HC Deb 23 January 1941 vol 368 cc305-6
Mr. Lees-Smith

Might I ask the Prime Minister whether he will state the forthcoming Business?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

On the first Sitting Day the Report from the Select Committee on the Conduct of a Member and the Motion relating to the suppression of the "Daily Worker" and "The Week" will be considered. The arrangements for that day's Sitting have been considered and agreed to through the usual channels. It is proposed that after the consideration of the Report of the Select Committee is disposed of, the remainder of the Sitting should be devoted to a Debate on the Motion relating to the "Daily Worker." I hope that these arrangements will meet the general convenience of the House. We shall move the necessary Motion so that the Sitting may be extended for a half-hour.

On the second and third Sittings Days we shall take the War Damage Bill in Committee. I trust that we shall be able to make good progress with the War Damage Bill during those Sittings. The Bill has suffered a postponement on account of the desire of the House, quite properly, to debate certain other matters which have arisen. I think that it will be generally agreed that the Bill should be passed as soon as possible, so that its provisions may be brought into early operation. There is particular urgency in connection with the provision for making advances to those in financial difficulty owing to air-raid damage. There is a large number of Amendments on the Paper, but I have no doubt that hon. Members in all parts of the House will co-operate and have regard to the considerations which I have mentioned, so that we may complete the Committee stage of the Bill within a reasonable time.

Mr. Thurtle

Are we to take it, in view of what the Prime Minister said yesterday, that it is the intention of the Government to press the issue of the suppression of the "Daily Worker" to a division?

Mr. Churchill

The Government will welcome a division if it is the desire of those supporting the Motion to take one.

Mr. Cocks

In view of the proposed Debate, will it be possible to place in the Library the files of the "Daily Worker" covering the last few months, so that hon. Members may form their own opinion of them?

The Prime Minister

I thought that that was rather a matter which could be arranged by individual effort.

Mr. McGovern

Does the Prime Minister think it wise to take the discussion on the "Daily Worker" after the discussion on the Conduct of a Member, which may occupy most of the day? Would it not be fairer to the House and to the country to afford a complete day, even though it might end early? And would it not be better if we had a real Motion on the Order Paper, in the name of the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), instead of the stool-pigeons having a fifty-fifty sort of Motion?

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the fact that the hon. Member for West Fife has put down an Amendment to the present contemptible and miserable Motion—a straight Motion on the freedom of the Press—would it not be possible to get a wider opportunity for a full Debate on this very important question?

The Prime Minister

I think the general opinion of the House approves of the arrangement.

Mr. Denman

In regard to the first subject on the first Sitting Day will there be a Motion tabled? Will it be proposed that the House agrees with the Report of the Select Committee, or will it simply be a Debate on the Adjournment?

The Prime Minister

The House, I am informed, on the receipt of a Report of this kind, must decide whether or not to accept it.