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Commons Chamber

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 16 November 1961

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House Of Commons

Thursday, 16th November, 1961

The House met at half-past Two o'clock


[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Oral Answers To Questions


Mr Ganyile, Mr Botofo And Mr Majola


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what has been the result of his inquiries into the kidnapping from Basutoland of Mr. A. K. Ganyile, a British protected person, a leader of the African Congress Youth League, and two colleagues by six South African political police.


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he will now make a statement on the kidnapping by police from the Union of South Africa of Mr. Anderson Ganyile and two others on 26th August whilst they were within the British territory of Basutoland.


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he will now make a statement on the abduction from Basutoland of Mr. Anderson Khumari Ganyile, Mr. Paul Botofo and Mr. Majola by agents of the South African police on 26th August.

Inquiries into allegations of kidnapping are still in progress. Her Majesty's Ambassador has asked the South African Government for information on this matter and their reply is awaited. Mr. Anderson Ganyile's uncle has applied to the South African Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus. The application was heard on 13th October and judgment was reserved. In these circumstances, there is no comment I can properly make on what is said to have occurred.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this alleged incident took place as far back as 26th August? Does he remember that he received a deputation consisting of a number of us on 29th September and that we were then very impressed by the urgency and seriousness with which the hon. Gentleman dealt with the subject? But is he now aware of very disturbing evidence in South Africa of inactivity upon this matter? In particular, may I point out to the hon. Gentleman that he gave us a promise that blankets on which there were bloodstains in the huts of these men would go to the Institute of Medical Research? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that on 5th October the Institute said that the blankets had not been received, and will he speed up activity in this matter?

The allegation which the hon. Member has just made is quite untrue. The blanket was sent to the Institute for analysis, and this was stated in a Press release issued on 7th October from the High Commissioner's Office. A report has just been received in regard to the analysis, and this is now being studied.

Is the Minister aware that those of us who were on the deputation share the view of the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) that the Minister was most anxious that an inquiry should be pursued with vigour and speed? Can the hon. Gentleman give us a little more information as to why it has taken some six to eight weeks to get the information? Is it that the South African Government are refusing to give it or are claiming that the matter is sub judice? Can the hon. Gentleman say when we are likely to have information on the point?

The South African Government have replied to the Ambassador that as the matter is before the South African courts it is sub judice. As Mr. Ganyile is a South African, was apprehended by the South African authorities and is held by them, only he and the South African authorities know precisely what took place. It is a well understood convention in this House that we do not comment on court proceedings while they are still in progress.

Is the Minister aware that the first and most solemn duty of every Government is to protect their citizens from attack by foreign maurauders, whether their colour be black, yellow or white? In this case there has been procrastination and evasiveness. There is evidence of this in the possession of the hon. Members who have just spoken, and if the Minister persists in sheltering his officials, will be consider that only one honourable alternative remains to him? This is to uphold the high standards of the House in this matter by resigning?

I entirely repudiate the suggestion that we are not anxious to protect the interests of British subjects. This man—if, in fact, he was abducted from British territory—is not, of course, a British subject. We have asked the South African authorities where and when and in what circumstances these men were apprehended. The matter has been raised in a South African court and the circumstances in which this man was apprehended is, of course, part of the proceedings. Judgment has been reserved, and I suggest that instead of making extravagant remarks like that we should await the judgment and then consider our attitude.

Does the hon. Gentleman think that he might be in a position to answer a question on the subject next Thursday? If not, and as Commonwealth Relations Questions will then go to the bottom of the list, will he undertake to make a special statement to the House at the first opportunity.

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that we shall be ready to give all information as and when it is available. In the circumstances, I cannot say when it will be available.

In view of that very unsatisfactory Answer, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.

Commonwealth Relations

Mr Hammarskjöld (Death)


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what reports he has received regarding the inquiry and official examination of the aircraft in which the late Mr. Dag Hammarskjöld was flying.

We have received a number of reports on the progress of the Investigation Board set up by the Government of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The latest and most comprehensive report was published on the 18th October; and I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

As this matter has received world-wide publicity, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend will undertake now to deny the criminal and wicked allegations made in some parts of the Commonwealth and elsewhere that this aircraft was shot down? The sooner this is made public and the good name of our citizens in Rhodesia cleared, the better. What has been said against them is absolutely criminal.

Unfortunately, a number of very wild and extremely irresponsible statements and allegations have been made about this very unfortunate accident, which we all mourn. All I can say, and I cannot go beyond the reports that have been published, is that as far as I know not one single scrap of evidence has been produced to suggest that there was foul play of any kind, or improper action, or anything other than a normal accident.

Following is the Report:

Investigation Into Hammarskjoeld Aircrash

1. The Federal Government of Rhodesia and Nyasaland appointed an Investigation Board, under the chairmanship of Lieut.-Colonel M. C. H. Barber, D.F.C., the Director of Civil Aviation, to investigate the cause and circumstances of the accident. Representatives from Sweden, the state of registry, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (I.C.A.O.) on behalf of the United Nations (U.N.), the International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations (I.L.A.L.P.A.) and Transair, the operators of the aircraft, were invited to participate in the investigation.

2. The Investigation Board has been in continuous session since 18th September and is still in the process of collecting all the available evidence. Investigation up to the present date has established that the aircraft left Leopoldville with Mr. Hammarskjoeld's party at 1551 G.M.T. on Sunday, 17th September, 1961. A flight plan indicating the destination airfield as Luluaborg, with Leopoldville as alternate, was filed by the crew before departure. The true destination of Ndola and the route to be flown were kept secret from the aeronautical authorities for security reasons.

3. After clearing the Leopoldville tower frequency radio silence was maintained until the aircraft called Salisbury Flight Information Centre at 2002 G.M.T. and stated the place of departure was Leopoldville and the destination Ndola, with an estimated time of arrival of 2235 G.M.T. At 2035 G.M.T. the aircraft reported over Lake Tanganyika, indicating that it was not flying on the direct route from Leopoldville to Ndola.

4. Radio contact was made with Ndola Tower at 2135 G.M.T. During subsequent conversations weather and landing information, and descent clearance from 16,000 to 6,000 feet were given. The aircraft reported when it was overhead Ndola descending, with airport lights in sight. The altimeter setting was confirmed by the aircraft and at 2210 G.M.T. (0010 hours September 18, local time) the aircraft was requested to report reaching 6,000 feet. No such report and no further radio communication was received from the aircraft.

5. Eye witnesses saw the lights of the aircraft pass over Ndola airport on a westerly heading and disappear from view. The aircraft failed to land as expected. Overdue action was initiated but no general alarm was felt for the safety of the aircraft until the following morning, when it was established that the aircraft had not landed elsewhere.

6. The wreckage of the aircraft was located approximately nine miles from Ndola Airport on a bearing of 278 degrees true. Police arrived on the scene of the accident at 1545 hours local time. Only one of the occupants was found to be alive and he subsequently died.

7. Up to 14th October, 1961, the Investigation Board has established the following:

  • (a) The flight crew consisted of three qualified pilots with captain's rating on D.C.6 aircraft and a flight engineer.
  • (b) The pilot-in-command had not flown, prior to the departure from Leopoldville, for a period of at least 24 hours.
  • (c) Minor damage caused by one small-arms bullet during a previous flight was repaired before departure from Leopoldville.
  • (d) The aircraft took off with sufficient fuel for at least 13 hours' flying.
  • (e) The weather, as reported by Ndola Tower at 2137 G.M.T., was: surface wind of 7 knots from 120 degrees magnetic, visibility 5 to 10 miles with slight haze. There was no cloud and a quarter moon which set at 0017 hours local time.
  • (f) Damage to trees at the accident site indicated that the aircraft crashed on a heading of 120 degress magnetic at a shallow angle. The position of the wreckage was at a point where an aircraft making an instrument approach to runway 10 would be completing a procedure turn.
  • (g) The undercarriage was down and locked and the flaps were partially extended.
  • (h) Examination of the propellers and engines indicated that all engines were operating under some power at the time of impact.
  • (i) The aircraft was destroyed by impact and subsequently the wreckage was largely consumed by fire.
  • 8. In their preliminary report the medical team of pathologists stated:

    "All casualties, with the exception of the temporary survivor, were completely X-rayed with a view to determining the presence of any metallic fragments. Two bodies (No. 1 and 2) were thus found to have bullets, fragments of exploded cartridge cases and percussion caps in the skin, the subcutaneous tissues or the muscles. Two or three of the severely burnt bodies were found to have pieces of partially melted aircraft metal superficially sited on the charred remains. Bodies 1 and 2 were those of guards, with ammunition in their vicinity in the wreckage. In view of the relative lack of penetration and the presence of fragmented cartridge cases from which the percussion caps had exploded, we consider that these injuries have resulted from explosion of ammunition in the fire. With regard to the portions of fused alloy in superficial positions on the charred bodies, we are of the opinion that this has resulted from the incineration of bodies in the presence of aircraft wreckage, and in no way suggests an explosion." The final medical report is not yet available.

    9. Extensive investigation has so far failed to determine any positive cause of the accident.

    10. The Federal Government has announced that as soon as possible it will invite nominations to a public Commission of Enquiry, consisting of five members, set up in terms of Federal legislation, to enquire into the cause and circumstances of the crash. Nominations will be invited from the Swedish Government, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the Government of the United Kingdom. The General Assembly of the United Nations will also be invited to nominate a member of the Commission, which will be under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of the Federation.



    asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations how many former members of the Colonial Overseas Service are at present on the staff of the Commonwealth Relations Office; what posts they hold; and where they are serving.

    While thanking my right hon. Friend for that illuminating reply, and while being convinced that when I read it I shall find it no less illuminating, may I ask whether he concedes that there is a very real need in our diplomatic missions of men experienced in African affairs? Is he not aware that I have recently received a letter from a distinguished former Colonial Governor, who retired last year, in which he said that it is as difficult to transfer from the Colonial Service to the Commonwealth Relations Office as it was for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle? Will my right hon. Friend not consider arranging with his noble Friend the Foreign Secretary and his right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary for a joint committee to be set up to conserve what is an irreplaceable asset, namely, men of experience in African affairs who are at present serving overseas?

    I said that I have circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT a lot of figures for which my hon. Friend asked. In the administrative class, 34 officials out of about 160, that is, about one-fifth, were drawn from the Colonial, India or Burma Services. But if you would allow me, Mr. Speaker, I should like to take this opportunity to reply—because it is closely connected with this series of questions—to the remarks made by my hon. Friend in a speech the other day in the House which cast the gravest aspersions on the experience and quality of the staff of the Commonwealth Relations Office. I should like to take this opportunity to inform him that his remarks have been deeply resented by the Service, and to tell him that I have the highest confidence in the capabilities of those serving at home and overseas in the service of my Department.

    Following is the detailed statement:

    Excluding clerical and subordinate staff, there are 33 former members of the Colonial Overseas Service at present on the staff of the Commonwealth Relations Office.

    Details are as follows:

    • High Commissioner in Cyprus.
    • 6 First Secretaries (Principals) in Calcutta, Dacca, Karachi, the Maldives, Nicosia and Ottawa.
    • 14 First Secretaries (Principals) in the Commonwealth Relations Office.
    • 11 First Secretaries (Information) in Accra, Calcutta (2), Canberra, Chittagong, Delhi, Johannesburg, Madras, Nicosia, Penang and Salisbury.
    • 1 Second Secretary (Information) in Bombay.


    asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations why it is necessary for senior members of the Colonial Overseas Service to sit for a written examination in order to transfer to the staff of the Commonwealth Relations Office.

    The Commonwealth Relations Office is part of the Home Civil Service, and recruitment to its permanent and established staff, from whatever source, is therefore conducted through the Civil Service Commission who carry out such tests for this purpose as they consider necessary to maintain the accepted standards for the grades concerned. For posts which involve an appreciable amount of written work, the Commission normally include written tests of a general, non-academic character.

    Would my right hon. Friend not agree that there must be records and confidential reports available about members of the Overseas Service which should be at least an adequate substitute for written examination? Is he aware of the case of the Director of Information Services in a territory, which is at present a dependent territory, who has served with great distinction, who has applied to join the Commonwealth Relations Office Information Service and has been told that if he wants to do this he must return home at his own expense and take a written examination?

    All I would say is that the qualifications for the Colonial Service and the qualifications for possible work in the Commonwealth Relations Office in London are not entirely the same. As I have explained, the Commonwealth Relations Office is part of the Home Civil Service, and anybody who gets into the Service may go to the Treasury or the Inland Revenue, or wherever it may be. I think that it would be quite unreasonable not to ask for some assurance that these men, however good their service in Africa may have been, have qualifications for the Home Civil Service as a whole.



    asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what consultations he has had with Commonwealth Governments in order to promote a full understanding by them of the problems facing Her Majesty's Government with regard to the provision of adequate accommodation for immigrants.

    The housing problem created by uncontrolled immigration has been explained to Common wealth Governments, and is, I am sure, well understood.

    May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the term "Commonwealth Governments" includes also those other territories which are not as yet completely independent? In any case, has he taken steps towards securing a reconsideration of this matter and consultation not only at high level but at assistant level as well?

    If the hon. Member is referring to the general problem of providing houses in this country, he will have to refer that to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. If he is referring to special accommodation provided mainly for students, we are, as he knows, making a considerable effort. I announced the other day that large sums of money were being set aside to provide additional hostel accommodation for overseas students.

    Are we to understand from that reply that it is housing shortage that is the limiting factor in the Government's policy on how many immigrants will be allowed into this country?

    I apologise if I have not made myself clear. I asked whether the Minister had had persistent consultation at high level with all Governments in the Commonwealth, whether independent or otherwise, on the precise question of housing as affecting immigrants.

    What I was saying to the hon. Member was that we have made it clear to Commonwealth Governments that uncontrolled immigration has serious repercussions on our housing problem here at home, and I think that they understand that quite well.

    European Common Market


    asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what requests he has refused from Commonwealth countries to see documents or reports of negotiations concerning Britain's application to join the Common Market.

    We are keeping Commonwealth Governments very closely informed of the progress of the negotiations. It would be contrary to our well-established practice for me to refer to confidential communications between Commonwealth Governments. However, I can assure the House that close contact is being maintained. Meetings were held with officials from most Commonwealth Governments in London in September. In the case of Governments which did not send representatives, consultations took place through our High Commissioners in the capitals concerned.

    Since the negotiations have started my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal has, after each of the first two meetings with the Six, given a detailed account of the proceedings to Commonwealth High Commissioners in London. In addition, I have sent messages to Commonwealth Ministers telling them of our views about the progress of negotiations.

    Is my right hon. Friend aware that that answer has put me in some confusion? I was expecting to be able to congratulate him on giving a very short and straight answer, which would have been "None", but in his long answer, which was satisfactory as far as it went, he has not said that no request by any Commonwealth Government for information has been refused. Has it?

    I think that I answered my hon. Friend to this extent, that we try to keep the Commonwealth Governments in the closest possible consultation on these matters. I think that what my hon. Friend is referring to is a point which has already been dealt with in the House by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal. Perhaps my hon. Friend will look up what he said. That is the question of circulating a verbatim report of my right hon. Friend's speech at the opening meeting. These delicate negotiations could be very easily prejudiced if there were a leakage of documents from the conference. For that reason we have agreed that none of the six Governments nor ourselves will circulate the official documents of the conference outside the Governments concerned. I am sure that that will be of advantage to all. On the other hand, we give the Commonwealth Governments summaries of all matters which are of concern to them. In addition, we have had confidential talks, and confidential messages are passing between us all the time. I think that the Commonwealth Governments are very well informed about what is going on.


    Railway Equipment


    asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what equipment and rolling stock will be provided by the British Transport Commission for the Swaziland railway scheme.

    Would it not be fitting to amend the Transport Bill which is to come before the House so that the Transport Commission can supply materials to Swaziland, both for the convenience of Swaziland and this country?

    That is not a question for me or my right hon. Friend. It should be addressed to the appropriate Minister.

    What equipment is wanted by this railway? When is it envisaged that the equipment required can be delivered, and how much is really necessary?

    Permanent way for about 140 miles of track will be required, about 400 general purpose wagons, and a variety of equipment including signalling equipment. Tenders for equipment and rolling stock for the railway will be called for as soon as practicable and I hope that British suppliers will tender.


    Federal Review Conference


    asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations when it is intended to resume the Rhodesian Federal Review Conference.

    I would refer the right hon. Gentleman to my statement in our debate on 19th October.


    Weekly Boarding Schools


    asked the Minister of Education what plans he has for the development of weekly boarding secondary schools in country districts where at present transport difficulties prevent after school activities and interfere with homework.

    I recognise how beneficial weekly boarding can be, but it is expensive to provide, and at present priority must in general be given to the provision of day school places.

    Is the Minister aware that in some country districts the problem is becoming very acute? Is it not a good idea to plan ahead? Has he any plans? If so, what are they? Will he tell us?

    If any local authority likes to submit a plan to me, of course I look at it. Where these weekly boarding schools exist—it is certainly so in my own county—they are of very great value. I hope that the time will not be too distant before we can do something about it.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in respect of Wales some of Her Majesty's inspectors are very much concerned about the problem, especially in the upper forms of grammar schools? Can he be a little more flexible about it? Is he aware that some students are missing opportunities of adequate science-teaching, for example, because they have no arrangements of this kind?

    Yes, Sir; I agree. I think that these will be a very valuable addition to boarding schools in these areas. That certainly is the case with the one in my own village. That is why I know about it. I hope that local authorities will submit some plans, but I cannot promise them priority.

    Burnham Committee


    asked the Minister of Education if he is aware that his refusal to accept the recent Burnham Committee award in full is detrimental to the negotiating machinery for the teaching profession which has been the accepted method of negotiating teachers' salaries for 42 years; and what steps he proposes to take to remedy this matter or to set up an alternative method of negotiations acceptable to the teaching profession.


    asked the Minister of Education what proposals he has for maintaining the independent authority of the Burnham Committee.

    I would refer the hon. Members to what I said in the House in the debate on the Address on 3rd November.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is a month since I put down the Question and that things have changed since then? Is he aware that the drastic action that he took against this delicate negotiating machine, the Burnham Committee, has created very bad feeling and amazement in the minds of the teaching profession? Is he aware that it has caused more friction in our education system than anything done hitherto? Is he also aware that confidence in the machine has been impaired? What steps is he taking now to restore that confidence, or is he going to build up another negotiating machine for the teaching profession?

    I am now engaged in friendly discussions with both sides of the Burnham Committee, and I think the hon. Gentleman would be well advised to allow me to get on with the talks.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the manner in which he cut the agreed award and then threatened the teaching profession with legislation if it did not accede to his cut has undermined the profession's confidence in him? May we take it from his reply that he will now begin sensible negotiations and will not treat the profession to further blackmail and bludgeoning?

    It can hardly be called "threatening the profession" when I told it that if I did not bring in the Bill it could not have the £42 million.

    In view of the enormous harm done in the profession, will the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that there will be further and satisfactory consultations with the parties to the Burnham Committee and that he will not introduce any legislation before he has made a statement to the House about the result of those consultations?

    I can give the first assurance that the hon. Gentleman asks for. I should say that the second will probably follow, but we must see how we get along.



    asked the Minister of Education in respect to the gypsies and other travellers living in caravans in a place in north-west Kent, details of which have been sent to him, how many children of school age were not attending school at the latest convenient date; how many were refused admittance to local schools; and what action is being taken to ensure that the children receive education services in accordance with the statutory obligation.

    Thirty-nine children living in Darenth Woods were recently found not to be attending school. Twenty-two children were presented without notice at Stone Church of England Primary School on 6th November but could not be admitted on the spot. The Kent Local Education Authority is taking steps to accommodate in suitable classes those children who are not already in a school.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman explain when these suitable classes are to start? Is he aware that the people who live there are threatened by the local authority, which says that when it has bought the land it will have them turned off in seven days? Also, will he explain why, since the people have been there so long, the education authorities did not get the children to go to school before I spoke to the people and advised them to send their children to school?

    The hon. Member's interest in the gypsies is very well known, and I am glad that he has found these children. I have written to him about the circumstances and about placing them in schools. I really think that the Kent Education Authority does its best when it knows that the children are there.


    asked the Minister of Education if he will request all local education authorities to supply him with details of the number of children of gypsies and other travellers, of school age, living in caravans, shacks or motor vehicles in England and Wales, not attending schools, and of how many, who have reached eight years of age, who have never registered for or attended school.

    The figures which the hon. Member asks for would soon be out of date. Local education authorities try to make the best arrangements they can for such children whey they can trace them.

    Does not the right hon. Gentleman know that there is a statutory obligation about all children going to school? Is he aware that other countries have provided special schools for such children and that we are the worst country in the world in dealing with them? I shall produce evidence of that in our debate on 1st December.

    I do not think that any local authorities knowingly fail in their statutory duty to provide suitable education for nomadic children, but they must first know that the children are in their area.

    Classes (Size)


    asked the Minister of Education how many classes in primary schools have more than 40 and more than 50 pupils, respectively.

    In January, 1961, 18,244 classes in primary schools had more than 40 pupils. Included in this number are 131 classes with more than 50 pupils. These figures represent, respectively, 14·3 per cent. and 0·1 per cent. of classes in primary schools.

    Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is a rather staggering and disgusting figure? Does he not also agree that in the main the children who are in large classes are in working-class areas and that they are the very children who ought to be getting privileges instead of treatment of this kind? How soon does the right hon. Gentleman think he will be able to alleviate this dreadful problem?

    I feel with the hon. Lady that we must do all we can to alleviate the problem, but she knows as well as I do that in the year of intermission we shall not be able to do very much.

    Teachers (Married Women)


    asked the Minister of Education what facilities at present exist to enable married women with responsibilities for children of school age to train themselves as teachers.

    The eight day colleges, of which six have opened this year, have 1,700 places and are intended for older students, particularly married women. Married women can also take advantage of some 2,300 day places for women in the colleges which are primarily residential.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman see whether these facilities are available as widely as they could be? Is it not clear that the shortage of teachers is likely to last for a very long time? In the light of the figures he has given of over-sized classes, should we not tap the reservoirs which exist in many areas, where married women with young children would, if the facilities were available, be prepared to train as teachers. Will he expand these facilities?

    We have begun by setting up these colleges in areas of most concentrated population. If they are a success, I hope that we shall be able to go further.

    Technical Colleges And Schools


    asked the Minister of Education how many technical colleges and schools there are in Great Britain; what is the number of students attending them; how many are in course of construction; and how many are planned.

    As the Answer contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

    Has the right hon. Gentleman any hope to give to the House that we shall catch up on the present serious leeway we have lost to other countries? I think I am right in saying that we have about one-third of the number of full-time technical students which France has. Is the right hon. Gentleman's programme designed

    England and WalesScotlandTotal
    Number of establishments76192853
    Number of students attending these establishments in the 1959–60 session:—
    (a) Full-time112,76812,549125,317
    (b) Sandwich10,038


    (c) Part-time501,00335,609536,612
    (d) Evening784,58452,696837,280
    Number of projects included in major further education building programmes where construction is in progress12618144
    Number of projects approved under further education building programmes up to and including 1962–63 on which work has not yet started21725242

    * No separate figures in respect of sandwich students are available for Scotland. Few such courses are now available and virtually all students are attending three-term full-time courses.

    (a) Maintained secondary technical schools232
    (b) Direct grant secondary technical schools5
    Number of students at (a) at January, 196197,039
    Number of students at (b) at January, 1961838

    * There are no comparable schools in Scotland, where technical education forms part of the general secondary curriculum.

    Non-Teaching Staff (Pay)


    asked the Minister of Education whether he will take steps to ensure that the wages of school care- to put us at least on a par with other European countries?

    I cannot accept the comparison with France, because any comparison would depend on the kind of courses one is comparing. The present programme is about £100 million in England and Wales and £19·4 million in Scotland, and about one-third has been completed. The programme is a large one, but I am not denying that it may be possible to go faster in certain areas.

    Do my right hon. Friend's figures include extensions to existing technical colleges as well as new ones?

    They include what are known as major projects, some of which are extensions.

    Following is the information:

    takers and other non-teaching staff employed by local authorities are so increased as to ensure that they will be earning not less than £1,000 a year in 1971.

    School caretakers and other non-teaching staff may be expected to share in the benefits of the economic growth which will result from the financial and economic policies of Conservative Governments over the period to 1971.

    In view of the fact that the increase that will have to be given to them in order to achieve this figure which the Prime Minister has promised them will be in the region of 5 to 6 per cent. a year, when will they begin to get the increases, and bow does the right hon. Gentleman expect to influence the wages settlement machinery so that they can reach this figure, promised by the Prime Minister, by 1971?

    This is an interesting point. The basic wages for full-time caretakers range from £9 16s. a week in a small rural school to £16 4s. a week in a large school in a city, and that is with no overtime. I think we might get there.

    Further Education (Women Students)


    asked the Minister of Education to what causes he attributes the slow growth since 1952 in the number of women students attending part-time day courses in establishments of further education; and what steps he is taking to increase the number of such students.

    I attribute this disappointing growth to the fact that employers have not yet appreciated the benefits of giving day release for continued education. Rather more teenage girls than boys take full-time courses in colleges of further education.

    Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the Conservative Government's policy of imposing much greater fees on students in part-time evening institutes caused the drop from 815,000 in 1950 to 670,000 and 674,000 in successive years? The figure has now only reached 683,000. Would that explanation not be nearer the mark?

    When the fees were raised there was a great falling off in ballroom dancing, but the number of students attending vocational courses went up.

    Northern Rhodesia



    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will now make a statement on measures for the reconsideration of the constitution of Northern Rhodesia.

    Following his announcement on 1st November to the effect that law and order have been restored, I have informed the Governor of Northern Rhodesia that Her Majesty's Government are now ready to receive further representations on those aspects of the constitutional proposals on which divergencies of view persist.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is some danger of delay now, partly arising from the death of the leader of the African National Congress? Would it not be possible for the right hon. Gentleman to speed up decisions, now that peace has been restored throughout the territory, by going on to Lusaka after visiting Nairobi?

    It is important to get as much speed as we can. I deeply regret the death of Mr. Katilungu, which will also cause added complications. I believe that there is some chance of local agreement, and I am still convinced that that is the best possible solution that could be achieved.


    Economic Discussions


    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the results of his discussions with Gambian Ministers about the economic needs of that Colony.

    As a result of discussions of the development needs of the Gambia over the next year or so, I have made a further allocation of £600,000 from colonial development and welfare funds.

    What increase does that represent on what was already promised to the Gambia? Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that it is his settled policy to try as rapidly and as hard as possible to develop the economy of the Gambia before any discussions are entered into with Senegal?

    I think that that latter point goes beyond the Question on the Order Paper, which was concerned with the economic needs of the Colony. As far as they are concerned, the allocation should allow development to continue at about the present rate until about March, 1963. What happens after that will depend on the passage of the new Colonial Development and Welfare Bill.

    Is there special provision in these additional funds for the expansion of education, for the development of rice growing and for the encouragement of the co-operative movement in the rural areas?

    I have given the figure of the amount we are allocating which will continue the present rate of development. If the right hon. Gentleman wants further details, I ask him to put down a Question.

    Yundum Airport


    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, as a result of his recent discussions with Gambian Ministers, it will shortly be possible to proceed with the modernisation of Yundum Airport; and if he will make a statement.

    The recent discussions did not involve decisions on the airport. The Gambia Government are at present considering a report on the subject.

    Would my right hon. Friend not agree that, owing to its geographical position, Bathurst could become a most important international airport? Can we have an assurance that help in modernising Yundum would not be limited by reluctance on his part to upset any other nation by the possible diversion of air traffic to Yundum?

    This is a difficult problem. There are considerable attractions in having a better airport in that part of the world. However, it would be near to the existing and important airport at Dakar, and we must consider this matter on grounds of competition as well as on grounds of economics. Whether there is need for two international airports so close together in this part of Africa, I do not know. All these matters need careful study.

    The present state of the airport is deplorable. I say that as one who has recently been there. It undoubtedly needs improvement and repair. While considering that matter and looking to the future, will the right hon. Gentleman look perhaps 25 years ahead and do a good job now?

    Yes. There are two separate issues here. First, the state of the airport for local needs is open to considerable criticism because conditions are not all they might be. Secondly, there is the separate question of whether this should be the site for an international airport with all the enormous capital outlay involved.


    Famine Relief


    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the famine conditions in Kenya.


    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what financial assistance Her Majesty's Government are giving towards measures to deal with the famine in Kenya; and whether he will make a statement.


    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action he has taken to relieve the famine now taking place in Kenya.

    There has been famine in various parts of Kenya during the greater part of this year as a result of drought. In February, Her Majesty's Government made £60,000 available towards the cost of famine relief measures, principally for transportation and distribution of maize given by the International Co-operation Administration of the United States. In July, Her Majesty's Government undertook to provide up to another £235,000 in grant in aid for this purpose, if necessary. Both the Army and the Royal Air Force have been giving continuous assistance in distributing food supplies in remote areas.

    During recent weeks, heavy rains have led to wide-spread flooding in many districts, and surface communications have been disrupted; food is having to be dropped by air. I am considering urgently in consultation with the Service Departments how the help which they are already giving can be supplemented. The aircraft carrier H.M.S. "Victorious" is now on its way to Mombasa so that her helicopters can be used in relief operations.

    There is no immediate shortage of basic foodstuffs. The problem is one of distribution under adverse conditions, and of supplementing the basic maize issue. We shall need to consider, in due course, what the effect of famine and flood relief will be on Kenya's budgetary position, but I would emphasise that the essential work of relief on the part of the Government is not being hampered for lack of immediate funds.

    Aid from private and charitable sources, which is already being offered will, however, be welcome.

    I thank my right hon. Friend for that statement. I am sure that the House would wish to congratulate the Services in Kenya on the fantastic job which they have been doing under the most trying conditions. Surely it is not unfair to remark how well that compares with the lack of example, apparently, given by Africans and Asians there, and notably the lack of example given by Kenyatta. When my right hon. Friend goes to Kenya, will he try to find the time to visit at least some of the stricken areas?

    I will try to visit some of these areas myself, and I am very glad to join my hon. Friend in his tribute to the work done by the Services, which has been magnificent. However, he is not fair in his strictures about what has been done, or not been done, by other people.

    May I thank my right hon. Friend for his detailed Answer? Is it his view that the new Department of my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Technical Co-operation should be brought into these operations so that we may learn something which will enable us to stop famine in the future?

    Can my right hon. Friend say what was the extent of the casualties in the famine area? How many people are seriously without food in the area now? How serious is the position? He has not mentioned that in his reply and I should be most grateful if he would do so.

    The position is that adequate food for everyone is available, but the problem is distribution. It would be difficult to give any fair assessment at the moment of how far we are succeeding in getting food to the people in isolated communities, to whom it has to be dropped from the air. So far, by the use of helicopters and other aircraft, the Services are managing to provide the basic food requirements of pretty well everyone.

    As the right hon. Gentleman finds himself in the position of having to help British Honduras, Tanganyika and Kenya, as the result of widespread distress, and Uganda, as a result of the movement there of large numbers of refugees from the Congo, does he not find that the resources of his own Department are at full stretch in this matter? Have the Government appointed some sort of combined committee within the Government to carry on large-scale co-ordinated action of the Army, Navy, Air Force and all likely to be concerned so as to tackle all these problems systematically and thoroughly?

    The basic co-ordination is done on the spot in both the West Indies and Africa, but there is constant consultation among Departments here. I do not think that there is any lack of co-ordination, and I have the assurance of the Governor of Kenya that lack of money is not in any way impeding rescue or relief operations.

    Has the right hon. Gentleman been in touch with the Council of Free the World from Hunger Campaign, which was set up by his right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food? Is not there a need for co-ordination not only within Government Departments, but among private agencies who are interested in helping?

    African National Union (Talks)


    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement about his talks with the delegation from the Kenya African National Union.

    An agreed press announcement was issued at the conclusion of my talks with the delegation from the Kenya African National Union. I will, with permission, circulate the text with the OFFICIAL REPORT.

    Will my right hon. Friend say whether any commitments were entered into with this delegation and whether any undertaking was given about any future constitution?

    I am glad of the opportunity of saying that no secret undertakings of any kind whatsoever were entered into.

    Following is the Press announcement:

    Kanu Delegation's Visit

    Talks With Mr Reginald Maudling Concluded

    The following is the text of an agreed statement issued at the conclusion of the Secretary of State for the Colonies' talks with the K.A.N.U. delegation which ended today, Friday, 10th November, 1961:

    The delegation gave at length their appreciation of the Kenya situation and above all they represented that the holding of a constitutional conference was a matter of urgency and expressed the strong hope that it could be held before the end of this year if at all possible.

    The question of amendment of the law governing qualification for membership of the Legislative Council was raised. The Secretary of State said that the matter was receiving his attention and that he would be making a statement on it shortly.

    The Secretary of State assured the delegation that Her Majesty's Government had no intention of delaying constitutional progress in Kenya. He fully accepted that it was important to hold a constitutional conference as soon as possible, but it was also essential, if the conference was to be successful and and not unduly prolonged, that the ground for it should be adequately prepared.

    Mr. Maudling stated that he himself would visit Kenya before the end of this month and that an announcement of the date would be made tomorrow. He would be ready during his visit to Kenya to consider the position in the light of progress made by then and he would hope then to announce the date on which he would hold the Conference in London.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Maudling was making urgent preparations for a constitutional expert to go to Kenya and he welcomed this opportunity of making it clear that the expert's function would be to assist the groups concerned to formulate detailed proposals as a basis for consideration at the forthcoming conference. The name of the expert and the date for his arrival in Kenya would be announced as soon as possible.

    The Secretary of State undertook to invite the Governor to ask each group to start the preparation of documents in advance of the expert's arrival.

    10th November, 1961.




    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what further proposals for constitutional advance in Aden Colony and the Protectorates were considered at the discussions under the Governor's chairmanship in August.

    Informal constitutional talks between Ministers of Aden Colony and of the Federation of Arab Amirates of the South, which were held in Aden under the Governor's chairmanship in August, gave particular attention to matters connected with closer association between the Federation and the Colony. Several Working Parties of Ministers and experts have been set up to study and report upon a number of detailed questions related to closer association.

    Was this conference very representative of both the Colony and all the Protectorates? When is the report likely to be made, and will it cover a wider range than simply closer association of the two territories?

    The conference was certainly representative. It is continuing its work. I would not like to say when the working parties will conclude their studies which are primarily concerned, although only primarily, with the question of closer association, which seems to be very important.

    Minister Of Health (Lecture)


    asked the Prime Minister whether the Lloyd Roberts lecture given by the Minister of Health to the Royal Society of Medicine on the subject of expenditure on the National Health Service represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

    My right hon. Friend the Minister of Health made no pronouncements of policy in this lecture.

    Is the Prime Minister aware that the impression has been given by this speech that it has been announced that Government policy will be to restrict the increase of expenditure on the National Health Service to a rate of 2½ per cent. for the next four years? Is he further aware that that has had wide publication in medical journals and that the Health Service will be given the impression that it is Government policy so to restrict? Is he further aware that if the Government were to decide to restrict to this rate of 2½ per cent., in terms of real money that would mean an actual decrease and the Health Service would have to be cut?

    That raises much wider questions. As I understand it, my right hon. Friend delivered a carefully thought-out lecture, with many interesting philosophic observations, advancing the thesis that there were no objective criteria by reference to which the right level of total Health Service expenditure could be determined. It was intended to be not a declaration of policy, but a lecture on a very interesting and serious subject.

    Nato Powers (Political General Staff)


    asked the Prime Minister whether he will now propose to the heads of governments of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Powers that there should be established a political general staff to co-ordinate the external policies of the member countries.

    As I told my hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Critchley) on 15th June, there are regular consultations at every level between us and our allies, and we are all the time trying to strengthen our methods of consultation. In particular, we are working to extend and develop political consultation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation with a view to harmonising, as far as possible, the policies of its members. But it would, in my view, be a mistake to duplicate existing machinery. It is better to keep trying to improve what we have got.

    Is the Prime Minister aware that that is precisely what I am pressing him to do, but that it needs something much more than the existing machinery? Can he say how he hopes that Western Governments can possibly co-ordinate their policies in the absence of a standing group of political staff able to prepare to meet eventualities as and when they occur?

    The hon. Member recognises that these problems affect different countries very differently. There is the N.A.T.O. group, there are countries interested in the Middle East and those interested in the Far East. As he is probably aware, there are difficulties, inherent in any alliance of free nations, in asking them to hand over these matters to four countries.

    In the event that the Prime Minister gives further consideration to my hon. Friend's proposals and creates such a political general staff, would he consider the advisability of appointing as chief of such a general staff a man with the greatest experience and qualifications, such as Lord Montgomery?

    Am I not right in supposing, nevertheless, that there exists a military planning group in Washington which has solved the problem posed by the Prime Minister so far as military affairs are concerned? Is there not a good deal to be said for having a corresponding political standing group, probably also in Washington?

    Yes, Sir, but this Question refers only to the N.A.T.O. Alliance, not to all the other world problems with which, I thought, the hon. Member for Pembroke was dealing.

    Minister Of Defence (Speech)


    asked the Prime Minister whether the speech by the Minister of Defence at Winchester on 5th November, on the call-up of reservists, represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

    Can the Prime Minister tell the House exactly how much all this call-up of reservists and retaining of National Service men in the Army is likely to cost?

    I was asked whether I agreed with the speech of my right hon. Friend. He summarised the measures which, as he and I explained fully to the House recently, the Government have decided to take in order to strengthen the Army quickly in case of need. But the full details of these proposals will, of course, be discussed when the Bill is debated.

    Is it not very revealing that so many hon. Members opposite seem to think that it is normal practice for Ministers to make statements not in conformity with Government policy?



    asked the Prime Minister whether he will instruct the Ministers of Health, Science, Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and other Ministers concerned to prepare a White Paper containing in non-technical language full scientific information on the amount and effect of radioactive fall-out over the United Kingdom, and on the appropriate counter measures, consequent on all the nuclear tests held since 1957.

    A statement on the lines suggested by the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be issued shortly by my noble Friend the Minister for Science.

    I thank the Prime Minister for that reply, but in view of the vital importance of bringing all this information to the attention of the public, will he take steps to ensure that this statement is widely distributed?

    I think that it is my noble Friend's intention to make a statement in another place and to publish a suitable form of pamphlet or statement of some kind so that it can have a wide circulation.

    Nuclear Tests (Geneva Conference)


    asked the Prime Minister whether he will communicate with Mr. Khrushchev express. ing the readiness of Her Majesty's Government to participate at once in a resumption of the Geneva tests conference, as called for in the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 9th November, and inviting Mr. Khrushchev to participate.

    Her Majesty's Ambassador at Moscow and the United States Ambassador delivered Notes on 13th November to the Soviet Government, inviting them to take part in resumed meetings of the Conference on the Discontinuance of Nuclear Weapon Tests to begin on or about 28th November. I do not consider it necessary for these negotiations to be opened by Heads of Governments.

    May I ask the Prime Minister, first, whether any reply hag been received from the Soviet Government, and, secondly, whether it would be the policy of Her Majesty's Government to maintain the tests moratorium provided the Soviet Government return and participate in the Geneva Tests Conference?

    As regards the first question, we have not yet had a reply. As regards the second one, we have been fooled once and I am not sure that we ought to allow ourselves to be fooled again.

    European Economic Community


    asked the Prime Minister which Minister is responsible for informing the Canadian Government of the progress being made in the negotiations on Britain's entry into the Common Market.

    My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations is responsible for keeping Commonwealth Governments informed of aspects of British policy which are of concern to them. Both he and my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, who is in direct charge of our negotiations with the European Economic Community, have been at great pains to ensure that Commonwealth Governments and their representatives in London and on the Continent are kept fully and promptly informed of the progress of those negotiations. In addition, I have myself exchanged certain messages with other Commonwealth Prime Ministers, and no doubt those exchanges will be repeated on appropriate occasions.

    May I ask the Prime Minister two questions? First, is he aware of the publicly expressed concern of the Canadian Government at the failure of the Government to give them information with reference to the negotiations now proceeding about Britain's accession to the Rome Treaty? Is he also aware that the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, in answering Question No. 11 today, spoke of the fear in those countries that there might be a leak if the information were given to all Commonwealth countries? Will he give the House a categorical assurance that he is not afraid that the Prime Ministers of Commonwealth countries will leak secret information given to them?

    There is always a danger, when passing round documents to a wide circulation, that something comes out. That is different from the messages and communications which are made at a high level. I think that it is the passing of long and much duplicated documents which has certain dangers, and we try to restrict them.

    The Prime Minister said that all Commonwealth Governments are kept fully informed. It depends on what one means by fully informed. If they are kept fully informed, does not that mean that they know precisely what is in these documents concerned in the negotiations between the Lord Privy Seal and the Six? If they are told precisely what is in them, there is no argument, but the argument has been that they have not in fact seen everything in these documents.

    That is not the position. The object of holding meetings of Commonwealth High Commissioners is for the purpose which the hon. Gentleman has in mind, namely, to give them full information. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, in his speech in the foreign affairs debate, recognised that while they should be given the fullest possible information, there may be aspects of certain documents which could not be freely circulated.

    That was referring to completely free publication. What this Question is about is keeping the Canadian Government properly informed. Is the Prime Minister aware that there is a good deal of concern about reports that the Canadian Government are extremely dissatisfied with the present arrangement? Will he give further thought to the best way of ensuring that the Commonwealth is continuously kept in consultation? Is he satisfied that meetings of the High Commissioners in London provides the best way of doing this? Cannot there he some body which could meet in Brussels or Paris during the negotiations which take place there?

    I understand that that is exactly what is done. There are meetings both here and on the Continent.

    Would it be a fair statement of the Government's position to say that consultation with the Commonwealth has been equally close or equally distant in respect of Common Market negotiations and the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, and vice versa?

    No, Sir. In reference to these negotiations, I see that the Prime Minister of Australia, and now the Prime Minister of Canada, have recognised in public speeches that we have tried, over the long period that this matter has been under discussion, to keep the fullest consultation and information with our Commonwealth friends.

    Does my right hon. Friend agree that if any leaks take place they are much more likely to come from certain Continental sources than from Commonwealth sources?

    Why have the Government, as the Lord Privy Seal said, refused to make available confidentially to the Commonwealth Governments the detailed statement of our proposals affecting Commonwealth trade which has been made available to all the six members of the European Community?

    The Lord Privy Seal explained, I think on 23rd October, that he had made available in writing a full summary, but not the actual verbatim report, of his opening speech, and he has discussed it in full with the Commonwealth Governments.

    What is the reason for the distinction? If we want to carry the Commonwealth with us in these negotiations, there must be no room for any lack of confidence between the Commonwealth representatives and the Lord Privy Seal. Why should not the Lord Privy Seal have given the representatives the full text of his speech?

    I think he gave them exactly what he gave the others, and I think that he was perfectly correct. So far as I understand it, no objection was raised. As regards the more recent case, I understand that the High Commissioner has issued a statement denying that his absence from a particular meeting had any significance.

    On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise this again at the earliest opportunity.



    asked the Prime Minister if he will instruct the Secretary of State for Scotland and the President of the Board of Trade to set up an immediate inquiry into Scotland's present and future economic prospects, with special reference to the social responsibilities of the nationalised industries, the problems of depopulation, the rate of emigration from Scotland, and the need for public enterprises to be initiated in areas of unemployment to which the Board of Trade is unable to attract new private industry.

    No, Sir. The social and economic needs of Scotland are under continual examination, and I do not think that at this time our consideration of these problems would be assisted by the setting up of an inquiry on the lines the hon. Lady suggests.

    Is the Prime Minister aware that as a result of the proposed pit closures and what we are told we must expect next year, and as a result of the closure of branch railway lines, the people of Scotland are becoming convinced that Scotland has no place in the conscience of this Government? Is he further aware that it is only the doctrinaire policies of the Government which are preventing a Socialist solution which alone can solve the needs of Scotland?

    On the setting up of an inquiry, an able and responsible committee known as the Toothill Committee, set up by the Scottish Council, has for the past two years been reviewing the position and prospects. Its report is expected next week. Clearly, the first thing to do is to study this report. As regards the general position, I am happy to say that the employment situation in Scotland has steadily improved during the last two years.

    Is the Prime Minister aware that housing conditions in Scotland tend to make 6eople emigrate from there? Is he aware that we were told yesterday about a family living in a room 9 ft. by 9 ft. in Glasgow —a family of two and the woman about to give birth to a child—whose rent has been increased? When are the Government going to do something to end this shocking position?

    I would not say that housing conditions, which are still deplorable in certain cases, would necessarily make it easier to find better housing accommodation by coming South to an equally crowded city. I think that there are many reasons which over the past century have led to the emigration of Scotsmen.

    Does my right hon. Friend agree that the emigration to which the hon. Gentleman refers, and which has caused depopulation for a long time, has been due to the adventurous spirit of many first-class citizens of Scotland who have left to lead in other parts of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth and to add great lustre to the leadership of the Government in this House.


    asked the Prime Minister if he will seek a meeting with representatives of the Scottish Trades Union Congress to discuss current economic problems.

    No, Sir. But the Government are always glad to know the views of the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is considerable disquiet in Scotland consequent upon his visit there on 3rd November, when he met Charles Clore, Sir Hugh Fraser, Jack Cotton and the chairman of the Unionist Association, principally to raise Tory Party funds and to reorganise the Tory Party in Scotland? Does he regard that as having a higher priority than meeting the Scottish T.U.C. to discuss economic questions concerning Scotland?

    I had the pleasure of meeting the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Scotland in May, 1959, when we had a long and fruitful discussion. The rate of unemployment in Scotland then was 4.7 per cent. We talked over a lot of plans, and the rate is now down to 3 per cent.

    But does not the right hon. Gentleman think that his visit on 3rd November would have been more profitable if, instead of talking to the take-over bidders, he had talked to the people who really matter and who are concerned about conditions in Scotland, namely, the Scottish T.U.C.?

    It is quite a good thing to get business developing in Scotland, as in England.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what was the purpose of his visit to Scotland? Was it to increase Tory Party funds?

    The purpose of my visit to Scotland was to meet at luncheon a lot of very distinguished and important people, and to make an inspiring speech about the future of Scotland, in the hope that they would act up to their responsibilities.

    Business Of The House

    May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the business of the House for next week?

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

    MONDAY, 20TH NOVEMBER and TUESDAY, 21ST NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Transport Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

    At the end of the proceedings on the Bill on Monday, we propose to consider the Motion relating to the Motor Vehicles (Tests) (Extension) Order.

    WEDNESDAY, 22ND NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Housing (Scotland) Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

    THURSDAY, 23RD NOVEMBER—Supply [1st allotted Day]:

    Motion to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair, when a debate will arise on an Opposition Amendment relating to civil aviation.

    Consideration of the Motion to approve the Import Duties (General) (No. 7) Order.

    FRIDAY, 24TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Health Visitors and Social Workers Training Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

    It may be found possible then to obtain the Committee and remaining stages of the Civil Aviation (Eurocontrol) Bill.

    MONDAY, 27TH NOVEMBER—The proposed business will be: Second Reading of the Army Reserve Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

    Will the Leader of the House confirm that, before the Christmas Recess, in addition to the Supply day next week, there will be one other Supply day, a nationalised industries day, and also a day to debate public expenditure under the new arrangements made last year—one of the three days allocated for that subject?

    I think that that is right, I can certainly confirm the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's question. We hope to have a day before Christmas to discuss the matter referred to in the other part of his question.

    As my right hon. Friend has apparently not been able to find a day to debate shipbuilding, coastal shipping, ship-repairing, shipping and the like, is he aware that when Private Members' Bills come up later in the Session, I shall, to protect the interests of back benchers against the Executive, try to vote against every such Bill, in an effort to disrupt the programme so that we may have an opportunity to debate matters of national importance, in which many of us are interested?

    Will the right hon. Gentleman be kind enough to say whether the Committee stage of the Army Reserve Bill will be taken on the Floor of the House? If it is not, will he bear in mind the advisability of having it dealt with not by a Standing Committee upstairs, in the ordinary way, but by a Select Committee?

    Does the Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Act, which we discussed during the early hours of this morning, extend to the Palace of Westminster? Is that the reason why the Home Secretary will not give up his tenancy of the Leader of the House's room to the right hon. Gentleman?

    Order. I am sure that in the common interest we must confine questions on this statement to the business for next week.

    On a point of order. Mr. Speaker. I am sorry that you anticipated the prefatory remarks I was about to make on this matter, namely, that the whole House is inconvenienced because hon. Members have to go to the basement—the floor below—to find the Leader of the House.

    I seem to remember that in the last Session the hon. Member and I had some discussion about those hon. Members, if any, who were entitled to make prefatory remarks. As far as the hon. Member is concerned, this is the time for a question.

    Will the Leader of the House tell us when he is prepared to find time to debate the Motion standing in my name, criticising the conduct of the Attorney-General in regard to the Southall air disaster?

    [ That this House deeply deplores the failure of the Attorney-General to institute proceedings for breaches of the Air Navigation Order and Regulations following the Southall air disaster on the 2nd September 1958 as a result of which 7 people lost their lives; draws attention to the fact that clear and documented evidence of overloading was submitted to the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation on 11th October 1958 and the Director of Public Prosecutions on 30th October 1958 and at the same time attention was drawn to two other serious breaches which required investigation; requests Her Majesty's Government to make available to the House the whole of the documents relative to this case either in the Department of Public Prosecutions or the Ministry of Aviation, then the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, including any correspondence that may have been written by Members of Parliament and replies thereto; and further regrets that the Attorney-General allowed inaccurate information to be given to the House on 14th July 1959 which remained uncorrected until the Attorney-General's reply to a Question from the honourable Member for Southall on 5th June 1961.]

    I have studied the Motion that the hon. Member has put down, but it will not be debated next week.

    The Leader of the House has announced a number of Bills which are to be debated next week. Can he give an assurance that when these Bills are debated the Ministers responsible will reply to the debates? As one of those Members who was present during the early hours of this morning, may I ask him whether he is aware that we debated an Act for eight hours, and then, although the Minister concerned had promised to give us a reply, the Closure was moved and carried without a Ministerial statement having been made and without one back bencher opposite having taken part in the debate? For your guidance, Mr. Speaker—

    Order. I shall be obliged for the guidance of the hon. Member privately, but this is the moment when he must confine himself to asking a business question.

    This is the moment for the hon. Member to ask a question of the Leader of the House.

    On a point of order. I was putting to the Leader of the House a question, and then I was asking for your guidance, in furtherance of that question, Sir. May I therefore ask you whether the point that I am now going to put—[Laughter.] It is quite simple. I am asking, Mr. Speaker, whether the point that I am now going to put should be directed to the Leader of the House or to you. I shall now put my point. [Laughter.] This is a serious matter. When Bills are thoroughly discussed, and Ministers have promised to reply to the debates and then do not attempt to reply, what remedy have ordinary Members? Do I put that question to the Leader of the House or to you, Mr. Speaker?

    The House decides whether or no the Question should be put when the Closure is proposed. It would be easier if the hon. Member were at this time to ask the question, if any, that he desires to ask of the Leader of the House.

    Will the Leader of the House make certain that when each of the Bills to which he has referred is debated next week the Minister responsible will reply to the debate? Will he see to it that when hon. Members are taking part in the discussion of serious matters Minsters will reply, after having promised to do so?

    I think that last night's operations, in which the hon. Member took part, were conducted with great skill on both sides of the House.

    Will the Leader of the House have another look at the Motion on the Order Paper relating to the social and economic consequences of the proposed pit closures in Scotland? Is not he aware that these are not the responsibility of the National Coal Board or of the British Transport Commission or even. particularly, of the Minister of Power and the Minister of Transport; but are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the President of the Board of Trade, and, generally, the Government as a whole? In all the circumstances, will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to find time for a debate on the Motion?

    [ That this House calls upon Her Majesty's Government to appoint an independent committee to inquire into and report upon the social and economic consequences of the pit closures in Scotland proposed by the National Coal Board and the railway closures and curtailment of services in Scotland proposed by the British Transport Commission; and further calls upon Her Majesty's Government to direct that these closures and curtailment of services will not take effect until the report of the committee has been received and considered.]

    I cannot give that undertaking. I did promise last week that I would discuss this with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State particularly in relation to the Scottish Grand Committee. I do not think that that procedure would be appropriate. The Minister of Power and the Minister of Transport do not appear before the Scottish Grand Committee and, therefore, I do not think that that is the appropriate vehicle. But I did say that I would consult my right hon. Friend, and I have done so.

    Does my right hon. Friend really think it fair to ignore the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward)? Is he aware of the great concern in shipbuilding areas about the future of the shipping industry? Could not we have a definite statement that time will be found to have a debate on this very vital subject?

    I have some hope that I may be able to satisfy hon. Members—including my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward)—on this matter before Christmas, but I cannot promise. The House must realise that having taken a decision, which both sides of the House seemed to think right, regarding the Committee stage of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, it restricts the time available for other debates in the House.

    May I put a question further to that put by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition about a day for debating Government expenditure as part of the three days which the previous Leader of the House said would be available each Session. Did I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that one of those days would be allocated in the next week or so, or, at any rate, before Christmas? Is he giving an undertaking that since last year we had only two days instead of the three we were promised, one of the last Session's days will be carried forward to be added to the three days to which we are entitled this year?

    Three days are normally earmarked, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, for debates on these matters and we expect that one of the days will be taken before Christmas.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman answer my second question? It is no use saying "normally", because we started the system only last year. Since we had only two days instead of three days last year, may we have four instead of three this year?

    I would rather go into that matter. At the moment, three is what I am promising.

    Last week my right hon. Friend seemed to be so clear in his own mind that he was prepared to honour the pledge given by his predecessor. I hope that he is not slipping back.

    I am not. I was dealing for the moment with the business for next week, and the hope of a debate before Christmas.

    May I ask the Leader of the House whether he is aware of the great alarm and despondency which has been caused throughout Scotland as a result of the statement of the Minister of Power about pit closures in Scotland? Will not he reconsider the question? We are being forced to discuss Scottish housing legislation next Wednesday. Would not he agree that we should be far better employed discussing the grave economic position in Scotland rather than housing Measures, which will bring still further hardship to the people of Scotland?

    No. I am sure that the hon. Member knows that we cannot do that at this time of the year, when the Government must ask the House to take Second Readings of Bills. It may happen, I think it likely, that there will be a short Bill concerning the finances of the National Coal Board, when it is possible that an opportunity will arise to discuss some of the matters referred to in the hon. Gentleman's question.

    May I ask two questions which, I think, are of importance? First, in relation to homeless families. In view of the fact that we did not receive a reply during the debate last night, may we have a proper debate on this matter in the early future and receive an adequate reply?

    My second question is one which I have asked of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor time and again. I never got any satisfaction, so I am now asking the right hon. Gentleman. May we have time to debate the question of the very serious unemployment in Northern Ireland? Northern Ireland shipbuilders are not to get that for which they hoped and prayed, the opportunity to build a new "Queen" liner, because the liner is not now to be built. When are we to discuss the economic plight of this part of the United Kingdom?

    Certainly not next week, and I cannot see any possibility of our doing so before the Christmas Recess. I hope that hon. Members will read HANSARD and study the events of last night and draw their own conclusions.

    Will the Leader of the House arrange for the Prime Minister to be present on Wednesday and, if not actually to introduce the Scottish housing Bill, to sit through the proceedings, so that we may improve his knowledge of the true state of Scotland; and disprove some of the information which he probably got from Mr. Cotton and Mr. Clore, whose connections with Scotland, to my mind, are fairly remote?

    Can the Leader of the House say whether we may have an early debate on agriculture, in view of the failure of the Milk Marketing Board and the unions to reach a price solution as requested by the Minister, and of the staggering rise of agricultural subsidies forecast for this year and the slowness of the arrival of anti-dumping measures?

    Is the Minister aware that there is a Motion standing on the Order Paper containing an accusation against two of Her Majesty's judges in Scotland and calling for their removal from the bench? Is he prepared to give time for a debate according to precedent and tradition before Christmas, so that these gentlemen will not be left in suspense?

    [That this House is of the opinion that the sheriffs substitutes in Argyll who passed excessive sentences on persons demonstrating at Holy Loch should be removed from the bench.]

    On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I think that this is a case where you, Sir, might be able to offer some assistance to hon. Members. There is, of course, an absolute rule that an hon. Member cannot question or criticise the actions of a judicial officer except upon a substantive Motion. That being the rule, if hon. Members wish to criticise they must put down a substantive Motion; and my hon. Friends have done so. If no time is found for it, the right to criticise the conduct of judicial officers is utterly lost. Is there no way in which time can be found to question this conduct in the only constitutional way open to us?

    There are Private Members' Motions days. Apart from that, I do not allocate time, and I cannot involve the Chair in any dispute about that.

    Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Do you recollect that it was on your advice that we put down this Motion, as that was our only constitutional remedy?

    I do not dispute what the hon. Member says, if, by "advice", what is meant is that I indicated that the other method which hon. Members were seeking to adopt was out of order.

    The net result would appear to be that private Members will have no way whatever of exercising rights which are traditionally the rights of the House. It would appear to follow from your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, that only "official" Members can put down this kind of Motion with any chance of it being heard. This, Sir, would surely be wholly out of accordance with the traditions of the House.

    I cannot help remembering that the hon. Gentleman himself yesterday drew a place in the Ballot. But I expect that at that moment this was not in mind.