HC Deb 05 August 1941 vol 373 cc1785-6
47. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that only four hours were allotted to the discussion of the Ministry of Pensions Estimates on 31st July, of which Ministers occupied almost two hours, with the result that there was no time for many hon. Members who had important questions to raise on behalf of their constituencies and the British Legion, and who had been present in the House during the whole day to speak; and whether he will give an assurance that, in future, Ministers will leave more time for Private Members' views to be expressed?

Mr. Attlee

I would remind my hon. Friend that last Thursday was the 19th Allotted Supply Day, and on that day, under the provisions of Standing Order No. 14 all outstanding Votes have to be put from the Chair at a specified hour. I regret, therefore, that the usual amount of time was not available for the Debate on the Ministry of Pensions Estimate. My hon. Friend is no doubt aware that pension matters have also been discussed on other occasions during the present Session.

Mr. Stewart

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that for the Government to occupy half of the total time available in a, short Debate upon a subject 'which is of great importance to the constituencies is really a travesty of Parliamentary Debate?

Mr. Attlee

On the other hand, there are constant demands for members of the Government to take part in Debates on all kinds of subjects.