HC Deb 19 March 1931 vol 249 cc2152-3

May I ask the Prime Minister to tell the House what the business will be for next week, and if he is in a position to say anything about the Recess?


Monday: London Passenger Transport Bill, Second Reading.

Tuesday: Supply (4th Allotted Day), Report of Air Estimates, 1931, Army Estimates, 1931, Navy Supplementary Estimate, 1930, Navy Excess, 1929; Report of Ways and Means Resolutions.

Wednesday: Consolidated Fund Bill, Second Reading.

Thursday: Consolidated Fund Bill, further stages; Army Annual Bill, Second Reading.

Friday: Further stages of the Mining Industry (Welfare Fund) Bill, and the Yarmouth Naval Hospital Bill; Second Reading of the Improvement of Livestock (Licensing of Bulls) Bill.

On any day, should time permit, other Orders may be taken.

Regarding the Recess, we propose, to adjourn on Thursday, 2nd April, but I fear that the programme of Business before us is such that, if the date of re-assembly is later than the 14th April, there will be grave risk of sitting well into August. If these fears prove groundless, a short extension of the Whitsuntide Recess may be possible, but I propose that we should resume on the 14th April.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Mining Industry (Welfare Fund) Bill has not yet completed its Committee stage?


That Bill is put down for to-morrow week.


But it has not yet completed its Committee stage.


I will look into the matter.


May I ask the Prime Minister whether, if the need arises, he will allow a longer time than one day for the Second Reading of the London Passenger Transport Bill? I make the suggestion because there are a number of difficult questions of principle involved, each of which really requires to be separately discussed. There is, for example, the question of the advisability of placing this matter entirely in the hands of this particular form of control, and, secondly, there is the question of the scheme generally, as to whether it is to be committed to a board of this kind or to something else. Thirdly, there is the question of determining the terms of the expropriation in regard to the present owners of these undertakings. Fourthly, there is the very important question of the apparent omission of the suburban lines of the main railway companies. I venture to suggest that, if those matters were thrashed out thoroughly on Second Reading, the Government would be able to ascertain how far they had the general assent of the House to one or more of them, and which of them were matters which would really be contentious during the subsequent stages of the Bill.


I am fully aware of the points to which the hon. Gentleman has just referred. They are mainly business points and points of negotiation. I would remind the House that this Bill does not go straight to a Committee upstairs. When the Bill receives a Second Reading in this House, it will go to a Select Committee where every one of those points will be very specially and carefully considered.


May I venture to express the hope that the Prime Minister will give time for an adequate consideration of such report when it comes?


I think that there will be in one day.