House Of Commons
Thursday, 21st November, 1963
The House met at half-past Two o'clock
[MR. SPEAKER in the Chair]
Message From The Queen
THE VICE-CHAMBERLAIN OF THE HOUSEHOLD reported Her Majesty's answer to the Address, as follows:—
I have received with great satisfaction the loyal and dutiful expression of your thanks for the Speech with which I opened the present Session of Parliament.
Oral Answers To Questions
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to ban witchcraft and associated practices in the United Kingdom.
:Witchcraft ceased to be a criminal offence in 1735. It is not in my mind, 228 years later, to bring in fresh legislation on the subject.
:Has my hon. Friend seen the considerable comment in a Sunday newspaper recently of alleged practices of wichcraft in this country, and will he further look into the matter because I have reason to believe that a good deal of this witchcraft is a cover for sexual orgies and other malpractices?
:I did see the article referred to. Acts of sexual perversion can be dealt with under the Sexual Offences Act. If there is any matter which my hon. and gallant Friend knows about and which he thinks could not be dealt with under existing legislation, I shall be grateful if he will let me know.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are taken to collect charges for parking offences before arrests are made in the police area for which he is responsible.
Persons who have committed or are alleged to have committed parking offences are given all reasonable opportunity to pay the charge or to appear in answer to a summons, before a warrant is issued. The issue of a warrant is entirely a matter for the magistrate. Once a warrant has been issued, it is an order of the court and the police must execute it.
:Whilst appreciating that it is a matter for the court, does my right hon. Friend agree that the police are getting unpopular with motorists over matters which do not really concern them? Will he do all he can to publicise this fact and to bring about a better understanding between the police and motorists?
:I am anxious to do everything possible to further a better understanding between the police and not only the motorist but all members of the public. I think my hon. Friend will realise that in the last resort there is no way of bringing a person before the court except by arresting him.
Is the right hon. Gentleman really not aware that magistrates do not issue warrants unless someone asks for them, and will he look into the practice of the Metropolitan Police asking for warrants in cases that are perfectly absurd?
:No, Sir. If a summons is issued and repeatedly the person does not appear in court, the magistrate will, sooner or later, issue a warrant
Only if someone asks him to do so.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will authorise the publication of an evaluation of the effects of a nuclear attack on Great Britain, for the information of the general public as well as Civil Defence workers.
No, Sir. The effects of a nuclear attack would depend on so many variable factors that no single estimate that could be published would be of value.
Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a pamphlet, No. 1, issued by the Civil Defence, entitled "Nuclear Weapons", which gives a picture of these effects but which is far too technical for the general public to understand? Could not it be shortened and made less technical so that it could be issued to the general public as well?
That pamphlet is, of course, available to the general public if they want it. There is a much simplified version also on sale to the public which eliminates all the technical language.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the leaflet which has been mentioned there is a suggestion that every householder should get some bricks with which to brick upwindows? Will he give an assurance that these bricks will be available?
:I think there would be no difficulty in carrying out the simple advice given to householders, but the pamphlet makes it perfectly clear that this advice is of no value inside areas of complete devastation. It would only be helpful to householders to take these simple precautions if their houses were outside the area of devastation.
Approved School Housemasters (Allowances)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when it is proposed to award housemasters in approved schools the same extraneous duty allowances as are paid to educational staff.
This is a matter for the Standing Joint Advisory Committee for Staffs of Children's Homes, which is an independent negotiating body.
:That is the usual answer. The housemasters are very discontented with the present gap between their wages and the wages of the teaching staff. Will the hon. Lady do something about this matter in order to bring about conditions in which the housemasters can approach more nearly to the situation of the teachers?
The position is as I have stated. This is an independent negotiating body, and it would be inappropriate at this stage for my right hon. Friend to interfere.
Prisons (Welfare Officers)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has for increasing the number of welfare officers working in Her Majesty's prisons, and for more closely associating prison officers with welfare work.
I understand that the Central After-Care Association and the National Association of Discharged Prisoners' Aid Societies, who are responsible for the appointment of prison welfare officers, propose to appoint ten more officers during the next financial year. The Prison Officers' Association has recently submitted a memorandum on the role of the prison officer in a modern penal system. This was considered at a recent meeting of the Prison Department Whitley Council, which decided to set up a joint working party to study the proposals.
I am grateful for the hon. Lady's statement that a working party has been set up. Will the Home Office give every consideration to this most imaginative proposal from the Prison Officers' Association which could transform the whole atmosphere in the prison service?
We certainly realise the importance of this matter.
Election Counts (Television Cameras)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he has given to returning officers on the admission of television cameras to the count at the next General Election; and if he will make a statement.
:Last November my right hon. Friend issued a memorandum of guidance to returning officers on the question of admission to the count at Parliamentary elections, including the admission of representatives of the Press and broadcasting. Copies of the memorandum were placed in the Library of the House. He is not aware of any need for further guidance before a General Election.
Is it not a good thing that public interest in electoral processes should be stimulated? Will the hon. Gentleman therefore encourage returning officers to co-operate to the maximum extent with representatives of the B.B.C. and I.T.V.?
I have no doubt that that is in the mind of returning officers, but the matter is one for their discretion—and the premises in which the count takes place vary greatly from one part of the country to another.
Why was it that in the recent Luton by-election television was given preference at the expense of the Press? Could they be treated similarly?
I have seen reports to that effect. I have made inquiries from the returning officer, who was solely responsible for the count, and he has told me that representatives of the local Press and of one of the associations covering the national Press were given facilities to be present.
That is not good enough.
Miss Christine Keeler
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is now satisfied that all possible steps were taken by the Metropolitan Police to ensure that Miss Christine Keeler would be available to give evidence in the Edgecombe case; and if he will make a statement.
Will the Home Secretary answer the last part of the Question?
Miss Keeler gave evidence at the committal proceedings; she was bound over to give evidence at the trial and was due to appear in court on 14th March. She left the United Kingdom on 8th March. There is no power under existing law to prevent a prospective witness from leaving the country, or to compel him to return to the jurisdiction once he has left it.
:Can the right hon. Gentleman then explain how Miss Marilyn Rice-Davies was kept in the country? Is it not the case that at least a dozen questions were asked in public by the Sunday Citizen many weeks ago and that neither the right hon. Gentleman nor his Department has made any attempt to make public answers? If I send those questions to the right hon. Gentleman, will he undertake to give detailed replies in the OFFICIAL REPORT?
I am always ready to answer Questions put to me by hon. Members, but I am not under an obligation to answer questions by newspapers. Miss Rice-Davies was arrested at London Airport on a charge of suspected larceny, asI have told the House in great detail.
Committal Proceedings (Inquiry)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in the current inquiry into the nature and purpose of committal proceedings; and when the report may be expected.
:I have asked a number of interested persons and organisations to assist me by giving their views in answer to a detailed questionnaire on this matter. Several have already been good enough to send me full replies, butnot all have yet been able to do so, and I cannot yet say when the inquiry will be completed.
:Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is now over five years since the Tucker Committee on committal proceedings reported and nearly two years since the present inquiry was announced? How much longer must we wait before we have any possibility of fresh legislation?
I hope that the hon. and learned Member may be able to assist me. I understand that he is chairman of the Society of Labour Lawyers, which is one of the bodies which have not yet replied to my questionnaire
Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that over 18 months elapsed after the announcement of this inquiry before interested bodies were asked to produce their evidence?
As soon as I get in all this information, it will be possible for me to give it consideration and seek to reach conclusions. The replies that I have been getting up to now are somewhat contradictory.
Cardiff Prison (Psychiatric Treatment)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision is made in Cardiff Prison for psychiatric treatment to be available for prisoners in cases recommended by magistrates' courts for such special treatment.
:Prisoners thought to be in need of prolonged treatment may be sent to the special prison at Grendon or to psychiatric clinics in other prisons. Prisoners serving short sentences may be seen by a visiting psychiatrist, and arrangements can be made for them to undergo voluntary treatment at outside clinics on discharge from prison.
Is the Minister alleging that there is a regular psychiatric service at the prison? If so, can she tell me how often the visits are made?
The position is that the medical officer at the prison can prescribe visits of a psychiatrist, and in that case the psychiatrist will attend, as and when needed.
:Is the question of psychiatric treatment included in the investigation which is taking place into the prison medical service? When can we expect a report on that investigation?
There is a Question about that on the Order Paper.
:Should not penal establishments now have qualified psychiatrists in strength? Although the courts still hopefully say to prisoners, "Any treatment that you require you will get in prison", is it not the case that the number of qualified psychiatrists is quite inadequate to meet that which the judges and the courts hope the prisons will accomplish?
:This is a question that we have to face in the Health Service as a whole, but the hon. and learned Member will recognise that in the prison service at present we have an adequate psychiatric service and an adequate medical service.
:The hon. Lady is the only one who believes that.
That does not sound like a question.
Prisoners (Solitary Confinement)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are at present in solitary confinement for more than 28 days; and whether he will make regulations that solitary confinement shall not be extended for more than 28 days without his direct sanction in each case.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department for how long George Madsen has been kept in solitary confinement at Parkhurst.
:The number of prisoners segregated for more than 28 days is at present 63, of whom 61 are so treated at their own request. George Madsen, a dangerous professional criminal and a determined escaper, is one of the other two. He has been segregated under Rule 36 of the Prison Rules from 4th January, 1962, to 11th April, 1962: from 13th June 1962, to 25th September, 1962: and from 8th May, 1963, to the present time—on each occasion for planning or taking part in a break-out from prison. Only Visiting Committees, Boards of Visitors or senior officers of the Prison Department can authorise such segregation, and every case is subject to continuous scrutiny.
Is it not quite a monstrous state of affairs that a man should be kept in solitary confinement for such a length of time? Has not the moment come for the Home Secretary to reconsider the whole question of this soul-destroying punishment? No matter how criminal a man may be, can he possibly merit such soul-destroying punishment?
This is a matter of great concern to me. In fact, the words "solitary confinement" are perhaps misleading, because the prisoner is able to watch television for one and a half hours, six days a week, and he exercises with another prisoner. This is a very difficult prisoner. But what I have in mind is to consult the Board of Visitors with a view to transferring him to another prison, where he will be less isolated.
:Even though this prisoner appears to be difficult and tries to escape, is not it monstrous that a human being should be treated in this way? Can the right hon. Gentleman say what being kept in solitary confinement means? Is it true, as is alleged by George Madsen, that for months on end he was not even allowed to visit a lavatory? Can the right hon. Gentlemen say what are the conditions in which this prisoner is being kept?
He is kept in a cell by himself. He exercises with another prisoner and, as I say, he is able to watch television. Twice this man has been released from segregation and in each case he has taken advantage of that to plot a fresh break-out. I have a responsibility to protect the public from dangerous criminals.
Does the figure of 63, which the right hon. Gentleman quoted as the total number of men in solitary confinement, cover prisoners to whom Rule 36 is automatically applied as soon as they are received in prison if they are serving a sentence of more than five years?
As I explained, 61 of the 63 are segregated at their own request because they do not wish to associate with other prisoners. If the hon. Member has a more detailed Question perhaps he would be good enough to put it on the Order Paper.
:Will the right hon. Gentleman please answer my supplementary question more fully? He said that the prisoner was in solitary confinement. Will he say whether or not it is true that for months on end this man was not allowed to go to the lavatory?
I do not think that that is true, but I will certainly make inquiries.
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.
Betting And Gaming (Fruit Machines)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he will introduce legislation to amend the Betting and Gaming Act by increasing control of fruit machines in proprietory clubs and shops other than licensed premises; and whether he will make it obligatory on the owners of proprietory clubs to make a record of the disposal of profits.
:I am in consultation with the local authority associations on the question whether the law relating to the grant of permits for the provision of amusements with prizes, including gaming machines, in places to which the public have access requires improvement. But I am not contemplating any change in the law under which gaming machines may be installed in places to which the public do not have access provided that the proceeds are devoted to purposes other than private gain.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the police are having great difficulty in enforcing the law as it now stands, having been so recently revised by Parliament?
There arc certain difficulties. If my hon. Friend has any suggestions to make, I will gladly take them into consideration.
Is the Minister aware that the Betting and Gaming Act has unleashed a gambling craze all over the country which is doing us no good, to say the least? Will he consider setting up some impartial committee to consider the effects of that Act on the life of the nation?
The Betting and Gaming Act has achieved its first objective, which was to stop street betting. In my view, it would be much too early to embark on another general review of the situation, which is what the hon. Member is suggesting.
Premises, Wanstead (Police Search)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will investigate the circumstances in which two Metropolitan Police officers searched the residence of Mr. Laurence Bell's parents at Wanstead on 12th May last without a search warrant.
The Commissioner of Police informs me that consent to the search was obtained before it took place.
Is the Minister aware that the giving of that consent is completely and unequivocally denied by the parents of this man? Would he not agree that it is a most dangerous and undesirable practice for police officers to pretend that they have a search warrant when they have not one at all?
:There was no question of pretending that they had a search warrant. The man concerned was informed that it was intended to search the room. He raised no objection and his room was searched, with the consent of his mother. The question of the searching of this room was examined during the trial at the Central Criminal Court and no unfavourable comment was made by the Court on the action taken by the police.
Unlicensed Clubs (Fire Precautions)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will take powers to secure control, through the local authorities, of the means of escape from unlicensed clubs in the case of fire.
:My right hon. Friend has under consideration legislative proposals designed to strengthen the control of local authorities over fire precautions in residential establishments and places of resort generally, including unlicensed clubs.
But when is this legislation coming forward? Is the Minister aware that in my own town of Oldham—where I think the situation is typical—there are four clubs each attracting 800 people each night and that the premises are totally outside any fire precaution arrangements? Is not it overwhelmingly urgent that the necessary precautions should be taken quickly?
I agree with the hon. Gentleman about the urgency of this matter, but it is an intricate one in which we are in consultation with the local authorities associations and I cannot enter into a commitment about the date of legislation.
Criminal Law Revision Committee (Reports)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he accepts the recommendations contained in the Third and Fourth Reports of the Criminal Law Revision Committee.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Her Majesty's Government intend to introduce legislation to give effect to the recommendations of the Third and Fourth Reports of the Criminal Law Revision Committee dealing respectively with the order of closing speeches in trials on indictment, the substitution of a new form of verdict for the verdict Guilty but insane, and the creation of a right of appeal against a finding of unfitness to plead.
I am not yet in a position to make a statement.
Can my right hon. Friend say whether the implementation of the recommendations would need legislation?
Yes. I think that in each case it would need legislation.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how long it will take him on this occasion to arrive at a perfectly simple decision?
These matters are not so simple as they seem. When a Reportlike this has been published, it is valuable to give some opportunity for public opinion, including legal opinion, to play on the matter.
Is it not the case that a distinguished Committee has made recommendations for these two reforms in the criminal law which are very important in the administration of justice? Where the Home Secretary is in the presence of a unanimous opinion of this kind, is not it vital to get on with the process of introducing legislation, or once more is this to be one of those matters which are left for private Members to accomplish?
:I would remind the hon. and learned Member that it was I who took the initiative in referring both these questions to the Criminal Law Revision Committee, a body for which I have the greatest respect. I would have thought that it would be carrying things a bit far to say that there must be immediate legislation on the Report of a Committee such as this before people have had time to study it carefuly and to say whether or not they agree with it.
Greek Royal Visit (Incidents)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how soon he expects to receive the report of the special inquiry into the circumstances in which various people were charged with offences alleged to have been committed during the Greek Royal visit; and if he will make an oral statement on this matter before the Christmas Recess.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will order a public inquiry into the circumstances in which certain persons were charged by the Metropolitan Police in connection with the State visit of Queen Frederika last July.
The Commissioner of Police has instituted a special inquiry by a senior officer into the facts of certain cases in which persons were arrested on 11th July for being in possession of offensive weapons. I expect to receive a report in the near future, and after I have done so I will make a further statement.
Can I take it that this means a further oral statement, since the right hon. Gentleman will not be reached at Question Time until February?
Can I also ask in this connection whether he will at least publish that Report, or else consider an independent public inquiry for which there is now very strong pressure, as he must be aware? Can he also say whether the detective sergeant, who is now said to be mentally ill, was responsible for many other convictions before this particular series?
The detective concerned undoubtedly wore himself out with overwork. He is now not said to be mentally ill—he is mentally ill. I hope that the hon. Member will not press me to answer his further question as to what subsequent action I shall take, until I have received the Report. I am anxious to keep Parliament fully informed.
:Since it is believed that there are at least eight other cases in which this detective-sergeant was involved, regarding which people are still serving sentences in Wormwood Scrubs and Pentonville, and since in another case three other officers were involved and, in any case, there were officers who witnessed and condoned these events, is it not quite clear that we shall get the true facts only through a public inquiry which will make it manifest to the public exactly what happened? After all, the rights and liberties of the public are very much involved in this really scandalous affair.
There are, in fact, eight cases now being inquired into. I deprecate the allegation that experienced police officers are not capable of drawing up an objective and thoroughgoing report on what has been done by their subordinates. When I receive this Report, I will consider whether it is necessary for me to take further action.
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there is very considerable public disquiet about this series of incidents? The public will not be satisfied unless either there is an independent inquiry or the Home Secretary gives an assurance that when he receives the report for which he has asked it will be published and the House will have an opportunity of discussing what is in it?
I am very anxious to keep Parliament fully informed, but the hon. Member must not press me to make a further statement about what I will do when I receive a report which I have not yet seen.
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter again.
Advisory Committee On After Care (Report)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about his intention with respect to his Advisory Committee's Report on After Care.
I would refer the hon. Member to my reply on 18th November to a Question by the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock).
:Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is perhaps one of the most important things he could do in the next few months? When a man comes out of prison, without a home, without friends and without money, unless there is adequate aftercare he soon finds his way back to prison. How soon is the right hon. Gentleman to introduce these changes?
I agree with the hon. Lady that this is an extremely important Report. I am very glad to have the opportunity of thanking the whole of the Committee, especially the members of the sub-committee, who gave so much time to this subject. I entirely share her view that we ought to be giving more consideration to the problem of seeking to save those who have been discharged from prison from getting back into prison. I am hoping to make an early announcement. The matter would be somewhat easier for me had there not been a minority report which I must also take into consideration.
Crimes Of Violence (Compensation For Victims)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will introduce legislation to compensate the victims of crimes of violence.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish as a White Paper Her Majesty's Government's proposals for the payment of compensation to the victims of crimes of violence.
The Government intend to publish their proposals in a White Paper this Session.
Can the Home Secretary tell the House whether the rather ambiguous words in the Queen's Speech mean that there will be a comprehensive scheme for compensating victims of crime and whether public money is going into a compensation fund? How soon does he expect to introduce a Bill on this matter? Is he aware that three times in the last four years there have been Private Members' Bills introduced on this subject from this side of the House—each time he has resisted them—and it is time some action was taken by the Government?
:I am anxious to lose no time. A White Paper will be published as soon as possible, but I cannot give the date. The Government hope that it will be possible to devise a scheme which can be brought into operation quickly without legislation.
:Are we to understand from his statement that the Home Secretary does not now intend to introduce legislation on this matter? Is he aware that that will be a great disappointment to many people, including those who were at the recent Conservative Party conference and were led to believe by his speech there that he would introduce legislation. Can he give in general terms some idea of the basis of the scheme? Will the compensation be on a weekly basis or lump sum payments? If so, on what basis and by whom will it be administered? Will it be by an independent compensation board?
I do not think there will be disappointment when hon. Members and the general public see the White Paper. I ask the hon. Member to await that. I am thinking in terms of an experimental non-statutory scheme which might provide a basis for legislation later.
When my right hon. Friend has prepared these proposals, will he take the most generous view he can, because this covers an issue which many of us have been advocating for more than 16 years and we want to see the action to be satisfactory when it appears?
I said that I hoped to be the Home Secretary who might introduce action on these lines. I hope to introduce a White Paper which will be the subject of debate so that we can get opinions from all parts of the House.
Bingo Halls (Fire Precautions)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what replies he has sent to the letters he has received from the East Ham County Borough Council and other local authorities, suggesting amendments to the law to give powers to enforce fire precautions in premises used for playing bingo similar to those exercised in respect of cinemas and theatres.
:The local authorities in question have been told that the Government have examined the existing law relating to residential establishments and places of resort, such as clubs, and have concluded that it needs to be strengthened and rationalised. They have also been told that it is proposed to discuss with the local government associations and other interested bodies the form that suitable amending legislation might take.
May I once again ask the Government to show some signs of urgency? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Gaumont Cinema in East Ham High Street, when it became a bingo hall, was subject to extensive alterations? Seating was taken across the gangway and the conditions there now would have been illegal when it was a cinema, but it is now in operation as a bingo club. This is repeated in many areas. It is leading to danger, particularly in the event of fire. Will the hon. Gentleman do something quickly?
I am aware of the kind of difficulties to which the hon. Member draws attention. These are among the reasons why, as I told the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Mapp), this is an intricate problem which we regard as urgent and we cannot commit ourselves to introducing a report until we have consulted the local authority associations and other interests.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken to find out where and from whom an 18-year-old girl, described in a case heard at the Old Bailey on 25th and 28th October, 1963, as addicted to violence and a worshipper of Hitler, obtained the guns that were in her possession at the time of her death; and if he will make a statement on the result of these inquiries.
:I understand that she had one pistol in her possession at the time of her death, which had been lent to her by the man who was convicted of her manslaughter.
Children And Young Persons Act
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which Sections of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1963, have so far been brought into force; and when he intends to bring into operation the remaining provisions of the Act.
Sections 1, 14 and 15, 45 to 49, 54 to 56, 58 to 65 (save for subsection (2) of Section 64), and the related provisions in Schedules 3 and 5, were brought into operation on 1st October last. I intend to bring the remainder of Parts I and III (and the related provisions in the Schedules) into force early in 1964. I cannot yet be sure when it will be possible to bring Part II into force.
:Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the nature of his Answer shows the obscurity of his policy? How is it possible for anybody to know how much of this Act is in force and what the law is? This Act of Parliament was passed unanimously by this House. Is it not rather an abuse of the right hon. Gentleman's prerogative so arbitrarily to select bits of it to be brought into force? Why not bring the rest of the Act into force; that would not cost any money?
If the hon. Member examined Statutory Instrument 1561, made on 12th September last—he has had plenty of time to do so—he could see exactly what is in force already. I consider that I have been very expeditious in getting forward with the bringing of this Act into operation. I want to bring the remaining Sections into operation as soon as I can.
Does the Home Secretary know that we are fully aware of what is in operation but that we are rather concerned about the parts of the Act which are not yet in operation? Is he aware that by 1964 the Act will have been passed for nearly a year and the Government will be getting credit for these things which probably will not be put into operation before the Government go out of office?
I think the Government will be in office in plenty of time to bring this into operation.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children in the care of local authorities have been sent overseas under emigration schemes where the parents or guardians had indicated their opposition when consulted under the provisions of the Children Act. 1948.
Since the Children Act, 1948, came into force the Secretary of State has given his consent, despite the objection of a parent, to proposals for the emigration of children in five cases, one concerning a family of five children. Two of these cases were under emigration schemes.
:Is the Minister aware that many members of the public have been concerned when reading in the Press about these cases and very concerned that such cases can take place? Will the Minister, undertake a review of this type of incident, which is most unsatisfactory?
I should have thought from the figures I have given that it is true to say that this permission is asked only in very rare cases. My right hon. Friend has given permission only in those cases after very extensive consideration of the factors involved.
Is it not most unsatisfactory that these cases should take place?
This is embodied in the 1948 Act and this continues the regulation which was in previous Acts.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the net influx of Commonwealth immigrants for the period 1st July to 30th September, 1963, as compared with the corresponding period of 1962.
It was 24,117, compared with 6,048 in the same period in 1962.
Do not these figures indicate the rising tempo of arrivals and the fact that net immigration is running at a rate of over 90,000 a year, which is higher than the average for the three years preceding the Commonwealth Immigrants Act? Can she give an assurance that the Act will be properly implemented by severely restricting arrivals in the future?
I remind my hon. Friend that we shall be debating this subject very fully in the near future. I think that these are the sort of points which are better made in debate than in Question and Answer.
:Will my hon. Friend assure the House that all these immigrants have fulfilled the requirements laid down by the Act that they should be seen before they come into this country?
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the net influx of Commonwealth immigrants, excluding those from Australia, Canada and New Zealand for the period 1st July to 30th September 1963, as compared with the corresponding period of 1962.
It was 23,131, compared with 9,150 in the same period in 1962.
While thanking my hon. Friend for that Answer, may I ask her whether attention has been drawn to the recent book by F. A. McClintock entitled "Crimes of Violence" which shows that Irish and Commonwealth immigrants are responsible for 33 per cent, of all attacks on the police and over 20 per cent, of all public fights? Will these factors please be taken into consideration when further action is being considered about the implementation of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act?
I can assure my hon. Friend that all relevant factors will be taken into consideration.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what liaison exists between his Department and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in respect of the power of local authorities to grant or refuse permission for the provision of paraffin-vending machines.
:The Ministry have been informed by the Home Office that local authorities who have inquired have been told that my right hon. Friend has no plans for statutory control of the sale of paraffin from these machines.
Do I understand that only one Ministry has any kind of relationship to this problem? Is he aware that among some authorities it is an important problem? Can he clarify the position a little more?
The application in the case which the hon. Member I am sure has in mind was for planning permission, and it was therefore dealt with by the Ministry of Housing. But when the Ministry drew our attention to the appeal in this case, we informed the Minister of Housing that the Home Secretary was aware of no sufficient evidence to justify control of such machines under safety legislation and it therefore rested with the Ministry of Housing alone.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the successful experiments in other European countries, he will consider retaining Summer Time throughout the year.
This is a possibility which is kept under review but my right hon. Friend has no immediate proposal for legislation.
Is my hon. Friend aware that despite the fact that it may be a misnomer to speak of summertime in our climate, nevertheless I have had a surprising amount of correspondence since I tabled this Question, and that the vast majority of my correspondents are very much in favour of introducing Summer Time throughout the year? Will he not do his best to cast a little light at the end of our days?
This is a matter on which, as my hon. Friend knows, there are divided opinions. Out of over 170 organisations which we have consulted on this matter, roughly 80 favoured going over to mid-European time but others had objection to it. Hon. Members will see that there are differences of opinion. We prefer at the moment to continue with the limited experiment of a three weeks' extension.
Undesirable Magazines And Films
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has initiated with the appropriate authorities to consider further steps to prohibit undesirable magazines and films from entering this country.
:The Customs authorities have powers to seize indecent or obscene articles and have used them in the past three years to seize many thousands of paper back novels and magazines. These are matters over which the Home Office and the Board of Customs and Excise are constantly in touch.
:Will my right hon. Friend now deal with the other part of my Question? May I have an assurance that no film dealing with the life of Miss Keeler will be allowed to be shown in this country?
The answer to the latter part of the Question would depend on whether the film was obscene. A few films were seized both in 1962 and in 1963.
Chancellor Of The Duchy Of Lancaster
asked the Prime Minister what are the Departmental responsibilities of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
asked the Prime Minister what duties he has assigned to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
asked the Prime Minister what are the official responsibilities of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; and who will be responsible for answering questions in the House of Commons on matters for which he is responsible.
It has not been customary to detail the functions discharged by senior Ministers who have no Departmental duties. The Duchy is not a Government Department and has no Vote. It has nevertheless been the practice to accept Questions put down to the Chancellor about those aspects of the Duchy administration which parallel the work of Government Departments. Such Questions will be answered by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General.
While thanking the Prime 'Minister for that illuminating reply, may I ask him whether it means that he has no objection to the next Government appointing the Chief Executive of Transport House to the Government payroll?
It depends what the next Government is. When the hon. Member says that the reply was illuminating, I would point out that it was almost exactly identical with that made by Lord Attlee in similar circumstances.
Is the Prime Minister aware that, although he may be uncertain, there is no doubt on this side of the House that we shall win the next election? Does he not understand that there is a great feeling outside the House that it is rather disgraceful that the Chairman of the Conservative Party should not only be given a peerage on a plate but should also be given a job of this character, and that many people regard this as bordering on the corrupt?
Peerages on a plate are rather a sensitive subject for me. I do not think that the hon. Member need worry at all. My right hon. Friend takes a full part in all Government business and a full part in the other place.
Is the Prime Ministeraware that, while we may have two different views about who will win the next election, we regard it as wrong to appoint a practically full-time party chairman to the Government payroll? The right hon. Gentleman has two Ministers on the Government pay-roll who are doing Conservative Party work—the Minister Without Portfolio, who does Conservative Party propaganda, and the Chairman of the Conservative Party, in another place. Does he not feel that it is quite unwarrantable to put these charges on the taxpayer?
What the right hon. Gentleman may feel in certain circumstances is an academic question. I have taken these steps, and I am perfectlysatisfied that my right hon. Friend takes a full part in the work of the Government and in another place. That is my answer.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is simply a difference of standards between his side of the House and ours?
asked the Prime Minister if he will introduce legislation to establish a head of the judiciary divorced from Government responsibilities.
Can the right hon. Gentleman explain in what capacity the Lord Chancellor appeared on the platform at the Tory Party conference in October? Will he say in what capacity the noble Lord addressed the German judges a few months ago, a speech in which he made a violent attack on the Leader of the Opposition in this House? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that this is the way to teach German judges the impartiality of the judiciary?
:Ts the hon. Gentleman making an attack on the conduct of a Member of another House? If so, it would be a matter requiring a substantive Motion.
I am asking a question of the Prime Minister, Sir, and I should very much like an answer to it.
It is a serious point of order here. I was asking the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) to explain whether or no he was making an attack upon the conduct of a Member of the other House. If he is, it would require another form of procedure.
:I am simply making a comment, Mr. Speaker. I am asking for information. [Hon. Members: "No."] I am making a comment and, if need be, an attack on a member of Her Majesty's Government. Surely that is in order?
I think that on that answer I would have to say that what the hon. Member is seeking to urge does require a substantive Motion.
:On a point of order. Surely, once a Question has been admitted to the Order Paper in this form it cannot be an attack to comment on what took place and on what the Lord Chancellor said? This surely would be an unwarranted defence of a functionary of the Government?
:I do not defend anybody at all. I simply defend the rules of the House. The Question as tabled is in order. What I think does require a substantive Motion and is not in order as a question is the supplemental question.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should very much like some clarity on this issue. In the course of my supplementary question I made what I thought was an attack or a Minister of the Crown. Surely I am entitled to do that. I should like guidance as to which rule of order indicates that such a question, made as an attack on z member of Her Majesty's Government, is out of order.
The difficulty about it is that I do not know in which capacity the noble Lord was engaged in these activities, whether he was acting as a member of the Government or not acting as i member of the Government—[Interruption] No, this is quite complicated. 1 do not know whether he was acting a; Lord Chancellor, whether as a Member of the other place, or where the attack is directed. [Interruption.] Order. The hon. Gentleman asked me to explain. I have the difficulty that I have a duty to protect Members of the other House. whether they are Ministers or no, from attacks on their personal conduct. That is why I was asking the hon. Member for Fife, West what form the attack took. On the answer that the hon. Gentleman gave me I thought it was one that required under our rules a substantive Motion.
:Further to that point of order. I thought that I had made it clear in my supplementary question that I was asking the Prime Minister, first in what capacity the Lord Chancellor appeared on the platform at the Tory Party conference, and, secondly, in what capacity he addressed the German judges.
I would not back myself at the moment to remember whether the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question did not go on in some form of comment, because it was the comment that attracted my attention. Having heard what the hon. Gentleman now says and in great hope that we may not consume Question Time with points of order, I would allow that part of the supplementary question which consisted of asking the Prime Minister in what capacity the noble Lord did these things.
I think in the usual way; the Lord Chancellor attends party conferences, as I understand it, as a member of the Government, but he does not take part in the discussions.
And in Germany?
:Will the Prime Minister now answer the second part of my supplementary question? In what capacity did the Lord Chancellor address the German judges?
The Lord Chancellor was on a tour on behalf of the British Council, meeting various people under the auspices of the British Council, which I think is a perfectly proper thing to do, talking about matters which are his proper concern in this country. As I understand it, a speech had been made by the Leader of the Opposition which seemed to suggest that a Conservative Government—[Interruption.] I know that he has tried to explain the speech, but it seemed to suggest that a Conservative Government might be tempted to tamper with the judiciary. The Lord Chancellor thought it right to answer that.
:First, if the Prime Minister seeks to bring me into it, will he read my speech first and quote it properly in the House? Secondly, since this matter has been raised, will the right hon. Gentleman explain why a Lord Chancellor going abroad in his judicial capacity under the aegis of the British Council, speaking in his judicial capacity to German judges and lawyers, should make a party political speech? Will he also explain why right hon. Members opposite cannot do as we do and keep party politics for this country and not for other countries?
:Of course, I have done the right hon. Gentleman the honour of reading his speech. Perhaps I might quote what he said:
Either that is blatant party politics, of which the right hon. Gentleman complains, or by implication the Prime Minister of Britain is interfering with the judiciary."There is widespread public concern, not least in responsible organs of the Conservative Press, that Mr. Macmillan does not have the regard which his office demands for that rigid distinction between the Executive and the independent judiciary which is the foundation of British liberties."
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition does not observe that another right hon. Gentleman behind him is rising to a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, as you have just ruled that it is inappropriate or out of order for hon. Members to criticise members of the other House, might we not have reciprocal treatment from members of the other House in regard to the Leader of the Opposition or members of the Opposition?
Let us not get involved in all these points of order. The Leader of the Opposition was on his feet seeking to ask some question, I believe.
Yes, Sir. Since the Prime Minister wants to pursue this, is he aware—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I did not bring my name into this. The Prime Minister did. Is the Prime Minister aware that, though he regards this as a party political speech on my part—and it was made at a political meeting—it was at any rate done in this country, and it was not done under any false pretences of being a judicial or non-political speech?
If I may say so with great respect to the right hon. Gentleman, when he makes a speech in this country he ought to consider its repercussions abroad.
Order. I am sure that the House would like to make better progress with Questions.
asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint an independent inquiry to examine the cost of the TRS2 programme in relation to Britain's defence needs.
:In view of the very large proportion of our defence resources which the Minister of Defence informed the House last year this project was likely to pre-empt, and as the only independent authority which has been allowed to examine the project, namely, the Conservative Government of Australia, rejected this weapon on both military and economic grounds in favour of a comparable American aircraft, does not the Prime Minister feel that it would be wise to settle one way or the other the doubts which have arisen about this project, both inside and outside the Services, by appointing an independent inquiry to consider it?
Ido not want the hon. Gentleman or the House to be denied any facts. Any information which could be given to an independent inquiry could equally well be given to the House, so I would prefer it to be done in that way.
Is it not a fact that much of the electrical equipment and many of the black boxes in this machine and also the engine itself have applications in other directions and in other parts of the industry? Is it not also the fact that the aircraft industry is a leader industry in this country and its continued support is vital for the technological advancement of the nation?
My hon. Friend is right. I have said that any information which would properly be given to an independent inquiry could be given to the House, though there is certain information which could not be disclosed either to an independent inquiry or to the House.
:With respect, is it not the case that, so far, no facts have been given to the House about costs, about the progress of the aircraft or even about the date on which it is expected to go into squadron service, except only in the most general and vague terms? Is it not also a fact that the Ministry of Defence and other Service Ministries have often set up independent inquiries of responsible persons who have been given information which possibly, and rightly, was not able to be given to the House? I have in mind the Nye Committee which inquired into the administration of the War Office. Why is it not possible to set up a similar committee in this case?
As I said, I do not think that any facts that could be given to an independent inquiry could not also easily be given to the House. If we come to debate these matters I shall have no wish to conceal any facts that can properly be given. As to the cost of an aircraft or weapons of this kind, I do not think that such details are ever disclosed, for clearly if countries overseas know the cost they can calculate, for example, the number of aircraft we have.
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, 25TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Housing Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.
And, in view of their urgency, we shall ask the House to take the remaining stages of the Kenya Independence, the
Zanzibar, and the Bahama Islands (Constitution) Bills.
TUESDAY, 26TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Police Bill.
Motion on the Summertime Order.
WEDNESDAY, 27TH NOVEMBER—Committee and remaining stages of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill.
THURSDAY, 28TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Electricity and Gas Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.
Motion on the Judicial Offices (Salaries) Order.
FRIDAY, 29TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Navy, Army and Air Force Reserves Bill.
Committee and remaining stages of the Nigeria Republic Bill.
MONDAY, 2ND DECEMBER—The proposed business will be: Second Reading of the Air Corporations Bill, and Committee stage of the Money Resolution.
On Monday's business, is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the proposal to take after the Housing Bill the remaining stages of the Kenya Independence, the Zanzibar and the Bahama Islands (Constitution) Bills, in view of the urgency of these matters, meets with no objection to taking them at a late hour? We appreciate that they must be got through.What arrangements are being made for a two-day debate—and it must be a debate of two days—on the distribution of industry, with particular reference to the two White Papers on the North-East Coast and Scotland?
I am grateful for what the right hon. Gentleman has said about Monday's business. We are in some difficulty because of the dates which have been fixed for the independence of these countries.We are discussing through the usual channels the second part of the right hon. Member's question and hope to be able to arrange for a debate to take place during the week after the week for which I have announced business.
Is there any prospect in the near future of our being able to discuss the Denning Report?
All I can say is, not next week.
In view of the importance of the White Paper which was issued yesterday on the official status of the Welsh language—[Laughter.] The people v/ill hear that laughter in Wales; I will see to that—and in view of the complete absence of any reference to Wales in the White Paper, will we have an opportunity soon to discuss this official statement?
I would like an opportunity of talking to the hon. Member about that.
Will the Committee stage of the Police Bill be taken on the Floor of the House or upstairs?
It will be taken upstairs.
:Will the Leader of the House consult his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister about the practice of transferring Questions addressed to the Prime Minister to other Ministers? Could he ascertain from his right hon. Friend whether the Prime Minister vets the Questions himself; whether he looks at them and comes to a conclusion about whether or not they should be addressed to him?
Am I in order, Mr. Speaker?
As far as I heard the right hon. Gentleman, entirely, but I am not sure that I heard all that he said.
:I was asking the Leader of the House to consult with the Prime Minister to ascertain whether the Prime Minister vets Questions himself, or whether someone does it for him and, the Questions having been looked at, there is any interference with the privilege of hon. Members.
There was a Question to my right hon. Friend on the Order Paper today on this matter. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will await the Answer, which will be contained in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Surely I am entitled to ask a question. Why must I wait until I read the Answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT, whereupon I shall not be able to put a supplementary question?
I cannot make Ministers answer Questions if they do not want to.
:Taking into account the nation-wide interest in the question of televising Parliament, will my right hon. and learned Friend consult the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and arrange for the House to have a discussion first, and simply, on the technical aspects of this problem?
This is certainly a matter in which many hon. Members on both sides of the House are very interested and I am now seeking to obtain their views on it. I will also consider my hon. Friend's suggestion.
:Is the Leader of the House aware that the Housing Bill changes the law of Scotland far more than it does the law of England and Wales, and that it contains one Schedule of 20 pages affecting Scotland? Will he consult the Secretary of State and make arrangements for a Scottish Minister to speak in the debate on Monday, and, if possible, to have the Scottish Schedule at least referred to the Scottish Grand Committee?
:I am not sure that I agree with what the hon. Member has said, but I will certainly discuss his remarks with my right hon. Friend.
If there is to be a debate on Government assistance to the development areas, with particular reference to the White Papers on Scotland and the North-East, as mentioned in the Gracious Speech, will my right hon. Friend make sure that the Motion is widely enough drafted to cover Northern Ireland?
I will certainly consider what my hon. Friend has said.
:Is the Leader of the House aware that one Schedule in the Police Bill, covering 10 pages and more than 20 paragraphs, deals with Scotland alone and transforms the law of Scotland on the basis of legislation by reference? Since this will be an exceedingly difficult part of the Bill with which to deal, will the Leader of the House put the Schedule into a separate Bill and deal with the matter separately for Scotland?
No, Sir. I think that it is too late to do that.
Can we expect a new Royal Warrant next week on regular Service widows' pre-1958 pensions in view of the fact that the winter is approaching and that we want these pensions to be raised without further delay?
Not next week.
Will the Leader of the House consider making an early statement, perhaps jointly with you, Mr. Speaker, about the possibility of setting up a Press cuttings service for hon. Members?
As I have told the hon. Member, I will certainly consider what he said recently during an Adjournment debate.
:Despite the discussion we had during the debate on the Gracious Speech, can my right hon. and learned Friend say whether any time will be given in the near future for a debate on the Robbins Report, the Newsom Report and the Report of the Trend Committee on Civil Science—and, as I have just heard an hon. Member say, on the Jennings report, too?
I have no doubt that that is a matter that will be discussed through the usual channels.
Will the Leader of the House consider making a statement at this time next week about the possibility of setting up an Accommodation Committee? Will he bear in mind that just before the Summer Recess we had a debate in which it was demonstrated that Sir William Holford's plans for Bridge Street would have to receive the consideration of the House to ensure that we got the sort of accommodation we wanted? Will he also bear in mind that the proximity of a General Election might make hon. Gentlemen opposite the principal beneficiaries of any extra accommodation?
I have already had some conversations with hon. Gentlemen on this matter, without any forecasts included in them, and I will consider the hon. Gentleman's suggestion.
:Will my right hon. and learned Friend try to find time in the near future for a discussion of the perfectly appalling building which the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors proposes to erect in Parliament Square?
I will consider what my hon. Friend has said.
Will the Leader of the House try to find time to discuss the cinematograph industry, and the serious state of British film production at present; and also the future of the British Film Finance Corporation?
I will consider that matter, too.
:Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman reconsider the questions put by my hon. Friends the Members of Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) and Motherwell (Mr. Lawson)? There is a growing practice of adding to United Kingdom Bills the Scottish interpretation, and it becomes ridiculous when it takes a Schedule of 20 pages to enable that to be done? Is it that the Scottish Ministers are now becoming afraid of the Scottish Members in the Scottish Grand Committee? Would it not be possible for the Leader of the House to agree to meet a deputation, to see whether we cannot do something about this, and at least get the Scottish parts of the Bills sent to a Scottish Committee?
I will gladly meet any hon. Members who want to talk about the matter, and will go into it myself.