HC Deb 13 February 1941 vol 368 cc1525-7
Mr. Lees-Smith

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make a statement about forthcoming Business?

Mr. Attlee

The Business to be considered is as follows:

On the first Sitting Day: Committee stage of Supplementary Estimates, beginning with the Dominions Office, Colonial Office, Foreign Office and Ministry of Works and Buildings.

On the second Sitting Day: Committee stage of the Civil and Revenue Departments Vote on Account. A Debate will take place on the coal industry.

On the third Sitting Day: Further consideration of Supplementary Estimates.

If there is time on any day, we shall take the Second Reading of the Air-Raid Precautions (Postponement of Financial Investigation) Bill and of the Diplomatic Privileges (Extension) Bill [Lords], and the Motion to approve the Coal (Valuation Procedure) Rules.

Mr. Lees-Smith

The Lord Privy Seal will no doubt know that there is a desire for a fairly full discussion on the Ministry of Works and Buildings, but I do not think it is very convenient to take that as a matter to be dealt with under the Sup- plementary Estimates. Could we therefore have an understanding that a full day will be set aside for that subject at a fairly early date?

Mr. Attlee

I am aware that there is a desire for a full Debate on the Ministry of Works and Buildings, and I think the suggestion of my right hon. Friend might be carried out. There will be opportunities in the normal course of business for such a Debate to take place in the near future, and the Government will make the necessary arrangements. If that is agreeable to the House, we might take the Supplementary Estimate for the Ministry of Works and Buildings after a short discussion. There is a large number of Supplementary Estimates.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to take note of the very acute position which is arising in the Lancashire cotton industry and see whether we cannot have a Debate on the situation there?

Mr. Attlee

Perhaps the hon. Member will see me about that.

Mr. Granville

Will there be an opportunity in the near future for a Debate on food production and agriculture? There is a good deal of interest in it in all parts of the House, and a certain amount of concern throughout the country.

Mr. Attlee

I will consider that.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal whether the Government propose to give time for a discussion—in Secret Session, of course —of the circumstances of the leasing of bases to the United States of America and of the administration of the leased bases, in view of the fact that there is a very widespread desire in the House to know exactly what is being done and what is proposed to be done? It is quite impossible to debate a matter like that in open Session; it will have to be considered in Secret Session, but before any final and inevitable decision is come to, the House of Commons ought to be consulted.

Mr. Thurtle

Before the right hon. Gentleman replies, may I ask if he is aware that there is very widespread satisfaction in the House at the leasing of the bases?

Mr. Attlee

The hon. and gallant Member will realise that we are very pressed for time before Easter, but I will certainly bring his suggestion before the Prime Minister.

Sir A. Southby

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will understand that I am, of course, in complete agreement with the policy of leasing the bases.

Mr. Mander

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when the Bill to enable the late Minister of Health to retain his seat in the House will be introduced, and is he aware that this Bill will be controversial?

Mr. Lees-Smith

Has the right hon. Gentleman any statement to make on the progress of the work of the House to-day?

Mr. Attlee

After the Second Reading of the Determination of Needs Bill, we desire to obtain the Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution, as well as the Motions to approve the Cold Storage Charges Order and the Chartered and Other Bodies Order. These Motions are exempted Business.