HC Deb 18 July 1924 vol 176 cc752-4

Can the Lord Privy Seal give us his promised statement as to the business for next week?

The LORD PRIVY SEAL (Mr. Clynes)

The business will be:

Monday: Housing (Financial Provisions) Bill, Committee stage In view of the time that has already been devoted in Committee to this Bill, we are hopeful that that stage will be concluded, say, at the dinner hour on Monday, or, at any rate, not later than nine o'clock, to enable us to take the Report stage of the Old Age Pensions Bill that evening.

Tuesday: Supply, Board of Education Vote.

Wednesday: Finance Bill, Third Reading.

Thursday: Housing (Financial Provisions) Bill, Report.

Friday: Housing (Financial Provisions) Bill, Third Reading.

As regards Friday, we hope that the Third Beading of the Housing Bill will be concluded sufficiently early to enable us to take a number of small Orders, which will be announced later.


May I suggest, with all respect, that there is not the slightest possibility, in so far as human calculation goes, of finishing the Committee stage of the Housing Bill by 8.15 on Monday. The party which I represent has been willing on both days this week to devote the night as Well as the day to the conclusion of the Committee stage, and we shall be quite willing to devote any night in the public interest to the task. If the right. hon. Gentleman will only look at the number of Amendments still on the Paper, many of which the Minister of Health is prepared to discuss and accept, he will see that to finish the Committee stage at 8.15 is an impossible ideal.


We are all anxious, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, not to delay the Housing Bill. Would it not be possible to have some informal conference of those who are interested in the Bill, in order that the material Amendments may be taken? I am of opinion that a large number of the Amendments on the Paper need not have a large amount of time devoted to them. If we could come to some general agreement, it would be possible to expedite, the progress of the Bill. I share the apprehension of the last speaker as to the impossibility of getting the Bill through by dinner time on Monday night. The suggestion which I have made is a practicable one.


Would it not be possible to take the Old Age Pensions Bill as the first Order on Monday? There is considerable anxiety about it, particularly in view of the statement by a Minister that our action in moving that the Committee stage of the Housing Bill be taken on the Floor of the House is going to delay the Old Age Pensions Bill until the Autumn Session. Is it not possible to bring this very non-controversial Old Age Pensions Bill forward as the first Order on Monday?

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN

Will the right hon. Gentleman urge upon the Government the advisability of sitting on to the end of August, if necessary, in order to complete the business?


The various points which have been raised cannot now be made the subject of discussion. I can only say with reference to the suggestion of the hon. Member for West Woolwich (Sir K. Wood) I will communicate it to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, who has, I think, shown a disposition to meet the views expressed in every quarter of the House. With regard to the suggestion as to sitting late into the night, or having all-night sittings, it has been strongly urged that it is highly undesirable to have all-night sittings, if they can be avoided, on matters of such importance as the details of this Bill, and accordingly we have sought to meet those views by not sitting very late. I am not myself without hope that a disposition will be shown on Monday to enable us to get through the Committee stage. If not, we shall have to take into account whether or not it is essential to sit late enough on Monday to complete the Committee stage.


What about the Old Age Pensions Bill?


There are strong reasons for not reversing the order contained in the statement which I have just made.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if no agreement can be reached regarding the Bill, many of his supporters would prefer to carry on all night rather than be breaking into one night after another by sitting on till one or two o'clock in the morning?


That is the very point I have just answered.


Is it the right hon. Gentleman's intention to take the Building Materials Supply Bill before rising?


Not until the Autumn Session.


Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the sittings of the House are continued in August, at any rate, sufficiently long to ensure the passage of the Old Age Pensions Bill?


It is our determination to sit sufficiently late to deal with the Old Age Pensions Bill.