HC Deb 11 June 1940 vol 361 cc1146-8
Mr. Lees-Smith

Will the Lord Privy Seal state the business for to-morrow and Thursday?

Mr. Attlee

The House will realise that in the face of the new developments in the war the Prime Minister and the Service Ministers are very heavily occupied with other business and it has therefore been found necessary to postpone the Secret Session which had been arranged for to-day. A statement was issued by the Government last night in order that hon. Members might have the earliest possible notice of the change of business. The Secret Session will, of course, take place. [Hon. Members: "When?" and "Why?"] We shall consider to-day the several Bills which were announced for to-morrow in the following order:

Marriage (Scotland) (Emergency Provisions) Bill [Lords], Second Reading; Colonial Development and Welfare Bill, Committee, Report (if any) and Third Reading; Remission of Rates (London) Bill, Second Reading; Evidence and Powers of Attorney Bill [Lords], Committee, Report and Third Reading, and, if there is time, War Charities Bill [Lords], Second Reading.

Wednesday—Supply (10th Allotted Day); Committee—Unclassified Services, Vote 7 (Ministry of Home Security). Debate on Civil Defence.

Thursday—Supply (11th Allotted Day); Committee—Unclassified Services, Votes 5 and 6 (Ministry of Health (War Services) and Department of Health for Scotland (War Services) ). Debate on Evacuation and Emergency Hospital Services.

Captain Bellenger

While appreciating the reasons for postponing the Secret Session may I ask whether the Lord Privy Seal can give any indication as to how long the Secret Session is to be postponed?

Mr. Attlee

The hon. and gallant Member will realise that, while we shall try to have it as soon as we can, it must depend on events.

Mr. Cocks

May I ask on what Vote the Debate on Evacuation will take place, and whether it will be possible to discuss the larger question of the large-scale evacuation of children to the Dominions?

Mr. Attlee

It will take place on the Ministry of Health Vote.

Mr. Levy

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what there is to indicate that it is the desire of the House that the Secret Session shall now be held at all? Will he give us an explanation?

Mr. Attlee

The answer is that the request was made and the Government agreed to grant it, and, therefore, the Government will hold by their word.

Sir William Davison

But are not the conditions quite different now from those which prevailed when the Government were asked the question?

Mr. George Griffiths

May I ask whether on Civil Defence we shall be able to discuss Home Defence at the same time?

Mr. Attlee

No, Sir. Civil Defence is one subject. The subject for the Secret Session is Home Defence, and that is a different matter.