HC Deb 19 July 1939 vol 350 cc437-64

4.2 p.m.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

I beg to move, That for the purpose of concluding the Business of Supply for the present Session, Standing Order No. 14 shall have effect as if in paragraph (I) Sixteen days were substituted for Twenty; as if in paragraph (6) the Fifteenth day were substituted for the last day but one of the days so allotted, and as if in paragraph (7) the Sixteenth day were substituted for the Twentieth day so allotted; and that notwithstanding anything in the Standing Order a Friday sitting shall be equivalent to a single sitting on any other day, Under Standing Order No. 14, 20 days are allotted before 5th August for consideration of the annual Estimates, including Votes on Account. The Standing Order also provides that a Friday shall be counted as half of an allotted Supply day. The Motion which I have moved proposes that the number of allotted Supply days shall be reduced to 16 this Session, and that if Supply is put down on a Friday that Friday shall be counted as a whole allotted day for purposes of Supply. I should like to say that if this Motion is carried the Government would propose to use this latter provision for only one Friday, namely, Friday of this week. The other day, when I gave notice that I would put down this Motion, I was asked whether there were any precedents for anything of the kind, and I said then that there were. I dare say that hon. Members who are interested in the question have already informed themselves of what those precedents are, but, at any rate, I would like to tell the House that since 1915 there have been four occasions when Supply days have been cut down. The latest of them was in 1929, when Supply days were reduced to 13. That was done by a general agreement in view of the Dissolution of Parliament in May of that year. But in the War years there were three occasions when, to meet the congestion of business, Supply days were reduced, namely, in 1915, when they were reduced to 17 days; in 1916, when they were reduced to 15; and in 1917 when they were reduced to 16.

I do not pretend that the precise circumstances of any of those precedents are reproduced to-day, but I do say this: I think everyone recognises that we are passing through an abnormal period—an abnormal period when the Government of the day is bound to find it necessary from time to time to introduce Measures of great urgency which could not have been foreseen at the beginning of the Session. There are three such Measures that perhaps I might mention now, which we have had to debate this Session. There were the Military Training Bill, the Auxiliary and Reserve Forces Bill and the Ministry of Supply Bill. None of those Bills could have been foreseen when we were debating the Address. They were all urgent, and in all they consumed over II days of Parliamentary time. Eleven days out of the number of days available is a very large number, and it is perfectly obvious that such unusual demands must make hay with any Parliamentary programme. We have also had to deal with other important Measures of an emergency character besides those I have just mentioned.

I would take this opportunity of acknowledging gratefully the co-operation of all parties and all sections of the House in the discussion of the Civil Defence Bill. We have already had a very busy Session and we have had to ask hon. Members to work very hard. We have dealt with a great deal of business, but I am afraid that there is still a large amount outstanding which the Government must ask the House to pass before we adjourn. Even now at this very late period it is necessary for us to bring forward a new Measure of urgency. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is presenting to-day a Bill to give further powers for dealing with the activities of the Irish Republican Army, which it is necessary to pass without delay. There is also the possibility of another Bill, because the negotiations which are now proceeding with the Polish financial delegation to this country may result in an agreement which would require statutory authority. If it had not been for those two Bills, the Bill to deal with the Irish Republican Army and the Bill which we may have to introduce to implement an agreement with the Polish financial delegation, it certainly would not have been necessary for me to propose anything so drastic as that which I am now asking the House to consider. The following are Bills of which we desire to complete the stages

War Risks Insurance Bill.

Building Societies (No. 2) Bill.

British Overseas Airways Bill.

Senior Public Elementary Schools(Liverpool) Bill.

House of Commons Members Fund Bill.

We hope also to make progress with the British Shipping (Assistance) Bill, which it to be read a Second time to-day.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

What about the Supplementary Estimates?

The Prime Minister

If the right hon. Gentleman will have a little patience I shall not keep him waiting very long. The Appropriation Bill and the Isle of Man (Customs) Bill are both annual Bills which must be passed. We may also have to consider Lords Amendments to the Cotton Industry (Reorganisation) Bill and other Bills, a draft Order made under the Ministry of Supply Act and an Order relating to the temporary barley scheme for the 1939 crop, proposed to be made when the Agricultural Development Bill becomes law, an Amendment to the Rumanian Clearing Office Order, and a number of other items, including Motions to approve additional Import Duties Orders and other necessary business. Then with regard to the question of Supply, a number of Supplementary Estimates have been presented, but most of them arise out of legislation which has been considered this Session. We have had, out of the 20 allotted days, so far 11 days, and, therefore, nine days still remain. In considering the Parliamentary programme—

Mr. Benn

Is the Prime Minister aware that it is against the Standing Orders to take Supplementary Estimates on Supply days?

The Prime Minister

There are ways and means of dealing with matters of that kind, if not dealt with before. In considering the condition of the Parliamentary programme I have had in mind what I think to be the desire of hon. Members in all parts of the House, namely, to avoid, if possible, sitting over August Bank Holiday. [Hon. Members: "No."] There are some hon. Members, apparently, who are thirsting for work and do not want to take any holiday at all.

Viscountess Astor

Ask them to stand up.

The Prime Minister

I do not know how long a holiday it is possible: for the House to have, but the sooner we can begin it, the longer it is likely to be. If the proposal that I put forward is accepted, I hope it may be possible to take the Motion for the Summer Recess on Friday, 4th August. Let me consider for a moment what we have in front of us. After to-day, until Friday, 4th August, there are 10 whole days and three Fridays available, equivalent to 111/2 whole days. It is clearly impossible to pass the essential legislation I have mentioned and to adjourn on 4th August if we have to give time for all the remaining Supply days, because the completion of the business of Supply in the nine clays which still remain, with the Appropriation Bill and the Motion for the Summer Adjournment, would exhaust the whole of the time available. It is for that reason, therefore, that I am asking the House to forgo four alloted days for Supply this Session. If we do that we believe that we shall have sufficient margin for consideration of the necessary business, although some of the Bills that I have mentioned are not yet before the House and it is not easy to estimate how much time they will require.

In order to complete the statement I would like to read to the House a list of the other Bills before Parliament which we are proposing to postpone until the Autumn: All stages to the following Bills:

Administration of Justice (Emergency Provisions) Bill and a similar Bill for Scotland,

Deer and Ground Game Scotland)Bill,

India and Burma (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill,

Official Secrets Bill,

all of which come from another place. Then there are the Report and Third Reading of:

The Criminal Justice Bill.

There are also Bills now in another place:

The Poultry Industry Bill,

Water Undertakings Bill,

and we shall, of course, have to consider the Report of the Select Committee on the Official Secrets Act and bring forward a Motion to approve the recommendations of that Committee.

Mr. Stephen

The right hon. Gentleman has not mentioned my Bill for the amendment of the Pensions Act. Are the Government not to give time for it?

The Prime Minister

For purposes of greater convenience, I was confining myself to Government Bills.

Mr. Thorne

The right hon. Gentleman suggested that he was going to carry on a number of Bills into the Autumn. Does that mean that we are having no General Election?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member is one of the oldest Members of the House, and probably knows more about general elections than anyone else.

Mr. Benjamin Smith

Is it the right hon. Gentleman's intention that the House should proceed with all stages of the Bill which is to follow immediately, or will that Measure be held over until the Autumn?

The Prime Minister

As regards the Shipping (Assistance) Bill, I have already said that we want to make progress with that Bill, and the Second Reading is being taken to-day. I have put before the House quite frankly the position as regards congestion of business and the proposal which we are putting forward in order to enable the House to rise on 4th August. I dislike very much having to introduce a measure of this kind. I regards it as one which is entirely exceptional, and only to be justified by exceptional circumstances. But I must say that, in this abnormal period to which I have referred, and in view of the extra work that has necessarily been placed upon the House, it seems to me that the measure is justified.

4.17 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Greenwood

I feel quite certain that the Prime Minister will expect no sympathy from me, nor will he expect any approval from me, this afternoon. He quoted precedents, but those precedents are not applicable to-day, and, although he has said that we are not living quite in times of peace, had Government business been better organised we should not have found ourselves in this most deplorable situation. All that the right hon. Gentleman is doing is, with his usual generosity, to steal time that belongs rightfully to the Opposition. Just as, nearly a year ago, he tried to save Britain by sacrificing Czechoslovakia, now he tries to save his own political skin by sacrificing the time of the Opposition. This, however, is a very serious occasion. It may be justifiable in time of war, or when there is, as was the case in 1929, an impending General Election, that there should be some agreement between the parties, in order that they may get on with the fight, to reduce the number of Supply days; but this situation is an entirely new precedent, and one is entitled to ask, on an occasion like this, what is to prevent any future Government, after frittering away the time of the House of Commons or dealing at a later stage of the Session with subjects which they ought to have foreseen but never did foresee, from asking for a reduction in the number of Supply days and thereby curtailing free discussion in this House?

This House is not yet the Fascist Grand Council; this House is not the kind of assembly that sometimes meets in Berlin at the beck of Herr Hitler; this is a free Parliament, and long may it remain so. Members of this House have their rights, and the Opposition, as an integral part of our Parliamentary system, has its rights also. Those rights are being filched from us to-day by the Motion which we are now debating. The Motion has, moreover, this deeper significance. The infringement of those ancient rights of the Opposition to its limited opportunities for discussion means a sacrifice of that liberty of expression which is the very foundation of our democratic system. I have no doubt that Herr Goebbels will make the most of this.[Laughter.] Of course he will. I cannot even now refer in public to the spineless character of this Government without its being broadcast in Germany. But it is a serious thing when the Mother of Parliaments is asked—at a critical time, it is true—by a majority on the other side of the House to sacrifice the rights of the minority on this side.

We have not been a fractious Opposition. Had we been sitting on the benches opposite, and had hon. Members who now sit on that side been sitting over here, we should not have got away so easily with a proposal of this kind. We have never opposed for the mere sake of opposition; we have reserved all our guns for matters which we regarded as matters of substance. We might have made the life of the Prime Minister and the Patronage Secretary even harder than we have done, and I am wishing now that we had. We have honestly tried to play a square and fair game, provided that we were able to deal with problems which we regarded as problems of substance. Now, having been as kind as we have, having been as thoughtful as we have, four days are going to be stolen from us.

Mr. Kirk wood

By a lot of robbers.

Mr. Greenwood

That is precisely what I say. It is all the harder because the mess into which the Government have fallen is not due to us; it is due to them. I would ask the House to consider what is the situation now. It is the middle of July, and there is very little time before the Summer Adjournment. There are still very important aspects of national administration which ought to be discussed in this Chamber, and which, if the Motion is passed, we shall inevitably be debarred from raising. Many Departments whose work we wish to bring under review and criticism will be able to escape the searchlight of this House because of the Motion that is now before us.

There are other grave and important questions outstanding which it is necessary that the House should discuss before it rises, and an official Opposition has certain rights in this matter. If we were to ask responsibly and seriously for a day's Debate on some big issue of primary importance, His Majesty's Government would not, I am sure, think of denying us that right. Four days are being stolen from us, and it looks as though an attempt will be made to steal from us the exercise of our right to demand days for issues of very grave importance, but I want to tell the House that, whether it is 4th August or not, if we feel called upon to censure His Majesty's Government, that Censure Motion will go down on the Paper. On the point with regard to 4th August, which seems to be some sort of mystic date that is circulating among Members of the House, I would ask, in view of the abnormal times—the Prime Minister himself used that term twice—why should there be such unseemly haste to bring this part of the Session to an end on 4th August? Why not—and I say this with the greatest reluctance myself—why not take a little longer in August? I have no doubt that hon. Members opposite would be prepared to go to some personal inconvenience in this matter as long as they got on the grouse moors on 12th August. That, at least, would give us another week, and, if that were convenient to hon. Members opposite, we on this side would willingly accept it.

The Motion on the Paper is really a confession of the Government's ineptitude and short-sightedness. I have here a copy of the King's Speech read by you, Mr. Speaker, in this House on 8th November last, outlining the Government's programme for the Session. I remember that, when I heard it first in another place and when I heard it in this Chamber, I said to myself, "This looks like a lean year." There was not very much in the King's Speech. The Government had not foreseen, as they ought to have foreseen, the trend of events. The keynote of the King's Speech was the spirit of international friendliness following upon Munich. It was on that sandy foundation that the Government built their year's work, and we are being asked to pay now for a foreign policy which on that side of the House has been scrapped and can never be rehabilitated. The King's Speech itself referred specifically to only two major measures— first, the Criminal Justice Bill, and secondly, Measures dealing with agriculture. One of these latter was produced, namely, the Milk Bill. It had to be withdrawn most ignominiously, and the Government had to think again. [Interruption.] It meant a casualty in the Government's ranks, but that is another matter; the Minister disappeared. I mention that to show hat the Government's programme was ill thought out. Cotton was referred to, but there was no definite mention of legislation. Other minor Measures were referred to which have been proceeded with. But, as the Session grew on, as the failures of last year became more and more apparent, as the Government were compelled completely to reverse their foreign policy, a new situation arose, new issues arose, new legislation was introduced unexpectedly, over-night, and the King's Speech was dead.

We have been working now for many weeks, not on the King's Speech, but on an improvised King's Speech which has never received the assent of this House, and which consists almost entirely of so-called emergency Measures. I have no sympathy with the Prime Minister or with the Cabinet, but I confess to very considerable sympathy with the Patronage Secretary. The Patronage Secretary, faced with this King's Speech, prepares his programme, and then, day after day, there is hurled at him Bill after Bill for which he has to find time. I am certain he is the unhappiest man who sits on the Government Front Bench. The circumstances we are placed in now prove that he is the hardest-worked of them, and that is because the members of the Cabinet have not done their work effectively.

Mr. Buchanan

He is to blame; he picks the Cabinet.

Mr. Greenwood

I do not corroborate that, because I am not in the secrets of the Conservative party.

Mr. Buchanan

If you look at them you can see that that is true.

Mr. Greenwood

We have had a number of major Bills to which no reference whatever was made in the King's Speech. The Prime Minister has referred to one or two of them. There was the Military Training Bill and the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces Bill—for which, let me remind the House, there has still been no mandate from the people. They were done hurriedly and without proper consideration, creating increasing difficulties for the Government. They are examples of legislation of an ill-considered kind. We had a Ministry of Supply Bill. The Prime Minister quoted that as an emergency Measure. We had been pressing for that kind of thing for three years and more. There was no more real urgency for it this Session than there was last Session or the previous Session. The necessity for it does not arise out of the critical international situation, but out of the need for national organisation. One would have thought that this Government, which has been in office for three years, would have realised before 8th November last that a Ministry of Supply Bill was necessary. I welcome that Measure, for what it is worth—not that it is worth very much—but it cannot be described as an emergency Measure. We have had a Camps Bill, which was welcomed on this side so far as it went. It was unmentioned in the King's Speech, yet it ought to have been in the minds of the Government before last November. There was the Civil Defence Bill. I should have thought that in the King's Speech there might have been some reference to this matter. The question of Civil Defence was referred to only in the most guarded terms: The problems of Civil Defence, including that of the effective utilisation of the resources of the nation for national voluntary service, will in future receive the undivided attention of a Minister, the Lord Privy Seal. At that time the Government did not understand even the beginning of Civil Defence. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of the days that have been spent in the House on various Bills, but look at the days on which, for three years and more, we have been pressing for effective measures to be taken for the protection of the civil population in the event of war. Yet there is not a mention of the matter in the King's Speech. The Government ought to have known that they were going to do something, and they should have said so in the programme which was outlined for the year. I should have thought that the British Overseas Airways Bill might have been foreseen before 8th November. So I could go on, referring to one Bill after another which finds no mention in the King's Speech and which has since been conceived in haste and brought forward in this House without adequate discussion. This is a medley of a programme, made up of things that the Government thought of at first and things that they thought of afterwards.

While I realise the gravity of the international situation, my view is that His Majesty's Government ought to have foreseen in these circumstances, which to-day are no different fundamentally from what they were a year ago, the necessity for a lot of the legislation which they have dumped upon this House at short notice. It is important that His Majesty's Government should keep a balance between major Bills necessitated by international circumstances and other major Measures which are concerned with our social progress at home. While the Government have wasted time with a large number of Bills of relatively small importance, we have had nothing done for the future problem of unemployment, which can be prepared for only now, and nothing done about the distressed areas; there has been a flat refusal to do anything about one of the biggest issues before the people to-day, that of pensions for the aged; we have been refused even minor concessions, which have been agreed to on all sides of the House, for the purpose of remedying anomalies in workmen's compensation pending the report of the Royal Commission. We have had discussions running into the night; we have had the House on occasions rising earlier than many contemplated. I do not like to quote the Book of Common Prayer, but there is a passage in it which I will begin and which I will leave other hon. Members to finish: We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. I will not conclude it, but it seems applicable to the work of the Government in the present Session.

An Hon. Member

"Miserable sinners."

Mr. Greenwood

We are merely reaping the price which is inevitable from Rip van Winkles in office. They are always at least three years behind; that is their intellectual time lag. My old friend Sidney Webb, now Lord Passfield, proved conclusively that it took 19 years to get a Tory to translate an idea into action. I am not putting the period at as long as that, but it is true that we are suffering from this tardiness on the part of the Government to face these big issues which confront all of us. Attention has been drawn to the fact that it is three years since the Government gave an undertaking to see that profiteering in war work should be, not prohibited—they did not go as far as that—but substantially limited. Nothing effective has been done —not even under the Ministry of Supply Bill—nor will it be done. Why should this House, why should we on this side, have to be sacrificed because of the lethargy of people who sit on the Government benches? Since 1935 the Government have shirked their responsibilities. They have accepted them when they were forced upon them by public insistence, but they have been unwilling to take action, with the result that we have got to this frightful state of congestion.

I must, on behalf of my hon. and right hon. Friends, make a most: emphatic protest against this unprecedented outrage upon Parliamentary practice and tradition, and this curtailment of the ancient freedom of Members of this House. It must be clear, even to hon. Members opposite, if they do think, that the indigestion from which the Government arc now suffering is due to their ill living. It is due to the fact that they have not taken sufficient exercise in the past. They are paying the proper price, and, unfortunately, we have to suffer with them. I have no wish to prolong the Debate on this question; we should prefer the time graciously accorded to us henceforth by His Majesty's Government to be spent on those great issues which still remain to be dealt with by this House before it rises. I want to make it clear that, as long as there is public business to be done in this House, we are prepared to stay here to do it. We shall not acquiesce in this action of the Government, because we do not wish to create a new and dangerous precedent in this House. We shall not acquiesce in it, partly for that reason, but partly also because we cannot accept a proposal which will allow them to scuttle away from awkward criticism and shelve troublesome problems. When this Debate concludes I and my hon. Friends shall be very glad to vote against the Motion.

4.44 p.m.

Sir Archibald Sinclair

I listened with pleasure, and, indeed, if I may say so, not without relief, to the speech of the acting-Leader of the Opposition for Dame Rumour, that lying jade, had been whispering through the Lobbies of the House of Commons that the Opposition were not going to Divide against the Motion. The right hon. Gentleman's speech has given that rumour its quietus. I listened to him with pleasure for another reason, and that was that, if we cannot persuade the Government at this late hour to abandon their ill-conceived proposal to rob the Op position of the opportunities given by these four Supply days, which rightly belong to them, for criticism of the executive and control of the Departments, at least the right hon. Gentleman has made it clear that his party repudiate and condemn this precedent.

The Prime Minister made a persuasive speech. He pointed to the congestion of business and to a large extent the acting-Leader of the Opposition has disposed of that argument. A great deal of the business recently brought before the House ought to have been in the King's Speech. My hon. Friends and myself called for the establishment of the Ministry of Supply in an Amendment we moved to the Address in November. The congestion is largely due to the mismanagement of Government business, but at the same time we must realise that a great deal of it is due to events over which the Government have no control, and we must realise, too, that the Ministers are working under a great strain at the present time. The Prime Minister was good enough to pay a tribute to all parties in the House for the cooperation they had given to the Government in the passage of certain indispensable legislation, and in response I would like to repeat what I have said in this House often before, that it is not only his own supporters who admire the assiduity and the courtesy with which the Prime Minister discharges the functions of Leader of the House. But while that is true, it is my contention that Members of all parties in this House as Private Members ought to join together to resist the encroachments of the Executive upon the rights of Parliament, and never more than now, when we see the principles of democracy so widely challenged.

When the Prime Minister first announced his proposal to the House at Question Time two days ago I asked about precedents, and he said that he would tell us what the precedents were when he made his speech in this Debate. We have heard his speech, and it transpires that there is no precedent in peace time for the taking of these Supply days except by the general consent of all parties of the House—none. This is the first time that it has been done, and it is a very grave encroachment indeed for the Executive to make upon the rights of Parliament. The nearest approach to a precedent is the precedent of 1929, but I would ask hon. Members, and especially hon. Members opposite, to remember what Lord Baldwin said about that precedent when he announced the General Election in 1935. Speaking on that occasion he was defending the decision to have a General Election in the winter, and he said: You find that in nearly the last 40 years the only exception to that rule "— that is, a General Election in the winter— was when I was Prime Minister and dissolved Parliament in May, I think it was, of 1929. To do that we had to present a non-contentious Budget, to get it through quickly and to ask the House of Commons—which is not a practice I ever propose repeating—to curtail discussions on Supply by a great deal and to give up one of their essential functions in order to allow the Election to take place." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd October, 1935; col. 154, Vol. 305.] That was when there was a General Election, when it was necessary to have one and all parties agreed that it was necessary to have a General Election, and in spite of the agreement of all parties that in that situation it was essential to have a General Election in the summer, and the willingness of all parties to co-operate, Mr. Baldwin gave it as his opinion that it was a practice he would never repeat, even in those circumstances. How much less could he possibly approve, if he were in the House to-day, of this device of the Government in peace time robbing the Opposition of these Supply days without the consent of all parties, and, indeed, against the opposition of both opposing parties. What may happen in another Parliament when there is another Government perhaps of a more extreme complexion, either Right or Left, and when they find this precedent so readily to their hand in peace time? When sitting for an extra week in August would solve the difficulty, rather than take four extra days in August the Government just sweep away these four Supply days which belong to the Opposition.

There are very serious subjects for Debate on Estimates of important Departments which we have not discussed this year at all. Education, health, agriculture, the Dominions Office, police, are only some of them that could be mentioned. Scotland has only had one day; of all the Scottish Departments we have only discussed the Estimates of one. There is Home Defence. We have passed Home Defence legislation this Session, A.R.P. Measures, and so forth, and when they had a black-out in Chelsea a week or two ago, instead of having shelters to which to go, they had chalk lines on the pavement. Is it not time that we had a discussion on the preparations now being made for air-raid defence, and the chance. to ask what action is being taken to employ workmen and capital, to construct works of defence against air attack? Food storage is another matter on which there is grave misgiving in many parts of the House. There is the question of Foreign Affairs, and we shall have to have a Debate on Foreign Affairs. Not all these subjects can be discussed when we are to have only four days to range over the whole of that vast field which I have indicated to the House. I have mentioned foreign affairs, and let me refer to what I said at Question Time in a supplementary question that when the negotiations with Russia are in the critical stage they have now reached, Parliament ought not to consent to separate with this great issue, on which peace and war may hang, still unsettled.

The Prime Minister

There are five days, not four.

Sir A. Sinclair

I am obliged to the Prime Minister for his correction. My hon. Friend tells me four and a-half days, to be accurate, but the House will not expect me to repeat that long catalogue of Estimates which still remains without discussion.

I am not contending this afternoon that the authority and influence of Parliament vary directly with the length of its sittings. That would be going very much too far, but the important thing is that Parliament should be sitting when great events are taking place which are exercising the minds of the public. My mind goes back to last year, and I remember the events which took place all through August and September; the mobilisation of great armies on the continent of Europe, and the feeling here that no counter action was being taken; and the impossibility of getting the House summoned until, eventually, at the end of September, we returned here to be confronted with surrender and humiliation. We do not want to be faced with that sort of situation again. Therefore, surely there are other steps which might be taken at the present time concerning arrangements for the recall of Parliament but to-day I will only, in passing, express the hope that some means will be found, if Parliament does rise at the beginning of August, of keeping the Government in touch with the feelings of Members in all parts of the House in view of the possibility of serious events abroad.

Surely it is not necessary to take this great decision now and make this great and unprecedented encroachment upon the rights and privileges of Members of this House. Is it not possible to make a lesser one? Under the Standing Order all these Supply days have to be taken by 5th August. Would not the Prime Minister consider, in place of the Motion which is on the Order Paper, an Amendment to postpone these four additional Supply days until we return in September or October, as the case may be? I cannot understand why we are asked to take this big decision to-day. What is the hurry? Why should we not allow business to go on and see what the situation is at the beginning of August? It may be that the situation may be such that the Prime Minister would not wish the House to separate. We ought to leave the discussion of this Motion until the first week in August, at any rate, and proceed in the meantime with our work. On the one hand, there is the strong emotion in the hearts of all of us which the Prime Minister put in these words, '' The sooner we begin the holidays the longer they are likely to be," and that evokes a response from everyone of us, but against that surely it is not right, under that very natural human and possibly rather weak emotion, to sacrifice the right; of Parliament and to allow the Executive to take over these Supply days. It is more important for us to stay in our stations in these critical times to watch the course of events and these negotiations with Russia, and it is vital, in these times which are so dangerous to democracy that we should stand at our posts and exercise all our traditional rights of controlling the executive of this country.

4.58 p.m.

Mr. Maxton

I want to support the opposition to this Motion. It would be a very bad thing indeed if this House allowed this Motion to be passed to-day. The Prime Minister has produced precedents, and on every occasion when these precedents were made the House was informed that the purpose was not to constitute a precedent. I am sure the Prime Minister assures us of that to-day also, but when we look back, the things that were not to constitute a precedent always did constitute a precedent, and to-day the circumstances provide less excuse than was the case on the previous occasions when this type of step was taken. Frankly, the only issue before us is, can we extend our Session for a few more days? I am just as keen on my holidays as anybody in this House, and I do not want to be a humbug about that. I remember a school story about a boy who was asked what a hypocrite was, and he said: "A hypocrite is a boy who goes to school with a smile on his face." I am not that particular kind of hypocrite, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) will remember that some 15 of us, because the House desired it, worked into August and over the Bank Holiday on the Official Secrets Inquiry. We were not unduly happy, but our consciousness of virtue carried us through, and although the House felt that the matter was very urgent, it is not being considered necessary to discuss our findings until next September.

I do not see why the House as a whole could not decide to continue for the other four days that belong to the Opposition for the purpose of examining the administration and public expenditure, as distinct from the work of legislation, and the work of checking administration and expenditure is as important a part of the work of the House of Commons as legislation. After all, what is there about having a holiday on this particular sacrosanct date, the first week of August? The banks have decided that it is a convenient quarter day for them. Is that any reason why we should go on holiday on that particular day? Glasgow Members are sitting here, but the whole of Glasgow is on holiday. The West of Scotland is on holiday. Our friends, relatives and families are away at the coast and are denied the privilege of our society. No doubt some of them are enjoying their holiday more because of that fact. Why should the first week of August be regarded as a time when we cannot sit? If the carrying through of our job decently necessitates another week, that other week should be given, and freely given.

I would not associate myself entirely with the line of criticism of the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Liberal party. I do not think it is a bad thing that, coming up through the House of Commons, there should be a tre- mendous pressure of energy. Much rather would I have it that the House of Commons has too much coming through it than too little. At different times there have been protests about our being unable to have all the questions on the Paper answered and suggestions for limiting the right of questioning. I have never associated myself with those protests. I think it is a good thing that there should be this desire for activity. Similarly, I have heard protests about the impossibility of every speaker who wanted to get in getting in a particular Debate, and I have never associated myself with those protests, because I think it is a good and a healthy thing when we should be putting more questions than we can get answers to, and when we have more speeches that we want to deliver than we have the opportunity of delivering, and when there is more legislation to be dealt with and more desire for criticism of administration than the normal time allows. I think these are good things. They are the things that constitute the justification for a House of Commons.

I do not for a moment mean to suggest that I think the speeches that are delivered, or the questions that are asked, or the legislation that is introduced constitute the best use that the time could be put to, but the fact that the desire is there is a good thing and it should not be "cabined, cribbed and confined." On this matter back benchers on the Government side have as big an interest as Members on this side. We are the House of Commons, and we should not allow the executive to say to us, "You have had enough for this year, run away for your holidays, and leave the rest of it to us." We want to examine the affairs of certain Departments of State. There are four days which, according to the rules that govern our work here, we are entitled to have, and back benchers, if they are doing their duty, will refuse to give the Government what they are asking, and will insist that these additional four days be allowed to us to do the job we are sent here to do.

5.5 p.m.

Mr. Crossley

I think it is an extraordinarily regrettable thing that the Government are finding themselves compelled to do. I am prepared to believe that in these very special circumstances it may be necessary, but for the life of me I cannot comprehend how it has come about that we have already wasted half a day of Parliamentary time, and we may have to waste at least another half day, on discussing our pensions.

5.6 p.m.

Mr. Vyvyan Adams

For several reasons I have seldom felt so frightened in my life as now. In the first place, I have been semi-officially informed that it is only leaders of parties who ought to speak on these occasions. In the second place, I am afraid that what I have to say is going to be extremely unpopular. I object to this Motion on quite different grounds from those put forward by the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition. I do not agree that the Government could have foreseen the necessity for the fresh legislation which has had to be put before the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) said the Government had no mandate to introduce the Military Training Bill. That may be true. I certainly supported that Bill and I did what I could to anticipate it and to facilitate its passage. But, whether there was a mandate or not, I should not like to suggest that Hitler and Mussolini had any mandate from the electors of Great Britain for the invasion of Czechoslovakia and Albania. It partly derives from those causes that we had to pass greater measures of defence. Nor do I care particularly about the rights of the Opposition whether, in the language of the right hon. Gentleman, they be fractious or amenable.

What I try to care about as a back bencher is the power, the authority, and the sovereignty of Parliament, and also the security of Great Britain. We are asked to assent to the loss of four Supply days. What is the purpose of the Motion? It is proposed in order to get the House of Commons up for their holidays. The Prime Minister said—and with the greatest possible respect I agree with him—that we have worked very hard. With equally great respect, let me add that the notion of this House of Commons separating for a holiday for an indefinite period at this, the most critical moment in the last 25 years, seems to me nothing short of grotesque. Surely there is excellent reason at the very least for adding four days to our Session before we separate. The long list of Government business which the Prime Minister read out seems an excellent reason for abbreviating our holidays at this end. It is just upon this kind of lull in which we are about to indulge that aggressors abroad always count. We all remember how we separated last year in the sunshine and were only brought back at what seemed to be the moment when we were standing upon the edge of war. Then it was too late the House of Commons to exercise its immemorial duty of controlling and influencing the policy of the executive. I do not want to go into the morals and the merits of the policy pursued a little later than this a year ago, but during August and September the executive did not cover itself with glory in the; sense that its policy was in any way permanent or successful. I would remind the House that, with the exception of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's (Mr. Duff Cooper), we have to-day the same Government which from March last year to March of this year was so disastrously hoodwinked and outmanoeuvred by Hitler.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Colonel Clifton Brown)

This is not the occasion for starting a discussion on the record of the Government.

Mr. Adams

With very great respect, the discussion proceeded along these lines before you succeeded Mr. Speaker in the Chair, and, moreover, I am merely trying to illustrate what may be the disastrous consequences, not to this House but to the country and to the Empire, if we separate and have no longer the power of controlling the actions of the Executive. I hope the Prime Minister will believe me when I say I am fully convinced in my own mind that, if aggression comes, he intends to resist. But does Hitler? That seems to me to be the point.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I hive already reminded the hon. Member once that this is not the occasion for discussing foreign affairs.

Mr. Adams

We do not know for how long the House is going to separate on 4th August. It may be for a month, or six weeks or two months, bat I respectfully suggest that the least duty imposed upon the House is to see that it is sitting during a period which is bound to be critical. That much we owe to the honour of the British name, to the security of our fellow-countrymen, and to the new temper of resistance which is now inspiring those who sent us here to represent them.

5.12 p.m.

Mr. Mander

Whatever the leaders of parties may do to-day, it is the duty of back benchers to protest in the most vigorous manner against the action of the Government in depriving them unnecessarily of the four days to which they are entitled. Is it suggested that the world is coming to an end on 4th August? Why can we not go on sitting and conducting our business, as we are perfectly willing to do? I cannot see any justification for it. I am going to advance reasons why I think Parliament should be kept sitting as long as possible—certainly for these four days—because of the dangers of the international situation, and the opportunities that may lie before the Government when they are not under Parliamentary control and may act in a manner which they would not do if Parliament were sitting. I have no doubt that the Government themselves would be quite glad to be uncontrolled, because they have been driven into their policy very largely as the result of Parliamentary pressure, but I submit, as a reason for keeping the House sitting, that there will be no confidence, when the House adjourns on 4th August, in a Government which is still without the right hon. Gentlemen the Members for Epping (Mr. Churchill), Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden), and St. George's (Mr. Duff Cooper).

I am sure that the view I have expressed is the view of the overwhelming majority of the people of the country, as was evidenced at a recent by-election. The Prime Minister said that North Cornwall was to be a vote of confidence in him. Here is the vote of confidence in the presence of my hon. Friend, the Liberal Member for North Cornwall (Mr. Horabin). There is not that confidence felt in the Government in the House or in the country which might be achieved if different arrangements were made. I am endeavouring to keep within the Rules of Order and at the same time to put forward a point of view which seems to me very important. I hope the Opposition will, if they think it necessary, feel perfectly free to put down a Vote of Censure and, if need be, on four days in order to take the time of which the Government are compulsorily trying to deprive them. We might get over this difficulty of keeping the House in control by sitting once a week throughout August and September, possibly just formally, but that is a matter which we could deal with on some other occasion.

The Prime Minister dealt with various Measures that are to be postponed till the autumn. Some of them are very important, and I hope the Government intend to put them through. I hope they are not going to run away from the Criminal Justice Bill. They show signs of it, but it would be very deplorable if they became frightened and abandoned that Bill. Naturally, the Prime Minister mentioned only Bills in which he is interested as the head of the Government, but there are other Bills in which Private Members are interested, and which they would like to see discussed if time were available. That is another reason for not adjourning. One of my hon. Friends referred to his own Old Age Pensions Bill. Embarrassing as a discussion of that matter might be to the Government and hon. Members opposite, I am sure the country wants to have it discussed; certainly we are most anxious to discuss it on these benches. I have a Bill of my own which, however unpopular it may be amongst those mentioned in the recently published book, "Tory M.P.," I am sure finds a very large measure of support throughout the country. I refer to the Conscription of Wealth Bill, a subject which the Government have dealt with in a petty manner, totally inadequate to the occasion. That is another reason why the House should not adjourn, but should take the fullest opportunity of discussing all the matters that come before it. I do urge very strongly that we should not accept this Motion as a precedent, but that we should protest against it as being contrary to the practice of Parliament and wholly unnecessary with the months of August and September before us. I suggest that we should continue to perform our duties. Above all, the course of action suggested by the Government is undesirable because of the widespread distrust of the Prime Minister which still exists in the country.

Mr. Benn

I want to ask a question of the Prime Minister. Under the Standing Orders the position of Supplementary Estimates is very closely safeguarded. There are about £20,000,000 of Supplementary Estimates which we have not yet passed. Under the Standing Orders we are forbidden to consider these Supplementary Estimates on Supply days. I asked the Prime Minister what he proposes to do, and he made a reply about ways and means. I should be glad if, in view of this very drastic suspension of part of Standing Order No. 14, the right hon. Gentleman would tell us how he intends to deal with that part of the Standing Order which forbids us to take Supplementary Estimates on the remaining Supply days.

5.20 p.m.

The Prime Minister

I think it might be convenient if we now come to a decision on the Motion, seeing that we have very important legislation to discuss to-day. By the indulgence of the House I might say a few words in reply to what has been said. The hon. Member for West Leeds(Mr. V. Adams) stated that he had been semi-officially informed that it was inappropriate for back benchers to express any opinion upon this Motion. I do not know what was the source of that instruction, but it certainly did not come from this bench. The observations of the party Leaders opposite have referred not so much to the Motion but to the question whether it is proper for the House to have a holiday at all. I should like to confine my remarks solely to the Motion to reduce the number of Supply days. The right hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair) said there was no exact precedent for the Government's proposal, and he devoted some time to the precedent for cutting down Supply days in 1929. I thought it right to give the House that precedent for reducing the number of Supply days, but those hon. Members who heard me will recollect that I did not rest my case on the 1929 precedent. I do not think that is the nearest analogy to the present circumstances. In my view, the analogy of the War years is far more appropriate to the present position than anything that is based upon a desire for having an election.

The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition claimed that he and his party had not been obstructive and that they had restricted their main opposition to matters of particular importance. I am not going to quarrel with him about that, and I certainly do not wish to make any complaint against the Opposition on that ground, but when he attempts to show that the whole of the congestion in the legislation this Session has been due to faults of omission on the part of the Government, I cannot accept that view. If the Government had foreseen all the actions that have been taken by the heads of other States and if they had prepared the necessary legislation and had put it into the King's Speech, that would not have given us any extra time. We should have been just as congested, and the only thing that it would have done would have been to induce the Government to ask private Members to give up their time on Fridays, as has often been done before, and on Wednesdays, too. W e have not done that this Session, except on one occasion, nor have we, as the right hon. Gentleman suggested, forced Bills through the House. There was only one Bill, the Military Training Bill, which was the subject of a Guillotine Motion. I do not think the House has been unduly pressed in the matter of Guillotine Motions, or in the matter of sitting late.

Another question that has been put has been, why all this hurry? Why the 4th August? Why take the' particular date? It is perfectly true that we could take the full number of Supply days before the 5th August and put off legislation till afterwards, and then follow on after Bank Holiday, but I have in mind a consideration, which, although it does not particularly affect myself, must affect a good number of hon. Members, and that is that they like to be with their families during the holidays. The fact that Bank Holiday is a public holiday means that arrangements arc made in a great number of cases, sometimes beforehand, for families to take their holidays at that time. Whether the families can do without the fathers, I cannot say, but certainly a good many fathers would not like to miss the opportunity of being with their families.

The suggestion of postponing the Supply days until the autumn does not appear to me to be feasible, because if we did that we could not get the Appropriation Bill. Therefore, I am afraid that that course is not possible for us. In regard to the question put to me by the right hon. Member for Gorton (Mr. Benn) as to how we can defend this action in view of the Standing Order, I would remind him that this is not an innovation. It is nothing which has not been done by Governments before us, and we shall do as our predecessors have done.

Mr. Benn

Does that mean that on the remaining Supply days the right hon. Gentleman will propose the suspension of Section 2, Part 2, of Standing Order 14? Is there any precedent for that being done?

The Prime Minister

That was not in my mind.

Mr. Benn

How shall we take Supplementary Estimates unless the Standing Order which forbids them being taken on Supply days is suspended?

The Prime Minister

The right hon. Gentleman is a great authority on procedure, and I have no doubt that he has studied all the precedents. If he studies what his own Government did, he will probably find the precedent there.

Mr. V. Adams

Can the Prime Minister tell us when he expects to be able to inform

Division No. 252.] AYES. [5.27 p.m.
Albery, Sir Irving Colville, Rt. Hon. John Hannah, I. C.
Allan, Col. J. Sandeman (B'knhead) Cook, Sir T. R. A. M. (Norfolk N.) Harbord. Sir A.
Amery, Rt. Hon. L. C. M. S. Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S,) Haslam, Sir J. (Bolton)
Anderson, Sir A. Garrett (C. of Ldn.) Cooper, Rt. Hn. A. Duff (W'st'r S. G'gs) Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Cooper, Rt. Hon. T. M. (E'burgh, W.) Hely-Hutohinson, M. R.
Aske, Sir R. W. Courtauld, Major J. S. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel A. P.
Assheton, R. Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L. Hepburn, P. G. T. Buahan-
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Cross, R. H. Hapworth, J.
Barrie, Sir C. C. Crossley A. C. Higgs, W. F.
Baxter, A. Beverley Crowder, J. F. E. Hoare, Rt. Hon. Sir S.
Beauchamp, Sir B. C. De Chair, S. S. Holdsworth, H.
Beaumont, Hon. R.E. B. (Portsm'h) De la Bere, R. Horsbrugh, Florence
Beechman, N. A. Donner, P. W. Howitt, Dr. A. B.
Beit, Sir A. L. Drewe, C. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hack., N.)
Burnett, Sir E. N. Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury) Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)
Bird, Sir R. B. Duggan, H. J. Hume, Sir G. H.
Blair, Sir R. Duncan, J. A. L. Hunloke, H. P.
Boulton, W. W. Dunglass, Lord Hunter, T.
Braithwaite, J, Gurney (Holderness) Edmondson, Major Sir J. Hutchinson, G. C.
Brass, Sir W. Elliston, Capt. G. S. Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir T. W. H.
Briscoe, Capt. R. G. Emery, J. F. Keeling, E. H.
Broadbridge, Sir G. T. Emmott, C. E. G. C. Kellett, Major E. o.
Brocklebank, Sir Edmund Erskine-Hill, A. G. Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)
Brown, Rt. Hon. E. (Leith) Fleming, E. L. Kerr, Sir John Graham (Soo'sh Univs.)
Browne, A. C. (Belfast, WJ Fox, Sir G. W. G. Keyes, Admiral of the Fleet Sir R.
Bullock Capt. M. Furness, S. N. Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.
Burgin, Rt. Hon. E. L. Fyfe, D. P. M. Lamb, Sir J. Q.
Burton, Col. H. W. Gibson, Sir C. G. (Pudsey and Otley) Lambert, Rt. Hon. o.
Caine, G. R. Hall- Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir J. Latham, Sir P.
Campbell, Sir E. T. Gledhill, G. Lees-Jones, J.
Carry R. A. Glyn, Major Sir R. G. C. Leighton, Major B. E. P.
Cayzer, Sir C. W. (City of Chester) Goldie, N. B. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. L.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral) Levy, T.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. N. (Edgb't'n) Gridley, Sir A. B. Liddall, W. S.
Chapman, A. (Rutherglen) Grigg, Sir E. W. M. Lipson, D. L.
Chorlton, A. E. L. Grimston, R. V. Little, J.
Christie, J. A. Guinness, T. L. E. B. Lloyd, G. W.
Clarry, Sir Reginald Gunston, Capt. Sir D. W. Loftus. P. C.
Colfox, Major Sir W. P. Hambro, A. V. Lucas, Major Sir J. M.

us of the date when we shall be recalled in the normal course after the holiday?

The Prime Minister

I am afraid I cannot say.

Mr. Benn

What is this mysterious thing that the Labour Government did to which the right hon. Gentleman refers?

The Prime Minister

There is nothing mysterious about it. It was done over and over again.

Mr. Benn

What was it?

Question put, That for the purpose of concluding the Business of Supply for the present Session, Standing Order No. 14 shall have effect as if in paragraph (1) Sixteen days were substituted for Twenty; as if in paragraph (6) the Fifteenth day were substituted for the last day but one of the days so allotted, and as if in paragraph (7) the Sixteenth day were substituted for the Twentieth day so allotted; and that notwithstanding anything in the Standing Order a Friday sitting shall be equivalent to a single sitting on any other day.

The House divided: Ayes, 208;

Noes, 147.

Mabana, W. (Huddersfield) Pilkington, R. Southby, Commander Sir A. P J.
MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G. Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Spears, Brigadier-General E. L.
M'Connell, Sir J. Porritt, R. W. Spans, W. P.
MacDonald, sir Murdooh (Inverness) Procter, Major H. A. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'm'l'd)
Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight) Radford, E. A. Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
McEwen, Cap). J. H. F. Ramsay, Captain A. H. M. Storey, S.
McKie, J. H. Ramsbotham, Rt. Hon. H. Strickland, Captain W. F.
Maonamara, Lieut.-Colonel J. R. J, Rankin, Sir R. Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Margesson, Capt. R(. Hon. H. D. R. Rathbone, J. R. (Bodmin) Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (Padd., S.)
Markham, S. F. Reed, A. C. (Exeter) Thomas, J. P. L.
Marsden, Commander A. Reed, Sir H. S. (Aylesbury) Thomson, Sir J. D. W.
Mason, Lt.-Col. Hon. G. K. M. Reid, J. S. C. (Hillhead) Titchfield, Marquess of
Maxwell, Hon. S A. Rickards, G. W. (Skipton) Tryon, Major Rt Hon. G. C.
Mailer, Sir R. J. (Mitcham) Ropner, Colonel L. Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Mills, Sir F. (Leyton, E.) Rosbotham, Sir T. Wakefield, W. W.
Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Ross, Major Sir R. D. (Londonderry) Walker-Smith, Sir J.
Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Ross Taylor, W. (Woodbridge) Ward, Lieut.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Morgan, R. H. (Worcester, Stourbridge) Rowlands, G. Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Morris-Jones, Sir Henry Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R. Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univ's.) Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir E. A. Waterhouse, Captain C.
Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Russell, Sir Alexander Wells, Sir Sydney
Munro, P. Russel, S. H. M. (Darwen) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Neven-Spence, Major B. H. H. Salt, E. W. Wilson, Ll.-Col. Sir A. T. (Hitchin)
Nicolson, Hon. H. G. Samuel, M. R. A. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel G.
O'Connor, Sir Terence J. Sandeman, Sir N. S. Wood, Hon. C. I. C.
Orr-Ewing, I. L. Schuster, Sir G. E. York, C
Palmer, G. E. H. Shakespeare, G. H. Young, A, S. L (Partick)
Patrick, C. M. shute, Colonel Sir J. J.
Peake, O. Smitherts, Sir W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Peat, C. U. Snadden, W. McN. Lieut.-Colonel Kerr and Captain
Petherick, M. Somervell, Rt. Hon. Sir Donald Dugdale.
Pickthorn, K. W. M. Somerville, Sir A. A. (Windsor)
Adams, D. (Consett) Guest, Dr. L. H. (Islington, N.) Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, s.) Hall, G. H. (Aberdare) Poole, C. C.
Adams, S. V. T. (Leeds, W.) Hall, J. H. (Whitechapel) Pritt, D. N.
Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford) Hardie, Agnes Quibell, D. J. K.
Alexandar, Rt. Hon. A. V. (H'lsbr.) Harris, Sir P. A. Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)
Ammon, C. G. Harvey, T. E. (Eng. Univ's.) Richards, R. (Wrexham)
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Hayday, A. Riley, B.
Banfield, J. W. Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Barnes, A. J. Henderson, J. (Ardwick) Robinson, W. A. (St. Helens)
Bur[...], J. Henderson, T. (Tradeston) Rothschild, J. A. de
Bartlett, C. V. O. Hopkin, D. Sanders, W. S.
Batey, J. Hopkinson, A. Seely, Sir H. M.
Beaumont, H. (Batley) Horabin, T. L Shinwell. E.
Benn, Rt. Hon. W. W. Jagger, J Sllverman, S. S.
Bevan, A. Jenkins, A. (Pontypool) Simpson, F. B.
Broad, F. A. Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. Sir A. (C'thn's)
Bromfield, W. John, W. Sloan, A.
Brown, C. (Mansfield) Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. Smith, Ben (Rotherhithe)
Buchanan, G. Jones, A. C. (Shipley) Smith, E. (Stoke)
Burke, W. A. Jones, Sir H. Haydn (Marioneth) Smith, Rt. Hon. H. B. Lees- (K'ly)
Cape, T. Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T. Smith, T. (Normanton)
Charleton, H. C. Kirkwood, D. Stephen, C.
Chater, D. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. G. Stewart, W. J.
Cluse, W. S. Lathan, G. Stokes, R. R.
Clynes, Rt. Hon. J. R. Lawson, J. J. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Cocks, F. S. Leach, W. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Collindridge, F. Lee, F. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Cove, W. G. Leonard, W. Thorns, W.
Daggar, G. Logan, D. G. Thurtle, E.
Dalton, H. Lunn, W. Tinker, J. J.
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill) Macdonald, G. (Ince) Tomlinson, G.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) McEntee, V. La T. Viant, S. P.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) McGhee, H. G. Walkden, A. G
Day, H. MacLaren, A. Watkins, F. C.
Dobbie, W. Maclean, N. Watson, W. McL.
Dunn, E. (Rother Valley) Mander, G. le M. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Ede, J. C. Marshall, F. Welsh, J. C.
Edwards, Sir C. (Bedwellty) Mathers, G. Westwood, J.
Edwards, N. (Caerphilly) Maxton, J. White, H. Graham
Evans, D. O. (Cardigan) Messer, F. Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Fletcher, Lt.-Comdr. R. T. H. Montague, F. Wilkinson, Ellen
Gallacher, W. Morgan, J. (York, W.R., Doncaster) Williams, E. J. (Ogmers)
Gardner, B. W. Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.) Williams, T. (Don Valley)
Garro Jones, G. M. Naylor, T. E. Wilmot, John
Graham, D, M. (Hamilton) Noel-Baker, P. J. Windsor, W. (Hull, C.)
Green, W. H. (Deptford) Oliver, G. H. Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. Owen, Major G. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Grenfell, D. R. Paling, W.
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth) Parkinson, J. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Griffiths, J. (Lianelly) Pearson, A. Mr. Groves and Mr. Adamson.