HC Deb 25 June 1942 vol 380 cc2160-2
Mr. Greenwood

May I ask the Leader of the House the Business for the next series of Sitting Days?

The Lord Privy Seal(Sir Stafford Cripps)

The Business will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—Supply (10th Allotted Day):—Committee. The Ministry of Health Estimates will be considered.

Second and Third Sitting Days:—These will be set apart for a discussion on the battle in Libya and operations in the Mediterranean. I understand that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) and others have to-day tabled a Motion which is in the form of a Motion of Censure on the Government, and we, therefore, propose that the Debate should take place on that Motion.

Sir Percy Harris

Would my right hon. and learned Friend arrange that on the second Sitting Day the Sitting should be extended as long as possible, because a large number of people want to speak?

Sir S. Cripps

Undoubtedly, I think it would be wise to suspend the Rule on that day.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

With regard to the scope of the Debate, I take it that my right hon. and learned Friend did not mean that the subject of the Debate will be limited merely to Libya and the Mediterranean but that the wider conduct of the war will also be included? Is the Minister able to give me any further answer to the question I put to him a few days ago, that in view of the great importance—if not the supreme importance—of air power in this war, a statement will be made by, or on behalf of, the Air Minister at an early stage in the Debate?

Sir S. Cripps

The scope of the Debate will be ruled by the form of the Motion of Censure, which will, from what I have seen of it, give a very wide scope indeed. As to the second part of my hon. Friend's question, it must be for the Government to decide, as the Debate proceeds, what Government speakers will take part and at what time.

Mr. Leslie Boyce

Is it proposed to have any part of the Debate in Secret Session?

Sir S. Cripps

No, Sir.

Mr. Hannah

Can there be a limit to the length of the speeches?

Sir S. Cripps

I think that question was probably raised even more than 1,000 years ago. It has not yet been settled, and there is no proposal to settle it on this occasion.

Mr. Lipson

Is it proposed to suspend the Rule on the first Sitting Day, on the Vote for the Ministry of Health?

Sir S. Cripps

I think the House would wish to have a full opportunity for Debate on the first Sitting Day also.

Major C. S. Taylor

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether time will be given for discussion of the Motion standing in the name of myself and other hon. Members on the question of Service pay and allowances?

Sir S. Cripps

I am afraid that at the moment, in view of the incursion of other matters into the time of the House, it has been impossible to go into the position, but the Government have it in mind and will bear it in mind.

Major Taylor

While thanking the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his reply, could we have an assurance that this Motion will be considered before the next Recess?

Sir S. Cripps

I am afraid it is impossible to give any assurance of that kind. I cannot go further than saying that we appreciate that there are Members who wish the matter to be raised in the House.

Mr. Greenwood

On a question of clarity, when the Leader of the House suggested, in answer to my right hon. Friend the Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), that the Rule would be suspended on the second Sitting Day, I take it he meant the first day of the Debate, and that the other day would be left open for further consideration?

Sir S. Cripps

Yes, Sir. I imagine that it would probably be convenient on the third Sitting Day to finish the Debate at a reasonable time, but we will see how the matter progresses.

Mr. McGovern

Can my right hon. and learned Friend inform us whether the Prime Minister is intending to be present?

Sir S. Cripps

It is to be hoped that the Prime Minister will speak in the course of the Debate.