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Business Of The House

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 23 November 1961

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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, 27TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Army Reserve Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Consideration of the Motions to approve the Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income) (Pakistan), and the (Shipping and Air Transport Profits) (Portugal) Orders.

TUESDAY, 28TH NOVEMBER—Debate on Public Investment, which will arise on a Government Motion to take note of the White Paper (Command No. 1522).

Consideration of the Motion to approve the House of Commons Disqualification Order.

WEDNESDAY, 29TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Coal Industry Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

Consideration of the Motion to approve the British Broadcasting Corporation Licence and Charter Order.

THURSDAY, 30TH NOVEMBER—Supply [2nd Allotted Day]:

Motion to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair, when a debate will arise on an Amendment to take note of the First, Second and Third Reports, 1960–61, from the Committee of Public Accounts, and of the Special Report relating to them.

FRIDAY, 1ST DECEMBER—Consideration of private Members' Motions.

MONDAY, 4m DECEMBER—The proposed business will be: Committee and remaining stages of the Coal Industry Bill.

Second Reading of the Forth and Clyde Canal (Extinguishment of Rights of Navigation) Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.

In view of the reactions in the Commonwealth and the complete muddle into which the Government have got as to whether Ireland should be included in the Bill or not, may I ask whether it is the Government's intention to proceed with the Committee stage of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, and if so, when?

Of course it is the Government's intention to proceed with the consideration of the Bill on the Floor of the House, as we have undertaken to do. It is not in the business which I have announced, but no doubt it will be following shortly.

May I draw the attention of my right hon. Friend to his answer last week about the future of the shipbuilding industry and whether we could have a debate on the subject? He said that he would try to give us a debate some time before Christmas, but could not really promise it. Can my right hon. Friend promise definitely today that we shall have a debate before the Christmas Recess?

I cannot go further than I did last week. There is an Adjournment debate tomorrow afternoon which I am answering, into which this matter will particularly come.

In view of the exchanges this afternoon, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will now advise the Home Secretary that it would be a good idea to have some real consultations before we get to the Committee stage of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill?

I do not think that I need add to the exchanges that have taken place. These consultations are, of course, going on.

Referring to my right hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Montgomery), may I ask whether he is aware that the debate tomorrow will not be on the shipbuilding industry? Is he aware that what I want is the Minister of Transport standing in front of the Dispatch Box so that we can all find out what he is up to.

I can assure my hon. Friend that I fully understand her point. If my answer was not clear, I should say that what I meant was that the subject which would come into tomorrow's debate was the allocation of time and not the actual shipping point itself.

Will the Leader of the House be bringing forward a Motion next week to set up the House of Commons Accommodation Committee, which we had last Session, as it needs to be a continuing body? If he does, will he consider widening its terms of reference in such a way that the Minister of Works will respect the feelings of the House rather more than he did on the Report of the Committee last Session?

With reference to what the right hon. Gentleman said about the Committee stage of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, may I ask whether he has given consideration to what length of time this Committee stage will require? Has his attention been drawn to the fact that there are already a large number of Amendments on the Notice Paper—I think more than 40—and that, as I understand, there are a lot more to go down yet? Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake that there will be sufficient time to consider the Bill in Committee properly and in full, without undue haste, and that at no stage will he introduce a guillotine Motion on it?

I am, of course, seized of the importance of the Bill and I have already studied the Amendments which so far have been put on the Notice Paper. We will follow the usual procedure, which is of taking account of representations and suggesting, through the usual channels, what we think is an appropriate amount of time and seeing how we proceed on that basis.

With reference to Thursday's business, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that last year we picked out one subject for discussion, namely, guided missiles, but that this year it will be the intention of hon. Members who hope to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, that we should have a general debate over the whole coverage of the various P.A.C. Reports which raise a very wide range of issues? Is the right hon. Gentleman also aware that it is generally desired that we should not have a Departmental reply, but a Treasury Minister to reply to the debate?

Yes, Sir, I am aware of that. I understand that to be the general position. The Special Report to which I referred in my business statement, which is a Treasury Minute of Reply, will be available today.

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us a little more about the time which it is hoped the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill will take to pass through the House? We appreciate that the Government are in some difficulty, having the Irish in one moment and out the next—and I understand that they are coming back in again—and that the Government will want time to draft Amendments to their own Bill. Is it the right hon. Gentleman's intention that this squalid little Measure will be passed by Christmas, or are we to have adequate time to debate, with proper consultation with the Commonwealth?

It is certainly the intention to take further stages of the Bill before Christmas.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that what he said about the shipbuilding industry is very unsatisfactory and that the shipbuilding and ship-repairing industries deserve time to have their problems fully discussed? When will the right hon. Gentleman find the time for a debate?

On all these requests I would much rather play Santa Claus than Scrooge at present. The fact is that I simply have not got the days available.