§ Sir D. MACLEAN (by Private Notice)
asked the Leader of the House what business he intends to take next week; also, in the event of the Third Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill being concluded before the House rose to-morrow, what other business, if any, he proposes to take?
If we conclude the Third Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill early to-morrow, we will proceed with Supplementary Estimates for Irish Miscellaneous Services.
2109 For the reasons given by my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, we do not propose to take the Irish Free State (Agreement) Bill on Monday. Accordingly, we will devote Monday and Tuesday to Supply.
On Monday we will put down the Ministry of Health Supplementary Estimate and other Estimates.
On Tuesday I propose to put down minor Estimates, in the hope that they may be finished at an early hour—something like 7 o'clock—and that the House may then adjourn, as I understand there is a widespread desire in the House to have an opportunity of celebrating the auspicious event of the day.
On Wednesday we shall propose to take the discussion on the Geddes Report.
I will make a statement early next week as to the. business for Thursday and Friday.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
In view of the repeated representations made to the right hon. Gentleman by the Labour party asking for two days to discuss the Geddes Report., cannot he see his way clear to allow us to have Thursday as well as Wednesday to discuss that Report?
I received representations from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Widnes (Mr. A. Henderson) asking for an opportunity to discuss this matter, and it was in consequence of those representations that I fixed Wednesday for the purpose which I suggested in answer to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Peebles (Sir D. Maclean). I am sorry in the state of public business that I cannot find an additional day at the present time for that purpose. I think that the discussion on the effect of the Geddes Report upon the expenditure and the Supply of the year will be in order on various other occasions which Will occur to the hon. and gallant Gentleman.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I really cannot understand why we cannot have part of Tuesday. May I ask what form the Debate will take on Wednesday next—whether there will be a Resolution moved by the Government, and whether we shall have sufficient information from the Government to show the House what the attitude of the Government is towards each section of that Report?
I really cannot, in answer to a question, make the speech which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will make on Wednesday. I understand that he will take an opportunity of surveying all the recommendations of the Geddes Report, and indicate to the House the attitude of the Government upon them. I propose to move the Adjournment of the House in order to give an opportunity for the discussion. Then the hon. and gallant Gentleman asks me why they cannot have Tuesday as well as Wednesday. It is because of the state of public business.
We are proposing to take the part of Tuesday for Estimates. As I say, it is because of the state of business, and because of the not very rapid progress we have been able to make with the Supplementary Estimates. if the hon. and gallant Gentleman would co-operate with us in disposing rapidly of these, I should hope we might find a further opportunity of discussing the Geddes Report.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Would it not be possible to have this Debate on Wednesday on some definite Resolution, so that a Division might be taken? If it is merely on the Adjournment, it will be impossible to take the sense of the House.
I presume that the time for the House to express its judgment on the Government is on the Estimates. That seems to be the natural and opportune occasion. On Wednesday I think the convenient form would be to have a general discussion on the Motion for the Adjournment.
Is it not quite a usual proceeding for the Opposition to show their dissent from the Government by voting against the Adjournment?
§ Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY
May I ask what the right hon. Gentleman means when he speaks of the state of public business preventing this discussion and that discussion, when he proposes to adjourn the House at 7 o'clock on Tuesday?
It has been conveyed to me through the usual channels 2111 that it is the general wish of the House, and I do my best in matters of this kind to conform to the general wishes of the House. I am assuming that in order to facilitate that arrangement, Members on all sides of the House who have asked for such an early Adjournment will accept the minor Estimates we put down for that day.
§ Mr. RONALD McNEILL
May I ask whether it is the intention of the Government to proceed further this Session with the Irish Free State (Agreement) Bill?
I cannot make any further statement on that subject at the present time. My right hon. Friend has already said that he has invited the signatories to the Treaty to come over and discuss the matter, and I think we had better wait until we have seen them.