place and that the experts have informed me that, after going into the matter at five factories, including the Fairey Aviation Co., which was the one particularly mentioned, nowhere has it been shown that the processing of this type of fibre has produced concentrations which were dangerous to health.

If it is a fact that other conditions like this, such as dust infection from silica, and so on, in many cases take 10, 12 or even 20 years to develop, how is it possible to say, after a short time, that there is no effect?

These investigations have taken place over a long time. I was asked to undertake them, that is the result, and that is all I can say.

Pottery Working Party Recommendations (Implementation)


asked the Minister of Labour if the recommendations made in the Pottery Working Party's Report have now been implemented in full.

The Working Party's recommendations concerning health and welfare in the industry have been implemented in full in so far as they affect my Department. The apprenticeship scheme agreed to by both sides of the industry in 1945 has not so far been implemented.

I very much appreciate the Chief Inspector's reference to the industry in his Annual Report, but is the Minister aware that, apart from mining, this industry suffers more from the effect of silicosis than any other? In view of that, will he ask the Chief Inspector to give special attention to it?



asked the Minister of Labour the latest figure of unemployment in Dorset as a whole and in North Dorset; and how these figures compare with those of a year ago.

The numbers of unemployed persons on the registers of all employment exchanges in Dorset at 14th June, 1954, and 15th June, 1953, were 838 and 854 respectively. The corresponding figures for employment exchanges in the North Dorset constituency were 185 and 178.

Miners (Recruitment)


asked the Minister of Labour if, as part of his national campaign to recruit men for the mines, he will now consult the Service Ministers, with a view to arranging the release from the Services of men willing to enter the coal industry.

I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member on 13th May last.

Should not every proposal for recruiting more miners be very carefully reconsidered in view of the serious shortage of man-power and the prospects of a fuel crisis? As I have tried to show the Minister in correspondence, there are men in the Services with mining experience who would be more usefully employed in the mines? Will the Minister discuss the question with the Service Departments?

This is a matter which always causes a great deal of difficulty because I have to balance the necessity of finding the men required for the Armed Forces with special require- ments, such as that which the hon. Member has brought to my attention. I constantly carry it in mind and shall continue to do so.

Industrial Court Award Proceedings (Publication)


asked the Minister of Labour if he has considered the letter from the hon. Member for West Ham, North, enclosing a letter from the General Secretary of the National Union of Vehicle Builders complaining of the failure of his Department to circulate the minutes of the proceedings of the Industrial Court to all concerned; and what action he is taking.

The hon. Member's Question relates to Award No. 550 of the Industrial Disputes Tribunal. The Tribunal's practice is to send advance copies of such Awards to the parties concerned; that was correctly done in the normal way on the occasion to which he refers. If the parties want further copies, they can obtain them from H.M. Stationery Office.

I understand from the Tribunal that, as a matter of courtesy, and to enable the Stationery Office to decide how many copies of the Awards to print, the Secretariat of the Tribunal take orders from the parties for bulk supplies of Awards. That was done on this occasion, but, unfortunately, as the Union has already been told, an accidental breakdown in printing delayed delivery of these bulk supplies. There is no question of discrimination or bias as the union allege.

While thanking the Minister for that very full reply, may I ask him whether he is aware that one of his officials suggested to the general secretary of the union that if he put in a request for a certain number of copies it would be dealt with expeditiously? The difficulty in which the general secretary finds himself is that he has not yet received his ordered 250 copies, while the general public, who are not so intimately concerned, are able to buy as many copies as they like from the Stationery Office or from the public bookstalls, and—

Order. I do not know what has happened today, but supplementary questions seem to be even longer than usual.

Does the Minister not think that it would be better if this order were fulfilled first for the union or parties concerned?

I was not aware that the order had not yet been fulfilled, but I am sure that if the union had found itself embarrassed, it could, like the public, have got copies from the Stationery Office.

Co-Partnership Schemes


asked the Minister of Labour if his attention has been drawn to the recent announcements of co-partnership schemes by major industrial concerns; and whether he will state the policy of Her Majesty's Government in this connection.

Yes, Sir. The policy of the Government is to leave employers and workers free to adopt the arrangements best suited to their individual circumstances, which vary considerably between firms and between industries. We welcome any arrangements which create harmonious relations in industry and, at the same time, lead to increases in productivity.

Can the Minister assure us that there is no great substance in recent allegations that Treasury advice about the fiscal effect of such schemes has caused a number of them to be deferred? If there is any substance in the allegations, will he consult the Chancellor of the Exchequer to see whether anything can be done to meet the difficulty?

That part of the matter is for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I will see that he knows about it.

Factories Report (Publication)


asked the Minister of Labour why the Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories for 1952 was not published until June, 1954; and when he will resume the pre-war practice of publishing these Reports soon after the year to which they refer.

This has been a long-standing difficulty and both the Chief Inspector of Factories and I share the hon. Member's concern. The preparation of the Annual Report has recently been examined and proposals are now under consideration which, I hope, will be of assistance for the future.

I am obliged to the Minister for his answer, but as great interest is shown in this matter by those engaged in industry will he take steps not only to speed up the publication of the Report but also to ensure its wide and prompt distribution?

I have taken action which, I hope, will bring about that result. I am not satisfied to leave the position where it is.

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there is a growing feeling throughout large sections of the trade union movement that the Factories Inspectorate is tending to run down in effectiveness, perhaps because of overloading, and would not the early publication of the Report enable people to see how far that is so and what to do about it?

I think that that is another reason why early publication is desirable, and I will insist on it.

Ilo Convention (Implementation)


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will introduce legislation to implement Convention No. 98 of the International Labour Organisation, which has been ratified by Her Majesty's Government, by taking powers to enforce observance of the Convention.

Is the Minister aware that there is an organisation in this country which exists almost for the express purpose of violating this Convention because it debars people from membership solely on the grounds that they are members of a trade union? If so, what is the use of Her Majesty's Government going through the empty gesture of ratifying conventions and then doing nothing to see that they are applied in this country?

If I apprehend correctly the name of the only firm I know which could have come within that description, I must point out that they used to have an undertaking of the kind to which the hon. Member seems to refer and that they withdrew it at my request some time ago. If I am thinking of the wrong one, I will only say this: I think it better not to try to legislate on this matter, but we can be assured that under the organisation of both sides of industry which we now have we do enjoy adequate protection in these matters.

National Service

Youths (Emigration To Australia)


asked the Minister of Labour if he will alter the terms of National Service so that, in the interests of family unity, youths liable for National Service may take advantage of assisted passages to Australia.

I recognise that special considerations apply when a family wishing to emigrate to Australia under the Assisted Passages Scheme includes a young man who is due to be called up for National Service and I am looking into the existing practice.

While I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that answer, may I ask him whether he is aware that in the case which I wished to draw to his attention the young man scotched the regulations or the present policy of his Department by paying for his full passage and going to Australia? May I urge him to recognise that when a family has gone through all the rigmarole of getting assisted passages like this and all the difficulties of keeping a little family together for a very long journey, it is very unsatisfactory when it is then confronted with the possibility of having to lose its youngest member for a long period?

It is the case which the hon. Member has put before me and the considerations which he advanced which make me want to have a look at the whole of this practice. I am sure he will appreciate that different considerations apply to a man who has had a considerable period of deferment and then, instead of serving, wants to go with his family. I therefore want to look at it and to try to find a logical answer.

How soon does the right hon. and learned Gentleman hope to come to a decision on this matter? Many of us have heard of similar cases, and it would be well if the Minister could reach an early decision.

I hope to reach a decision before the House rises and to announce it.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will reconsider his refusal to allow Thomas Jameson, of Palmerston Avenue, Walkergate, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to emigrate to Australia with the rest of his family before doing his National Service.

There appear to be no valid reasons why this young man should not carry out his obligations. I am, however, looking into the existing practice in this class of case.

I agree that there are particular difficulties where there has been deferment, but will the Minister look into this case, together with others to which he has referred, because it seems quite clear that men in this category will not be available as trained reserves in this country; and if they are going out with their families there does seem special reason for exemption?

This case certainly does fall into the class of those which I have to examine.

Students, Camborne


asked the Minister of Labour why students of the Camborne School of Metalliferous Mining have received call-up notices on the day following the completion of their final examination; and how many were affected.

Notices were issued on 15th June to 16 students requiring them to report for service on 1st July. This action was taken because of the position revealed in the answer given to the hon. Member's Question on Tuesday, 13th July.

Can the Minister say whether any of these 16 young men left the country before reporting for National Service, and whether the authorities of the school have been informed in recent years of this particular difficulty? Will he bear in mind that in another part of my constituency I had a case of a young man who had been refused compassionate leave from decorative service in Bermuda, although his father is seriously ill?

As to the first part of the question as to what action I took, there are, I am informed, two men who, at the end of June, went to take, as was explained, a year's post-graduate course in Canada. Their application for deferment to take the course had already been rejected. I think the House will see that it was necessary to do something of this kind, and I am trying to tighten up the procedure to avoid the unfairness which appeared to arise in the third part of the hon. Member's Question.




asked the Minister of Health whether he is satisfied that there is a sufficiency of trained staff to deal with an outbreak of poliomyelitis such as occurred in Canada in 1953; and what action is being taken to give special training to nursing staffs in hospitals.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health
(Miss Patricia Hornsby-Smith)

Sufficient trained staff should be available, if arrangements are made to transfer volunteer nurses from the general hospitals to the special units which my right hon. Friend has advised regional hospital boards to set up. Most of the boards have already made such arrangements, and are also arranging for special training to be given to nurses seconded to infectious diseases hospitals.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary satisfied that if we were so unfortunate as to have an outbreak of the type referred to in the Question, the trained staff now available would be sufficient?

It is reasonable to think so. Special steps have been taken and all the 14 regions already have centres with staff who have considerable experience in this matter; but we would obviously have to draw on volunteers if there was any unprecedented outbreak.


asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the large numbers of cases of poliomyelitis that occurred in Denmark in 1952 many of which were of the bulbar paralytic type; and what steps have been taken since then to provide suitable treatment if such an outbreak affected Britain.

Yes, Sir. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a memorandum which was circulated to hospital authorities in August, 1953, and on which action has now been taken all over England and Wales.

Does the Minister remember that in Denmark medical students had to be impressed in order to work an improvised iron lung and to work right through, day after day and night after night, to keep patients alive? Does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that it is most essential to have a sufficiency of iron lungs throughout the country in case we have any difficulty of this kind?

Yes, Sir. The memorandum to which I have referred was prepared and circulated having particularly in mind the Danish experience. It takes all this into account and deals, in particular, with the formation of experienced teams to combat this disease.

Cuirass Respirators


asked the Minister of Health the cost of importing a cuirass respirator of the Monaghan type from the United States of America for the treatment of poliomyelitis; what research has been undertaken to evolve a similar type in Britain; and whether it is now being manufactured.

The average delivered cost of the Monaghan cuirass respirators imported recently from the U.S.A. was £853, including duty. Following officially sponsored research in this country a new type of cuirass shell has now been developed. Twelve sets of these shells are being assembled under contract and will shortly be delivered for clinical trials.

Would not the cost be perhaps one-tenth of the figure quoted by the Minister if we made these respirators in this country? Ought we not to have a fair number of them, which would allow beds to become vacant that, otherwise, must be occupied for a very long time?

The cost of the shells being made in this country is about oneseventh—it is £120—and I have no doubt that the shells which are being delivered at the end of the month will be of great value.

Cannot import duty on this type of apparatus be waived in order to bring down the cost of this valuable aid?

I think my answer indicated that we are overcoming that problem by manufacturing suitable shells in this country.

Cancer Cases (Registration)


asked the Minister of Health if he will make a statement showing the results of his circular requesting hospitals to do everything possible to achieve the registration of all cases of cancer.

Reports from hospital boards are not yet complete, so I regret that I am not at present able to make any statement.

Is the Minister aware of the growing public concern at the fact that there seems to be an increase in the number of cancer cases, and that it is felt that if the facts were really known, an even more serious position would be revealed than is contemplated in some quarters and might warrant still more vigorous action being taken in trying to deal with this disease?

I am very much aware of the public concern in this matter. Cancer is not by any means increasing in all sites. I asked for these reports by the 30th of last month. We have not yet received them all, but as soon as we do perhaps I can write to the hon. Member and he can put down another Question.

Appointments, Charing Cross Hospital (Application Forms)


asked the Minister of Health the outcome of his inquiries with the Board of Governors at Charing Cross Hospital concerning the requirements of applicants to fill up 45 copies of their qualifications.

I am informed that the number of copies of applications required in future is to be brought into line with practice elsewhere.

I thank my right hon. Friend for the letter he has sent me, which was received after the Question was put down. Will he publish in HANSARD what action he took and the reason for it, and do his level best to reduce as much as possible the number of forms which have to be filled up throughout his Ministry?

In reply to the last point, certainly. This custom has been going on for a very long time in Charing Cross. The reason for it, I understand, is that the hospital used to circulate these applications to all the consultant staff. There are obvious reasons against doing that, and the hospital, I am glad to say, has agreed to reduce the number of forms.

Barncoose Hospital, West Cornwall (Improvements)

21 and 22.

asked the Minister of Health (1) what sum was included by the West Cornwall Hospital Management Committee in their budget for the current financial year for improvements to Barncoose Hospital; and what sum was approved by the regional hospital board;

(2) what sums have been spent in capital expenditure on improvements to Barncoose Hospital, Cornwall, in each of the last two financial years.

The only capital scheme proposed in relation to this hospital was the reconditioning of accommodation to take aged mental patients at an estimated cost of £12,000. It was not possible to fit this into the capital programme. Capital expenditure in 1952–53 was £750 and £5,032 was spent on building maintenance in that year. The capital expenditure in 1953–54 was £434, but the figure of expenditure on building maintenance is not yet available.

Will the Minister bear in mind that while there is considerable local pride in the work of the geriatric unit at this hospital, there is considerable apprehension at the wretched state of parts of the building which was inherited from the Public Assistance committee—which was, perhaps, no fault of that committee? Will he do all that he can to speed the improvement in the conditions of the building?

Yes. I recognise the claims of this hospital, and, indeed, of all those that were formerly Public Assistance institutions and which form a special problem within the hospital service.

Patient, Guy's Hospital (Death)


asked the Minister of Health if he will make a statement on the case of Jean Reid, Bethnal Green, who died immediately following an injection of vaccine while being treated for asthma in Guy's Hospital recently, and upon who no inquest was held; and what has been the result of the inquiry conducted into the use of this vaccine throughout the country.

As the statement is rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Is it not a fact that this young girl died within a few minutes of the injection of this vaccine? If so, in view of the unusual circumstances, why was no inquest held? When the Minister has made his inquiries, will he publish a report? Can he say what is the nature of this vaccine, how it is produced, what is consists of and how it is administered?

I deal with all those matters in my statement. It is true that the girl died within half an hour of the injection, but the death was reported at once to the coroner. The coroner, who has to decide whether there should be an inquest, referred the matter to the Home Office pathologist and was satisfied as a result of that inquiry and the pathologist's report that no inquest was necessary. The vaccine comes from the Wright Fleming Institute, attached to St. Mary's Hospital. Although there is no particular reason to suspect it, we have called in all the batches applicable to that period and are investigating them as quickly as we can.

Following is the statement:

Jean Reid had been attending the asthma clinic at Guy's Hospital since September, 1953, when aged 18 years. On 25th May, the date of her death, she attended for the last of a series of desensitisation injections with gradually increasing doses of vaccine which had begun on 7th January, 1954. The injection was given in the normal manner and she waited afterwards in the department, since patients frequently have reactions from these injections and are always kept in the clinic for half an hour after treatment. The injection was given at 2.15 p.m.; about 10 minutes later she complained to the nurse of feeling ill, and a doctor was called. Despite every effort to revive her, her condition deteriorated and she died about 2.45 p.m.

Of 21 patients attending the clinic four, apart from Jean Reid, had reactions and in view of her death were retained longer than normal for observation as a precautionary measure. All four patients were seen at about 5 p.m. by a senior consultant physician and were found to be quite well. They were discharged on the following morning.

The coroner was notified of the death, interviewed the medical officers concerned, and arranged for a post mortem examination to be carried out by a Home Office pathologist. I understand that the coroner as the result of his inquiries decided not to hold an inquest.

No inquiry has been conducted into the use of this vaccine throughout the country, and there is no evidence that points to the vaccine being at fault. As a precaution, other vials of the same batch have been recalled by the distributors and tests are being undertaken of the batch of vaccine actually used at Guy's Hospital. Up to the present, however, no significant result has been obtained.

Hospital Engineers


asked the Minister of Health why there has been no increase in salaries since 1948 of hospital engineers in mental hospitals; and why new appointments in these hospitals have been made at much lower salaries.

Where a hospital engineer has received no increase in his 1948 salary scale the reason is that this is more favourable than the current National Health Service scale for his post. New appointments are made on the current scale.

Does the Minister mean that there has been a down-grading in salary for hospital engineers and, therefore, there has been a decrease rather than an increase because of some Ministerial rearrangements?

No, that is not the position. There have been two increases since 1949 in the scales, but certain people—and this is common trade union practice—have their salaries protected because they were higher than the salary scale. They can swop to the Health Service scale at any time, and the reason that they have not benefited as individuals from the increase is because their protected salaries were higher than the scale.


asked the Minister of Health if he is satisfied with the present composition of the staff side of the Whitley Council, Professional and Technical B; and if he will consider giving more representation to hospital engineers.

This is a matter for the staff side itself; but I have not heard of any difficulties.

Is the Minister aware of the great dissatisfaction among hospital engineers, and that, quite contrary to the answer which he gave on a previous occasion, I have information indicating that these people are not adequately represented and that their wages were downgraded compared with what they were?

We cannot go back to that Parliamentary Question and answer, but if I may I should like to have a word with the hon. Gentleman so that we can try to sort out the difference which appears to exist. As to representation on the council, the correct course is for the appropriate trade union to take the matter up with the staff side.

Yardley Green Sanatorium, Birmingham (Nurses)


asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that, owing to the shortage of nurses, one ward of 50 beds and 56 beds in other wards in Yardley Green Road Sanatorium, Birmingham, may have to be closed; and, in view of the number of cases in that city awaiting admission, what action he will take to speed up the recruitment of nurses to that hospital.

I am aware of the difficulties here. The Birmingham Regional Hospital Board, with the help of the Ministry of Labour and National Service, is doing everything possible to recruit more staff.

Is the Minister aware that there are now 250 medical cases and 250 surgical cases awaiting admission to this hospital? Would he consider better and more attractive conditions and pay for these student nurses, or go one further and make more use of the scheme in Switzerland, where beds are empty and where there is no shortage of nurses?

The figures I have for the waiting list are a little different from those which the hon. Member has given, which, I think, are the figures for the group and not for Yardley Green. My figures for Yardley Green are 72 and a substantially larger figure of 265 for thoracic surgery. This is a grave problem and we are doing everything we can. I will take note of the suggestions made by the hon. Member.

Patient, London Hospital


asked the Minister of Health why Mr. W. A. Henshaw, of Tuilerie Street, Shoreditch, who visited the London Hospital on 10th June with a doctor's letter stating that he had attempted suicide, was neither seen by a psychiatrist nor detained in hospital; if he is aware that this patient committed suicide two days later; and what steps he will take to ensure that cases of this nature are in future treated as emergencies.

I greatly regret the tragic circumstances of this case, but I must make it clear that the terms in which the patient was referred to the hospital did not, as the hon. Member suggests, indicate that he had attempted suicide. I agree, however, that it would have been preferable for him to be dealt with as an emergency.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, according to my information, the doctor's letter did state that the patient attempted to commit suicide and that that information was accepted by the coroner at the inquest? While I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his sympathy, which will be appreciated by the family, may I ask whether there is not something he can do to ensure that this sort of tragic occurrence does not occur again?

Yes, I accept that. As far as my information goes, I have actually seen the original letter and while it does say that the father had strong suspicions that the boy had suicidal intentions there is no evidence in it to show that he had attempted suicide.

Hospital Service Reserve (Uniforms)


asked the Minister of Health whether nurses on the Civil Nursing Reserve are to be issued with uniforms, and what will be the cost per uniform and the total anticipated cost involved.

It has been decided, in principle, to make a personal issue of uniform to members of the National Hospital Service Reserve, but the details have not yet been settled and no firm estimate of cost can yet be made.

Mental Hospital Nurses (Recruitment)


asked the Minister of Health what progress he has to report on the recruitment of nursing staff for mental hospitals.

Between 30th June, 1953, and 31st March this year the nursing staff in mental and mental deficiency hospitals increased by 119 full-time and 272 part-time. Recruitment measures are still being vigorously pursued.

Has the hon. Lady organised a general recruiting campaign to meet the desperate need for increased staff, and, if she has, will she keep in mind the well-organised meeting held in Huddersfield in March of this year? Secondly, does the Minister propose to implement the recommendation in the report of the Central Health Services Council that there should be training courses for mental nurses which would be recognised as adequate mental training without the necessity for full nursing qualifications?

The bulk of the money available for recruitment has been devoted to the mental health side, but we believe that the money can best be spent on local campaigns because recruits have got to be drawn from the areas within the vicinity of the hospitals. Thirty-six campaigns have been arranged; 18 are completed or on the way to completion; and 18 are still to be completed.

As to the second point, this is a matter for the General Nursing Council but the hon. Member seems to have gone a little astray in his supplementary and I should like to meet him later and discuss it with him.

Is the hon. Lady aware that the figures she has given do not show that the recruitment is being successful? That being the case, will the Ministry consider whether improved salary scales and other conditions are necessary in order to speed up the recruitment of nurses for mental hospitals?

Wage negotiations are a matter for the joint negotiating machinery. There has recently been an increase of staffs in mental hospitals. We are certainly not satisfied with the result of the recruiting campaign, but it is not half way through yet and it is a little premature to condemn the whole campaign in advance.

Ministry Of Health

Smoking (Lung Cancer)


asked the Minister of Health, in view of the current researches being conducted on this subject, if he will approach the American Medical Association and obtain their permission to publish as a White Paper their recent report on the relationship between cigarette smoking and cancer.

I see no good reason why a particular report of this kind, which is only one of several studies of the subject, should be published as a White Paper.

Since this is, I understand, an authoritative report by a responsible medical body, does my right hon. Friend not think that its publication would help to allay the understandable fears of smokers because of cancer and would help his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to retain the £630 million in duty which he gets from tobacco?

There are dozens of reports, all, presumably, claiming to be authoritative, being published at the present time. If my hon. Friend is a heavy smoker and is concerned about the connection between cancer of the lung and smoking, I would recommend him to give up reading.


19 and 20.

asked the Minister of Health (1) the administrative cost of enforcing the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Prescribing, namely, the analysis of prescription returns, the investigation of cases of apparent above-average prescribing and the conduct of proceedings against doctors alleged to have failed to comply with the recommendations;

(2) how many doctors have been fined for failing to comply with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Prescribing; what is the total amount of those fines; and what is the total above-average cost of the prescriptions involved in such cases.

My hon. Friend seems to be under some misapprehension. The Joint Committee's recommendations are not matters for legal enforcement, but doctors are asked to co-operate voluntarily in carrying them out. Penalties for excessive prescribing are governed by the statutory regulations, operative since 1948.

Have not the regulations been in force since July, 1943, entirely on the basis of the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Prescribing, and cannot my hon. Friend supply me with the information asked for by the Questions on that basis?

The two matters are not connected. The question of prescribing, which is governed by regulations operative since 1948, has resulted in 21 cases being referred to the local medical committees. Perhaps, rather than take up the time of the House now, I could explain to my hon. Friend at some other time the complete difference between the two issues. The question of the Joint Committee's recommendations is a matter for voluntary co-operation from the doctors, which, in the main, we have received.

Having regard to the implications in these Questions, will the Minister undertake not to diminish her efforts to prevent over-prescribing and, indeed, profligate prescribing?

Is any action taken against patients who badger and bully doctors into giving them the kind of prescription they want on pain of their going elsewhere if they do not get it?

The executive councils can receive complaints from both patients and doctors and can investigate them.

Mental Health (Research)


asked the Minister of Health if, in view of the need for expansion of research work in the treatment of the mentally sick, he will consider appointing a national research director to co-ordinate and expand the local work already being done.

In accordance with the recommendations in the Report on "Clinical Research in Relation to the National Health Service" a Clinical Research Board has already been appointed by the Medical Research Council, in consultation with my Department, to advise and assist the Council in promoting clinical research including research into the treatment of mental illness. No further appointments seem to be called for.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of elderly people who are suffering from senile decay have been certified as mentally deficient, and that the certification that they are mentally defective reflects on their sons and grandsons who, when they go abroad, cannot land if they cannot prove that they and their forebears were free from any mental disease? Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the matter?

I recognise this problem but it is a different one from the one mentioned in the Question.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable concern at the fact that there is not nearly enough research into mental health? Is he aware that the Mental Research Council has devoted only 1 per cent. of its total expenditure since the war to research into mental health, and does he not agree that that is totally inadequate? Whether or not the method suggested in the Question is the right way to deal with it, will he look into the matter?

Yes, Sir. I am concerned with the problem, but I do not think that the solution suggested in this Question is the answer.

Health Centres


asked the Minister of Health how many plans for the provision of health centres have been submitted to him for approval.

Eight schemes have been submitted and approved, including four centres now in operation, and 12 others are under consideration.

With the valuable experience we have gained during the last few years is it not time to give further encouragement to local authorities, especially in the new housing estates?

There are some centres being opened which are not local health authority centres, and provided a genuine need was established my right hon. Friend would favourably consider any project. As the hon. Gentleman is aware, opinion is by no means unanimous on the subject of health centres, which are still in the experimental stage.

In view of the developments that have taken place, the recommendations particularly of the Cohen Committee and the valuable experience we have had, is it not time to ease up on the restrictions which inevitably were in force in the early days?

Is the Minister aware that in Barton-on-Humber, in my constituency, where conditions are particularly favourable for the establishment of such a centre, the Minister so far has not looked favourably upon such a scheme?

Can the hon. Lady say how many of these applications have been received from the new towns?

Surgeries (Inspection)


asked the Minister of Health how many health executive councils, either directly or through medical committees, have carried out inspections of surgery and waiting room accommodation in their areas.

My right hon. Friend regrets that this information is not available.

In view of the strong recommendation of the Cohen Committee should not the attention of executive councils be drawn to their responsibility for seeing that surgeries are in a proper condition?

The fact that specific instructions have not gone forth from my right hon. Friend does not mean that nothing has been done. As the hon. Gentleman has pointed out, the Cohen Committee has reported and my right hon. Friend is consulting the profession to see what action may be taken through executive councils. This follows up the very strong recommendation contained in the letter previously sent out by Dr. Talbot Rogers to general practitioners about accommodation. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the matter is being very actively pursued.


Service Families' Children

36 and 37.

asked the Minister of Education (1) what compensating facilities are offered to parents serving with Her Majesty's Forces to enable the education of the children of such parents to be equivalent in all respects to that offered to the children of other parents whose residence remains static;

(2) whether she is satisfied that the children of officers and men serving in Her Majesty's Forces have opportunities of education suited to their abilities and in no way worsened by the conditions of service of the parents.


asked the Minister of Education whether she has given special consideration to the educational problems presented by children of officers and men of the Royal Air Force, who are subject to frequent postings; and what action she proposes to take to enable these children to have the same opportunities as others.


asked the Minister of Education whether she is aware that the education of children whose fathers are serving in Her Majesty's Forces is often interfered with owing to postings; what is the size of this problem; and what steps she is taking to solve it.

I have no responsibility for children who are abroad with their parents serving with Her Majesty's Forces. Children who are in this country, with or without their parents, normally attend day schools in the ordinary way, but I recognise that the absence of parents abroad or frequent movements may cause special difficulties and local education authorities have power, in appropriate cases, to provide or help a child to obtain boarding education.

I am aware that the present arrangements do not always work satisfactorily and I am considering with my right hon. Friends who are responsible for the Services what improvements can be made.

While welcoming greatly that statement, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether she will take into special consideration local education authorities who have to bear a particular responsibility and burden in this direction? For instance, Bath has a considerable moving population in connection with the Admiralty, and certain counties, especially on the East Coast, where there are many airfields, have a similar burden.

Will the Minister bear in mind that serving men want for their children their rights under the 1944 Act, namely, adequate and separate primary and secondary education? And when she is considering this matter with the Service Ministers, will she look into the problem of our soldiers who are stationed in various areas of the country which do not provide such education?

Yes, I realise that. A great deal of the difficulty is over secondary education. In looking into these difficulties I will take account of the children of all who, because of their work, have to be moved frequently.

Comprehensive Schools


asked the Minister of Education if, in view of the small number of comprehensive schools under construction, she will take steps to encourage a greater number of local education authorities to provide such schools in order to offer parents and children a wider field of choice.

While I am prepared to sanction the building of some comprehensive schools, and I have already done so, I am not willing to press local education authorities to experiment with this form of secondary school in cases where they do not suggest it themselves.

Does the Minister agree that whereas 50 authorities are now building traditional grammar schools, only four authorities are building comprehensive schools—they are, of course, the best authorities in the country, such as Staffordshire, London and Coventry? Is she aware that her apparent partisanship in the matter is having a most unwholesome effect on authorities and is greatly resented in the country?

No, I would not say that. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will be interested to know that out of 146 local education authorities, 23 have included one or more comprehensive schools in their plans.


asked the Minister of Education in how many cases she has refused approval, wholly or partly, of local education authorities' plans for new comprehensive schools; in how many cases she has taken similar action in respect of grammar schools; and what are the grounds of her disapproval in each case.

Of 13 proposals made to me under Section 13 of the Education Act, 1944, for the establishment of comprehensive schools, I have deferred a decision on two, approved six in full and four in part, and refused approval to one because I did not consider it educationally advantageous.

The answer to the second part of the Question is, "None."

Does the Minister include in that statement the case of Eltham Hill and the more recent case of the Bec School? It has been widely published that she has disapproved of two schools in the London area. In view of her speech some weeks ago to London women Conservatives and the views that she then expressed, is the right hon. Lady aware that in the London area it is impossible to regard her views as unbiased towards this authority?

As to the question whether I have refused two proposals, I have stated that I have refused one. That is the enlargement of the Bec School by 1,500 places to accommodate 2,000. I refused that because I did not think it educationally advantageous and because I received objections from the borough council and from 8,116 people who had the statutory right to object. That is the only comprehensive school proposal which I have refused.

Is the right hon. Lady aware that the decision that she has made with regard to the Bec School is resented by a very large number of people in South London and in my constituency? Is she aware that it is absolutely certain that, if an attempt were made to obtain another petition, more than double the signatures which she mentioned could easily be secured in favour of the Bec School being rebuilt and equipped as a proper comprehensive school?

The hon. Member has not quite understood. This was not a case of presenting a petition. As the hon. Member knows, when a local authority proposes to build a school or to close one it has to advertise the fact in the local Press. That advertisement includes the statement that 10 or more local government electors can send objections if they wish, as can also the managers and the governors of any school, This was not a case of a petition being prepared. These electors had a right to object.

Could the right hon. Lady say whether or not she has a settled view and policy against comprehensive schools, or for them? Secondly, if that is not the case, has she a settled view or predisposition to disagree with Labour local authorities and tries to upset their plans? Which is it?

I said that I have deferred a decision on two, I have approved six in full and four in part. The reason for approval of the four in part was that the entire school was not needed at present. I have refused only one. The decision must be that of the Minister, according to the Act. At the same time that I decided it was not, in my opinion, educationally advantageous to increase the Bec School to 2,000 and make it a comprehensive school, I approved the building of a new comprehensive school in Finsbury.

In view of the Minister's misleading reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.

That is not the proper language to use in giving notice to raise a matter on the Adjournment. The proper phrase is, "Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply."

On a point of order. Are you now ruling, Sir, that to use the word "misleading" is an unparliamentary expression?

The hon. Member ought not to stretch my Ruling beyond its context. I say that in giving the customary notice to raise a matter on the Adjournment the proper expression is, "Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply."

On a point of order. The Minister's word has been imputed by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler). Ought he not therefore to withdraw the expression?

Perhaps the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Ian Harvey) will leave that to me. A reply may be called misleading, without imputing that it is so intentionally, and I could not rule that word definitely out of order, but I am expressing the opinion—which I hope the House will understand—that in giving formal notice to raise a matter on the Adjournment it is better to stick to the traditional form and not to import argument.

School Transport (Distance Limit)


asked the Minister of Education if she will authorise local education authorities to waive the distance limit for the provision of transport for children going to school where road conditions involving heavy traffic or lack of footpaths make this desirable in the interest of road safety.

As I made clear in Circular 242 on 7th December, 1951, I am prepared to agree to the relaxation of the normal distance limits in particular cases, including cases of exceptional danger from traffic.

Surely the time has come when this economy circular should be withdrawn, or is the financial situation of the country still as desperate as it was 2½ years ago?

I am glad to agree with the hon. Gentleman that the situation is not as desperate as he knew, and we knew, it was 2½ years ago. At the same time, except where there is particular danger, we cannot relax the distances of two miles and three miles which were laid down in the 1944 Act and I must point out to the hon. Gentleman that the same arrangements were made by the previous Government.

Tennis Courts, Wokingham Secondary School (Use)


asked the Minister of Education whether the hard tennis courts at Wokingham Secondary School have been used for that purpose, by whom and for how long.

I am informed that, since the school was opened, the tennis courts have been used for about three-quarters of the school week during the spring and summer by the pupils for tennis, and that during the autumn and winter they are in daily use for netball. In addition, there are voluntary coaching sessions in tennis after school hours on four evenings a week.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the grass surrounds of these courts impose considerable restrictions on the use to which the land would otherwise be put, and in view of the great demand for capital expenditure on the improvement of other buildings, are not hard tennis courts and their surrounds an unnecessary expenditure in these days?

No, I do not think so. The tennis courts are laid out mainly on the normal hard playground and are an integral part of the school's provisions for physical education.

Over-Age Teachers (Employment)


asked the Minister of Education how many teachers over the age of 65 years are employed in maintained primary and secondary schools.

The number of teachers over the age of 65 employed on 31st March, 1953, the latest date for which figures are available, was 587.

Can the Minister say whether the number of teachers who remain on after the age of 65 is increasing or not?

Yes, Sir, the number is increasing. In March, 1951, there were 409; in March, 1952, there were 476; and I have given the number for March, 1954.

School Building (Supplementary Allocations)


asked the Minister of Education the amounts of supplementary allocations for minor capital work on school buildings requested by the local education authorities in Southampton, Southampton County, Portsmouth, Essex, Hertfordshire and West Sussex, respectively; and the amount granted in each case.

With permission, I will circulate the answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

Local Education AuthoritySupplementary Allocation for Minor Works Programme, 1954
Allocation RequestedAllocation Made
Southampton C.B.42,69013,600
Southampton County94,47040,000
Portsmouth C.B.28,8449,165
West Sussex25,00023,000

All-Age Schools, Wiltshire


asked the Minister of Education the number of all-age schools under the Wiltshire Education Authority; and what is the number of children over the age of 11 plus attending such schools.

In January, 1953, the figures asked for were 99 and 2,895 respectively. I have no figures yet for the number of children in January, 1954, but the number of all-age departments had been reduced to 83 by that date.

In view of the answer to Question No. 36 and the fact that there are many Service men stationed in Wiltshire, will the right hon. Lady give special attention to ensuring that Service men's children have the right to adequate, separate, primary and secondary education?

I want to see adequate, separate, primary and secondary education for all.

Howardian High School, Cardiff (Boy's Education)


asked the Minister of Education why she will not accede to the request of Mr. R. C. Gilkes, Sunnybank, Station Road, Radyr, Glamorgan, that his son be permitted to complete his education at the expense of the Glamorgan education authority at the Howardian High School, Cardiff, where the son has almost completed his second year, in view of the fact that Mr. Gilkes has undertaken to provide transport and the county education authority would be involved in no greater expense than if the boy should proceed to another school in the area of the county.

I do not consider it reasonable that the Glamorgan local education authority should be required to pay the Cardiff authority for providing education for Mr. Gilkes' son at a Cardiff school when a place is available for the boy in a Glamorgan school near to his home and he is at a stage in his school course at which a transfer may be made without detriment to his school career.

Is not my right hon. Friend's reply quite inconsistent with the spirit and, indeed, the actual wording of the 1944 Act? Is it not a fact that there is a place available in the Cardiff school for this boy, that he has already completed half his school education and that his father is prepared to take such steps as, would involve the county authority in no extra expense? Is it not a fact that if the father chooses to do as he suggests, he would not be committing any breach of the 1944 Act?

The 1944 Act does not lay down that children can necessarily be educated outside the local authority area in which they live. I would point out to my hon. Friend that in this case it would cost Glamorgan more. Glamorgan has a place in its own school and, therefore, there is no extra charge in taking the boy in, but if he is to be sent to school in Cardiff, Glamorgan would have to pay Cardiff for that place. I feel that I should not press Glamorgan to do that.

Dysentery Outbreak, Oldbury


asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of the outbreak of dysentery among children of certain schools in Oldbury; and if she will make a statement as to the cause.

I understand that out of 82 confirmed and 28 suspected cases of dysentery in Oldbury arising between 1st April and 10th July, 54 of the con- firmed and 25 of the suspected cases related to children of school age, chiefly from three schools. The infection has been identified as a common type and the outbreak has been mild in character. I am satisfied that the local health authority, in conjunction with the local school medical authorities, are doing all in their power to check the outbreak. It has so far not been possible to identify the original source of infection.

Will the right hon. Lady review the staffing arrangements that have been imposed by her Department on the school meals service to discover whether the economies which have been made are not a contributory factor to the outbreak of food poisoning in the school meals service in my constituency and elsewhere in the country?

There is no reason to believe that infection arose from meals or milk supplied to the school, but it has not yet been possible to identify completely the original cause of the infection. A short time ago a circular was sent to all authorities dealing with the school meals service, making suggestions for the improvement of hygiene in schools.

Members' Remuneration


asked the Prime Minister whether he will recommend the setting up of a Royal Commission, presided over by a high judicial authority, to consider and report upon the amount and form of remuneration which should be granted to Members of Parliament, having regard to the conditions under which they are now required to discharge their duties, and the future status, efficiency and recruitment of the House of Commons.

Her Majesty's Government do not feel that we should undertake any further inquiry into this problem at the present moment.

Will the Prime Minister undertake to reconsider the matter a little later? Does he not think that, while the ultimate responsibility must clearly rest with this House, the opinions and recommendations of an authoritative, independent and judicial tribunal might prevent a recurrence of the events of recent weeks, which have given satisfaction to no one?

1St British Commonwealth Division, Korea


asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to make a statement about the future of the 1st British Commonwealth Division in Korea.

No decision has yet been taken on the future of the Commonwealth Division in Korea.

Civil Defence (Thermo-Nuclear Weapons)


asked the Prime Minister what discussions he had with President Eisenhower about civil defence against thermo-nuclear weapons: and what arrangements he has made for a continuing exchange of information on this subject.

The present arrangements with the United States for exchange of information on these and other aspects of civil defence will continue, and we shall welcome any more detailed exchanges which current revision of United States legislation may permit.

While thanking the Prime Minister for his reply, may I ask whether he discussed with the President the question of the advantages of a national organisation for civil defence, which the United States appears to favour, over the older local system of civil defence, which appears to be favoured by the Home Office, but which has been outmoded by the hydrogen bomb?

My talks with the President were private, informal and confidential, but I think I may go so far as to say that they did not plunge into any minute details of these matters.

Is it not about time that we were honest with the public and told them that there is no defence against thermo-nuclear weapons and that, if there is, nobody yet has said what the defence is?

As to no defence, there may be something to be said for that, but there are deterrents, and if it is certain that they can be applied, deterrents may possibly bring us out on the right side of the river.

Did not the Prime Minister inform President Eisenhower of what he has informed this House, that the real reason why Britain is in danger is because the American bombers are here; and did the right hon. Gentleman inform President Eisenhower also that it would be far more dangerous for American personnel to be here than to be in the Middle West, in Chicago or in New York?

The decision to establish an Anglo-American bomber base was taken by the late Administration—

and I supported it at the time, and we have loyally carried out the undertakings then given. I did not mean anything in my last statement—to the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas)—to imply that there was no defence in the sense that it was not the duty of every city in this country to have every preparation made to aid its neighbours, especially if it is willing to accept assistance from them.

Does not my right hon. Friend recall that in 1938 the same pessimism was shown in this country, some of it by some hon. Members opposite, about civil defence, and that it was triumphantly disproved then by showing that stout hearts could meet any situation?

Anglo-Soviet Relations


asked the Prime Minister what steps he has taken recently, and particularly since his return from the United States of America, to invite an interview between himself and Mr. Malenkov either in Britain or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for the purpose of discussing and if possible arranging an agreement to stop or limit the arms race and to implement a settled world peace.

I have nothing to add to what I told the House on Monday in reply to Questions by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and by the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly).

Does the Prime Minister not realise that what he said on Monday was not at all helpful in this matter? Does he not think that the time has come to make a real effort to achieve agreement to regulate or ban the use or abuse of the hydrogen bomb?

I certainly think that those topics should hold a leading place in the minds of all the important personages in all the different Governments of the civilised world.

Questions (Transference)

May I seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker? Two or three weeks ago, my hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir D. Robertson) and my hon. Friend the Member for Ross and Cromarty (Mr. John MacLeod) and myself placed on the Order Paper Questions to the Prime Minister which now appear on the Paper as Questions Nos. 89, 90 and 91 to be answered by the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation and which are unlikely to be reached today. As the Questions raise urgent matters which affect the economic and social well-being of half Scotland, I think that it would be more appropriate for the Prime Minister to answer.

The transference of Questions has nothing to do with me. It is a matter for the Departments concerned.

Business Of The House

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 19TH JULY—Supply [23rd Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on Industry and Employment in Scotland, in continuation of today's debate.

TUESDAY, 20TH JULY—Crichel Down debate on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

Committee and remaining stages: Isle of Man (Customs) Bill.

Committee and remaining stages: Gas and Electricity (Borrowing Powers) Bill, if not already obtained.

Motion to approve: Agriculture Act (Part I) Extension of Period Order.

WEDNESDAY, 21ST JULY—Supply [24th Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on Old-Age Pensions.

Lords Amendments to: Housing (Repairs and Rents) (Scotland) Bill.

Motions to approve: Draft Local Government Superannuation (Benefits) Regulations, and similar Regulations for Scotland.

Draft Justices' Clerks and Assistants (Superannuation) Regulations.

Draft Probation Officers and Clerks (Superannuation) Regulations.

THURSDAY, 22ND JULY—Supply [25th Allotted Day]: Committee.

Debate on Kenya until 7 o'clock.

Afterwards, a debate will take place on House of Commons Accommodation.

At 9.30 p.m. the Committee stage of all outstanding Votes will be put from the Chair.

Motion to approve: Draft Raw Cotton Commission (Dissolution) Order.

FRIDAY, 23RD JULY—Further progress will be made with the Pests Bill [Lords].

Second Reading: Food and Drugs Amendment Bill [Lords].

Committee stage: Money Resolution.

On Wednesday's business, it is proposed to take Supply formally and to debate a Motion on old-age pensions which we propose to put on the Order Paper.

In regard to Thursday's business, the right hon. Gentleman suggested that after the Votes are put at 9.30 there will be a Motion to approve the Draft Raw Cotton Commission (Dissolution) Order. When that matter was discussed before, many questions were asked and hon. Members were always referred to the time when the draft Order would come forward, as there would then be ample opportunity for dealing with all the details. It will be quite impossible to do that on Thursday at such a late hour. I should imagine it would take at least four hours and, as the matter would not come on until about 10 o'clock, that would not do justice to a subject of great importance to Lancashire.

The right hon. Gentleman will realise that if this Order is not made there will be very considerable waste of public money, because the Commission would have to be reappointed. The draft Order is consequent upon legislation to which a great deal of time has been given during this Session. I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman thinks it would take as long as four hours, but perhaps we can see how we get along. After all, the House was kept late last night and there were few hon. Members opposite present.

The right hon. Gentleman said that this matter was debated before. In those debates hon. Members were always referred to the coming draft Order as a proper occasion when the matter could be dealt with. If it is now to be cut down to a short time, hon. Members will be deprived of answers to their questions.

Why does the right hon. Gentleman say that if this Order is not taken now the Commission will have to be re-appointed? Does not the Act simply say that the Commission can be dissolved when the Minister thinks fit? Could not this matter be left until next November, or Christmas, or something of that sort?

Can my right hon. Friend say whether there has been any discussion of the possibility of having a whole day devoted to colonial affairs before we rise for the Summer Recess? If not, will he take note of the feeling, on both sides of the House, that half a day devoted to Kenya and wedged in alongside a debate on accommodation in the House of Commons, is really quite inadequate?

Of course, the time at the disposal of the Opposition from now to the end of July is very much greater than that at the disposal of the Government and they have taken half a day for a debate on Kenya.

May I ask the Leader of the House whether it is not patently the case, as shown by questions by the Leader of the Opposition and the question by the hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Braine), that the House is in a muddle about its business between now and the Summer Adjournment? Is not this in particular the responsibility of the right hon. Gentleman, who is a very bad Leader of the House, and of the Government? Is it not the case that they are treating both this House and another place very badly by bringing in irrelevant, unnecessary, and mischievous legislation?

All I can say is that I note the scrupulously polite terms the right hon. Gentleman used.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when it is proposed to give an opportunity for a really adequate discussion of the Suez problem? In view of the widespread belief throughout the country that the Government will take the easy course of announcing an agreement whilst Parliament is in recess, can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that no agreement will be signed until the House has had an opportunity of discussing it and has satisfied itself that the security of other Middle East Powers is adequately safeguarded?

I could not give any definite promise on a subject of that kind, but the hon. Member knows that this topic took up quite a part of yesterday's debate.

Can the Leader of the House say whether two transport matters are to come up in the House before the adjournment for the Recess, namely, a debate on the railway reorganisation scheme; and secondly, on the Highway Code, which we are still awaiting?

The position about the railway scheme is that the Government undertook to publish a White Paper containing the proposals before seeking the approval which will ultimately be necessary on an affirmative Resolution. I think it would be desirable for the House to take some time to study these problems, and the Government will find time when we resume the Session later in the year.

The position there is rather the same. That also requires an affirmative Resolution, and I thought adequate time was necessary to study it, but if the Opposition like to facilitate the matter and get a debate arranged before we rise, no doubt that can be considered through the usual channels.

In regard to Monday's business, will my right hon. Friend note carefully the remarkably long time now being devoted to Scottish affairs, to which I have no objection; but will he bear that in mind when in the future we possibly make some humble request for a few moments for Welsh affairs?

Of course, it is the normal practice to give a certain time to Scotch affairs at this time of the year—[HON. MEMBERS: "Not Scotch, Scottish."]—Some say one, some the other—as it is also growing to be the custom to devote some time to Welsh affairs later in the year.

In view of the importance of the debate on Wednesday next—it will affect so many millions of people—will the Leader of the House consider the advisability of suspending the Standing Orders so that we can adequately debate the subject?