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Commons Chamber

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 23 November 1961

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House Of Commons

Thursday, 23rd November, 1961

The House met at half-past Two o'clock


[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Oral Answers To Questions

Commonwealth Relations

Education Liaison Committee


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will issue a White Paper on the work of the Commonwealth Education Liaison Committee.

As agreed at the Conference on Commonwealth Education held in Oxford in 1959 the Commonwealth Education Liaison Committee, which is responsible to all Commonwealth Governments, will be submitting a report on its activities to the Second Commonwealth Education Conference, which assembles at New Delhi next January. It would not, therefore, be appropriate for the British Government alone to issue a report on its activities.

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that Answer, may I ask him whether he would agree that this organisation and the Association of Universities in the British Commonwealth are doing an invaluable job of work? Can he assure us that a senior Minister will be attending the Education Conference at Delhi in January and say whether a report of that very important conference will be published afterwards?

I am glad of the opportunity to add my tribute to that of my hon. Friend to the most admirable work that this organisation is doing. I can assure my hon. Friend that a senior Minister will be attending the Conference.

Commonwealth Immigrants Bill


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what communications from Commonwealth Governments he has received since details of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill were published.

Communications with Commonwealth Governments are, of course, confidential.

While giving the Minister very limited thanks for that reply, having falsely, in the opinion of many people, pretended that there were consultations in the usually accepted sense of the term, may I ask him whether Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom will now indicate which Governments, broadly, accepted the proposals in the Bill and which did not? In view of the mess into which the Government have got us here, may we know whether the consultations are still continuing and with which Governments they are continuing, because we must always remember that there are considerable white minorities in some of the countries with which we are supposed to be negotiating?

Some Commonwealth Governments have expressed criticism of the proposals in the Bill, while others have expressed understanding of the policy embodied in it, but I can assure the hon. Member that consultations are going on with most Commonwealth Governments. The hon. Member asked me what consultations were still going on with Commonwealth Governments. I can assure him that consultations are going on about the application of the measures in the Bill to the various Commonwealth countries concerned.

We all appreciate how anxious the Government are that communications of this nature should be kept confidential, but is it not the fact that no consultation took place on the principles of the Bill but that consultation was limited to the manner in which the Bill should be implemented? If that is the case, is it not a measure of how ashamed the Government feel of this Bill that they have tried to disguise the fact from the House so far?

Whether it be a fair inference or not, may I ask again: is it not a fact that there was no consultation about the principle of the Bill but that it was limited to the manner in which it should operate once it had been passed? Will the right hon. Gentleman answer that?

It is a little difficult—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] No. The question is not a very straightforward one.

Consultation did take place about the Bill in general and about the proposals which it would contain.

The Prime Minister explained—I do not think I need elaborate upon it—why the consultation did not take place as early as we should have liked on this matter.

India And Pakistan (Migration To United Kingdom)


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what restrictions have been imposed by the Governments of India and Pakistan on migration to Great Britain; in what way and to what extent these arrangements have broken down; and what consultations he has had about strengthening afresh these voluntary arrangements.

The Governments of India and Pakistan have adopted a number of measures to discourage the emigration to Britain of persons who are illiterate or who have no jobs to come to. It is, I think, generally recognised that these measures, taken in India and Pakistan, cannot be fully effective without complementary measures at this end; and this cannot be done on a voluntary basis.

Does that Answer mean that, before the Government decided on the Bill and presented it as a fait accompli to the Commonwealth, they made no attempt whatever to bring India and Pakistan, for instance, round the table to discuss the strengthening of the voluntary measures which have been in operation so far? Did they just give up at this point and decide to present them with a Bill whether they liked it or not?

As I said in my Answer, measures have been taken by the Governments of India and Pakistan to discourage emigration to this country.

It is all very well for the hon. Gentleman to shake his head. I am trying to answer his question. Perhaps he will listen to me.

Measures have been taken. We consider, and I think the Governments of India and Pakistan consider, that the measures go about as far as it is possible to go on a voluntary basis at one end only. I will give the House the figures in regard to India and Pakistan for the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year. In 1960, immigrants from India totalled under 4,000. The figure for 1961 is over 15,000. For Pakistan, in the first nine months of last year, 1,000; this year, over 16,000. Obviously, the measures are not fully effective and, as I said before, I think it is recognised that some corresponding measures are necessary at this end.

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is not possible to say that those measures are not sufficient unless he has evidence of substantial unemployment among Indian and Pakistani people in this country? Has he any such evidence?

The purpose of the Bill—I do not want to trespass on the broad debates which are taking place—is, of course, not to exclude people from particular countries but to take the necessary powers to be exercised according as the need may arise, to keep the flow of immigrants within bounds.

European Economic Community


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what are the Government's reasons for refusing to supply confidentially to Commonwealth Governments the full text of the proposals affecting Commonwealth trade which he addressed to representatives of the European Economic Community in Paris on 10th October.


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations why he has again refused to let the Canadian Government see the full text of the statement which the Lord Privy Seal made at the opening of the British negotiations with the Common Market in Paris on 10th October.

The reasons have been fully explained to the House on several occasions.

Does the right hon. Gentle-realise that to withhold from Commonwealth Governments even the confidential supply of details of the proposals we are making about Commonwealth trade is both insulting to the Commonwealth and a disgrace to this Government? Does he not understand that, in view of the Resolution passed by the House last August, the Government have no mandate whatever to conduct these negotiations in that shabby and discreditable fashion?

Those strong words do not properly reflect what is going on. It has been explained to the House that, when these negotiations started, we and the Governments of the six countries of the Community had to consider certain matters of procedure. One was whether confidential conference documents should be circulated to Governments not directly taking part in the negotiations.

In view of the large number of Governments who would have to receive these documents, it was decided that, on balance—we had our hesitations about it—it was better to restrict our communications to the Commonwealth on these matters to summaries of the documents and not allow a general distribution, all round Europe and to the many other parts of the world which would be concerned, of documents which we should want to distribute to the Commonwealth.

Who took the initiative that the documents should be restricted? Did we take the initiative or did a country of Europe or the Six as a whole take the initiative in restricting the documents? If they took the initiative and said that they thought that the documents ought to be restricted, did we put up a fight so that they should not be restricted and kept from the Commonwealth?

It was a general decision taken by the conference as a whole. Of course, we did not put up a fight because we do not think that it is very desirable that these documents should have a very wide circulation. There are all the E.F.T.A. countries. There are other countries which may be concerned. For instance, the Argentine might say that it was directly affected.

The United States might well say that it had a direct interest. As for the general statement, I admit that it would probably not have done anybody any harm to have it published in the newspapers; but it is a precedent, and, when we come down to detailed discussions of particular commodities, which affect business interests all round the world, it is desirable to have the documents kept confidential.

Does the right hon. Gentleman, as the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, make no distinction at all between Canada and Argentina? Does not he recall that the Resolution proposed by the Government to this House on 3rd August and approved by the House read in part as follows:

"…after full consultation with other Commonwealth countries, by whatever procedure they may generally agree."
Can he possibly pretend that he is honourably carrying out that Resolution?

The answer to the last part of that supplementary question is "Yes". With regard to the first part, it is not a question of whether we make a distinction between certain countries. The moment that we distribute these documents to all the countries of the Commonwealth, we cannot ignore that the other Six all have their different friends who, they think, may be interested in this thing, and there is a very wide circle.


Mr J Monau Mokitimi


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether J. Monau Mokitimi has been deported from Basutoland to the Union of South Africa; and whether he will make a statement.

J. Monau Mokitimi has not been deported from Basutoland. He is now serving six months' sentence for contravening Section 6 (1) of the Basutoland Entry and Residence Proclamation This sentence was upheld by the High Court on appeal.

With permission I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the full text of the High Commissioner's Press statement of 1st November on the disturbances in Maseru on 31st October which followed on the adjournment of the hearing of Mr. Mokitimi's appeal.

Can we be assured, then, that there is no question of deporting him? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this young man, though he was, in fact, born in South Africa, was born there only because his parents were migrant workers from Basutoland to South Africa, as many thousands of Basutos are, and that in every respect he is a Basuto and occupies and plays a prominent part in Basuto affairs?

I note what the right hon. Gentleman says, but Mr. Mokitimi has applied to the High Court for a stay of execution of a deportation order. The application has not yet been heard and is therefore sub judice.

Is there not an issue at stake here which is much more important than the individual case or the legal proceedings? May it not affect hundreds, if not thousands, of citizens of Basutoland whose parents have gone into South Africa temporarily to work and who happen to have been born there? Will the hon. Gentleman discuss the matter with the Government of the Republic in order to come to an understanding about the citizenship of such persons?

I will ask my right hon. Friend to consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.

Following is the statement:

Disorder broke out in Maseru at about 4.45 p.m. on 31st October at the adjournment of a case against a Mr. Mokitimi at the High Court where two unarmed African policemen performing normal court duties were seriously injured. A crowd then ran down the main street stoning two or three cars and breaking windows in the hospital, dispensary and nurses home and three windows in a bank. At the same time there was indiscriminate stoning of cars in the African village. In all, ten cars are known to have been damaged and three of the occupants, Europeans, were injured, none very seriously.
2. Later in the evening a mob attacked a police post near the airfield and was dispersed on the arrival of more police.
3. Police dispersed the crowds and brought the situation under control. No further incidents were reported after 11 p.m. and patrols continued throughout the night.
4. An unsuccessful attempt was made to set fire to the Roman Catholic cathedral and a thatched house belonging to the Government was found to be on fire.
5. Up to the morning of 1st November sixteen persons had been arrested in connection with these disorders.
6. The Maseru police have been reinforced. The District Commissioner Maseru has issued an order banning all gatherings in public places in Maseru for a week.


Racial Discrimination


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what steps have been taken recently to remove racial discrimination in Swaziland.

The High Commissioner has signed Proclamations repealing a number of racially discriminatory laws. With permission, I will circulate a list in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The High Commissioner is considering what further steps of this kind can usefully be taken.

Can my hon. Friend say something about the discriminatory laws mentioned in the Cowen Report on the Swaziland Constitution?

Three of the discriminatory laws mentioned in the Report by Professor Cowen are included in the list I am circulating. Others are under review, including a new marriage Proclamation which is being discussed with the church bodies.

May we be assured that it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government that henceforth Swaziland, moving forward to a new constitution, shall do so on an entirely non-racial basis?

Title of LawExtent of RepealEffect of Provisions Repealed
Transvaal Law No. 3 of 1885The wholeProhibited Asians from owning immovable property except in streets and locations appointed by the Government for them to live in.
The Immorality Ordinance 1903 (Transvaal Law No. 46 of 1903).Section 19Made it an offence for a non-European man to have extra-marital intercourse with a European woman.
The Control of Native Land Purchases Proclamation—(Chapter 64 of the Laws of Swaziland, 1951).The wholeProvided that no contract for the sale, etc. of land to an African could be valid unless approved by the High Commissioner.
The Currency (Payment to Natives) Proclamation—Chapter 67.The wholeProvided for all monetary payments to Africans to be made in coins or notes which are legal tender in Swaziland.
The Concessions Proclamation—Chapter 85.Section F of Part VIIPrescribed a special procedure for the ejectment of an African occupant of land.
The Cattle Levy (Trypanosomiasis) Proclamation—Chapter 102.The wholeTo meet expenditure on measures for bovine trypanosomiasis control. Chapter 102 provided for the imposition of an annual levy calculated for non-Africans on the number of cattle owned; Chapter 103 provided for the imposition of a levy on every adull male African domiciled in Swaziland.
The Special Levy (Trypanosomiasis) Proclamation—Chapter 103.The whole


Mr Donald Fleming (Discussions)


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement on his recent discussions with Mr. Donald Fleming, the Canadian Finance Minister.

I have had no official discussions recently with Mr. Fleming, though we had an agreeable lunch together last Monday.

The trouble is that though that was a funny Answer, this is not a funny matter. If I give him the opportunity to do it by answering a Question, "Yes" or "No", will my right hon. Friend restore some of the lost faith of the Commonwealth countries in this country? Will he state categorically that he will resign rather than be a party to any decisions of this Government which may adversely affect Commonwealth trade or the Commonwealth spirit?

I do not think one gives an undertaking to resign on the basis of hypothetical circumstances, particularly

Yes, Sir; there has been a quite encouraging move in this direction in the territory for some time past.

Following is the list:

when I have already made my position on the Commonwealth pretty clear.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he does not realise that, if he goes on like this, he will be the Secretary of State for the Worsening of Commonwealth Relations?

Now that my right hon. Friend has said that the initial document opening the discussions with the Common Market might well have been published in the newspapers, will he send a copy of it to Mr. Fleming, who has expressed resentment and anxiety at not having been supplied with it?

I also said that if we had published it it would have created a very bad precedent for the later stages of the negotiations.

Does the right hon. Gentleman believe in an expanding Commonwealth? In an expanding Commonwealth is it not inevitable that the number of Governments receiving documents must increase? Has he a distrust of the Commonwealth Governments, the newly joined Governments, and does he think that they will disclose information given to them?

I have already made it clear that I said that if we asked that this document should be distributed to all Commonwealth countries, it would entail the distribution of this document to a number of other countries.

What about E.F.T.A., and other countries which have a direct or indirect interest?


Abu Simbel Monuments


asked the Minister of Education whether he will make a statement regarding the financial help which the United Kingdom is giving towards the international effort to preserve the 3,000 year old colossi at Abu Simbel.

Her Majesty's Government have already helped in the preservation of the Nubian antiquities by giving a special grant through the British Academy to the Egypt Exploration Society of£10,000 for each of the years 1960–61 and 1961–62. The Government are not at present contemplating any contribution from public funds to the appeal for the preservation of the Abu Simbel monuments.

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that he is doing what he can to secure effective international co-operation over this matter?

It is very difficult. The response to an appeal for over 60 million dollars is not going well.

Is the Minister aware that since we debated this matter in the House, it has now become certain that, by a stupendous feat of engineering, the Abu Simbel monuments can be saved at a cost of something like 70 million dollars, of which our own contribution over nine years, if we gave it in proportion to the rest of the civilised world, would be under£3 million? While it may be difficult to make a grant like this in present economic circumstances, will the Government bear in mind that it would be a great contribution to improving the understanding between the West and the Middle East?

The amount required is four times U.N.E.S.C.O.'s annual budget, and there are so many children oat of school in Africa that I think it is not in scale.

Will the Minister endeavour to keep a sense of proportion? Is it not a fact that the great monuments of ancient civilisations all over the world are gradually falling into decay and being neglected? Is it not essential, when a new conception of the universe is coming before us, to preserve these relics of ancient glories? Will he not allow his heart to govern his head a little?

I agree with my hon. Friend that ancient monuments and objects of beauty ought to be preserved, but there is a scale of proportion here, too.

Road Safety


asked the Minister of Education what further steps he has taken to increase road safety education in schools.

My Department has issued a revised pamphlet on "Safety Precautions in Schools" which contains a special chapter on road safety; and I have recently asked local education authorities to intensify their efforts to test and train child cyclists.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that Answer is rather more satisfactory than the Answer he gave to the preceding Question?

School Children (Reduced Fares)


asked the Minister of Education if he is aware that owing to the increase in the school-leaving age parents of children in boarding schools at a distance from home are penalised by the fact that during the last year at school such children are not allowed to travel on British Railways at the reduced fares earlier available to them as schoolchildren, and if he will now consult with the British Transport Commission with a view to the introduction of reduced fares for children of school-leaving age.

If local education authorities consider that a child needs boarding education, they have power to help the parents with the travelling expenses as well as with the fees. I cannot interfere with the discretion of fare-fixing bodies to decide on fare concessions.

Does the Minister realise that this widow's dilemma, of which I have informed him, may deprive the boy of his last year at school, and will he consult the appropriate authorities with a view to avoiding that loss to the boy?

The authority is the Aberdeen authority. Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman has some means of representing his case to them.

If the Minister dissents, as I imagine he does, from the view that transport is a social service—it is a means of conveying of people from place to place—will he have consultations with his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Minister of Labour to see whether the cost of transport from home to school, and from place of residence to place of employment, can be set against Income Tax?

Minor Works


asked the Minister of Education how soon he expects some loosening of the temporary restrictions of minor works announced as a result of Circular 13/61.

The allocations announced under Circular 13/61 cover a period of eighteen months ending on 31st March, 1963. The allocations for the 1963–64 period will be decided next year, as part of the annual review of the public sector investment programmes.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this decision to put into eighteen months a smaller sum than is usually allocated for one year is having an extremely adverse effect on the moder- nisation of some of our older primary schools? When this present period of restriction is over, will he look into the question of giving some special assistance to these older primary schools and to those local education authorities which are trying to make special efforts in this direction?

Does not the Minister agree that the bad effects of this economy outweigh the saving made? This is a comparatively minor saving, which is causing enormous disturbance in education. Will the right hon. Gentleman see that it is restored earlier, and that the Treasury does not resort to its customary interference with our educational service?

The situation is not quite as bad as the hen. Gentleman thinks. We have freed from all control jobs under£2,000, which are now known as the "mini-minor jobs", and which add up to quite a lot of money.

Educationally Sub-Normal Children


asked the Minister of Education how many educationally sub-normal children between the ages of 5 and 11 years at primary schools are receiving specialised teaching, and how many are not.

These detailed figures could only be obtained by making special inquiries from more than 22,000 schools. My right hon. Friend has recently collected information from local education authorities about their arrangements for providing special education in ordinary schools and proposes to consider whether more detailed examination of selected areas would be desirable.

Does not my hon. Friend agree that it is absolutely vital to know the size of the problem, particularly in the primary schools, because unless we know exactly how many children are backward it is very difficult to know what to do? Will he look into the matter more closely and see if he can institute an inquiry to find out how many children need this specialised type of education?

Yes, Sir. The matter is complicated by the wide range of degrees of backwardness which have to be taken into account. I will bear in mind what my hon. Friend says


asked the Minister of Education whether he will institute an inquiry into the progress of educationally sub-normal children after they leave school at the age of 15 years.

A Working Party of the British Council for Rehabilitation is at present considering the needs of handicapped school leavers. It will assess to what extent those needs are being satisfactorily met, and make recommendations. An observer from the Ministry sits on the Working Party. When my right hon. Friend receives its Report, he will consider whether he should institute a special inquiry about educationally sub-normal children.

Do I understand from my hon. Friend that the educationally sub-normal are included in this inquiry about educationally handicapped children? Will he institute an inquiry iii the borstals and various other institutions throughout the country to discover how many of our children are educationally sub-normal?

Educationally subnormal children are included in the inquiry, and we are gathering together what information we can about the general size of the problem and its distribution.

Comprehensive Schools


asked the Minister of Education if he will set up a small committee to carry out a nation-wide survey of comprehensive schools and report on their development, so as to assist local education authorities which are considering the establishment of such schools for the first time.

I agree with the view expressed in the recent report on London comprehensive schools that it would be premature to attempt a considered judgment on the success of this type of school. I have no evidence that local education authorities are unable to obtain advice in particular cases when they need it.

What I was asking for was not a considered judgment but a factual report which would be of benefit to local authorities, who are considering how to get rid of the 11-plus examination and may be unaware of the wide diversity of comprehensive schools which exist and the different techniques and methods being used? As they may also be unaware of the substantial success scored by many of them, would not such a factual report be of great benefit?

I do not see how such a factual report could be of value unless it went into all the circumstances and considered whether this type of school was as good or not as good as other types. That is a very difficult thing to do when they have not had long enough to establish themselves.

Surely the right hon. Gentleman will agree that, although it may be a difficult thing to do, it will be no more nor less difficult later? Valuations of this kind are always liable to be somewhat subjective. Does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that, when a local authority embarks on an experiment of this kind, it means a very great deal of wasted time and effort if it has to rely on its own individual contacts to inquire of other local authorities precisely how they have done this, that or the other? The London survey is now two years old. There are schools in other parts of the country which could be treated similarly. Would the right hon. Gentleman please think about this matter again?

I agree with the London County Council against the hon. Lady. I do not think that such a report would be of use at this time.

Evening Institutes (Men Students)


asked the Minister of Education why the number of men students attending evening institutes in 1960–61 has not reached the annual level of attendance attained between 1949 and 1952; and what steps he is taking to improve the situation.

The number of men students taking recreational courses fell in 1952–53 following an increase in fees. The figures are now almost back at the previous peak. Many vocational courses have been transferred to technical colleges, so that current attendances represent a notable expansion in adult education over recent years.

I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman did not attribute the drop of 68,000 to cutting out ballroom dancing. Will he look at the Education Act, 1944, to see what his obligations are in the further education of adults and try to build up some of the work that was lost by the imposition of fees by the Government which has damaged further education in the last ten years?

Day Release


asked the Minister of Education why the number of boys and girls aged between 15 and 17, released during the day for study, has declined since 1956–57; what percentage of that age group were day released in 1956–57, 1959–60 and 1960–61, respectively; and what steps he is taking to improve the situation.

The percentages for which the hon. Member asks were respectively 12·7, 10·9 and 11·9, but the number of students between 15 and 17 receiving day release rose by about 30,000 between 1956–57 and 1960–61. I hope that the proposals in the White Paper published this year will help to improve the situation, but the main obstacle is failure to appreciate the value of day release.

Is not this a further indication of the right hon. Gentleman's lack of grasp of this problem? If he cannot make county colleges compulsory, would not one way to help solve the difficulty be to ask local education authorities and technical colleges to appoint more organisers? If the right hon. Gentleman wants to deal with the matter on a voluntary basis, is it not necessary to provide the funds and the staff to get amongst industrialists?

The main cause of the trouble is that employers do not yet realise how valuable is day release.

When we last discussed this matter the Minister said that he was having discussions about it with employers and trade unions. When will he be in a position to come to the House and make a statement about those discussions?

When the study group on the difficulties of granting the right to young employees to claim release has finished its work. It is in discussion now.



asked the Minister of Education if he will consider the establishment of special temporary all-age schools near caravan sites organised by gypsies and other travellers whose children are at present receiving no regular education.

It is for local education authorities to decide how best to provide for the education of nomadic children whilst they remain in the area. On both educational and economic grounds, attendance at a local school is generally the best arrangement.

I appreciate where the responsibility lies, but these are very special cases, with very limited numbers of applications in widely scattered parts of the country. If my right hon Friend could see his way to organising a special central pool of teachers with the necessary special experience, it would help the problem very greatly where it arises.

The difficulty is that the children move about. I think that my hon. Friend would agree that it is better to try to fit them into the schools which are in their area.

Does not the Minister recognise his responsibility here? Education is the key to solving a problem which is looked on by some as a scandal and others as a nuisance. Does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise the unfairness when some of these children of 10, 11 or 12 years of age who cannot read or write are put into classes, which are already too large, with regular school children? Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that other countries have dealt with this problem by providing special classes in the areas of gypsy encampments? I have a letter from a headmaster which states:

"The problem of admitting gypsies to the school has been a constant worry for several years now".
Will not the Minister wake up to this great social evil?

It is for local authorities to provide education for the children in their area. In my experience, they do their best, but we must first know that the children are there.

Commercial Education


asked the Minister of Education what proportion of the total expenditure of public money on education is spent on commercial education.

About 10 per cent. of the students in technical and commercial colleges who are working for recognised qualifications, are taking commercial courses, but I am unable to say how much of the public expenditure on education is attributable to them and to students taking commercial courses elsewhere.

Would my right hon. Friend agree that, in spite of the progress made in the past two years, there is still scope for a great deal of improvement in the facilities for commercial education? Will my right hon. Friend confirm that over the coming year probably the proportion spent on commercial education will increase?

Schools (Black List)


asked the Minister of Education how many of the 2,828 schools placed on the Board of Education black list in 1925 are still in use today.

By 1938 the number of schools on the black list had been reduced to 871.

Since the war, local education authorities have submitted annually lists of the most important and urgent replacement and improvement projects they wished to do. These lists have always exceeded the investment totals that could be permitted, but I have little doubt that very few of the schools on the original black list have not either been closed or improved.

Would the Minister agree that that Answer is completely evasive? I should like to know the number of schools on the black list today. Surely he has means of ascertaining the number. If he cares to write to local authorities they will be able to supply him with the necessary information.

If we kept a list of this kind we should have to have the criteria, which were not very satisfactory before the war, and add to the list schools which were becoming obsolete.

As things are at present, it seems better that we should leave it to local authorities to determine their own needs.

Surely the right hon. Gentleman can reply to my hon. Friend's Question. It is not beyond his resources to give the number. Why cannot he give the number and an undertaking that the elimination of this black list is a priority?

I do not think that the black list as it was in 1938 is very relavant today, but I have no doubt that what the hon. Gentleman asks could be done.

Non-Teaching Staff (Pay)


asked the Minister of Education if he will give approximate estimates of the percentages of non-teaching adult male employees of education authorities in England and Wales whose wages are based, respectively, on rates below£10 a week, between£10 and£12 a week, between£12 and£14, and over£14.

Authorities inform me of their total expenditure on the salaries and wages of non-teaching staff but not of the numbers employed either as a whole or in particular categories or at particular levels of remuneration. I cannot therefore make even the approximate estimates for which the hon. Member asks.

I was well aware that the Minister did not have the information. Without it, how could he make the statement, as he did last week, which gave the impression that these people will be getting around or towards£1,000 a year in the manner that the Prime Minister promised? Will the Minister explain how somebody earning about£12 a week, which, I understand, is the average wage in this case, can get up to£1,000 a year if wage increases are to be tied to a 2½per cent. annual increase in productivity when a 5 per cent. increase is required each year, starting this year, to fulfil the Prime Minister's promise?

I explained to the hon. Member last week that continuing Conservative Governments would achieve this.

Teacher Training Colleges (Married Women)


asked the Minister of Education if he will publish a list of teachers' training colleges which at present provide day places for married women; and to what extent these courses are timed to enable married women with responsibility for children of school age to take advantage of them.

I am sending the hon. Member a list of 114 colleges. Nearly every general training college that admits women is ready to take married women and I am sure that they will do all they can to arrange convenient daily time-tables. College vacations more than cover normal school holidays.

Can the Minister, therefore, say over what proportion of the country the opportunity exists for married women living at home and who have responsibilities with young children to get day courses to train themselves as teachers?

The best answer I can give is that the hon. Gentleman should study the list of 114 colleges.


Women (Enfranchisement)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when the extension of enfranchisement to women will come into operation in the Bahamas.

On 30th June, 1962.

Is it possible for the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the fact that he is still responsible for the Government of this Colony, to advance the date? There may be by-elections before the General Election which is expected that year. Is it not an outrage that we should still have this discrimination between men and women in the franchise in any Colony?

The original proposal was that it should come into force on 1st January, 1963, but as there is to be a General Election in the spring of 1963 we brought it forward to June, 1962, which should take care of the difficulty.




asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what statements he has received from representatives of the political parties in Malta on his constitutional proposals for that territory.

Since the promulgation of the new constitution I have received the views of the leader of the Progressive Constitutional Party. At an earlier stage, comments on the Constitutional Commission's recommendations were received from that party and from the Democratic Nationalist Party, the Democratic Christian Party and the Christian Workers Party.

Has the Minister seen today the declaration of view of the different parties? Is he aware that only one insignificant party, which did not elect a single representative to the last Parliament, has endorsed these proposals and said that it will participate in the election? Will the Minister do something, even at this late hour, to liberalise a Constitution which restricts the powers of the Maltese people more than in the case of any other Colony which has self-government?

No, Sir. The proposals, or the Constitution which we have introduced, represent a great advance. The important thing now is to get on with elections. Once there have been elections and there is a Government, we can have further consultations.

Would it not be wise to make it clear now that once the island is viable there is no reason why she should not be a sovereign independent member of the Commonwealth?

The important thing is to concentrate on the next step, which is the elections under the new Constitution. We have made it clear that this is not, in our view, the final step in Malta's progress.

Does not the Minister realise that part of the successful prospect for these elections lies in making it clear that this is only an interim Constitution and that there will be further movement towards self-government in the near future? To make a success of these elections, will not the Minister make a considered statement along these lines?

My predecessor and I have said on more than one occasion that we do not regard the present situation as the final stage in Malta's progress. It should be a perfectly adequate basis upon which to hold an election and to get an elected Government in power.

Is it not a fact that, in the meantime, the new Constitution contains powers that are so far-reaching that the actual and crucial control of finance will be vested in the elected Government of Malta, when it is known who that will be after the elections have taken place?

If properly studied, these proposals will be seen to be very far-reaching, progressive proposals indeed.

Is the Colonial Secretary aware that except for one copy in the Library, the new Constitution is not available in the House of Commons? Will he look into this to ensure that hon. Members may have access to it should it be needed for debate?



asked the Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the increased expenditure arising in a full year from the appointment of new Ministers, the upgrading of certain Ministers and the employment of their additional staff.

If the hon. Member will let me know which particular appointments he has in mind, I will gladly try to give him the information he wants.

Is the Prime Minister aware that the appointments I have in mind are the new Departmental Ministers, the creation of a new Department, and so on, and the double-banking of Ministers of the Treasury and the Foreign Office? Is he aware that there are two points at issue? One is whether we are getting any modest value for the money expended; and secondly, whether it is a question of administrative efficiency. Can the Prime Minister point to any period in history in which the double-banking of Cabinet Ministers has ever been a success? Is he justifying this on the ground of efficiency or is he claiming that it sustains his Government and gives them stiffening by clamping his colleagues together two at a time?

The second half of that supplementary question has gone rather further than the original Question If the hon. Member will write to me or let me know what figures he wants as regards Ministers or any consequential staffs, I will try to have them worked out and sent to him.



asked the Prime Minister whether, following the resolution of the General Assembly Political Committee of the United Nations of 14th November, he will consult the Commonwealth Prime Ministers with a view to securing a Commonwealth policy in support of the prohibition of all nuclear weapons with an effective system of inspection and control.

There has already been considerable Commonwealth consultation on this important subject. The statement issued after the last Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference embodied a common approach to the problem of disarmament and looked to the elimination not only of nuclear but also—and this is just as important—of conventional armaments, subject to verification. The resolution referred to by the right hon. and learned Gentleman made no provision for any kind of verification or control.

Will the Prime Minister make it clear that Her Majesty's Government would be willing to agree to the prohibition of the use of all nuclear weapons in the first stage of a general disarmament treaty provided that it is accompanied by an effective system of inspection?

In the last three or four years we have put forward, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows, a number of very constructive and far-reaching proposals. We are disappointed that we have not had more success. We are making a new effort now. The fact that the Soviet Government have accepted our proposal for taking up again the question of tests gives some encouragement. We shall press forward.

Would the Prime Minister agree that, following the declaration on disarmament by the Prime Ministers' Conference, it would be admirable if the whole of the Commonwealth in the United Nations could put forward the proposals that were set out in that declaration?

Yes, Sir. The right hon. Gentleman knows the complication of the way that resolutions are moved, seconded and promoted. We are trying our best—and I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman who asked the Question has tried to help me in this—to get this broad Commonwealth view as commonly known and as widely expressed as possible.

Would not the best way of doing that be for the Commonwealth proposals to be put forward in the United Nations Assembly? Is there any possible objection to this?

There is no objection, but there are resolutions of procedural and other kinds. I will, how- ever, consider what the right hon. Gentleman has said.

Is it not a fact, from a practical point of view, that over a large part of the field any breaches of an agreement to ban tests would be self-evident and that the problem of inspection and control is confined to a small area of underground explosions? Was it not the failure to agree over this very small part of the programme that prevented an earlier agreement?

Yes, Sir, but it was because we had made so much progress that I was disappointed—I think we all were—that the discussions were broken off. They were then followed by tests on an immense scale by the Soviet Government in the atmosphere. Undeterred by this setback, the British and American Governments made a further offer to renew the test discussions in Geneva or elsewhere. In the circumstances, I think that was the right thing to do, but it was certainly a generous thing to do. I am happy to feel that that has been accepted and we may now hope that further discussion will take place.

Can the Prime Minister tell us if he is setting up a department or committee to work out plans for carrying out the general policy of disarmament set out in the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' declaration?

No, I think our present planning organisation is quite sufficient. The difficulty is to make progress with the Soviet Government in actual day-to-day discussion.

Government Departments And Political Parties


asked the Prime Minister what are the most recent instructions which govern the relations of Government Departments, and civil servants in their official capacity, with political parties.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Establishments Circular No. 36 of 1958, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. Paragraph 4 of the Circular states the general principle that official resources cannot properly be put at the disposal of outside bodies whose purpose is to further the policies of a particular political party.

Yes, but does the Prime Minister think that the recent interview at the Treasury of two members of the Observer staff with two civil servants and two members of the Conservative Central Office conforms with the spirit of that instruction? Does he think that?

I think all this was dealt with at some length at Question Time recently by my right hon. and learned Friend. I think that it was explained that it was merely convenience and courtesy not to put the reporter at the extra trouble of having to attend two meetings.

Could the Prime Minister tell us whether as head of the Civil Service he visited Glasgow in that capacity when he appealed for funds for the Conservative Party? Was the Prime Minister acting as head of the Civil Service or head of the Conservative Party?

I have many burdens to carry but I am not head of the Civil Service.

Elderly People (Assistance)


asked the Prime Minister whether he will instruct all Ministers concerned with elderly people to take such special measures as are within their power to give them assistance at Christmas time.

I imagine that my hon. Friend has some specific measures in mind. I should be happy to look into any suggestions which she likes to put to me, or to those of my right hon. Friends concerned.

While much appreciating the kindly thought behind the Prime Minister's statement at the Guildhall and the response evoked as evidenced by the Daily Mail campaign, may I ask him, on the general theme of loneliness, whether he is aware that a great deal of it arises from the increase in charges for telephone calls, the in- crease in rents, the increase in cost of travelling, and also, of course, from the depreciation of the War Loan? May I am him whether, now that he has been able to make this comment which has evoked such a wide response, he is now in a position to consider what will be done for those living on small fixed incomes?

I think that I made it clear that while the ordinary systems under our Welfare State arrangements for taking care of old people have, I think, steadily improved in the lifetime of this Government—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—what we were discussing then is a matter on which, I think, there is common agreement in the House, that, apart from whatever may be the level at any given moment of that form of assistance, there is still great room in any highly organised society for human, personal effort by individual people in giving comfort and friendliness to their neighbours.

Palace Of Westminster (Ministerial Rooms)


asked the Prime Minister whether he will cause arrangements to be made in the allocation of Ministerial rooms in the Palace of Westminster to allow the Leader of the House to be more accessible to hon. Members.

I think that hon. Members are finding that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House is as accessible to them as his predecessors have always been.

How can the Prime Minister say that when the previous Leader of the House—indeed, previous Leaders of the House back through Lord Crookshank to my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) and right back to Lord Morrison—all occupied a room a few steps behind the Chamber, which is armed with an annunciator which indicates which Members are speaking, whereas the present Leader of the House has to go down several flights of stairs or go up in a lift which has been known to stick?

Further than that, the installation of an annunciator in his room would cost anything from£250 to£300, and he needs it if he is intelligently to follow the course of the debate. Will the Prime Minister say who is the best Leader of the House we have got at the present time? Or will he tell us whether the present Home Secretary is a potential Prime Minister? Or is he prepared to define him as deputy Prime Minister. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."] Will he bear in mind that in the party political broadcast last evening the present Leader of the House—

The hon. Member must confine himself to matters arising out of the Answer. He seems to be getting rather far away from that.

On a point of order. Surely it would be a gross difficulty if an hon. Member were to be deterred merely by the amount of noise on the opposite side of the House rather than by consideration of the relevancy of the contribution he is making? I was going to finish on this note. The present Leader of the House did say that he wanted policies which were relevant and decisive. This question is relevant and decisive: that he should be as near to the Chamber as possible for the convenience of the House.

Of course, all these very relevant considerations must be taken into account, and what we have tried to do is to serve the convenience of the Leader of the House himself and of the House generally. I have not, in the many years I have been in the House, observed an exceptionally heavy traffic between the Chamber and the room of the Leader of the House. On the other hand, the room which the Leader of the House is at present occupying is, I think, quicker to reach from the Tea Room, the Cafeteria, the Smoking Room, the Library, and the Terrace.

Immigration (Commonwealth Governments)


asked the Prime Minister whether he will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the representations he has received from Heads of Governments in the Commonwealth about the legislation to restrict immigration, together with his replies.

No, Sir. Any exchanges of personal messages between Heads of Commonwealth Governments are normally kept confidential.

Could not the Prime Minister do rather better than that? Is it not a fact that, in the course of a few days, the House, in Committee, will be considering the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill? Is it not right that we should have full information before us with regard to the consultation and correspondence which has taken place between the leaders of the Commonwealth on this very serious matter?

As I say, it has always been the practice for these personal messages to be kept confidential. In point of fact, since this is pressed, I have myself seen no personal messages from any other Commonwealth Prime Minister. Comments have been received, in response to the telegrams sent out, from certain Commonwealth Governments. These are being taken into account in working out detailed arrangements for the Bill and the administration of the controls.

Does not the Prime Minister realise that at least one Prime Minister in the Commonwealth is clearly gravely dissatisfied with the consultation, or so-called consultation, which took place? I refer, of course, to Sir Grantley Adams. Will the Prime Minister say whether he accepts the facts set out in Sir Grantley's telegram of which I informed him yesterday, and, if so, is it not plain that no consultation whatever took place with the Prime Minister of the Federation of the West Indies before the Government made their decision to introduce the Bill? Is not this a really intolerable way to treat the Head of a Territory in the Commonwealth which was bound to be gravely affected by this Measure?

Well, the right hon. Gentleman sent me a letter on this subject last evening, and at the same time informed me that he was sending it to the Press. Happily, in spite of the lateness of the hour, I was able both to give him the courtesy of a reply and not to have unduly to delay its publication. I have nothing to add to what I said in the letter.

Are we then to take it from that reply that the Prime Minister thinks chat consultation is adequate with the Commonwealth, with the Prime Ministers in the Commonwealth, so long as they are told what the Government's intention is—that it is not necessary to consult them beforehand? Are we to assume that this is the kind of consultation which is taking place during the Common Market negotiations?

The right hon. Gentleman knows quite well that informal and confidential discussions on this matter have gone on for a long time. As I said in my letter, the Government provided information of their intention, invited comments, and sought the cooperation of the West Indian Government in implementing any scheme outlined. That is what I understand to be consultation. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman is confusing consultation with concurrence.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that what I am complaining about in the first instance is that Sir Grantley Adams and other Commonwealth Prime Ministers were not consulted before Her Majesty's Government took their decision? How can one call it consultation when Her Majesty's Government make up their mind before consulting Commonwealth Prime Ministers?

Does the right hon. Gentleman really think it adequate, in view of the gravity of the consequences of this Measure, simply to inform the Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation, on 13th October, of the general intentions of the Government and express readiness, in Sir Grantley's own words:
"…to discuss any matter which might arise from time to time from the operation of the Bill"?
Does the Prime Minister really think it adequate to do this and then to send copies of the Bill
"…but without an invitation to comment…"
—again I use the words of Sir Grantley's telegraph—and finally—and this is the only other piece of "consultation"—explain the mechanics of the voucher system and ask for co-operation? How can the Prime Minister possibly defend this way of treating a very old friend of this country who carries a heavy responsibility in the West Indies, the Territories of which will, I repeat, be very seriously affected by this Measure?

The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly aware of the circumstances. This matter had been discussed and had been in the air for a very long time. Confidential and informal discussions were held, and the Commonwealth Prime Ministers knew of what might be forced upon Her Majesty's Government as the effect of recent immigration. That was well known. They knew perfectly well. In the details of operation of such a scheme, we are in consultation and continue to be in consultation.

As to the principle, we have never been consulted, as far as I know, by any Commonwealth Government, or asked for our concurrence in any of their immigration policies, which are their affair.

Does not the Prime Minister feel, in view of the reaction in the West Indies, and particularly in view of what Sir Grantley Adams has said, that it would be a courteous gesture, if no more, to invite Sir Grantley to this country and to discuss with him not merely the details of the Bill but the principle involved?

I think that throughout this matter, the right hon. Gentleman has never committed himself, and he is trying to ride away from—[Interruption.]—for what no doubt are very good reasons to him—the question as to whether we should have a system of control of immigration.

Is the Prime Minister aware that if he had condescended to attend the debate on the Bill he would not have been so foolish as to make that statement?

The right hon. Gentleman knows that I had engagements of a public nature which I could not avoid. That question is on a par with sending me a letter at 6 o'clock in the evening hoping to get it published before my reply. [Interruption.]

Order. I should be grateful if the House would make a little less noise, as I have some difficulty in hearing the exchanges.

Can the right hon. Gentleman help us on two matters of fact? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Was this matter discussed with the Commonwealth Prime Ministers when they were here in Conference not so very long ago? Were they informed of the contents of the Bill before it was published to the Conservative Party?

The Prime Ministers' Conference did not, in public in its own sessions, discuss this question as Prime Ministers.

When the right hon. Gentleman takes full responsibility for this shocking state of affairs, can he tell us whether, in this particular instance, he has not been able to find a convenient scapegoat on whom to shuffle his own responsibility?

I have a little sympathy with the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) on that point, because he is a kind of born scapegoat.

Is it not a fact that the Prime Minister of the West Indies and other Premiers in those islands have persistently refused to co-operate with Her Majesty's Government in consideration of any measure to control this serious problem?

I have made it plain that we have, of course, had informal confidential talks on this matter for a long time. [HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] Before the point was reached when Her Majesty's Government reached a decision in principle. It was necessary to consult about its application, and that was done.

Kenya Constitution (Amendment)

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is proposed to amend the provision in the Kenya (Constitution) Order in Council which disqualifies persons who have undergone a sentence of two years or more imprisonment from standing as candidates for election to the Kenya Legislature.

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I should now like to answer Question No. 40.

Yes, Sir. I have discussed the matter very fully with the Governor and I have reached the conclusion that the Constitution should be amended so as to remove the provision to which my hon. Friend refers. Accordingly, an appropriate amendment to the Order in Council will be submitted to Her Majesty in Council in the near future.

I am satisfied that responsible opinion generally in Kenya, and, in particular, the main political parties, accept that, in the developing situation in Kenya, the Constitution should give all people, subject only to the normal disabilities, the chance of pursuing their political aims by legitimate political means.

I believe that this step will help us to secure our main objective in Kenya, which is to achieve constitutional advance on lines generally acceptable to the people of the country.

Bearing in mind the inevitability of this statement, following Mr. Kenyatta's release in August, can my right hon. Friend say whether, as has been suggested in some quarters, any secret understanding was reached on this or any other matter with Mr. Kenyatta and the K.A.N.A. delegation which visited this country a couple of weeks ago?

No, Sir. No secret understanding of any kind whatever was reached. To reaffirm that, I should add that I am acting on the recommendation of the Governor and of the Government of Kenya.

Why has it taken the right hon. Gentleman so long to reach this decision, which has been pressed upon him by a number of hon. Members on this side of the House? Can we take it that he has the full support of his party in permitting Mr. Kenyatta to stand for election and, if the electors of Kenya so decide, to become Chief Minister?

This decision has not been an easy one to reach, and that is why it has taken time. It would be foolish, in a matter of this kind, to rush decisions. The decision has now been taken and I hope that the House will support me in trying to encourage further peaceful advance in Kenya.

Does this mean that the K.A.D.U. members of the Government of Kenya support this action? If that is so, does not my right hon. Friend think that they deserve a pat on the back for supporting the return of their chief political opponent at the moment?

Yes, Sir. This decision certainly received the support of K.A.D.U. members of the Kenya Government.

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, 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.

Personal Statement

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I wish to make a short personal statement.

Yesterday, in winding up the debate on the Second Reading of the Housing (Scotland) Bill, I said that
"…one large burgh in the industrial area has found that the problem of overcrowding in the existing stock of houses could be solved if the town could rearrange its tenants according to the numbers in their families."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd November, 1961; Vol. 649, c. 1466–7.]
In answer to an interjection, I said that the burgh concerned was Paisley.

While Paisley has, indeed, reported that overcrowding in council houses could largely be abated by rearranging its tenants, the authority which has reported that rearrangement could completely solve the problem of overcrowded tenants in council houses is Hamilton Town Council.

I am sorry that I confused the two burghs in this way and that I did not perhaps make it entirely clear that I was thinking of overcrowding in the local authority's houses and not overcrowding in the burgh generally.

I wish to apologise for misleading the House in this way.

I do not think that anyone will want a debate, Sir, but my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. J. Robertson) was very excited last night and objected vigorously when his constituency was mentioned in this connection. The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland would not give way, but now he says that what he said about Paisley he should have said about my constituency. I just want to say that what the Under-Secretary said about Paisley last night is just as inaccurate in its application to Hamilton, and that—

Business Of The House (Supply)


That this day Business other than the Business of Supply may be taken before Ten o'clock.—[Mr. Iain Macleod.]

Orders Of The Day



Civil Aviation

Motion made, and Question proposed, That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair.—[ Mr. Redmayne.]

3.50 p.m.

I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:

"this House, while expressing its deep appreciation of the efforts of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and the British European Airways Corporation to provide safe and efficient services, regrets that the operation of the Civil Aviation (Licensing) Act, 1960, and the policies of Her Majesty's Government threaten the position of the two Corporations and endanger the best interests of British aviation."
We move this Amendment because it appears to us that both the Civil Aviation (Licensing) Act, 1960, and the Government's policy as a whole are working extremely inefficiently and unsatisfactory in three major respects. There is, first, the question of safety, with which, although it is often forgotten, Section 1 of the Act is entirely concerned. There is, secondly, the question of the strength of the Air Corporations, B.O.A.C. and B.E.A., and their ability to hold their own in very fierce international competition. There is, thirdly, the question of the consequential effects of any weakening of the position of the Corporations on the British aircraft industry and on British aviation as a whole. I shall try to deal with these three matters one after the other.

First, on the question of safety, repeat at the outset, what I have said before in the House of Commons and in Committee, that I have no desire to blacken the reputation, certainly on this matter of safety, of any section of British aviation. It is, of course, perfectly true that any air operator in any section of the industry may have the misfortune to have an air accident. Nevertheless, we cannot neglect the fact that there have been four fatal accidents in the last two months and that they have caused 71 deaths. Of these, the tragic accidents at Stavanger and near Perpignan are the two which have made a deep impression on the public mind and caused deep concern.

Whatever may be the explanation, one must face the actual fact that all these accidents have been on non-scheduled charter flights run by independent airlines. It is necessary to point out these facts because of public concern and anxiety and I do not think that Parliament would be doing its duty unless it did so.

It is, of course, very difficult to compare the accident rate over a term of years—that is the real thing—of independent flying and charter flying in general with that of the Corporations on scheduled flying. All the figures which I have been able to ascertain are incomplete and one can only make estimates. A number of estimates have been made in this House. The hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Grsham Cooke), for example, said the other day that in his opinion the independents had had over a period of years seven times as many accidents per passenger mile flown as the Corporations.

Flight, in its issue of 19th October, which was quoted in a recent Adjournment debate by my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), stated:
"The independent fatality rate over the past six years has been eight times higher than the Corporations".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th November, 1961; Vol. 694, c. 325.]
As a matter of fact the figures that I have got out do not show as wide a difference as that; nevertheless, there can be no doubt that there is a very wide differential here.

Will the right hon. Gentleman state the basis on which these comparisons are calculated?

Some of these comparisons are for passenger miles flown and others of air movements. We can take one basis or the other. I do not say which is the more relevant.

Whatever the figure is, and I do not think that any of us can be dogmatic about it, there can be no doubt that there is a very wide difference—too big a difference to overlook. I wonder what would have been said in the House of Commons if the figures were the other way round and the Corporations had an accident rate many times higher than that of the independents.

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is trying to be fair. He said that these accidents went in cycles, but I think that about three years ago, if I recollect correctly, speaking from memory, B.E.A. had a bad accident at Munich, involving Manchester United football team, followed by a Viscount accident, which killed many people, at Manchester. I think that it is very unfair to take a particular three months' period and tie it up with accident rates. One has to take a period of years.

It would be very unfair to quote a three months' period. That is why I was quoting Flight, which has taken a six-year period. That is the point—it is for a number of years. But I think that it is fair to say that it has been the last three months' period which has brought this matter into very great public concern.

The question to which the House has to address itself and, I would suggest, to which the Minister must address himself, is: what is the cause of this very great difference in the rate? I think that neither the Minister nor any of us would like to assume that this is necessarily a question concerning the private operators as such. I think that, on the contrary, it may be bound up with the question of charter flying as such. The more I look into the matter, the more I think that may have a good deal to do with it.

I return to the observations of the hon. Member for Twickenham on this matter, because I thought that it was very relevant when he asked, last week: to what extent does this route testing take place with the charter companies? He was getting on to something which seemed to me to be of very great importance. I recognise, and the Parliamentary Secretary has assured us often enough, that the safety regulations are just the same for the Corporations as they are for the private operators. I would think that the question of aircraft was probably not very relevant. The charter aircraft of the independents are probably older, but that does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe if properly inspected.

I entirely agree with that. But I am concerned about the regulations of the pilots and the question of route testing and training and the question of the pilots in general. It is in that sphere that I think we are most likely to find some of the causes of this very remarkable difference which we simply cannot overlook.

I ask the House to consider the Air Navigation Order, 1960, which lays down certain regulations, in particular, paragraph 1 (5, a) of the Tenth Schedule. I am sure that the Minister is familiar with these regulations which read, in part:
"The pilot designated as commander of the aircraft for the flight shall within the relevant period—
(i) have demonstrated to the satisfactio