HC Deb 25 June 1940 vol 362 cc300-1
Mr. Lees-Smith

Has the Lord Privy Seal any statement to make about the business of the House to-day and to-morrow?

Mr. Attlee

I regret that it was found necessary to postpone the Debate upon Children's Overseas Reception, but I hope that the Debate will take place next week. We propose to take, instead, the Ministry of Pensions Vote, which had previously been noted as a subject which many hon. Members desired to debate. There was no opportunity to announce the change to the House before the Adjournment last Thursday; a statement was, however, issued on Friday, and hon. Members will therefore have known about the Debate on the Ministry of Pensions Vote. In addition to the business announced for consideration to-day, we propose to ask the House to-morrow to take as the first Order, and pass through all its stages, the India and Burma (Emergency Provisions) Bill, which is being submitted to-day by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India. Copies of the Bill will be in Members' hands this evening.

Mr. Hore-Belisha

I understand that the Prime Minister is to make a statement on the position in France in reply to a Question. I wish to ask whether it would not be possible, in connection with events of such magnitude, to make such statements upon the Adjournment? It seems to me that the rights and authority of Parliament should be preserved. I am sure that my right hon. Friend would be the first to respect the necessity of carrying Parliament with him on every such occasion.

Mr. Attlee

An endeavour is always made to meet the wishes of the House in these matters, but I understand that there has been no desire for a general Debate.

Mr. Hare-Belisha

I was not raising the necessity for a general Debate, but just a matter of custom. There may be occasions when Parliament itself may have something to say on matters of importance, and I suggest that Ministers should make these statements so that other Members may, if necessary, speak on them.

Mr. Attlee

The fact is, that sometimes these statements are made in reply to a Question and sometimes on the Adjournment, according as to whether the House wants to have a Debate or not.

Major Milner

Is it not important that the promised new pensions Warrant should be available in the Debate to-day?

Mr. Attlee

I think the hon. and gallant Member will find that the new pensions Warrant will be ready to-morrow.

Sir Henry Morris-Jones

I desire to ask a Question on the internal arrangements of the House, as to whether in future sittings of the House in Secret Session it will be possible to indicate to hon. Members outside the Chamber the name of the hon. Member or right hon. Member who is speaking in the House?

Mr. Speaker

I have considered the Question which the hon. Member sent to me, and have come to the conclusion that it would be a mistake to do as he suggests and that it would be quite contrary to the principle of secrecy on which such sittings are conducted.

Mr. Gallacher

Would it not be very desirable that, in all Debates, Members should, as far as possible, remain in the House?