Skip to main content

Business Of The House

Volume 644: debated on Tuesday 18 July 1961

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

With permission, I should like to make a short statement on business.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, to allow adequate time for the debate on the Visiting Forces (Application of Law) Order, it would seem to suit the convenience of the House for it to be taken as second item of business after the Lords Amendments to the Rating and Valuation Bill.

The Exchequer Advances (Limit) Order will, therefore, be deferred. It might be convenient for this Order to be debated in the context of the statement which my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will make next week.

If the Visiting Forces (Application of Law) Order is concluded at a reasonable hour tomorrow, we shall seek to complete the Second Reading of the Suicide Bill [Lords], which was adjourned last Friday. The Bill will then go to a Standing Committee.

In regard to the business on Friday, of this week, as proceedings on the Bristol, South-East petition are still continuing, and it may well be that judgment will not be delivered this week, it is thought preferable to postpone consideration of the Motion to set up a Joint Select Committee on House of Lords Reform.

It is proposed, therefore, that the following business should be taken next Friday:

Consideration of Lords Amendments to the Covent Garden Market Bill, and to the Land Drainage Bill.

Afterwards, we propose to proceed with the Consideration of Motions to approve the Motor Vehicles (Variation of Speed Limit) Regulations, the Patents (Fees Amendment) Order, the Insurance Contracts (War Settlement) (Germany) Order, and five Cotton Industry Orders.

Will the Leader of the House elucidate the Government's intentions and motives in deferring the debate on the Motion dealing with House of Lords reform? Was it always their intention that this debate should not be held until after the judgment had been delivered? If so, could not the right hon. Gentleman have foreseen that it was likely to take a little longer? Finally, if the judgment is delivered before the Summer Recess, is it the Government's intention to proceed to debate the Motion before then?

The right hon. Gentleman will remember that he made a special request that this business should not be taken on a Friday, and I undertook, across the Floor of the House, to pay attention to what he said. Now that I have paid attention to what he said, perhaps he will express his gratification.

We had not anticipated that the petition would take so long in the hearing, and that the judgment would take so long in being delivered. We cannot be certain, but we are under the impression that it is taking longer than we had anticipated. It would be unwise—in fact, improper—that a debate should take place when opinions expressed in it might have their effect upon the judgment. I am advised that it would, therefore, be wiser to postpone the debate, and to take, instead, the business that I have stated.

I appreciate that the Government are in a stickier spot than they thought they would be, but will the Leader of the House say that this matter will be taken, not on a Friday, before the House rises?

I cannot give any undertaking, as we have very important business next week. It remains our intention that this matter should remain on the Order Paper and be taken at the best possible opportunity.

Is the object of deferment a kind gesture on behalf of the Leader of the House to allow Mr. Benn to take part in the debate?

As usual, the hon. Member has raised a substantive point. We cannot tell what the judgment will be in this case. I think that it would be unwise to hold this debate if there is any doubt about the judgment not being delivered this week—and as there is, I think it much better not to have the debate.