HC Deb 22 April 1931 vol 251 cc1115-7

Resolution reported, That it is expedient to amend Sub-section (2) of Section one of the Palestine and East Africa Loans Act, 1926, by inserting after the words 'passing of this Act,' in paragraph (c) of the said Sub-section, the words 'other than charges in respect of loans previously guaranteed under this Act.'

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution.'


The Financial Secretary to the Treasury and I had a passage of words last night on this subject. I do not want to keep the House up at this hour of the night, but I hope we may assume that we shall have an opportunity of discussing this matter at a reasonable hour on some future day on the Second Reading of the Bill. I hope that that understanding may be agreed to from the other side of the House.


May we have a reply.


Surely we may have an answer.

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Dr. Drummond Shiels)

Certainly. I hope there will be an opportunity for a discussion as asked for by the Noble Earl, and I think that an opportunity will be available.


I think we are entitled to something a little more definite on the part of the Front Bench opposite. If we are to allow the Report stage to go through without discussion, we should have some definite undertaking from a responsible Member of the Government that time will be given for a proper discussion on the Second Reading of the Bill. I hope we shall get that undertaking, but if it is not given, we must take such opportunity as we can of discussing this Resolution now on the Report stage.


Surely, if the Prime Minister is not able to be here to-night, there must be someone in charge of the Government's business who is able to give a reply. All that we want is an assurance that this Bill will be taken at some reasonable time, in order that it may receive proper discussion. Is there any Minister who can reply to that question?


If it is desired to raise any points now, I am prepared to reply, but I think it would be for the convenience of hon. Members that the suggestion of the Noble Lord should be adopted, and that the discussion should take place on the Second Reading. I am as anxious as any hon. Member opposite that the points in question should be dealt with, and I am glad to say that there will be a full opportunity for a discussion of them.


May this matter be made quite clear? Have we an undertaking from those responsible that the Bill will be taken at a reasonable hour, when we can have a thorough Debate?


I think I can say without any hesitation that there will be a full opportunity for discussion on the Second Reading, and that the business will be taken at a reasonable hour. The question, of course, as to what a reasonable hour is, is, I hope, an open question. Any request that this business should be taken at any unusual hour would, I think, be quite unprecedented, and the business will be announced in the ordinary course at the ordinary time.


May we take it, from what the Chief Government Whip has said, that at least a couple of hours will be allotted to the discussion before 11 o'clock at night on some day in the near future? If the undertaking that the Chief Government Whip has just given does not mean that, but merely that the Eleven o'clock Rule will be suspended and the Bill taken after 11 o'clock, the discussion possibly running on into the small hours of the morning, that would hardly be considered an adequate opportunity for discussion. May I ask the Chief Government Whip if he will give us that undertaking?


I took part in the Debate last night, and it was not until about half-past eleven or 12 o'clock that it was taken. The Financial Secretary to the Treasury answered very fully and clearly the question that I put to him, and, after that, my Noble Friend the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) put further questions, which it was agreed needed further discussion. So far as I am concerned, and I think I speak for my Friends beside me, if the Chief Government Whip assures us that we shall have a fair opportunity at a reasonable hour to discuss the further points which were not fully discussed last night, we shall be content; but I think the Chief Government Whip will agree that we ought to be given reasonable time at a reasonable hour—earlier than last night —in order that we may discuss these points.

Mr. KENNEDY indicated assent.

Bill ordered to be brought in upon the said Resolution by Mr. Pethick-Lawrence and Dr. Shiels.