HC Deb 17 December 1942 vol 385 cc2087-9
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

Will the Leader of the House state the Business for the first week after the Recess?

Mr. Eden

The Business for the first week after the Recess will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—If necessary, a statement will be made on the war situation; Second Reading of the Crown Lands Bill, and of the Police (Appeals) Bill.

Second and Third Sitting Days—A Debate will take place in Secret Session on Man-Power.

Mr. Clement Davies

In view of what occurred yesterday and Tuesday, it is now perfectly obvious that the question of the efficiency of tanks is highly controversial and cannot be left in the way in which it has been left. Would it be possible to arrange an early day after we resume for a full Debate on the quantity and quality of tanks?

Mr. Eden

I could not give an undertaking about that. A good deal of Business has already been fixed for the first series of Sitting Days after we resume. If there were a sufficiently widespread demand in the House for such a Debate, that would be another matter, but, so far, I have been unable to find evidence of that.

Sir Richard Acland

Will the right hon. Gentleman take note of what was said towards the end of yesterday's Debate about the desirability of having a discussion on the basis of economic policy?

Mr. Buchanan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if this should turn out to be a severe winter, the coal situation in this country may become acute? As it is a matter governed largely by climatic conditions, will he keep his mind open for a reconsideration of the subject, because if the situation should become acute, particularly as regards the great mass of domestic consumers, it may be necessary to rearrange the Business in order to deal with that position?

Mr. Eden

That is certainly being watched closely. Fortunately, so far the winter has been very mild.

Mr. W. Brown

In arranging the Business after the Recess, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the desire of many hon. Members to have a discussion on the Report of the Select Committee on National Expenditure, on the organisation and control of British industry?

Mr. Eiden

I hope to be able to arrange that at a fairly early date.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Will the Debate in Secret Session on man-power include a discussion of the Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies)?

[That this House is of opinion that, in the allocation of man-power in the war effort, due regard is not being paid to the public need for the maintenance of an efficient service in the distribution of food; and therefore calls upon His Majesty's Government to reconsider the situation created by the calling up of so many shopkeepers and shop assistants without any provision of substitutes for carrying on this essential public service.]

Mr. Eden

We shall be dealing with man-power generally. I do not know that the point which the hon. Member raises is a matter for me.

Earl Winterton

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear this point in mind? He said that it might be necessary to have a statement on the war situation when the House resumes. Will he take into consideration the representations which have been made to him, both privately and in public, from various quarters in this House that if it is the wish of any considerable number of Members that it is desirable should such a statement be made, that it should be followed by a Debate? If an important statement is made by the Prime Minister, will he take the necessary steps, by moving the Adjournment to enable the statement to be debated?

Mr. Eden

My Noble Friend knows that very often these statements have been debated in the past, and if it were a very important statement and if there were much feeling that a Debate was desirable, obviously representations to that effect would be considered, but I cannot commit myself now until I know what will be the character of the statement.

Mr. Harvey

Would the Leader of the House bear in mind the possibility of giving a day in which the declaration that he has just made may be followed up and consideration given to the possibility of rescuing such of the Jewish people as may escape from these massacres?

Mr. Eden

I have doubts myself whether it would be useful. We shall do what we can, but I doubt whether public discussion would help very much.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

When does the right hon. Gentleman hope to be in a position to lay before the House his proposals for the recruitment and reorganisation of the Foreign Office and Consular Services?

Mr. Eden

I cannot give a definite day. I hope, before very long.

Miss Rathbone

Will my right hon. Friend consider the desirability of having a Debate to-day, even if only a brief one, on the declaration which he made earlier? Is it not important to make known as widely as possible, so that other nations may be influenced by our example, any steps that we can announce on the part of our Government?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir.