HC Deb 16 October 1941 vol 374 cc1503-5
Mr. Lees-Smith

May I ask the Prime Minister whether he will state the forthcoming Business of the House?

The Prime Minister

The Business will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—Committee and remaining stages of the Marriage (Members of His Majesty's Forces) Bill [Lord's] and any outstanding Business. The Adjournment of the House will be moved and a debate will take place on the Health of the Nation.

Second Sitting Day—The Adjournment of the House will be moved, and a Debate will take place on the Railways Agreement.

Third Sitting Day—An opportunity will present itself for matters affecting the conduct and progress of the war to be raised. Unless there are any unexpected developments, it is not the intention of the Government to make any Ministerial statement. Afterwards, if there is time, a Debate will take place on the Mercantile Marine. When we have disposed of any question which may arise on Business, I have a further statement to make about our future arrangements, which I consider it would be advisable to make in Secret Session.

Mr. Lees-Smith

With regard to the third Sitting Day, I understand that the Prime Minister does not wish to make one of his usual war surveys, but if in accordance with the first sentence Members of the House desire to raise questions about the war, I presume there will then be some Ministerial statement in reply, either from himself or from one of his colleagues?

The Prime Minister

Of course, the Government have always been allowed to conduct their own business in their own way, but sometimes it is felt that the cause is better served by silence, sometimes by speech in reply and sometimes by rejoinder.

Earl Winterton

Would it not be rather an unusual state of affairs if in regard to any suggestions as to the conduct of the war, however humble those suggestions might be, that we might make to the Government, some Member of the Government did not reply to those suggestions?

The Prime Minister

No doubt some acknowledgment would be made of any suggestions of importance and value, but what I wish to suggest to the House is that I do not think it is an occasion for another review upon the war such as I gave a little more than a fortnight ago. I hope that later on it will be possible for me to give another.

Sir Percy Harris

Will the Prime Minister arrange for a member of the War Cabinet to be present on the third Sitting Day to watch the proceedings, and, if necessary, to reply?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, certainly, if necessary.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the Debate on the Mercantile Marine is intended to take place on the Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. and gallant Member the Senior Burgess for Oxford University (Petty Officer Herbert), or upon the Adjournment?

The Prime Minister

It is thought better that it should take place upon the Adjournment.

Sir P. Harris

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the Fish Sales (Charges) Order, which was put down last week, has been entirely dropped?

The Prime Minister

I understand that this matter has been indefinitely postponed.

Sir Hugh O'Neill

In respect of the Debate on the Railways Agreement, do I understand my right hon. Friend to say that it will take place upon the Adjournment? Does it not require the consent of the House?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, I am advised that it does not require the specific assent of the House of Commons, but, of course, the House can express its views in the most effective and decisive manner.