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Mr. Wakeham : I have seen the hon. Lady's early-day motion. The term "cosmetic" covers not only beauty preparations, such as lipstick and perfumery, but hygienic products, such as toothpaste and anti-dandruff shampoos, as well as preparations to combat other problems, particularly for workers in industry. It is essential that all these products are safe to use and safe to produce. Safety testing, for mildness only, involves some use of animals. All applications for cosmetic testing licences are examined
Column 358by the Animal Procedures Committee, whose first report, published on 6 December, describes the difficult issues involved and its approach to them. I cannot promise the hon. Lady a debate at the present time, but it is a matter that I shall certainly bear in mind.
Mr. Neil Hamilton (Tatton) : I warmly endorse my right hon. Friend's decision not to waste any more of our time debating the Westland affair and its aftermath. Sir Leon Brittan, in his most recent remarks, has added nothing to what we knew already. He has not said anything that is inconsistent with anything said by the Government in the past. Although the endearing, but slightly barmy Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) and his friends may have an obsession--
Although the hon. Member for Linlithgow and many of his hon. Friends are obsessed by this topic, the country at large has no interest in it whatsoever.
Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow) : Is the Leader of the House suggesting that the recent statement by Sir Leon Brittan is in any way consistent with the evidence given, on behalf of the Government, by Lord Armstrong of Ilminster to the Select Committee? Is he saying that the Select Committee had any notion that there was explicit approval by two of the most senior civil servants? Would the Leader of the House feel it right next week to make a statement on his own position, in the light of the assertions by his hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) in the book "Heseltine"--the unauthorised biography--page 153, that he was present on 4 and 5 January 1986 when there were discussions at Chequers on tactics in relation to the Law Officers' letter, that he was present on 18 December 1985, with Mr. Bernard Ingham and Lord Whitelaw, when the strategy was being discussed, and that he was party to the inner Cabinet decisions on 9 January? Can he confirm his hon. Friend's statements, which are in writing?
Mr. Wakeham : The last time the hon. Gentleman raised the subject in that form he seemed to have got stuck at page 153 of the book. I suggest that he finishes the book, but I do not think that anything in it will give him any grounds for saying that the Government have not been forthcoming and that there have not been proper inquiries. Nothing new has come out in what Sir Leon Brittan has said. There is not just my word for it ; Sir Leon himself, said there is nothing new. I see no grounds for an inquiry.
Mr. Ian Taylor (Esher) : Will my right hon. Friend find Government time for a debate about the inadequacies of the law on travelling people, some of whom may be gipsies? Many of my constituents have suffered great invasion of privacy and often abuse, from these people, who just camp without invitation. The police find it very difficult to move them on under the current legislation. Will he find time for this debate at an early date and will
Column 359he ask his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment for a White Paper on the Caravan Sites Act 1968?
Mr. Wakeham : I cannot promise my hon. Friend a debate, but I recognise that this matter causes concern in quite a number of constituencies, including his and, as a matter of fact, mine. I wonder whether my hon. Friend might consider raising the matter on an Adjournment debate.
Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North) : Would it not be appropriate for the Prime Minister to make a statement next week to try to explain to the House and the country how her private secretary and her press secretary could approve and authorise the leak of the letter from the Solicitor- General unless they knew quite well that it would be her wish that they should do so? The Leader of the House tells us that what was said yesterday by Sir Leon Brittan is nothing new, and all the rest of it, but does he not recognise and appreciate that what is at stake here is the Prime Minister's integrity and truthfulness? My hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell), although he has been mocked and baited by the Tories over this issue, has been absolutely right.
Mr. Wakeham : These issues were well and truly debated at the time and nothing new has come up. Whether the hon. Gentleman likes it or not, that is the position. He might have got a little excited yesterday, but he really has missed the point. There is nothing new to discuss.
Mr. Doug Hoyle (Warrington, North) : Will the Leader of the House take time to read the two contributions on the Westland affair by his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister? If he does he will find that she suggested that her office had nothing to do with it. Sir Leon Brittan said yesterday quite categorically that Mr. Ingham and Mr. Powell approved the action. Will the right hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. Friend to come to the House and make a statement on why those two close associates of hers have not resigned? Will she at the same time give us a full, factual, detailed account of this squalid matter of the missing letter?
Mr. Wakeham : The hon. Gentleman invites me to take a quiet moment to read all these documents and speeches again. I did that just this morning in order to refresh my mind because I thought that some of these matters might come up in business questions. I suspect that the hon. Gentleman has not read them and I suggest that he should, because he would then probably agree with me that nothing new has arisen and therefore there is no need for a debate.
Mr. Harry Cohen (Leyton) : I have a two-part question. First, will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the Prime Minister will make a statement to the House early next week on her discussions with President Gorbachev? Secondly, just in case President Gorbachev asked to see me, I thought that I would brush up on a video on nuclear disarmament from the Library, only to find after a short viewing that another Member wanted to watch the television, and I was chucked out of the room. That is not the first time this has happened. Can we make sure that there is a room in this place in which Members can look at videos to do with work?
Mr. Wakeham : Any time the hon. Gentleman wants to watch the television and he cannot find a place to do so, if he will drop me a note I will look into it immediately. I am very happy to assist him in any way on that part of his question. On the first part of his question, I cannot give any undertaking that the Prime Minister will be making a statement on her talks with President Gorbachev.
Mr. Greville Janner (Leicester, West) : Surely the Leader of the House can and ought to give an undertaking to the House that the Prime Minister will report not merely to the press but to the House on this very important and welcome visit by Mr. Gorbachev. Does the right hon. Gentleman know that, while the Jewish community in this country unanimously welcomes the visit, it remains deeply concerned at the large number of Jewish families still not allowed to emerge from the Soviet Union in spite of the fact that there has been a most welcome change in the Soviet Union's attitude both to emigration and to the rights of Jewish people within the Soviet Union? In particular, there are families such as the Upspensky family, the Chernobilsky family and the Lurie family who have been waiting over 10 years. I was disturbed to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that there was to be no raising of individual cases by the Prime Minister with Mr. Gorbachev. Will he please reconsider his remarks and his failure to assure the House that there will be a statement on both human rights and the allegations that have been made about the sale to the Libyans by the Soviets of long-distance aircraft, which of course would have amazing potential in the hands of somebody like Gaddafi?
Mr. Wakeham : I am not in a position to say anything about the details of the talks, which are still going on. What I said was perfectly sensible and fair. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will, of course, raise the general matters in her talks with Mr. Gorbachev, but it seemed to be the best use of the day for my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary to raise the individual cases with him. As the hon. and learned Gentleman has great knowledge of, and long experience in, these matters and his contribution is acknowledged by hon. Members on all sides of the House, I certainly take seriously what he says. Statements in the House are governed by custom and practice and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will observe the normal customs in dealing with these matters. It is not for me to say at the Dispatch Box what she will or will not do. It is not the practice always to have statements after bilateral discussions.
Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South) : Can the Leader of the House confirm that the two EEC documents on Tuesday will be debated for only one and a half hours each? If that is the case, surely it is an inadequate amount of time when dealing with the EEC bulldozer yet again imposing more legislation on the United Kingdom.
May I draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to early-day motion 670 and ask for a debate on it?
[That this House draws attention to the editorial, Vilest M.P. in Britain, in the newspaper Today of 5th April, referring to the honourable Member for Dover ; notes its expression of grave concern at the growth of violence against women ; and urges all honourable Members to set an example of courtesy and restraint, whether towards reporters, photographers or Spanish police.]
Column 361Then the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw), referred to in the motion, will be able to explain how he falsely alleged that pickets at Dover--National Union of Seamen members sacked by P and O-- were engaging in brutality and the double standard of the fact that the hon. Gentleman is accused by Today of beating up a woman photographer. That sort of double standard should be the subject of debate. At the same time, the hon. Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Heddle), who has been engaging in fisticuffs with the Spanish police, can explain his position as a representative of the law and order party. Can the Leader of the House, in the same debate, explain why there is this extensive thuggery in the parliamentary Conservative party and has it anything to do with lager drinking on the quiet?
Mr. Wakeham : If we were to have this debate I am glad that I would not have to be in the Chair, Mr. Speaker. There seem to be rather a lot of subjects and I would not want to have to keep that sort of debate in order.
I confirm that the motions on Tuesday night on EC documents will follow the Standing Orders of the House. These matters have been agreed through the usual channels and, assuming there are enough speakers for the Opposition Day debate and that does not end until 10 o'clock, there will be one and a half hours for each of those two debates.
With regard to early-day motion 670, I cannot arrange a debate on that. Anyone who wishes to complain of assault can go to the police or deal with the matter in other ways. If I had to arrange a debate every time that occured or every time the hon. Gentleman made some wild allegations about my hon. Friends, we would never get down to all the important matters such as dealing with the levy scheme.
Mr. Harry Ewing (Falkirk, East) : Unfortunately the Leader of the House does not appear to be aware of the seriousness of Sir Leon Brittan's allegations in the television programme. If the Leader of the House is saying that what Sir Leon Brittan said in that programme is acceptable to the Government, he is saying that the Government knew that the press secretary and the private secretary leaked the Law Officer's letter. If that is accepted by the Leader of the House, it is a staggering new development and gives rise to a serious situation.
Against that background will the right hon. Gentleman come to the House next week and explain why my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) can be named and suspended from the proceedings of the House for five days on a motion by the Leader of the House for what is now seen to be the truth? In what circumstances can the suspension be removed, and if there are no provisions for removing it can the matter be referred to the Select Committee on Procedure?
Mr. Wakeham : I think that we are making progress when the charming hon. Gentleman, whom the whole House respects, can talk so much rubbish in such a short time. We clearly recognise that it is not a question of the Opposition fox having been shot, because there was no fox for them to shoot in the first place. The allegations and problems that arose over what is known as the Westland affair were fully debated at the time. We had debates in the House and Select Committee reports, and nothing new has
Column 362emerged in recent times to require any further discussion or debate about the matter. Obviously, the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are disappointed that that should be the case. That is why the Opposition put up the charming hon. Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing) to try to make something out of the mess in which they find themselves.
Mr. Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) : Could we have a statement or debate on the operation of regulations made under section 1 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984? After a four-year campaign by shopkeepers and residents in the East Park road area of my constituency, the city council established some laybys but, because of the provisions of section 1 of the Act, nobody can park in them until the double yellow lines have been removed. Under the terms of the Act it will take seven months to remove those lines. Will the Leader of the House have a word with the Secretary of State for Transport to see whether we can amend the regulations to end this absurd scenario?
Mr. Wakeham : I do not entirely accept what the hon. Gentleman says, but I certainly accede to his request to raise the matter with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, and I shall write to him.
Mr. Richard Caborn (Sheffield, Central) : Will the Leader of the House arrange for the Prime Minister to come to the Dispatch Box next week to make a statement about the Namibia crisis and the implementation of United Nations resolution 435? The Prime Minister should do that because she misled the House on no fewer than three occasions on 4 April. She told the House :
"There is no provision in the United Nations plan for SWAPO to have bases in Namibia."--[ Official Report, 4 April 1989 ; Vol. 150, c. 15.]
That would be in contravention of protocol SI 13120 of 26 February 1979.
Secondly, as my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) said, the statement by the secretary general to the Security Council is not in the Library and is not likely to be put there because it is a confidential document. The implication about SWAPO and the impression given to the outside world by the House was based on that report which we cannot see, although we were told at the time that we would have sight of the document.
The third matter is about SWAPO being a signatory to the Geneva protocol. That is mentioned in column 15 of the Official Report of 4 April 1989. That is not the case. SWAPO is not a signatory to that and the letter from the leader of SWAPO to the secretary general did not accept the protocol, which had four signatories. Misleading statements were given to the House indicating a totally biased approach against SWAPO. This is a serious matter, because we are talking not just about the independence of Namibia but about matters that affect the whole of southern Africa. As I have said, the Prime Minister misled the House on three occasions and she should now come to the House and make a statement.
Mr. Wakeham : I do not accept that at all. We have discussed whether the documents were in the Library and I recognise that there was some misunderstanding. The first requirement is for urgent action to restore the ceasefire under the authority of the United Nations. We are active in promoting that. Secondly, it is important for
Column 363all parties to hold to the terms of the United Nations plan for the independence of Namibia and to the other international undertakings, notably the Geneva protocol. It has been suggested that there was a provision for SWAPO bases in the country. That assertion is based on proposals made by the then secretary general in February 1979. Those were overtaken by a subsequent agreement in 1982 by the parties involved to monitor bases in Angola and Zambia. That is why there is no provision in the secretary general's report of 23 January, which sets out his proposals for the role of the United Nations transition assistance group, for any SWAPO bases inside Namibia.
Points of Order
Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West) : On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I raise with you the procedures that were observed today during Prime Minister's Question Time? Some of us were rather puzzled about why question No. 4 was linked to question No. 8. It is unprecedented for questions to be linked at Prime Minister's Question Time, and the linking today prevented hon. Members from asking questions Nos. 5, 6 and 7. Today as always well over 100 hon. Members put down a standard question. Why should what is traditionally called the "closed question" be given priority? If this is the name of the new game, you are likely to be faced, Mr. Speaker, with hon. Members putting down questions in that way in the hope that they will be linked and will therefore obtain priority. Will you look urgently at this matter and advise the House, because if an unfortunate precedent has been set today it should be removed as quickly as possible.
Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South) : Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Could you make a statement saying quite clearly, not that you have views about the matter but that you will not accept linking of questions to the Prime Minister? You will see that later in the Order Paper there is another question identical in type and form to questions Nos. 4 and 8. Quite clearly conspiracies could develop to flood the Order Paper so that one party could dominate the Order Paper to the exclusion of other parties. It would simplify matters if it was understood that there would be no linking at all.
Mr. Speaker : The linking of questions is a matter for Ministers and not for the Chair. As I have said, I share the concern expressed about this matter for the very reasons that hon. Members have mentioned.
Several Hon. Members rose --
Mr. Alan Williams (Swansea, West) : Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I clearly recollect one of your predecessors intervening when questions near the top of the Order Paper were linked with later ones. That was about 10 years ago. The Speaker of the day intervened and stopped that practice. I note and I am grateful for the fact
Column 364that you have made your views known, Mr. Speaker. May we have some assurance that your representations will be as effective as those of your predecessor?
The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Wakeham) : Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have no strong views about these matters and I will seek to do whatever is in the best interests of the House. In his enthusiasm to show his great knowledge of this matter, the right hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Williams) did not perhaps consider the Order Paper or the problem very carefully. If he does, he will see that whether what I did was generally acceptable or not, is one matter. However, there were three questions between questions 4 and 8. Two of them were reached and those hon. Members who asked them have no particular grounds for grievance. The other question was tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) who, in spite of his question not being reached, seemed to manage quite well.
Mr. Dobson : Further to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. It is my understanding that under the conventions of this House it is accepted that, roughly speaking, Ministers can decide whether to link questions. However, there is a convention over and above that which states that the linking should apply only to questions which are likely to be reached. Many hon. Members, probably from both sides of the House, are very dubious about a development in which a question which was on the borderline of not being reached can be linked. Having been linked, other questions tabled by Members who came higher in the ballot were not reached. The House would want a general view and a ruling from you, Mr. Speaker, if Ministers are to believe that they can link one question with one which may be so far down the list that it receives a leg up and is answered when it would not otherwise be answered.
Mr. Doug Hoyle (Warrington, North) : Further to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. I want to correct the Leader of the House. Question 6 to the Prime Minister stood in my name and that certainly was not reached. Question 5 was reached, but questions 6 and 7 were not. Question 8 had precedence. That is what the argument is about.
Mr. Spearing : On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will know that when tabling questions, particularly about matters which are regarded as historic, a point is reached when it is questionable whether matters are new in relation to the events in question. My point of order is relevant to
Column 365the courteous exchange between my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing) and the Leader of the House.
The Leader of the House said that nothing new had arisen from the statement made by Sir Leon Brittan. I wonder whether you will allow the Leader of the House, through you, Mr. Speaker, on this point of order, to tell us where in previous exchanges in the House or in any Select Committee report the two civil servants named by Sir Leon Brittan are named as being responsible for the leak. Unless and until such a demonstration is made in this House now or in future, the assertion of the Leader of the House must be found wanting and questions can be tabled which otherwise would not be raised.
Mr. Speaker : It is a great pity that the hon. Gentleman was not here--at least I did not see him here--during business questions, because he could have put that question to the Leader of the House then.
Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North) : Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. A lot of hon. Members would take a different point of view and would be very grateful if you could protect the House from the turgid and continuous regurgitation of this boring and bogus historical issue which may be of rotting political interest to a small out of touch portion of the chattering classes, but the vast majority of the country could not give a tuppeny whatever about it.
Mr. Spearing : I invite you, Mr. Speaker, on this very important matter, to ask whether the Leader of the House would be willing to demonstrate where these matters were made explicit--namely, that the two civil servants concerned were named in official documents and therefore there is nothing new. Unless that is done, the House may doubt the words used by the Leader of the House in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing).
Mr. Robert Parry (Liverpool, Riverside) : On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Can you explain why, in the statement on the abolition of the dock labour scheme, as the only Liverpool Member in the House who has Liverpool docklands in his area, I was not called?
Mr. Speaker : I can easily explain that. With the greatest good will in the world to all hon. Members, it would have been completely impossible for me to call every hon. Member who had an interest in the matter during the
Column 366statement. It is a question of judgment on the part of the Chair to try to have every part of the country represented. I am extremely sorry for the hon. Gentleman. I called him during business questions and I thought that he might have raised his point then.
Mr. Harry Ewing : Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. As you know, I am a great student of procedure in this House. I have sat here for endless hours without being the slightest bit interested in the debate- -just watching you very carefully to see how you run the business. My interest in procedure has been heightened with my appointment as chairman of the Scottish convention on the constitution issue. I thought about asking to try your wig on, Mr. Speaker, but I had better not.
I have noticed in recent weeks that there is a new practice of the Chair calling Conservative Back Benchers after the Opposition Front Bench spokesman has questioned the relevant Minister--today it was the Chancellor of the Exchequer. For my benefit, can you explain what procedural advantage is gained from that?
Statutory Instruments, &c.
That the Community Service Orders Rules 1989 (S.I., 1989, No. 191), be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. That the Air Quality Standards Regulations 1989 (S.I., 1989, No. 317), be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments &c.
That the Health and Safety (Emissions into the Atmosphere) (Amendment) Regulations 1989 (S.I., 1989, No. 319), be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.
That the Control of Industrial Air Pollution (Registration of Works) Regulations 1989 (S.I., 1989, No. 318), be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.
That the Criminal Legal Aid (Scotland) (Fees) Amendment Regulations 1989 (S.I., 1989, No. 388), be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.
That the Legal Aid (Scotland) (Fees in Criminal Proceedings) Amendment Regulations 1989 (S.I., 1989, No. 390), be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.
That the Confirmation to Small Estates (Scotland) Order 1989 (S.I., 1989, No. 289), be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.
That the Gaming Act (Variation of Fees) (Scotland) Order 1989 (S.I., 1989, No. 362), be referred to a Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. -- [Mr. Gerald Howarth.]
As amended (in the Standing Committee), further considered .
. The Director shall have a duty to promote the efficiency and conservation of energy and in carrying out that duty shall in particular--
(a) ensure that public electricity suppliers take such active steps as, in his opinion, are reasonable to maximise energy efficiency and conservation ; and
(b) set annual targets for improvement in energy efficiency for public electricity suppliers which he shall publish and on the attainment of which he shall report to the Secretary of State'.-- [Mr. Blair.]
Brought up, and read the First time .
.--(1) The Secretary of State shall appoint an officer to be known as the Deputy Director General of Electricity Supply for Energy Conservation (in this Act referred to as the Deputy Director for Conservation) the purpose of carrying out functions relating to energy conservation and efficiency.
(2) The Deputy Director for Conservation shall have a duty to exercise the functions assigned to him by this Part in the manner which he considers is best calculated to secure
(a) that all functions relating to the supply, generation and transmission of electricity are carried out in a manner that requires the most efficient use of electricity ;
(b) that all functions relating to the supply, generation and transmission of electricity are carried out in a manner that requires the conservation of energy ;
(c) that no new plant is developed unless it is proved to the satisfaction of the Deputy Director for Conservation that the required capacity cannot be met by additional measures of efficiency or conservation.
(3) An appointment of a person to hold office as the Deputy Director for Conservation shall be for a term not exceeding five years ; but previous appointment to that office shall not affect eligibility for re-appointment.
(4) The Secretary of State may remove any person from office as Deputy Director for Conservation on the grounds of incapacity or misbehaviour.
(5) Subject to sub-sections (3) and (4) above, the Deputy Director for Conservation shall hold and vacate office as such in accordance with the terms of his appointment.
(6) The provisions of Schedule 1 to this Act relating to the director shall have effect with respect to the Deputy Director for Conservation.'
New clause 14-- Environmental Duties--
The Secretary of State and the Director shall each have a duty to exercise the functions assigned to him in this part in a manner which is best calculated to preserve, protect and improve the environment and to this effect shall place on all licence holders a duty : (i) to achieve target improvements, which shall be set annually, in the efficient use of energy ;
(ii) to achieve target reductions, which shall be set annually, in pollution.
Amendment No. 117, in clause 7 page 6, line 17, at end, insert--