HC Deb 25 July 1939 vol 350 cc1260-3
Mr. Greenwood

May I ask the Prime Minister how far he proposes to go to-day, and also whether he is prepared to arrange for a discussion of the Estimates for the Ministry of Information, as that is desired by my hon. Friends on this side of the House?

The Prime Minister

We desire to obtain to-day the Committee stage of the British Overseas Airways Bill; the Report and Third Reading of the War Risks Insurance Bill, and of the House of Commons Members Fund Bill, as well as the Second Reading of the Isle of Man (Customs) Bill, and the Motion to approve the Rumanian Clearing Office Amendment Order. We also hope that there will be an opportunity of disposing of the Report of the three Supplementary Estimates which were considered in Committee on 17th May, as well as the Committee stage of Supplementary Estimates for the Navy, Army and Air which were recently presented.

With regard to the Estimates for preparation of the plan for the Ministry of Information, I hope that it will be possible to find time for the Debate on the Supplementary Estimate, and I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that it might be discussed through the usual channels to see what time should be allocated for this purpose.

I would like to say that in the Statement of Business last Thursday I announced the Government's intention of asking the House to take the remaining stages of the Senior Public Elementary Schools (Liverpool) Bill during the present week. This Bill has been considered by the Select Committee this morning, and I am informed that it has been reported to the House without amendment. It is a hybrid Bill, and, therefore, has to go through the additional procedure of a Select Committee in each House. I am advised that if the Bill is to secure its passage into law before the Summer Recess, it is necessary for it to be received in another place during to-morrow's Sitting. I am sure that it is the desire of Members in all parts of the House to facilitate the passage of the Bill, and I would therefore ask the House to agree to its remaining stages being taken as first Order to-morrow before we enter upon the consideration of the Prevention of Violence (Temporary Provisions) Bill.

Mr. John Morgan

May I ask the Prime Minister whether he has taken any steps to prevent a repetition of the disgraceful behaviour of a group of hon. Members last week?

Mr. Lewis

Will the Prime Minister explain to the House why he feels it to be necessary to take the remaining stages of the House of Commons Members Fund Bill before we adjourn for August, and why its remaining stages could not be taken when we come back after August, when there would be the possibility of taking them at a more reasonable hour of the day?

The Prime Minister

I gave my reasons when I moved the Second Reading of the Bill.

Mr. Lewis

Does my right hon. Friend realise that we were allowed only half a day for the Second Reading, that the Committee stage was taken in the small hours of the morning, and that to-night there is a prospect of the Bill being reached about midnight? Does he not think that it is unreasonable to ask us to take the Report and Third Reading then?

The Prime Minister

I would remind my hon. Friend that this is strictly not Government business. It is a matter which concerns the Members of the House and, therefore, we do not take it in time that would otherwise be occupied by Government business.

Mr. Thorne

Can the right hon. Gentleman give us any indication when the House will reassemble again before the Dissolution?

Lieut.-Colonel Acland Troyte

If the Members Fund Bill is not Government business, how will it be possible to take it after 11 o'clock on this Motion?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Captain Margesson)

It is starred.

Mr. Dingle Foot

Does the Prime Minister appreciate that it will be a matter of great difficulty to dispose of all the Amendments to the Prevention of Violence Bill in one day? Would it not be possible for him to reconsider the arrangements for the remaining stages of that Bill?

The Prime Minister

I do not think the House is under any misapprehension as to the importance of that Bill, the urgency of it and the desire to get it through as soon as possible.

Mr. Crossley

The Motion provides that proceedings on Government business shall be exempted from the 11 o'Clock Rule at to-night's sitting. The Prime Minister has just informed us that the Members Pensions Fund Bill is not Government business. What position, therefore, arises?

The Prime Minister

When I said that it was not Government business I meant that it was not starred as Government business. I used the phrase because the Government Whips are not put on.