As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I have received urgent representations this morning of a desire to discuss the situation caused by the lock-out in the engineering trade and the action of the Government in relation thereto. If the wish for such a discussion is maintained—I understand it is still a subject matter for consideration by those immediately concerned—I shall then propose to make time for that discussion on Monday. What I am asked to do is to move the Adjournment of the House in order to afford an opportunity for a discussion which I think must in any case close by dinner time. We cannot allow more than till 8 o'clock for that discussion. Then at 8 o'clock we shall take the Supplementary Estimates, starting with the Ministry of Agriculture Vote. If time is not desired for that discussion on Monday then we shall begin with the Supplementary Estimates after the close of Questions.
On Tuesday we propose to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on the Air Estimates.
On Wednesday we shall take Army Estimates, Vote A and Vote 1, in Committee.
On Thursday and Friday we shall take the Committee and Report stages of the remaining Supplementary Estimates on the Paper, and of the Financial Resolution in connection with the Diseases of Animals Bill and all the stages of that Bill.
§ Earl WINTERTON
Does the fact that there is going to be a Debate on the lockout on Monday mean that the Government are going to formulate some policy with regard to intervening, or are we merely going to discuss at large what is purely a trade dispute?
No, Sir; the Government do not at this moment think that they can usefully take any action beyond that which they have already taken. It is because they have come to that decision that, I understand, those who disagree with it may desire to challenge our action, or our inaction, in this matter.
§ Mr. CLYNES
May I say that the House ought not now to conclude that we are seeking to force a discussion on Monday? Our object is to report to those concerned this afternoon the views of the Government, as represented to us earlier during the day, as to why a Court of Inquiry is not being set up. Our whole object, if there be a discussion, is to assist towards a settlement, and for the moment we are not at all seeking to force a discussion on Monday, but we are seeking to get the opinion of those concerned as to whether a discussion would help matters or not.
I understand that I shall hear from the right hon. Gentleman in the course of to-day whether he and his party desire such a discussion to take place on Monday, and in that case I shall be able, on the Motion for Adjournment to-night, to say definitely what Monday's business will be.
§ Mr. J. DAVISON
May I ask why the Government decline to institute a Court of Inquiry in accordance with the Act?
§ Mr. G. LOCKER-LAMPSON
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether anything beside the Russian famine question will be taken to-morrow?
In answer to the last question, we shall take, if time permits, further Report stages, as they stand on the Paper.
That for the Middle Eastern Services is the one which stands first. With regard to the other question, I met a deputation, of which the right hon. Gentleman was one, this morning, and, after hearing all that they had to say, I stated the views of the Government. I think I had better not enter into argument upon that now, and, indeed, it would be out of order to do so.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
In the event of the right hon. Gentleman's announcing this evening, on the Motion for Adjournment, that a discussion on the engineering dispute is to take place on Monday, will that be practically a Vote of Censure on the Government if they do not accede to the 2382 request of the right hon. Gentleman opposite? If it is not going to be a Vote of Censure, is it advisable that we should in this House discuss matters which are really outside our jurisdiction?
I indicated to the deputation which met me this morning my own view that the institution of a Court of Inquiry by the Government now would tend rather to prolong the duration and extend the area of the dispute than to limit either.
I cannot argue the matter now. I am only trying to answer as well as I can the questions put to me, including that of the hon. Member. I also indicated that in my opinion a discussion in this House would tend rather to inflame than to allay passions. At the same time, if the right hon. Gentleman and those for whom he speaks think that there ought to be a discussion in this House, I think it would be unwise for the Government to refuse them the opportunity of raising it.
§ Mr. A. SHORT
Will a statement be published of the conversations and deliberations that have taken place this morning?
I understand that a summary, agreed by representatives of the two parties to the conference —the Government and the deputation-will be sent to the Press.