HC Deb 13 May 1940 vol 360 cc1525-8

4.32 p.m.

The Prime Minister

I beg to move, That this House do now adjourn until Tuesday, 21st May. It may be for the convenience of the House if I say that the proposed business will be:

Tuesday: Second Reading of the Colonial Development and Welfare Bill, and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution

Wednesday: Second Reading of the Treachery Bill.

Thursday: Second Reading of the Limitation of Dividends Bill; Second Reading of the War Risks Insurance Bill, and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolutions.

During the week, if there is time, we shall take the Motions to approve the Land Drainage Grants and the Land Fertility Scheme (Postponement of Prescribed Dates) Orders.

Sir Richard Acland (Barnstaple)

Today we have been paying compliments and expressing good wishes, which we all sincerely feel. The Prime Minister will be aware, however, that hon. Members have a number of questions which they will want to ask at some time. They cannot be asked to-day, and they cannot all be asked except in a general discus- sion. We cannot expect such a discussion next week. Can the right hon. Gentleman give us some indication that, unless something unusual happens, there is likely to be a general discussion in the following week?

The Prime Minister

I am myself most anxious and, indeed, resolved to carry the House of Commons along with the Government at every stage in our fortunes as they unfold. The House of Commons has fought long and resolute wars for freedom in the past, and it is by the strength of the House of Commons that we shall largely be sustained in this conflict. At the present time we are in the preliminaries of a very great battle, and I do not know what the position will be when we meet again. Obviously, if there is any general desire at any time in the near future for a statement on the military situation, if it is felt to be a suitable moment to make such a statement, and if there is a desire to have a debate on general policy, arrangements can be made for it, and I, personally, should be very glad to receive representations if necessary upon that matter.

Mr. Maxton

I would not like the Prime Minister to assume that everybody in the House thinks that a general debate ranging over the whole globe, in which all the amateur strategists tell the heads of Service Departments how they should be doing their jobs, is the most profitable way in which the House of Commons can conduct its business. If I have any influence with the Prime Minister, I hope he will take my advice and proceed with the ordinary routine business of the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister

Certainly, I shall be very much influenced by my hon. Friend's opinion, and I will do my utmost to conciliate him and his party.

Sir I. Albery (Gravesend)

Can my right hon. Friend give the House any information about the Government's proposals with reference to the Finance Bill?

The Prime Minister

Not to-day.

Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-four Minutes before Five o'Clock until Tuesday, 21st May.