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Business of the House

3.31 pm

Mr. Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras) : Will the Leader of the House tell us the business for next week?

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. John Wakeham) : The business for next week will be as follows :

Monday 26 June----Opposition Day (15th Allotted Day). Until about seven o'clock there will be a debate on community care. Afterwards there will be a debate on the coal industry. Both debates will arise on Opposition motions.

Remaining stages of the Road Traffic (Driver Licensing and Information Systems) Bill [Lords].

Tuesday 27 June----Second Reading of the Football Spectators Bill [Lords].

There will be a debate on parliamentary pensions on a motion for the Adjournment of the House.

Wednesday 28 June----Opposition Day (16th Allotted Day). Until seven o'clock there will be a debate on a motion in the name of the Scottish National party entitled "Scotland in Europe".

Motion on the Army, Air Force and Naval Discipline Acts (Continuation) Order.

The Chairman of Ways and Means has named opposed private business for consideration at seven o'clock.

Thursday 29 June----Second Reading of the Representation of the People Bill.

The Chairman of Ways and Means has named opposed private business for consideration at seven o'clock.

Friday 30 June----There will be a debate on policing in London on a motion for the Adjournment of the House.

Monday 3 July----Opposition Day (17th Allotted Day). There will be a debate on an Opposition motion, subject for debate to be announced.

Mr. Dobson : Why are the Government insisting on rushing ahead with the Football Spectators Bill next week before the recommendations of the Taylor inquiry into the Hillsborough disaster are known? The Government's Bill is irrelevant to the safety of people in football grounds--so irrelevant that, at present, crowd safety is outside the scope of the Bill. The Prime Minister promised that the Bill would be able to take account of any interim recommendations from the Taylor inquiry. Will the Leader of the House confirm that that could be done only if next week the House passes an instruction requiring the Committee on the Bill to consider safety aspects?

Does not the Leader of the House recognise that the Government's inadequate and partisan proposals are simply not up to the job? If they go ahead with their proposals, the result will be a mess. Surely it would be better for Ministers to get together with everyone concerned and put forward proposals on which everyone can agree as practical solutions to the problems facing football clubs. If he does that, the Opposition can guarantee to give the measure a swift passage through the House.

The present Bill does not produce any practical solutions to the problem, and it is nothing more than a half-baked, partisan product of the Government's machine-- [Hon. Members :-- "Get on with it.] Apparently, Conservative Members want me to get on with it. What we

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want to get on with, and what we would like the Leader of the House to guarantee, is the opportunity to consider a Bill that will do the job that needs to be done.

Will the Leader of the House note that, although the Opposition have chosen to give up half an Opposition day to debate care in the community, that does not relieve the Government of their obligaton or their promise to have a debate on their response to the Griffiths report on care in the community when that becomes available? The Government received the report as long ago as 12 February 1988. Why have we not had a statement about--it would appear that we are not to have the opportunity to debate--the general practitioners' contract? The Secretary of State for Health rushed gleefully into the House to announce that the doctors had accepted the contract, but appears to be reluctant to come here now that the GPs'

representatives have recommended that the matter should go to a ballot and the GPs should turn it down.

Now that we have received a statement from the Secretary of State for Education and Science, when shall we have the promised debate on the Government's proposal to substitute students loans for students grants?

When will we have an opportunity to debate the Select Committee on the Environment's report on toxic and hazardous waste?

I hope that my final question will meet with approval from both sides of the House : do the Government propose to give the House the opportunity to debate the outcome of the Madrid summit?

Mr. Wakeham : The hon. Gentleman asked six questions about next week's business. First, I do not accept for a minute what he said about the Football Spectators Bill. We are not proceeding with indecent haste ; the Bill has been before another place since January and was introduced in this House last Monday. I announced a full day's debate for Second Reading, which is appropriate. The policy matters which he raised are best left until Second Reading. I agree that it would be helpful for safety matters to be debated and I shall arrange for an instruction to be tabled, if that is appropriate. I have indicated that the Government hope to bring forward proposals in relation to the Griffiths report before the summer recess. The question whether we have a further debate would best be considered at that time.

We are, of course, disappointed that the conference of GPs rejected the contract which their own leadership had commended to them. I cannot provide Government time for a debate, but I have just announced three Opposition days. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to raise the matter, perhaps he should consider using Opposition time. The hon. Gentleman does not seem to understand the Government's policy on top-up loans. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science made it clear on Monday that he would welcome a debate, and I believe that the timing should best be secured through the usual channels.

I have no immediate plans for a debate on the Select Committee's report on toxic waste, but we can return to that matter.

It is likely that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will make a statement about the Madrid summit at the appropriate time next week.

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Sir Bernard Braine (Castle Point) : My right hon. Friend will know from questions to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister week after week, and from the front pages of our leading journals, of the widespread interest and concern in many international questions--what is happening in China, Hong Kong, Tibet and eastern Europe, and the implications of glasnost and perestroika for all of us in Europe. Can my right hon. Friend find time before we rise for the summer recess for us to turn our attention to these pressing matters?

Mr. Wakeham : I agree with my right hon. Friend, and I am extremely conscious of the interest in a general debate on foreign affairs and on some of the specific subjects that my right hon. Friend raised. I shall be looking for a suitable opportunity for a debate soon.

Mr. Jack Ashley (Stoke-on-Trent, South) : Does not the visit of the Australian Prime Minister provide a timely reminder that nuclear test personnel in Australia are paid compensation while the British Ministry of Defence will not pay a penny in compensation to British nuclear test personnel? Can the Leader of the House explain that discrepancy, and, if not, will he provide time for a debate on this matter next week?

Mr. Wakeham : I regret to say that I cannot find time for a debate next week. The right hon. Gentleman has raised this matter with me before. The basic point of difference is that the British Government do not accept the basis of the claims that the victims, or so-called victims, are making.

Mr. Allan Stewart (Eastwood) : Will my right hon. Friend give us an assurance that the House will be able to consider the Government's domestic airports policy before the summer recess? Is he aware of the continuing anger and puzzlement among the Scottish business community, interested commentators and local authorities such as Glasgow district council at the Secretary of State for Transport's idiosyncratic and irrational refusal to consider the case for allowing transatlantic flights from Glasgow airport?

Mr. Wakeham : I cannot promise a debate before the summer recess, but I shall look at the matter and will refer the point to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport.

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North) : Has the Leader of the House seen early-day motion 995?

[That this House pays tribute to the students and workers who demonstrated in Tiananmen Square, Peking, and in other cities in China, for basic democratic rights and reforms ; deplores the armed attack by the army on 4th June on the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square which resulted in numerous deaths and injuries ; and further calls upon the Chinese authorities to cease the present persecution of anyone considered to have been involved in the demonstrations and not to carry out the sentences of death which have been passed by military courts.]

Following the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, will there be an opportunity early next week for a statement to be made by the Foreign Secretary on the wave of executions in China? Is the Leader of the House aware of the feeling of revulsion about what is happening? Does he agree that as the leadership of China, these bloodstained murderers, believe that they can get away with what they are doing without

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any international repercussions, a statement expressing the feelings of the House of Commons and the British people is essential?

Mr. Wakeham : We support the feelings expressed in the motion to which the hon. Gentleman refers, as was made absolutely clear by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister a short time ago and by my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary in his statement to the House on 6 June. We deeply deplore the execution of the Shanghai three, in spite of the appeal for clemency made by the EEC Twelve in Peking on 17 June. We regard the death sentences as totally disproportionate to the crimes committed.

Mr. Robert McCrindle (Brentwood and Ongar) : Although the announcement this week that there is to be a code of conduct for estate agents is welcome, will my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House turn his attention to whether this goes far enough? Bearing in mind the fact that we are dealing here with most people's most important financial transaction of a lifetime, may we have a debate to ascertain whether it is the feeling of the House that for an individual who was a window cleaner or a bus driver last week to be able, without let or hindrance, to be an estate agent this week is not sufficient?

Mr. Wakeham : My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Consumers Affairs announced yesterday new measures to deal with estate agents who provide an unsatisfactory service. It is proposed to have a voluntary code of conduct, underpinned by the power to ban estate agents who are engaged in undesirable practices. This combination of self- regulation and statutory provision will give consumers protection without reducing competition. I know that my hon. Friend has studied these matters carefully, and if the need for a debate arises I shall look at the matter again.

Mr. Eddie Loyden (Liverpool, Garston) : In view of the spate of industrial strikes taking place around the country as a result of the Government's role in respect of trade union laws, does the Leader of the House think that it is time we had a debate about restoring the position of the trade union movement so that it can effectively represent its members instead of finding itself constantly before the courts?

Mr. Wakeham : The hon. Gentleman has the wrong end of the stick. The trade union reforms which the Government have introduced have helped to improve the position for the public. If the unions had as much regard for the wishes and desires of the public, there might be less industrial action.

Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington) : When will my right hon. Friend bring forward proposals in this House to ensure closer co-operation between this House and British Members of the European Parliament to ensure that matters that come before the European Parliament are adequately and thoroughly discussed in this House?

Mr. Wakeham : As my hon. Friend is aware, we made a very modest step towards closer co-operation between Members of this House and Members of the European Parliament, which was opposed by the Opposition at the time. I have always sought to make progress by agreement

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across the Floor of the House and I am always ready to consider matters when I think that I can find agreement to make further progress.

Mr. A. E. P. Duffy (Sheffield, Attercliffe) : Is the Leader of the House aware that the people of Sheffield are reminded almost daily by the Sheffield Star, Radio Sheffield and Radio Hallam and through the proceedings in their own town hall of the horrors of the Hillsborough disaster? Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the ordinary people are less likely to be impressed by his arguments about the niceties and technicalities of implementation of legislation ultimately than by what now seems to be the Government's determination to push through the Football Spectators Bill while Lord Justice Taylor is still receiving evidence, let alone having had a chance to evaluate it? They will see the Government's action as an act of monumental insensitivity.

Mr. Wakeham : I do not think that that is a reasonable assessment of the situation. The Government are bringing forward legislation which will enable us, after the Bill has become an Act, to implement, subject to the approval of this House, any recommendations which will be acceptable in connection with Lord Justice Taylor's

recommendations. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Duffy) is a caring man, but it is strange that, as he represents Sheffield, he does not want to make all speed to avoid these terrible tragedies which have claimed more than 300 deaths since the war. We should take the first opportunity to try to prevent them. The hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson), from the Opposition Front Bench, said that the Opposition would undertake to give a speedy passage to any recommendations from Lord Justice Taylor, whose report we have not seen. However, they would not agree to implement the Popplewell report, which has been published.

Mr. Geoffrey Dickens (Littleborough and Saddleworth) : We heard earlier that there is to be a debate next week on the coal industry. Will my right hon. Friend find time before the summer recess for a debate on the nuclear power industry? Such a debate would give us an opportunity to show that those who are really concerned about our quality of life and about the protection of the atmosphere should go for a nuclear option.

Mr. Wakeham : I recognise that important points can be made. However, as we approach the summer recess I must be very careful about what extra debates I promise my hon. Friend.

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North) : Does the Leader of the House accept that it is a great disappointment that no statement was made today on yesterday's meeting of the EEC Fisheries Council? The Fisheries Council's failure to act means that the British fleet, and the Scottish fleet in particular, faces a bleak future for the rest of the year. Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will make a statement early next week so that we can press on him the need to take action as sympathetic words are no good for people whose livelihoods are at stake?

Has the Leader of the House seen early-day motion 997 about the visit of F. W. De Klerk?

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[That this House considers the impending visit of F. W. De Klerk to Britain unwelcome, untimely and damaging to the prospects of dismantling apartheid in South Africa and establishing peace in Southern Africa ; considers that, as leader of the ruling Nationalist Party and President-in-waiting, F. W. De Klerk has a major responsibility for the continuing repression in South Africa ; notes that his government has recently reimposed the state of emergency for the fourth year in succession, resumed the execution of political prisoners, and placed hundreds of ex-detainees under stringent house arrest, concludes that totally committed to ensuring white domination, De Klerk is as unwelcome as was his predecessor P. W. Botha in 1984 ; also believes that De Klerk's visit is aimed at rehabilating the apartheid re gime and easing its foreign debt crisis and has nothing to do with negotiations aimed at ending apartheid ; believes that only the release of Nelson Mandela and all other political prisoners and detainees, the ending of the state of emergency and lifting of bans on organisations, as called for by the Commonwealth and the European Community, can begin to create the climate in which the commencement of meaningful negotiations and the dismantling of apartheid become possible, therefore deplores the Prime Minister's invitation to F. W. De Klerk, which can only send the wrong signals to both black and white in South Africa and encourage Pretoria to persist in its current policies ; and calls upon the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary to cancel their proposed meetings with F. W. De Klerk.]

Does he accept that it will be wholly obscene for the Prime Minister to sit down tomorrow to talk with the leader of a racist regime which continues to detain its people, which murders and tortures its children and which ought to be the pariah of the international world?

Mr. Wakeham : I have in mind having a debate on the fishing industry when the proposals for 1990 are known, but I shall refer the hon. Gentleman's points to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

We reject early-day motion 997. The Government's policy is to maintain contact with all shades of opinion in South Africa. We use such contacts to press the need for change, and that is a sensible policy.

Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch) : Is my right hon. Friend aware that information reached me only last night that the British Rail Property Board is putting up for sale by auction on 6 July the last part of the former Great Central railway track bed between Aylesbury and Rugby? Its sale will preclude any future operation of trains on that railway line, which is one of the options being looked at by some of those interested in freight traffic for the Channel tunnel route.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the lessons that we should have learnt in the past few years is that selling redundant railway track bed precludes reintroducing services when transport patterns change? Therefore, will he ask the Secretary of State for Transport to consider the urgency of the matter and to make a statement to the House next week? If he cannot do that, may we at least have an assurance of a debate on the matter before the summer recess?

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Mr. Wakeham : Without accepting everything that my hon. Friend has said, I give him an undertaking that I shall refer the matter to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport.

Mr. Ron Brown (Edinburgh, Leith) : Before the right hon. Gentleman takes up another job, will he understand that security is important to the House? In particular, will he remember that it was alleged that some Labour Members were involved with the Soviet Union and had been blackmailed? Will he admit now that the source of that misinformation--that smear--came from the south of England, from a former Select Committee employee? Will he comment on that now, because it is so important?

Mr. Wakeham : I shall do no such thing. I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman would realise that security matters are so important that they should not be discussed across the Floor of the House.

Mr. John Watts (Slough) : My right hon. Friend will be aware that a number of Conservative Members are opposed to the Football Spectators Bill, not least because it seems to have no relevance to the central issue of crowd safety, and, as presently drafted, such matters are outside its scope. In reply to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson), my right hon. Friend said that he would be happy for such issues to be debated on Second Reading on Tuesday. Should the Bill receive a Second Reading, will my right hon. Friend table an instruction to the Committee for it to consider matters of crowd safety?

Mr. Wakeham : Yes. If that is required in order to discuss those matters in Committee, I shall see that it is done. I agree that questions of safety go right to the heart of the matters that are of concern.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan) : Is it not completely unsatisfactory for the important matter of the Fisheries Council meeting in Luxembourg yesterday to be dealt with by the Government in the form of a written answer? Does not the Leader of the House realise that the jobs of thousands of Scottish fishermen are at stake in the decisions or non- decisions that were made yesterday in Luxembourg? Is not the failure of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to face the House today a sign of the confusion and complacency which mark Government policy towards the fishing industry? When will the Government give the industry the priority to which it is entitled?

Mr. Wakeham : My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has done a good job for the British fishermen, and that should be recognised. Whether statements are written or oral is always a matter of judgment. If we have too many oral statements, there are complaints that debates are curtailed ; and if they are written there are complaints because they have not been made orally. I shall refer the matter to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett (Pembroke) : My right hon. Friend has announced that there is to be an Opposition debate on 3 July and that the subject is to be announced. Will he have discussions through the usual channels to find out whether the Opposition will arrange a debate on their policy on nuclear defence so that the House can discuss the interesting philosophical achievement of the Leader of the

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Opposition in his twin-track policy of supporting multilateral disarmament and at the same time being a member of CND?

Mr. Wakeham : The subject for debate is obviously a matter for the Opposition and not for me, but my hon. Friend makes his point well. He will be aware that we shall soon reach the time of the year when we have a number of debates on defence matters. With his usual ingenuity, he might be able to make his points then.

Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small Heath) : The Leader of the House should understand that many people will find it grossly offensive, especially to those who died and to those who were bereaved, for us to press on with the Bill in the way that the Government intend.

Mr. Dickens : Which Bill?

Mr. Howell : The Football Spectators Bill--I do not have the intellect of the hon. Gentleman.

Is it not a fact that the Government Whips are making it clear to the Opposition that they want to finish the Committee stage of the Bill by the end of July--in one month? Is it not also a fact that whatever Lord Justice Taylor recommends cannot possibly be incorporated in the Bill? What the Government have done in another place, which is a deception, is to allow for an order to debate it here. One has to be in this place for only five minutes to know that orders cannot be amended. That means that the Bill cannot possibly take account of anything that Lord Justice Taylor might tell us about the lessons from Hillsborough. That is absolutely ludicrous. It is offensive to the people who have suffered and to every parliamentary concept that we should not be able to amend a Bill in the light of the recommendations of a very senior High Court judge.

Will the Leader of the House kindly consider those points and tell us how much Committee time we shall have to take on board Lord Justice Taylor's recommendations, whatever they might be?

Mr. Wakeham : The right hon. Gentleman has misunderstood the proceedings. This is an enabling Bill. Subsequent to the Bill being passed, there will be debates in the House about setting up any football management authority and about any recommendations. There will be plenty of time for points to be made. The right hon. Gentleman should make his points in Tuesday's debate.

Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) : Will my right hon. Friend make time available for an early debate on the relative jurisdictions of the European institutions and this Parliament in the light of the confusion now developing in many areas of Government over who is responsible and which power or body has the necessary control, particularly in the light of the Bill tabled today by my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Cash) setting out clarification of the relative powers under the treaties?

Mr. Wakeham : That is obviously an important subject and I should like to find time for a debate. I cannot promise my hon. Friend a debate in the immediate future, but no doubt these matters will be raised under different headings in the near future.

Ms. Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent, North) : Is the Leader of the House aware of the early-day motions which express great concern that there are deadly levels of dioxin

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in the food chain and call for the urgent publication of the Government's report? Does he agree that it is deplorable that that report is being publicised by the Department of the Environment and we do not have the opportunity to debate it in the House? Will he arrange for an urgent debate on the report? Does he agree that it is most urgent that we take every possible action to eliminate deadly dioxins from the environment?

Mr. Wakeham : As the hon. Lady knows, the purpose of the report is to put before the public the best information available on dioxins in terms of human health and environmental impact. In recent years, there have been considerable reductions in the release of dioxins into the environment, and more are planned. In particular, current plans should reduce emissions from incinerators by 90 per cent. and the use of unleaded petrol should reduce emissions from vehicles by 80 per cent. I recognise that it is an important subject and one that we should find time to debate. However, I cannot promise a debate in the immediate future.

Mr. Tony Favell (Stockport) : Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind when deciding what to do about the Football Spectators Bill the fact that a great deal of heat is being generated by the football industry about the so -called problems of a national membership scheme? Yet four times as many people each week go to licensed bingo clubs as go to football matches and they have a membership scheme which has not caused any problems.

Mr. Wakeham : My hon. Friend has made his point carefully. I shall look forward to the debate next week.

Mrs. Alice Mahon (Halifax) : Is the Leader of the House aware that the overwhelming responses to the Government's proposals on the National Health Service are hostile? Given that, may we have a special debate on those responses before the end of the parliamentary Session? Is the Leader of the House aware that a ballot conducted in my constituency on Saturday produced 1,020 votes against the proposals and 19 for, with six spoilt papers? It was an independently conducted ballot, and if it was carried out across the country the Government would be in even worse trouble than they were last week with the European elections.

Mr. Wakeham : I do not accept the hon. Lady's analysis of the situation. I am interested in the expressions of interest in my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State's proposals for self-governing hospitals. It is an appropriate matter for debate, but I cannot find time for one next week. I suggest that the hon. Lady has a word with her hon. Friend the shadow Leader of the House to see what he wants to do.

Mr. John Wilkinson (Ruislip-Northwood) : Would it not be a wiser and worthier set of priorities for the Government in the conduct of their business next week if, instead of pushing ahead with the Second Reading of the Football Spectators Bill before the publication of even the interim report of Lord Justice Taylor on the Hillsborough tragedy, they allowed time for a foreign affairs debate on the situation in China? The only hope of the freedom-loving people in China who demonstrated for democracy and the rule of law is the pressure of

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international opinion on their behalf. Ought not the House to be mobilised to provide that pressure at the earliest possible date?

Mr. Wakeham : I agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of a debate on foreign affairs, particularly on the terrible events that have occurred in China. However, I do not agree that the Government can duck their responsibilities with regard to violence and hooliganism at football grounds. We have a clear responsibility to act, and we believe that this is the right time to do so. We will enable any recommendations of Lord Justice Taylor which are appropriate and which the Government accept to be incorporated into the action we take. It is right that we should go ahead with the Bill.

Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Liverpool, West Derby) : Does the Leader of the House realise that there will be much anguish in Liverpool at the decision to race ahead with the dreadful Football Spectators Bill? If the Leader of the House is adamant that it is an enabling Bill, how does he know, before even the interim report of the Taylor inquiry, that any of its recommendations can be embraced by the Bill? Is it not the case that it enables only a football membership authority to carry out the madcap scheme of the Prime Minister? Is it not time that Ministers ceased to be doormats for every disgraceful whim of the Prime Minister?

Mr. Wakeham : The hon. Gentleman has got it wrong. The enabling powers will enable matters wider than those he mentioned to be dealt with. These are matters for discussion when the Bill is before the House. The central point is whether the Government and the House will accept their responsibility to take action.

Mr. Peter Thurnham (Bolton, North-East) : Now that we are to have a code of practice for estate agents, may we have a debate on the need for a code of practice for property developers? Is there not a breed of rogue elephant property developer who has no respect for covenants and our heritage, who needs no protection and who, at the least, needs his tusks removed?

Mr. Wakeham : I guess that there are such cases. I cannot promise my hon. Friend a debate in the near future. There are other ways in which he may raise the matter which he considers to be of concern.

Mr. John Fraser (Norwood) : Has the Leader of the House seen the reports in The Independent today of the threatened resignation of the Attorney-General? Assuming that the resignation is not to make a place for another Queen's Counsel in the Cabinet, does that not underline the importance of debating the Lord Chancellor's Green Paper on legal reforms?

Mr. Wakeham : If rumours in newspapers of what will happen to Ministers were the basis for debates in the House, we should be doing nothing but debating the changing scene. I do not take too much notice of what is in the newspapers these days. On the more substantive point of whether we should have a debate on the Green Papers issued by my right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor, I agree that, ideally, it would be nice to have a debate in the House. We shall, of course, come to those matters at a later stage. I cannot see time for a debate at the moment.

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Mr. Harry Greenway (Ealing, North) : May I support the calls for a debate on events in China so that the hollow calls of the Labour party can be exposed as cries for unworkable sanctions? Labour Members have no proposals for that difficult situation other than simply calling for action that they know they cannot deliver themselves.

May we also have an early debate on the report issued by trade unionists today alleging that there is higher inflation in London than the national average? It is true that parts of London such as Ealing, where the rates have been doubled by the Labour council in two years, have higher inflation.

Mr. Wakeham : My hon. Friend is right to add to the calls for a debate on China and to note the slightly strange proposition put to the House by the Leader of the Opposition which will, no doubt, feature in any debate we may have. Rates in Ealing are a disturbing matter. My hon. Friend will have to use his ingenuity to raise the matter, and he will no doubt find a way.

Mr. Alun Michael (Cardiff, South and Penarth) : Will the Leader of the House find time, if not in the coming week at least before the summer recess, for a debate on the future of the Health Service in Wales? Will he bear in mind the fact that the Secretary of State for Wales said in this Chamber on 1 March that he was about to publish papers parallel to, but different from, those for England setting out the way in which the proposals would be implemented? He has not done so, which places right hon. and hon. Members who represent Welsh constituencies at a considerable disadvantage, as they do not know what he is planning. Will the Leader of the House persuade his right hon. Friend to publish those papers so that we can have an informed debate, especially as the Secretary of State for Wales said in the debate on 1 March that he looked forward to such a debate?

Mr. Wakeham : I will do a deal with the hon. Gentleman : I will certainly put the points to my right hon. Friend if the hon. Gentleman will listen to me for one moment. The Opposition had the choice of subject for the last Welsh Grand Committee meeting on 26 April. They did not choose the Health Service in Wales. For the next meeting on 28 June, the choice of subject falls to Conservative Members. It is of great importance to Wales that the Committee should debate the valleys programme in the month of its first anniversary. At the next meeting of the Committee after that, the subject for debate will, once again, be the Opposition's choice. I know that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales hopes very much that they will choose to debate the Government's plans for the Health Service. That will provide an opportunity to demonstrate this Government's fine record compared with the disaster of the last Government, when nurses' pay was reduced in real terms, when there were fewer doctors and fewer nurses, and far less was spent on the Health Service.

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