HC Deb 23 July 1931 vol 255 cc1687-90

May I ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer four questions: First, if he can state the Business for next week; second, if he can give the date for the reassembly of Parliament; third, whether there is any alteration of the Business as announced for Friday, particularly with reference to the suspension of Members; and, fourth, if the Government will be in a position to make a statement next week on the international situation, because, if so, I think the Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill would be an appropriate opportunity.


The business next week will be as follows:

Monday: Supply, 18th Allotted Day. I understand that the Vote of the Mines Department will be taken.

Tuesday: Supply, 19th Allotted Day.

Wednesday: Supply, 20th Allotted Day.

I am not in a position to say what Votes will be set down for these two days.

Thursday: Appropriation Bill, Second Reading.

Friday: Appropriation Bill, further stages, and Motion for the Adjournment.

I regret that it is not possible to announce to-day the Votes which will be discussed on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I may remind the House that under the Standing Order all the outstanding Votes are put from the Chair for decision on the last two days. During the week it may be necessary to ask the House to take, in addition, any business necessary to pass into law before the Adjournment, the Measures included in the reply which I gave on the 9th July, in so far as such business may be expected not to involve unduly late sittings.

The House will reassemble on Tuesday, 20th October.

I understand that the business already announced for Friday, namely, the Agricultural Land (Utilisation) Bill, will be taken.

In reply to the third question put by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in regard to altering Standing Orders as to the suspension of Members, the Prime Minister desires me to say that, since he answered a question on this subject by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition on 15th July, it has become evident that there is considerable diversity of opinion in more than one quarter of the House as to the precise method in which the matter should be dealt with. In view of this, it is obvious that it will be impossible, within the time remaining between now and the Adjournment, to find an adequate opportunity of discussing the question. In these circumstances, it is proposed to put down a Motion for consideration at an early date after the reassembly of the House referring the matter to a Select Committee for an early report.

In reply to the fourth question, in regard to some debate on the international situation, I am always anxious to give the House of Commons an opportunity of discussing any matter in which they are interested, but I think that the House will appreciate the delicacy of the present international financial situation, and I do not think that it would be either in the public interest, or in the interest of the successful carrying out of the recommendations which have been made by the Conference which closed this morning, that any public discussion of the matter should take place.


In view of the Chancellor's statement that the Government are anxious to give the House an opportunity of discussing matters in which they are interested, may I ask whether the Government can provide time between now and the Adjournment for a discussion of a matter which is of common interest on all sides of the House, namely, the possible drop of the Civil Service bonus?


I do not think that it would be possible before the Adjournment. I can only repeat what I have said. I gather from the newspapers—which are my main source of information—that the report of the Civil Service Commission will be available some time to-day, and I have already promised that it will be taken into immediate consideration so far as it deals with the question of the Civil Service bonus.


In reply to what the right hon. Gentleman said in regard to the international situation, may I say that the Opposition would not think of pressing the Government unless it was convenient; but may I put this forward, that this question will probably be discussed in other capitals of Europe, and it would be of great topical interest to this country if it were possible to have a discussion here.


This may be discussed in other countries. Their methods of procedure are rather different from ours, but I think that the Debates that do take place on these questions in foreign Parliaments sometimes do not help international relations.


I realise the delicacy of the position, but would it be possible for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to let us have a statement before the Houses rises?


I do not think that I can add anything to the statement that will appear in the Press, probably this evening or to-morrow morning.

Lieut. - Commander KENWORTHY

Has the right hon. Gentleman received any intimation that the Opposition are to use any of the opportunities that will arise—at least three—before we part for the holidays, to raise the economic situation of this country, apart from the international situation, and the general question of unemployment in this country?


I have already said that one part of the Opposition has chosen the Mines Department on Monday, and I have no intimation as to what subjects have been selected by the Opposition on the two days that remain.


Is it proposed to take the Public Works Loan Bill on Friday?


No, I understand not.


May we take that as definite?


iadicated assent.