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Business Of The House

Volume 229: debated on Thursday 22 July 1993

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3.30 pm

Will the Leader of the House state the business for the first week after the recess?

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons(Mr. Tony Newton)

Yes, Madam. The business for the first week after the summer Adjournment will be as follows:

MONDAY 18 OCTOBER AND TUESDAY 19 OCTOBER—There will be a debate on a Government motion to approve the Defence Estimates 1993 (CM 2270).

WEDNESDAY 20 OCTOBER—Opposition Day (19th allotted day). There will be—a debate on an Opposition motion; subject to be announced.

THURSDAY 21 OCTOBER—Proceedings on the European Economic Area Bill [Lords].

FRIDAY 22 OCTOBER—There will be a debate on Northern Ireland issues on a motion for the Adjournment of the House.

It may be for the convenience of the House to know that my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be delivering his Budget statement—the first unified Budget statement, setting out the Government's tax and spending proposals together—on Tuesday 30 November.

I thank the Leader of the House for his answer, and in particular for giving notice of the date of the Budget.

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will recall that he was pressed last week, I think by members of all parties, for a statement to be made on assisted area status before the House rises for the summer recess. I am sure that he has not forgotten, and I hope that he has ensured that his colleagues have not forgotten, either.

I am not sure whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware of the very strong rumours that it has already been decided that the Local Government Commission may not proceed with a structural review of further tranches of local authorities once it has completed the first tranche on which it is presently engaged. Does he recognise that it would be extremely serious if Ministers encouraged the commission to take such a step, or if Ministers decided that the commission should take such a step, especially because, as I understand it, the timetable for the review of local authority ward boundaries, which are the basic building blocks of our democracy throughout local government and parliamentary and Euro-constituencies, would be reviewed only following the tranches which are already being dealt with on a structural basis?

It could mean that only Labour areas would have their structure reviewed, that only Labour areas in the first tranche would have their basic ward boundaries reviewed. Having had experience of the way in which the Government have blatantly gerrymandered local government boundaries in Wales and Scotland, none of my hon. Friends can be filled with confidence that it would be a sound way of dealing with the issue.

I therefore hope that the Leader of the House recognises that it is absolutely essential that we have a statement before the House rises if the Government have made such a decision, and that it would be an outrage if such a decision waited until the parliamentary recess.

We are pleased that the Leader of the House has given us the date of the unified Budget, but I remind him of the strong concern that we have repeatedly expressed about the failure to schedule a proper public expenditure debate this year. Members of all parties will want to ensure that, whatever procedures are adopted for debating the unified Budget and consequent economic measures, no time is lost to the House for a debate on economic issues as a whole.

In answer to the first of the right hon. Lady's three questions, I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry is well aware of the need to make a statement on the assisted area map. I believe that he assured the House yesterday that he expects to make a statement before the recess.

Secondly, I assure the right hon. Lady that there is no question of abandoning the local government review process. My right hon. Friend is considering ways of improving the review procedure in the light of the work of the Local Government Commission so far. The objective remains the same, to secure an effective local government structure responsive to local needs, and I am sure that my right hon. Friend neither intends nor expects to do what the right hon. Lady, with uncharacteristic acerbity, described as gerrymandering, of which I have seen no suggestion. I shall bring to my right hon. Friend's attention the request for a statement.

Thirdly, I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for welcoming my announcement about the unified Budget, which, although it was no more than a confirmation of what my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee yesterday, was evidently helpful to the House. I note what the right hon. Lady said about timings. She will know that the Procedure Committee expects to make recommendations, and obviously we shall consider those with great care.

In view of the fact that a great European city and a recognised independent nation are on the verge of extinction, will my right hon. Friend arrange for the Foreign Secretary to make a statement to the Hosue tomorrow on what Her Majesty's Government intend to do to ensure that United Nations resolutions are properly imposed?

Once again, I pay tribute to my hon. Friend's persistent interest in such matters, which does him great credit, but I cannot immediately promise him the statement that he seeks. However, I can point out to him that you, Madam Speaker, have said that no less than three hours will be available to debate the situation in the former Yugoslavia during the Consolidated Fund debates next Monday.

Will the Leader of the House tell us what changes would be made to the business of the House in the first week after the recess if the Government lost the second vote, or indeed both votes, at the end of the debate on the motion tonight? As, despite the request yesterday by my right hon. Friend the leader of the Liberal Democrat party, the Prime Minister has refused to reveal what legal advice has been given to the Government, and has also refused to tell the House what the Government believe the legal requirements on them are, will the Leader of the House, at least, practise open government and tell us what the parliamentary options are, both before we go on holiday and when we come back?

The hon. Gentleman seems to be anticipating the debate that we are about to have. I could do no more than repeat what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said both last Tuesday and last Thursday, which I thought was absolutely clear.

May I remind my right hon. Friend, in the kindliest terms that I can summon, that it is now over a year since the Jopling Committee reported? It is perhaps understandable that while we were debating Maastricht that subject could not be considered, but if it is still impossible for the Government to make recommendations, would it not be possible for the Committee's recommendations to be put to the House so that, for the benefit both of the Government and of the Opposition hon. Members could express their views on how much of the report should be acted upon, and in what way?

In my experience, there is no one more capable of being kindly than my right hon. Friend. and I am grateful for the way in which he put his question. He will know that I have been having further discussions with the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett). I cannot now pre-empt the outcome of that further consideration, but I note what my right hon. Friend has said, which is in effect a request for a debate soon after we return from the recess.

I endorse the request by the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South (Mr. Cormack) for a statement on the situation in Bosnia.

If the Leader of the House cannot give us a date on which the House will be permitted to debate the report of the royal commission on criminal justice, can he at least give us an undertaking that we shall be permitted to debate that report, as the rest of the nation has already done?

I cannot add to what I said to my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire, South about the position in former Yugoslavia, except to draw the attention of the hon. Member for Sunderland, South. too, to the debate due to take place on Monday.

With regard to the royal commission, as I have said before on such occasions, the right course is for the Government to consider the report and to decide how to proceed. Obviously, that must include consideration of a possible debate.

Will my right hon. Friend give us an idea of when we will debate the Sheehy report? May I have an assurance that it will be fully debated before any action is taken? It is essential to put that message across to the police forces of this country because some of them have the idea that we are going to implement the report lock, stock and barrel, and nothing could be further from the truth.

The answer to that is very much the same as it was to the hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin). The royal commission report and the Sheehy report are not reports by the Government or conclusions of the Government. They are reports to the Government which the Government can, should and will carefully consider.

May we have an assurance that the House will be recalled if the situation in the former Yugoslavia deteriorates to the extent that an internationally recognised country is finally erased with the immense suffering that that will entail for the Muslims, particularly in view of the fact that the Government have consistently misrepresented the view of the military both in Britain and at NATO about the feasibility of effective action in that country?

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will understand when I say that I would not accept his suggestion that my right hon. Friends have made persistent misrepresentations of the kind he suggests—

The hon. Gentleman makes that judgment; I do not accept it. It seems to me that that is the kind of point that the hon. Gentleman might seek to develop in the debate to which I have already referred twice.

I know that the Government are sympathetic to the idea put forward by Unionist Northern Ireland Members of Parliament about the creation of a Select Committee on Northern Ireland. Can the Leader of the House find time for a debate on that important matter in the near future?

Has the Leader of the House had a moment to reflect on the worrying and delicate issues encapsulated in early-day motion 2352?

[That this House, noting recent publicity about Stella Rimington, Director General of the Security Service, recalls her central role in operations against the miners during and after the coal strike of 1984–85, in particular, her deployment of agents provacateurs within the National Union of Mineworkers, including Roger Windsor, Chief Executive Officer of the NUM 1983 to 1989, an agent of MI5 under Mrs. Rimington, sent in to the NUM to destabilise and sabotage the Union at its most critical juncture; notes that in 1984 he made contact with Libyan Officials through Altaf Abasi and staged a televised meeting with Colonel Gaddafi, causing immense damage to the striking miners; that Windsor's actions led to serious and expensive internal disputes, notably a £100,000 libel damages settlement as a result of a letter Windsor forged in the name of David Prendergast of the U.D.M.; further notes that in March 1990, under Stella Rimington's guidance, Windsor was the sole witness, paid £80,000 for his testimony by Robert Maxwell, behind allegations of corruption against the NUM leadership, published in the Daily Mirror, later proved to be entirely untrue; and considers that notwithstanding recent cosmetic changes to its image, the Security Service, including Mrs. Rimington, has been responsible for the subversion of democratic liberties in Britain and should be brought to account.]

Since the Government have insisted on making Mrs. Rimington so high-profile, may we have an independent inquiry into what the lady's role was during the miners' strike?

I sometimes think that that kind of question is quite a good illustration of the no-win position in which my right hon. Friends find themselves. As there is greater openness about those services, we are now accused of having a high profile on the matter. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that the director-general of the Security Service is responsible to my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary. I will bring the hon. Gentleman's question to his attention.

As the Secretary of State for Transport will announce this afternoon that the Government intend to go ahead with the effective doubling of the M25 in parts of Surrey through my constituency and the constituencies of my right hon. Friend the Member for Chertsey and Walton (Sir G. Pattie) and my hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) which will have catastrophic and devastating effects on hundreds of thousands of homes, will my right hon. Friend arrange for a debate on the matter as soon as we return from the summer recess so that the House can consider the plan in detail because we believe that it has been considered only superficially?

I will certainly bear my hon. Friend's request in mind, but I can equally clearly make no promise at this stage.

Does the Leader of the House recall that the Government's "taking stock" proposals promised many more meetings of the Scottish Grand Committee? However, over the past two weeks, when we would usually have half a dozen or so such meetings, we have had none. Does that not make a laughing stock of taking stock, or is the Secretary of State for Scotland in a huff because he was caught out attempting to gerrymander Scottish local government?

We have already had this rather silly point about gerrymandering made once today. With regard to the hon. Gentleman's point about the Scottish Grand Committee, he—perhaps above all the hon. Gentleman—will know very well that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is at this very moment seeking to advance the detailed consideration of the follow-up to his stocktaking proposals.

As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House is aware, many representatives of the arts and sport are anxious to have the National Lottery etc. Bill on the statute book. The Third Reading debate in the other place will take place tomorrow. Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that, if amendments are made in the other place, there will be time to consider them as messages from the House of Lords on Monday and Tuesday of next week so that we can have the Bill on the statute book?

My hon. Friend correctly decribes what will take place tomorrow in the House of Lords in respect of that Bill. I cannot give him precisely the assurance that he seeks, but I have no reason to suppose that the Bill that he is anxious to have in effect will be seriously delayed.

Is the Leader of the House aware that the British people do not want a continuation of the fiddling around with local boundaries and reviews of that nature? The whole thing should be scrapped, and the Government should concentrate on providing jobs for people in the shire counties and elsewhere, including Scotland. What is needed in Derbyshire, where not one deep mine remains, is assisted area status in order to provide jobs in the area. Why does not the right hon. Gentleman announce that a statement about assisted areas will be made, drop the local government reviews, and stop fiddling the boundaries and gerrymandering on behalf of the Tory party?

There seems to be some slight tension between the hon. Gentleman's request in relation to the reviews and that of the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett). Leaving that matter aside, I see no conflict between the two points. We shall seek to advance the local government review and make the statement that I have already said will be made on assisted area status.

Will my right hon. Friend join me in urging the Opposition to debate employment opportunities on the first Tuesday after the recess so that I can point out what a tragedy it is that hundreds of jobs are to be lost in Dundee as a result of closure of the Timex factory? Following the Ford fiasco of a few years ago, does my right hon. Friend agree that the responsible trade unionists and Labour Members involved should be thoroughly ashamed of their job-destroying tactics?

My hon. Friend makes a point on which I am sure that the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett) will wish to reflect. In that connection, I draw the right hon. Lady's attention to the fact that the subject for the Supply day debate on Wednesday 20 October has still to be announced. My hon. Friend's suggestion might be considered.

Does the Leader of the House recall that, last week, he announced that we would debate London affairs on Friday 23 July and that, virtually as soon as it was announced, the debate was cancelled? Why was that decision taken? When can we have the London debate that he has been promising us for so long? Among other things, we could discuss bus deregulation, which was proclaimed by the Transport Select Committee as a leap in the dark, and the very interesting proposition that was put forward by the Secretary of State for the Environment about having an elected mayor for London. I would like to debate that issue because I have an ideal candidate in mind.

I see that the list of debates on the Consolidated Fund includes at least one debate in which points about transport in London might be in order. It might be reached at a rather inconvenient hour, but I am sure that the hon. Gentleman's energy and assiduous attention to duty will keep him in the Chamber.

Will my right hon. Friend find time soon after the recess or even sooner to debate the recent Foreign Affairs Select Committee report on the greatly expanded role of the United Nations in peacekeeping and the major implications for this country's policy on that matter?

There is no doubt that that is a serious and important subject. The Government will carefully study the report that my right hon. Friend has mentioned. I will of course keep in mind his request for a debate, but I do not think that I can make a promise at the moment.

It is expected that, during the next few weeks, the Government will publish their proposals on changes in mine safety regulations. In view of the assurance that was given to the House by the President of the Board of Trade and echoed by other Ministers that the Government would take no action which would threaten the splendid safety record of our mining industry, will the Leader of the House ensure that we have an adequate opportunity very soon after the recess to consider those proposals?

I will bear that in mind, and will also immediately draw the question to the attention of my hon. Friends in the Department of Trade and Industry.

As, following the unilateral decision of the European Commissioner Mr. Van Miert to reduce the percentage eligible for assisted area status, Her Majesty's Government have been obliged to submit a second list excluding five areas of Britain, including Southend-on-Sea, do the Government not think that it would be wise to have a debate when we return on the dangers of ceding more authoritarian power to Brussels bureaucrats, who are not answerable to anybody?

I think we have here an extremely ingenious attempt to pre-empt both the statement on assisted area status and the debate this afternoon. I will leave my hon. Friend to pursue those points on one or other of those occasions.

Will the Leader of the House reflect on early-day motion 2364, in which it is stated that the chairman of the Northumbrian water authority has increased his salary by 18 per cent. over two years and been given a perk that will net him £160,000?

[That this House notes with concern the pay rises and perks given to the company bosses of Northumbrian Water Group; notes that the Chairman received salary and pension benefits of £102,000, an increase of 18 per cent. over the previous year, the Director and Chairman-designate received £120,000 in salary, bonus, pension and other benefits and that he exercised his option to buy 58,475 ordinary shares in Northumbrian Water Group at a discount of £2·72p on the market value of each share, netting him a profit of £159,052 in addition to his salary and perks at a time when customers are struggling to pay a 9 per cent. increase on top of a 10·3 per cent. increase in water and sewerage charges last year; and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to ensure that such blatant profiteering and exploitation of Northumbrian Water Group customers ceases forthwith.]

Is this not a disgrace, when the Government are asking the working people of the country to accept a 1·5 per cent. increase in wages? Where is the fairness in that in this society?

It is, of course, the case that pay in the private sector is a matter for companies and their shareholders. But it is very much the Government's view that they should follow the lead that the Government have set for the public sector and exercise restraint in agreeing salaries for directors and senior management.

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that the statement on assisted area status will fully reflect the seven discussions that I have had in recent months with Ministers at the Department of Trade and Industry, and that Dover and Deal will receive favourable treatment despite the attempts by the Labour party to sabotage it?

I am sure that my hon. Friend's representations, which will have been delivered with vigour on behalf of his constituents, will have left their mark on my right hon. and hon. Friends.

As the school holidays have begun, will the Minister be kind enough to assure the House that there will be an early debate on the safety of children in playgrounds? As so many playgrounds in so many parts of the country, including the city of Leicester, are dangerous and disgraceful, will he at least draw this matter to the attention of the Secretary of State for whatever Department takes responsibility and ask for, at the very least, a statement in the House on this matter?

I will certainly do what the hon. and learned Gentleman suggests, but I presume that he has also brought this matter to the attention of the various local authorities in Leicester, which would seem to have the immediate responsibility.

Has my right hon. Friend seen from the Order Paper that statutory instrument 1626, which is designed to introduce regulations for sheep and suckler cow premium quotas, has been prayed against by a number of hon. Members? Is he aware that this regulation may provide for the transfer of quota from one farm to another with no compensation payable to the landlord? This is causing great concern among landowners, who see the value of their property depleted, and among tenants, who see landowners very reluctant to bring forward farms to let.

I appreciate that we cannot have a debate before the House rises, but may we have an undertaking from my right hon. Friend that, as soon as the House comes back, there will be a debate, either in Standing Committee or on the Floor of the House, to remove the anxiety?

I cannot give my hon. Friend any undertaking beyond saying that further consideration will be given to the point that he has raised. I must tell him, however, that, as I suspect he probably knows, the Government have used fully the discretion available within the regulations to include measures to safeguard the position of landlords. They do not have the power to introduce a scheme whereby tenants would compensate landlords for losses on land values resulting from the introduction and allocation of quotas.

Is the Leader of the House prepared to arrange a debate on two early-day motions, Nos. 2369 and 2370?

[That this House notes the grave allegations in Yorkshire Television's exhaustively researched investigation into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, in which 33 people lost their lives in 1974, and notes in particular that the Garda Siochana rapidly discovered the names of eight suspects (based on eyewitness identification) all of whom were members of the paramilitary loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force Mid-Ulster Brigade based in Portadown, that 12 further suspects were identified based on intelligence reports (four of whom were former or serving members of the Ulster Defence Regiment), that all this information was passed tothe Royal Ulster Constabulary where two Special Branch officers investigated and confirmed the Garda list of suspects but were never allowed to interview or arrest the suspects, that Garda Commissioner Eamonn Doherty, believes that the bombers 'must have been helped' as no 'loyalist group could have done this on their own', that two of the suspects were paid informants of the British Army, that the British Army and MI5 also know the names of all the suspects, that the bombers were being 'run' by the Special Duties team, a group of SAS-trained undercover soldiers operating from Castledillon (under the cover of 4 Field Survey Troop), controlled by MI5 and led by Captain Tony Ball and Captain Robrt Nairac, that 4 Field Survey Troop were involved in cross border raids without political authorisation and that Nairac supplied the Portadown UVF brigade with arms and explosives and assisted in planning their illegal activities.]

They relate to the horrifying revelations in Yorkshire Television's investigation of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, which left 33 dead, and to the view of the head of the British Army's bomb disposal unit, Lt. Col. George Styles, who was awarded the George Cross for his work, that members of the British Army were using captured IRA explosives and detonating them south of the Border?

As I understand it, these are clearly matters for the authorities in the Republic of Ireland. Any investigation in the light of the allegations made in the programme to which the early-day motions refer is a matter for the Irish authorities and the Garda in the first instance.

As the House is preoccupied again today with the country's position in the European Community, does my right hon. Friend agree that we should bear in mind our special relationship with the United States? Will he ensure that, before the House rises for the recess, a special message of goodwill is sent to the tens of thousands of families in the mid-west of the United States who have been seriously devastated by the worst flooding in America in modern times?

I am sure that all hon. Members will want to express their sympathy for the difficulties—to put it mildly—being experienced by so many people in such a wide area of the midwest. I am glad to note that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is here: he can certainly ensure that the feeling in the House is conveyed to the American authorities.

The Welsh Office is due to make a statement on the future of Neath and Port Talbot hospital before the recess. Can the Leader of the House find time for a statement to be made to the House on that matter? The previous Secretary of State gave a commitment that it would be a full district general hospital, but there are disquieting reports that it will be only an outpatient day hospital with all of the major surgical facilities transferred elsewhere. A statement should be made to the House so that the Minister can be questioned and challenged on that announcement, if it proves to be accurate.

I will draw that point to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales. If such a matter, important though it undoubtedly is to the hon. Gentleman's constituency, were the subject of a statement, we might well have nothing but statements in the House.

Will my right hon. Friend consider scheduling a debate on the payment of large sums of money, in many cases, to criminals by the press, bearing in mind the return to this country of drug runners from Thailand?

My hon. Friend well knows that the Government deplore situations in which people make money effectively from the exploitation of criminal activities for gain. He also knows that there are great difficulties in framing legislative restraints. I am sure that he will wish to draw his feelings on this matter to the attention of the Press Complaints Commission.

When can we have a debate on the reasons for the delay in the announcement of the closure of Trawsfynydd nuclear power station? Trawsfynydd has not produced a single watt of electricity for two and a half years at a cost of £80 million to the country and a delay in the plans for reskilling the work force. Why is there such harsh treatment for the coal mines and such gentle treatment for the set-aside nuclear power industry?

The issues raised by the hon. Gentleman are a matter for Nuclear Electric. I understand that the company is carefully considering the implications of the decision for the staff of the station.

My right hon. Friend is aware that my hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Sir F. Montgomery) has already raised in business questions the matter of the White Paper on the police and the Sheehy report. Will my right hon. Friend encourage my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary to come to the House at an early date to accept the total opposition of the police service to the Sheehy report and announce that he is prepared to set up a royal commission into the police, their remuneration and their status in society?

Happily, my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is by my side and will have heard the message communicated direct. He may also have had reports of the large meeting at Wembley stadium during the week.

In view of the fact that my constituents in Rochdale are uncertain about the question of assisted area status, will the Leader of the House confirm or deny that the press have been informed that there will be a statement in the House tomorrow on assisted area status? If the press have been told, why were we not told first?

I have already made it clear on a number of occasions that a statement will be made before the recess.

Will my right hon. Friend arrange for an early debate on the proposal to deregulate the Weeds Act 1959? That Act outlawed the cultivation of five species of weed, including ragwort, the spread of which is already seriously out of control. That is causing great concern to country men and horse owners because ragwort is increasingly responsible for poisoning horses, and action needs to be taken.

It is fortunate that so many of my right hon. Friends are present today, and I note that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, who is sitting a little further down the Front Bench, nodded her head vigorously to me to communicate that she will reflect on what my hon. Friend has said.

Has the Leader of the House seen this month's issue of "Euro Briefing" from the Conservatives of the European Parliament, which calls for greater openness in the affairs of the European Community, especially the Council of Ministers? It recommends that what is decided in the Council of Ministers should be made available and that the votes should be detailed. Several answers to written questions have revealed that the policy of openness has started in our Parliament. Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that that policy should be extended so that the openness called for in that document is extended to everything that takes place in the House?

I have a lot of sympathy for the general request for openness in the Community. That was one of the main objectives of the British Government, during our presidency, at the Birmingham and Edinburgh Council summits. I do not wish to add to the points that were then made, except to say that I have been told that it is the hon. Gentleman's birthday and I would like to wish him many happy returns.

I thank my right hon. Friend for the planned early debate on the defence estimate. I wonder whether we could have before we rise for the summer recess an emergency debate on the new 2,300 jobs that will be created by the Ministry of Defence in Dorset, not least because all those jobs are within easy travelling distance of Christchurch?

That certainly sounds a very helpful suggestion. I am glad to hear what my hon. Friend says. He may find some opportunity during the Consolidated Fund debate, for example, or during the debate on the summer Adjournment to make further reference to that matter.

Will the Leader of the House ensure that the Secretary of State for Scotland makes a statement to the House to guarantee that the report from the Argyll and Clyde health board on the blunders that were made concerning the smear tests on 20,000 women in the Inverclyde area will be released to the public and those women and that they will not have to wait for it to be sent to the inquiry? My hon. Friend the Member for Port Glasgow and Greenock (Dr. Godman) and I are desperate to ensure that our folk get peace of mind by seeing that report as soon as it is printed and available.

It is, of course, everyone's desire to ensure that clarity and greater peace of mind are established on those matters as soon as possible. I will draw to the attention of my right hon. Friend the point that the hon. Gentleman has made.

Will the Leader of the House read again my excellent Bill, the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) (Wales) Bill? Does he accept that it has been carefully drafted and that it has the overwhelming support of the majority of hon. Members who represent Wales? Is he aware that tens of thousands of people in Wales suffer from serious disability? I should like to know when my Bill might be debated in the House.

I believe that the hon. Gentleman might have to do his own research on how the Bill might be discussed again in the spill-over period. He will, of course, have further opportunities in the new Session to debate the Bill, if he wishes to take them up. He will know that, as a former Minister for disabled people, I share his aims, but we are not convinced that the Bill is the best means of achieving them.

May we have a debate after the recess on the standards of conduct in public life so that we can discuss questions of procedure for Ministers? At least four Ministers are directors of companies in contradistinction to the requirements of the list of rules. Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that security firms, secretarial firms and similar activities are not connected with family estates? There is no excuse for a Government who impose laws and tight rules on the poorest of the poor governing income support and all other aspects of life to be sloppy about their Ministers.

I commented on that last week. I see no reason why the hon. Gentleman raises it again, unless he wants to engage in muck-raking. I shall not add to what I said last week.

Will the Leader of the House arrange an early debate in Government time on the thousands of victims of holiday companies that collapse every week because of the Government's legislative incompetence? Will he ensure that there is an investigation into the collapse of Global Link and SFV Villa Holidays, which happened because of ministerial negligence?

I do not for a moment accept the hon. Gentleman's allegations, but I will, of course, draw his somewhat overheated statement to the attention of my right hon. and hon. Friends.