HC Deb 20 May 1919 vol 116 cc341-3

Order read for resuming adjourned Debate on Question [14th May], That this House doth agree with the Committee in the Resolution 'That it is expedient to authorise the payment, out of moneys provided by Parliament, and, if those moneys are insufficient, out of the Consolidated Fund, of such sums as may be required for giving effect to obligations incurred for the purposes of the present war or in connection therewith, by or on behalf of His Majesty's Government, and for other purposes in relation thereto.'

Question again proposed.


I think it is advisable to postpone the consideration of this Resolution, as I understand that there has been no discussion upon it.

Mr. BALDWIN (Joint Financial Secretary to the Treasury)

I made a very full statement when the Resolution was introduced.


If that be so—and of course I am quite willing to accept the statement of my hon. Friend—I will not object.


There is one question I want to put to the Secretary to the Treasury, and that is whether the Bill will be so drawn as to admit of wide discus- sion on the question of expenditure? My hon. Friend, when I raised the point on the last occasion, said ho would consult the Leader of the House and let me know.


I did speak to the Leader of the House about it. The Bill will be drawn precisely as it was last year, and whatever Debate may take place will be under the guidance of Mr. Speaker. I looked to see if I could find any undertaking given on the last occasion, but was not successful. I noticed that on the Second Reading the question was raised by an hon. Member, but I think what I have said will be quite sufficient for my right hon. Friend.


I think we ought to have some financial statement on a Resolution of this kind, or, in the absence of some estimate of the expenditure involved in the Bill, we ought to have reasons given us why the estimate cannot be presented. There is nothing in this Resolution which explains that point, and I would ask the hon. Gentleman if he cannot give us some information in regard to it,


My hon. Friend was probably not in the House when the Committee stage of this Resolution was taken, but I then gave figures concerning the new obligations. Perhaps my hon. Friend will take his mind back to the occasion of the last Financial Resolution—in July of last year, I believe it was—when the same point was raised by Mr. Handel Booth, the then Member for Pontefract, and by Mr. Watt, the then Member for one of the Divisions of Glasgow. They were both satisfied with the explanation I then gave, that it was impossible to give any figures to insert in the Resolution, but I gave an undertaking on the Committee stage of this Resolution last week that on the Second Reading I would give a statement of the present position of our existing war obligations.

Bill ordered to be brought in upon the said Resolution by Mr. Chamberlain, Sir E. Pollock, and Mr. Baldwin.

GOVERNMENT WAR OBLIGATIONS BILL,— to make provision with respect to Obligations incurred by or on behalf of His Majesty's Government for the purpose of the present War or in connection therewith," presented accordingly, and read the first time; to be read a second time upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 82.]

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.