May 1 put a question to the Prime Minister? I notice on the Order Paper to-day that under Notices of Presentations of Bills, priority is given to the Bill which I suppose will be known as the Reconstruction Bill, and that only second place is given to the Coal Mines (Eight Hours) Bill. May I ask whether the Government mean to proceed with these two Bills in that order, and whether on reconsideration the right hon. Gentleman would not feel that it would be the better way of proceeding with those Bills.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The reason why the original announcement was made was that the Coal Mines Bill was a very short one, and therefore could be got into type much more quickly than the Mining Industry Bill, which is known as the Reconstruction Bill. The latter Measure is a large and detailed Bill, although it is quite clear what are the points which it wishes to encompass. Having regard to the fact that the only clay this week we can spare for this particular Debate is Wednesday, and that the Opposition have asked for a longer time than one day for the Coal Mines Bill, I do not think it would greatly prejudice the progress of either of these Bills if we took the Mining Industry Bill first, and if that 43 Bill were put down for Wednesday, I should hope the Second Reading might be given to it on Wednesday. That would leave Monday and Tuesday free on which to take the Coal Mines Bill. I am anxious to get the Second Reading of both Bills by Tuesday night next week.
It is rather difficult for me to express an opinion, not having seen either of these Bills. I think, however, that our idea as to the second Bill will be found to be pretty accurate. As far as the first Bill is concerned, I have not seen it, and I think it will be necessary that we should see a copy of the Bill, before we decide upon the order of the business.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I quite agree with that, but I suggest that we take the Mining Industry Bill—that is the Reconstruction Bill—on Wednesday and, as soon as the Bill is printed, perhaps through the usual channels we can agree to the allocation of the time in which to complete the Second Reading of the two Bills.