HC Deb 17 July 1929 vol 230 cc442-4

There is an Order on the Paper for to-morrow, the Local Government Amendment (Scotland) Bill, Second Reading. A number of Members of the House, on one side or the other, are interested in the Bill, and it would certainly be for the convenience of the House if the Prime Minister would say whether that Bill is to be taken to-morrow or not.


On the same point, would the Prime Minister say whether he proposes to suspend the Eleven O'clock Rule to-morrow so as to ensure that the Bill will be taken?


If I may take the second question first, I have not decided to -ask for the suspension of the Eleven o'Clock Rule. With reference to the first question, as the right hon. Gentleman will remember, I stated to the House that this Bill was to be circulated for the information of the House so that they might see what was best that could be done in the circumstances, and that unless there was some chance of getting the Bill within a reasonable time it would be quite impossible to proceed with the Bill. But Members of the House will notice that on the Order Paper tomorrow the Bill is not the first Order. I was hoping that I might have had an opportunity of continuing my investiga- tion to-day and of making a statement to-morrow about it. But obviously the Bill cannot be got to-morrow night. If the Bill's Second Reading is to be secured it obviously must be put down as the first Order of the day. I do not intend to take it to-morrow, but I will make a final statement about the fate of the Bill to-morrow if the right hon. Gentleman will leave me to-day to resume my inquiries.


Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is going to make a statement and decide the fate of the Bill before the Bill has actually been given a Second Reading and before it has even been discussed? Does he propose to give it a place as the first Order any day this week or next?


What I said was that I was still pursuing inquiries as to what is likely to happen regarding the Bill, more particularly the steps to be taken to get it through if we decide to go on with it and the satisfaction or otherwise that it would give to members of the House. If it is decided to go on with the Second Reading of the Bill, it will receive the first place on the Order Paper at an early date; but I prefer to wait until to-morrow to state what the result of my inquiries has been.


Is it clear that the Debate will not take place to-morrow on the Second Reading?


Perfectly clear. The Bill's place on the Order Paper to-morrow clearly shows that it is not intended to ask for the Second Reading to-morrow.

Miss LEE

Was I mistaken in understanding that on a previous occasion the Prime Minister definitely said that the Bill would be brought forward before the House rises?


No, what I did say was, that the Bill would be printed and circulated before the House rose, and the intention—as a matter of fact it is not only an intention but a necessity, if the Bill is to be pursued, that it must be settled before the House rises.


In view of the Prime Minister's statement that the Bill is not to be taken to-morrow and that the Order Paper shows that the Bill is going to be opposed by a certain section of the House, is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that that means that if the House is to adjourn as originally fixed this Bill in all probability will be dropped unless he is prepared to extend the adjournment date?


It is to enable me to answer that question definitely to-morrow that I am asking to be allowed to continue my investigations to-day.

Major WOOD

Is the Prime Minister aware that a large number of people are up from Scotland in connection with the Bill now, and that they are waiting to hear of its fate?