HC Deb 06 June 1924 vol 174 cc1596-8

May I ask the Deputy-Leader of the House the business which it is proposed to take in the week in which we reassemble?

The LORD PRIVY SEAL (Mr. Clynes)

On Monday, 16th June, we propose to take the Prevention of Eviction Bill—Consideration of Lords Amendments; London Traffic Bill, Report and Third Reading; Town Councils (Scotland) Bill, Second Reading; and if time permit, China. Indemnity (Application) Bill, Second Reading; Merchant Shipping (International Labour Conventions) Bill [Lords], Second Reading.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we shall take the Debate on the Imperial Preference Resolutions.

On Thursday: Supply—Vote for the Board of Trade.

Friday: Lead Paint (Protection Against Poisoning) Bill, Second Reading; County Courts Bill, Report and Third Reading; and Post Office (London) Railway Bill, Second Reading.

I should like to make a brief statement with regard to the Imperial Preference Resolutions. They have been placed on the Order Paper in a form, which I think fulfils the assurance given to the House by the Prime Minister, and which, I understand, meets the wishes of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. Recognising the great interest taken in this subject by our Dominions, two days have, as I have just announced, been allotted for this Debate. On the second day, it is the intention of the Government to ask the House to suspend the Eleven o'Clock Rule, so that at the appointed hour the necessary Divisions may take place.


I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for meeting our wishes in this matter. May I, on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether you will indicate your attitude as to the course to be pursued on the Resolutions regarding the Economic Conference which have been put down in the name of my right hon. Friend. As I understand the agreement—and it is confirmed by what the right hon. Gentleman has just said—it is that the discussion on Preference shall last over Tuesday and Wednesday, 17th and 18th June, that the Eleven o'Clock Rule shall be suspended on the Wednesday, and that the Debate shall be concluded at, or about, Eleven o'Clock that night. The question I wish to ask you, Sir, is, whether, in accordance with the usual Budget precedent, you will allow the General Debate on the question of Preference to take place on the first of these Resolutions? We shall, of course, desire to reserve the right to divide without Debate on subsequent Resolutions. I am authorised by my right hon. Friend, the Leader of the Opposition to say that we shall only exercise this right on the understanding that, if the sense of the House be found to be against us, we should not take more than three or four successive Divisions.


I think the suggestion that the general Debate should take place on the first of these Resolutions will be for the convenience of all the Members of the House, and, if I have the assent of the House, I propose to follow that method, on the understanding that such Divisions as may be necessary may be taken on the different Resolutions when the general Debate conies to an end.


Will the Deputy-Leader of the House say whether he intends to put on the Paper to-day, so that we may see them printed, the Resolutions which are to be taken?


I have already said they are now on the Paper.

Captain Viscount CURZON

I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that on the Monday we are to take, first, the Prevention of Eviction Bill, and secondly, the London Traffic Bill, Report and Third Reading. Does the right hon. Gentleman propose to suspend the Eleven o'Clock Rule on the Monday, because there are a great many Amendments down for the Report stage, and the Bill is one on which probably some Members do require to have a certain amount of discussion? I cannot help thinking that it will be very difficult to get the London Traffic Bill, Report and Third Reading on the Monday.


On behalf of the party which sits on these benches may I say that we are ready to concur in what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. A. Chamberlain) has said in regard to the Debate on the Preference Resolutions.


In respect to the Noble Lord the Member it be the Battersea (Viscount Curzon), if it be the general feeling of the House, we will readily suspend the Eleven o'Clock Rule in order to complete the business announced for the Monday.


When is it the intention of the Government to take the Money Resolution in regard to the Old Age Pensions Bill, seeing that this is business which is non-contentious, and which has already passed so far through the House?


We may be able to take that matter in the second week after we re-assemble.