HC Deb 21 March 1922 vol 152 cc421-2

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £10, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1922, for additional expenditure on the following Air Services, namely:—

£ £
Vote 1. Pay, etc., of the Air Force 303,400
Vote 2. Quartering Stores (except Technical), Supplies, and Transport 110,700
Vote 3. Technical and Warlike Stores 234,000
Vote 4. Works, Buildings, and Lands 111,000
Vote 9. Experimental and Research Services 43,450
Deduct Excess Appropriations-in-Aid and Surpluses on Votes 6 and 9 802,540
Net Amount 10."
Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

This Estimate was brought forward at a somewhat late hour last night. I will content myself to-night by simply protesting against the bringing forward of this Estimate at 10. 15 last night, and now at 20 minutes after midnight. I think the Government will be ready to admit that the Estimates which we have just passed have not taken up very much time in view of their great importance. It is not worth beginning a serious discussion of this Estimate at this time of the night. As hon. Members are aware, it has become the practice of the Government to bring in bunches of Supplementary Estimates in this way. On this side of the House, at any rate, we have a duty to the country to perform, and it is to examine this expenditure. There is much in this Estimate which needs discussion, and if we allow it to pass now I hope we shall have an undertaking that the Report stage will be taken at a reasonable hour. We are only a small minority here to-night, and it is difficult for us to make an adequate protest in view of the late hour. I shall, however, reserve my examination of this Estimate for the Report stage.


In view of what my hon. and gallant Friend has said, may we be told when the Report stage will be taken?

Colonel LESLIE, WILSON (Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury)

The Committee will understand that I am the last person to keep the Committee sitting late, but there is certain financial business which must be done before the end of the financial year. I agree that there should be a discussion on these Supplementary Estimates, but if the Report stage be put down as the second Order on Thursday, I hope that will provide an adequate opportunity for discussion, on the understanding that it will take about two hours.


I would like to ask what is meant by the discussion lasting only about two hours? Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman mean that the other Votes which have been passed over so quickly to-night will be expected to go through as quickly the next time? There is a very serious item on page 4 of the Estimates upon which some of my hon. Friends will have a good deal to say. We must have some assurance that these Estimates will be put down at a time which will enable a proper discussion to take place. Several millions have been voted in Supplementary Estimates already, and we really must have a definite assurance that we shall be allowed to debate this Vote in good time.

Colonel WILSON

I have given an undertaking that Supply, Report (24th February), shall be put down on Thursday, and I have been assured that the discussion will not last more than two hours. That will enable this Supplementary Estimate to come on at a reasonable hour in the afternoon.


I want to ask if the hon. and gallant Gentleman will keep his own side down, so that we may have a proper opportunity for discussion. This Vote of £300,000 raises a very important matter as far as we are concerned, and if the hon. and gallant Gentleman will undertake that he will keep his own side down we will guarantee that we shall not take up much time with it.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.

Committee to sit again To-morrow.