HC Deb 29 April 1941 vol 371 cc350-1
Mr. Lees-Smith (by Private Notice)

asked the Prime Minister when a Debate on the war situation will take place?

The Prime Minister

Although a statement on Business will be made at the usual time later in the week, it may be for the convenience of the House if I say now that on the first Sitting Day after this week we propose to make arrangements for a general Debate on the progress of the war, and for that purpose we shall place on the Paper the following Motion: That this House approves the policy of His Majesty's Government in sending help to Greece, and declares its confidence that our operations in the Middle East and in all other theatres of war will be pursued by the Government with the utmost vigour.

Mr. Lees-Smith

Can the Debate on that Motion, if the House so desires, be extended over two days?

The Prime Minister

Yes, if the House wishes, it can take place on the first and second days.

Mr. Shinwell

Apart from the Motion which the Government will place on the Paper, and which the House will no doubt accept, will there be an opportunity to discuss the general conduct of the war, questions of economic policy and the like, as well as strategy?

The Prime Minister

The conduct of the war embraces a very wide field, and the Motion is not intended to have any restrictive effect.

Mr. Lawson

Is it the intention of the Government that the whole Debate shall be held in public?

The Prime Minister

Yes, I think so.

Mr. Granville

Will the Foreign Secretary then make a statement on his visit to the Middle East?

The Prime Minister

It is customary, as my hon. Friend may not be aware, to leave to the Government, the arrangement of their own speeches, but it may be found convenient for the Foreign Secretary to take an important part in the Debate.