HC Deb 02 July 1942 vol 381 cc514-6
Mr. Greenwood

Will the Leader of the House announce the forthcoming Business and make a statement as to the proceedings to-day?

The Lord Privy Seal (Sir Stafford Cripps)

The Business will be as follows:

First Sitting Day.—Supply (11th Allotted Day): Committee, Debate on Propaganda. The Ministry of Information and other appropriate Votes will be put down.

Second Sitting Day Supply (12th Allotted Day): Committee. The Votes for the Department of Health for Scotland and Public Education, Scotland, will be considered.

Third Sitting Day.—Committee and remaining stages of the Allied Powers (War Service) Bill; Second Reading of the Housing (Rural Workers) Bill, and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution; Second Reading of the Isle of Man (Customs) Bill and any outstanding Business, including the Motion relating to Members' Passes.

We propose to-day to continue the Debate that began yesterday. I understand the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) proposes to ask leave to move his Motion formally, so that the Debate may proceed.

Mr. Greenwood

Has the Leader of the House in contemplation a fairly early Debate on the question of shipping losses?

Sir S. Cripps

It is hoped that the questions of both production and shipping losses will be discussed during the following series of Sittings.

Sir F. Fremantle

Why is it that in the Business for to-day the Motion of Censure and the Amendments are not on the Order Paper?

Mr. W. Brown

Is it proposed to suspend the operation of the Rule to-day?

Sir S. Cripps

It is not the intention to ask the House to do so, because for the general convenience of the House, to-day being Thursday, it was felt best to take the Vote at the usual hour.

Mr. Brown

In these circumstances may I ask that you, Sir, will cast a kindly and fatherly eye on those of us who were cut out of the first day's Debate after staying until three o'clock this morning?

Mr. Speaker

I am always in the habit of casting a friendly eye.

Major Lyons

In view of the fact that a number of Members who stayed up all night and tried to intervene were prevented from doing so by certain events, will the Leader of the House consider suspending the Rule for a fixed period?

Sir S. Cripps

It was not my fault that Members stayed. I also stayed until three o'clock this morning. Unfortunately there were two Members who had then been unable to speak, but I do not think it would be for the general convenience of the House to suspend the Rule.

Mr. Bellenger

Will my right hon. and learned Friend consider the situation that arose early this morning by what I suggest was a misuse of- the Rules of the House which will only bring Parliament into contempt? Is it not possible at some later date to consider, especially in wartime, the abrogation of this Rule, which prevents a Debate from continuing and excludes hon. Members who want to speak?

Sir S. Cripps

Every hon. Member has a right to make use of the Rules of the House in what way he thinks fit, but I hope that not many hon. Members will think fit to use them as they were used last night.

Mr. Maxton

Was not the use of the Rule in the early hours of this morning and the result of it evidence that it was the proper time to use the Rule?

Sir S. Cripps

I will not put my judgment against that of the hon. Gentleman. I take a different view.

Mr. Thorne

Is it not the duty of the Leader of the House and the Government to keep sufficient Members here?

Sir S. Cripps

I think that, with the present difficulties of transport, when it comes to two o'clock in the morning it is rather difficult.

Mr. Silverman

Is it not the duty of the Government Whips to keep a House, and on an occasion of this kind would it not have been better if that duty had been performed at whatever cost?

Sir S. Cripps

If the hon. Member wishes to be technical, I think it was the duty of those who were moving the Motion to see that sufficient people were here to carry on the business.

Petty Officer Alan Herbert

Is it not the case that the hon. Member who by making this use of the Rules cut out many Members—not myself—who wished to contribute to the Debate, had himself addressed and bored the House for 46 minutes?

Mr. Maxton

Have you not, Sir, known occasions in this House where that has happened before?

Mr. Magnay

Should it not be understood that, while we do not complain of being governed in this House in a time of crisis from that end, we will not be "McGoverned" from this end?