HC Deb 13 July 1926 vol 198 cc238-9

With regard to the business to-morrow, the Postmaster-General informed the House to-day that he proposes to make a statement tomorrow, when the House goes into Committee of Supply, on the new arrangements to be made with the Broadcasting Company, or with regard to broadcasting. As this will probably involve legislation, may I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury what means will be taken to enable the Postmaster-General to make a full statement on the new arrangements? The Parliamentary Secretary will no doubt have in mind that under the Standing Orders of the House the Postmaster-General cannot refer to legislation to-morrow.

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Commander Eyres Monsell)

It is a well-known Rule of the House that one must not discuss legislation on Supply days; but, as the House also knows, my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General is a close student of the aft of procedure, and I am sure nobody would be able to give a greater maximum of information with the minimum of disorder.


Will the Government remember that the Vote has been asked for for certain specific purposes, and those specific purposes, in accordance with the well-observed habit of the House, ought not to be covered up by another matter more convenient to the Government than the ones we ask to have discussed?


May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he does not recognise that every invasion of the rights of Members in Committee of Supply diminishes the opportunity of dealing with grievances, which were the obvious reasons for the Vote being asked for; and whether, as legislation is necessary to deal with broadcasting, some other occasion should not be found when a full statement on legislation can be made by the Postmaster-General?

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Has the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury omitted to remember that this Vote is, by agreement, to be under discussion until dinner time only, and that, if we are to have a discussion on broadcasting, many other questions affecting the Post Office will be neglected?


May I ask for a definite reply to the question I put?


Perhaps I may say that I promised the House hat they should have an opportunity for discussion before anything definite was done with regard to broadcasting, but this is not that opportunity. I assure hon. Members that that opportunity will be given in due course but I thought it would interest the House to-morrow to know how far we had got.


I should like to get a perfectly clear agreement on this. We have asked for the Post Office Vote to-morrow and I do put in a claim that the subjects which we want to discuss and with which the right hon. Gentleman I believe is familiar, must have a prior consideration over any convenient subject the Government may introduce.


That is so.