HC Deb 05 March 1942 vol 378 cc807-9
Mr. Pethick-Lawrence

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal to state the forthcoming Business of the House?

The Lord Privy Seal

The Business will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—Committee stage of a Supplementary Vote of Credit, 1941, and of a Vote of Credit for War Expenditure, 1942. Report stage of the Supplementary Estimates which were taken in Committee on 17th February.

Second Sitting Day—Report stage of the Navy, Army and Air Estimates, 1942, and the necessary Supplementary Estimates, 1941.

Third Sitting Day—Report stages of the Votes of Credit and of any outstanding Business.

Mr. Pethick-Lawrence

Two points arise in regard to the statement which the Lord Privy Seal has just made. First of all, in regard to the Business for the third Sitting Day, I should like to give notice that my hon. Friends wish to discuss the Report on the administration of the Determination of Needs Act. Secondly, in regard to the matters raised earlier on the subject of India, I should like to know whether the Lord Privy Seal is now in a position to tell us whether a statement is likely to be made during the next Sitting Days, and to remind him that after the statement has been made, not necessarily on the same day, but probably a few days later, the House would wish to debate the question?

Sir S. Cripps

I quite appreciate that on so important a matter the House would require time for a Debate. Arrangements will be made for that, but I am not able to add anything at this moment to what was said by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India as regards any statement.

Sir Percy Harris

In regard to the first Sitting Day, will the Chancellor of the Exchequer be making a statement on expenditure and on the financial position?

Sir S. Cripps

It is the intention of my right hon. Friend to make a short statement on the two matters.

Mr. George Griffiths

When can we expect to have a Debate on production?

Sir S. Cripps

Obviously that is a matter which the House will wish to debate fairly soon, but, no doubt, it would wish the new Minister of State to have an opportunity of looking around before the matter is debated.

Mr. Griffiths

Shall we get an opportunity before Easter?

Sir S. Cripps

I am perfectly conscious of the desire of the House, but it is no good having a Debate before the Minister of State has had an opportunity of looking around.

Mr. De La Bère

Shall we have an opportunity at an early date of discussing agriculture and farm prices? A Debate is very long overdue, and it has been promised again and again.

Sir S. Cripps

As soon as an opportunity can be found on a Supply day, the matter will be given attention.

Mr. Ness Edwards

On the discussion of supplementary pensions on the third Sitting Day, will the Government have any objection to the suspension of the Rule in order to give an ample opportunity for all who wish to get in?

Sir S. Cripps

I do not think that will be necessary. I should imagine there would be plenty of time available for the Debate.

Mr. Davidson

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind, arising from the previous discussion on this question and the results of the legislation that has been passed, that there are many questions which hon. Members will wish to raise? Will he take into full consideration the necessity for suspending the Rule?

Sir S. Cripps

The House does not always like sitting late on the third Sitting Day, but I will certainly take it into account, and, if there is a general desire and a need, we will consider it.


Will the Debate on Production extend over more than one day?

Sir S. Cripps

It is not possible to say until the time is fixed, but I shall try to consult the demands of the House in order to get as full a discussion as possible.

Mr. Stokes

When do the Government expect sufficient information about the loss of Malaya and Singapore to enable a statement to be made by the Prime Minister and a Debate to take place?

Sir S. Cripps

It is impossible to foretell when one is likely to get information, especially in circumstances such as exist there at present.

Mr. Stokes

On what ground does the right hon. and learned Gentleman suppose he is likely to get any further information than he has now?

Sir S. Cripps

The ground is that there are known to be certain people who have come away from Malaya, and we hope there will be further information from them.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

When are we likely to have a Debate on luxury spending and a limit on personal needs such as the right hon. and learned Gentleman forecast a few days ago?

Sir S. Cripps

A good many of those points could have been and were raised in the Debate on the Ministry of Food. If the hon. Member wants to cover the whole range of possible matters, they come under a whole number of different Ministries. I do not think a Debate on that basis could easily be arranged.

Mr. Walkden

Racing and dog-racing.

Sir S. Cripps

I hope that an announcement on that matter will be made before long by the Minister of Home Security.