HC Deb 14 December 1916 vol 88 cc935-7

Can the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer state the business of the House for to-morrow and next week?


I know that it would be a great convenience to the House if I could make a statement as to the whole of the business for the remainder of the Session. I have looked into it and I think, if it is the desire of the House to facilitate business, it will be possible to prorogue on Friday of next week; but I am not prepared to give the list of measures which it will be necessary to take, because it is quite possible that, in the stress of work, some necessary measures may have been overlooked, and I can only say now that I hope it will be possible to make that arrangement.

As regards the question put by my right hon. Friend, the business for to-day will be the Vote of Credit in Committee and Ways and Means in Committee; and I hope the House will also be able to give a Second Reading to the Munitions (Liability for Explosions) Bill.

To-morrow, among the Bills which I shall ask the House to pass, is the Bill to make temporary provision for rendering unnecessary the re-election of Members of the House of Commons on acceptance of office. The Bill will take precisely the same form as a similar Bill at the time of the formation of the last Cabinet. I hope the House will allow it to go through all its stages to-morrow—it will be introduced formally to-day—and I am sure that the House as a whole will feel that Ministers should be present to hear the statement to be made on Tuesday.


Will the House meet at twelve to-morrow?


The House will meet at twelve to-morrow, and the business will be, in addition to the Re-election of Ministers Bill, the Report of the Vote of Credit, Supplementary Estimates (Report), Ways and Means (Report), the introduction of the Appropriation Bill and of the Volunteer Bill, and other small Bills.

As regards Monday—the House will sit on Monday—a number of small Bills will be taken, among them the Government War Obligations Bill (Committee), the Dublin Reconstruction (Emergency Provisions) Bill (Report and Third Reading), the Munitions (Liability for Explosions) Bill (Committee), and Supply—Army Supplementary Estimates (Report).

On Tuesday, we shall take the Appropriation Bill. In pursuance of the promise given to the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), I have made inquiry, and I find that the Appropriation Bill covers every subject which can be raised, and I think it is not necessary to go further than that.


May I ask, for the convenience of the House, whether it is possible for the right hon. Gentleman to give any indication whatever as to the possible length of the Session after the Prorogation?


I have been considering that, but, as the House knows, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is ill, and I am not prepared to give an answer to-day.


Are we to understand that only one day is to be given to the discussion of the Appropriation Bill? After the statement of the Prime Minister, hon. Members may wish to raise other matters on the opportunity afforded by the Vote of Credit. We desire to raise in a very definite form the question of peace negotiations owing to the statement made in Germany two days ago, and may I ask whether an opportunity will be given next week for a full discussion of that question? [HON. MEMBERS: "No. no!"]


I think it is obvious that the allocation of time must depend upon the House of Commons. If more time is to be given it will be necessary to sit in the Christmas week, and I hope that may be avoided.


How late will the House sit to-morrow?


I have no intention of attempting to force measures through the House by all-night sittings or anything of that kind. If I find that the House is not ready to give facilities to enable the Prorogation to take place on Friday, then we will have to continue to meet beyond Christmas.


Will you suspend the Five o'Clock Rule to-morrow?



Ordered, "That the proceedings of the Committee of Supply and the Committee of Ways and Means be not interrupted this day under the Standing Order (Sittings of the House), and may be entered upon at any hour, though opposed."— [The Chancellor of the Exchequer.]

Resolved, "That this House do sit tomorrow (Friday)."—[The Chancellor of the Exchequer.]

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