52. Captain BENN
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the powers of the Estimates Committee it is proposed to set up are to be increased; and, if not, what is the reason for setting up a Committee which has not given full satisfaction and which cannot reach a real solution of the difficulty involved?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. As regards the second part, the hon. and gallant Member does not appear to be aware of what passed in the House last week. If he will refer to the replies which I then gave on this subject he will find that his question is fully answered.
Is it not a fact that the right hon. Gentleman himself described the Committee as not giving satisfaction and unable to reach a solution? If so, why are they to be endowed with fresh powers?
I did describe the Committee as one which had not yet given satisfaction, and I expressed doubts as to whether it was advisable to re-appoint it. The evident sense of the House, including the right hon. Gentleman opposite, was in favour of reappointing it, and I gave way to that sense of the House.
Will the right hon. Gentleman afford the House an opportunity of debating the terms of reference to this Committee and the Amendment which I have put down?
No. I can give no facilities. I offered the Motion if it was taken on the terms on which the Committee was appointed last year. If the House wishes, so far as I am con- 2098 cerned, the Committee will be set up, but I cannot set aside time for the hon. and gallant Gentleman's Amendment.