HC Deb 14 September 1939 vol 351 cc751-2
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

Will the Prime Minister make a statement with regard to the course of business?

The Prime Minister

We desire to obtain the Second Reading of the Control of Employment Bill and the Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution. Also the remaining stages of the next three Bills and the Motion to approve the Ministry of Supply (Transfer of Powers) (No. 2) Order. When this business is disposed of, questions relating to evacuation will be raised on the Motion for the Adjournment. I hope that it will not be necessary for the House to sit late this evening.

Representations have been made to me with regard to Oral Questions which have been put down for to-morrow. As the House is aware, Friday is not a day on which questions are answered, but in view of the intermittent sittings of the House questions down for to-morrow will be answered by Ministers.

Tomorrow the Adjournment of the House will be proposed until Wednesday next.

Mr. Greenwood

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in the event of the House sitting on Fridays, to-morrow's procedure will become normal, because the right hon. Gentleman spoke only of questions down for to-morrow? My next question is as to whether, when the Motion for the Adjournment is proposed to-morrow, the Prime Minister will be in a position to state the business for next week, so far as it is arranged?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. I think the answer to both those questions is in the affirmative.

Mr. Boothby

Can my right hon Friend say whether any decision has been reached as to the hour at which the House will meet next week?

The Prime Minister

I think a similar question was asked yesterday, to which I gave the reply that for the present it is proposed to carry on at the normal hours.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

On that question, will the right hon Gentleman give his mind to the very great difficulties of the staff of this House with regard to the hours that we are maintaining at present?

The Prime Minister

Yes, I have them very much in mind.

Mr. Garro Jones

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman and the usual channels whether it is possible to give any guarantee that the House will not sit beyond the hours of darkness on any night, and would it not obviously be for the convenience of the whole House to rise before dark if possible.

The Prime Minister

It depends on the House itself. I cannot give any guarantee.

Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the enormous strain which is being put on the Departments at present, and more especially the fighting Services, and will he consider that before he comes to any final decision about changing the hours of the House?

The Prime Minister indicated assent.