HC Deb 13 November 1919 vol 121 cc506-9

May I ask the Leader of the House what is the, business for next week?

In view also of the Prime Minister's attendance here on Thursday, would the right hon. Gentleman make arrangements at the Table that the Prime Minister's questions on that day might commence at No. 25 instead of 45?


As regards the last question of my right hon. Friend, I would remind the House that as a regular rule, until recently, the Prime Minister's questions, beginning at 45, were reached at a quarter-past three o'clock. If hon. Members would restrain their desire to ask supplementaries, I think that 45 would be reached at that hour. I will discuss the question with the Prime Minister.

As regards the business for next week, it will be:

Monday—The first Order must be the Industrial Courts Bill, Third Reading. As the House knows, that has to go through, though I do not think, it will take very long. We propose to devote the rest of the day to the discussion of matters connected with the Foreign Office. It is not possible to put down the Foreign Office Vote, because, as the House knows, that has closed, I presume the best method will be to move the Adjournment of the House, so that these matters may be discussed.

On Tuesday, we shall take the Third Heading of the Aliens Restriction Bill, the Irish Land (Provision for Sailors and Soldiers) Bill, and the Nurses Registration (No. 2) Bill, Second Reading.

Wednesday and Thursday, Electricity (Supply) Bill, Report.

On Friday it will be necessary that the House should sit, and it is possible that it may be the best arrangement to take the discussion on the Housing question, but I should like that to be left over until later.


Is my right hon. friend aware that the Electricity (Supply) Bill only passed through Committee to-day, and that a very large number of Amendments were moved and discussed in Committee? Does he not think that it is too short a time between now and next Thursday for hon. Members to become acquainted with what the Committee has done? It is a very important Bill.


I quite recognise the importance of the Bill, but it will be printed and be in the hands of hon. Members to-morrow. I should like to remind my right hon. Friend and the House that though up to now we have not been very greatly pressed for time, for the rest of the Session there will be not a minute to spare. It will be absolutely necessary to get on with this Bill.


May I ask my right hon. Friend whether, when the Government think it convenient, as it often is, to make a detailed statement in answer to a number of questions, that statement could not be made at the end of Question's, and so not interrupt the time of the House for Questions?


If I may say so, I think that hon. Members are under a misapprehension as to the answer of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. We have all been in the House when questions dealing with the same subject have been replied to in one answer. To-day sixteen questions were answered in that way. I venture to express the belief that if they had been answered individually it would have taken twice as long.

Captain W. BENN

In view of the general desire of the House that the Prime Minister's answers should have been fuller to individual questions—I say it with great respect—would the right hon. Gentleman consider the desirability of coming more than one day a week to answer questions?


Considering that every day there are at least a hundred questions on the Paper, have the Government considered the question which was raised earlier in the Session of giving another quarter of an hour to Question Time, in order that a greater number of questions can be answered?


Very often we get through a hundred questions in the time allotted to Questions. Indeed, that has happened quite frequently. That would happen very much oftener if hon. Members had a little restraint in regard to supplementary questions. When this question was raised before, I said that the Government would not press their view against the wish of the House. I believed then, and I believe now, that there is not a general desire for this change.


In view of the fact that at the present time there are lying on the Table certain Regulations and Rules in regard to Housing which come into force on the 21st instant, unless they are objected to beforehand, could not the right hon. Gentleman arrange to have the discussion on Housing before the 21st?


It would be very difficult to arrange that except after 11 o'clock, which would certainly not satisfy the House. I will consider the matter with my Noble Friend (Lord E. Talbot), but I am afraid I cannot give that time.


Would the right hon. Gentleman allow us to put down some Resolution delaying the coming into force of these Regulations? It is a most important matter that should be debated.


I have not the details to enable me to answer that, but I will consider it.


In order to facilitate business, would it not be desirable to have the Debate on Housing on Wednesday, thus meeting the wishes of hon. Members who desire to deal with that question, and take the Electricity Bill one day later? That will give hon. Members one day more to digest a Bill which is very important.


I will consider that. Another reason why I cannot name a definite day for Housing is that the Government are considering the possibility of making changes in their method of dealing with it. I am sure it would not be desirable to have a discussion until we have completed our consideration. I hope that will meet my hon. Friend.

Resolved, "That this House, at its rising this day, do adjourn till Monday next.—[Mr. Bonar Law.]