HC Deb 12 March 1942 vol 378 cc1209-11
Mr. Pethick-Lawrence

May I ask the Leader of the House to state the forthcoming Business of the House?

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

The Business will be as follows:

First Sitting Day.—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill. A Debate on the Coal Situation will take place.

Second Sitting Day.—Committee and remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund Bill. A Debate on Agriculture will take place.

Third Sitting Day.—Motions to approve the draft Orders in Council proposed to be made under the Government of Burma Act. Committee and remaining stages of the Sugar Industry Bill.

Mr. Tinker

With regard to the Business for the First Sitting Day, will it be possible to suspend the Rule, because the Debate is on an interesting subject on which many hon. Members wish to speak?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir, I think that could be arranged.

Mr. Mander

Could my right hon. Friend say whether he has any statement to make about the inquiry which was to be held by the Lord Privy Seal into the affairs of the British Red Cross?

Mr. Eden

Arrangements have been made for my right hon. and learned Friend the Paymaster-General to take over that inquiry.

Mr. Stokes

May I ask whether the Government propose to make any statement in the near future on the report of Mr. Justice Bucknill in regard to the passage of the German ships through the Channel?

Mr. Eden

No decision has yet been taken.

Mr. Stokes

How long will it be before a decision is taken, because the Prime Minister promised that the matter should be dealt with promptly and an announcement made to the House?

Mr. Eden

The Prime Minister also said that it would have to be considered whether the report should be dealt with in secret or in public. That is the matter which has not yet been decided.

Captain Godfrey Nicholson

Can my right hon. Friend say whether there is any chance of my hon. Friends being able to raise the question of the Mercantile Marine on one of these days?

Mr. Eden

It is hoped that there might be an opportunity on the Adjournment on one of these days.

Sir H. Williams

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether a Debate on the capitulation of Singapore will take place before Easter?

Mr. Eden

I cannot give an undertaking. The position is that a fuller report by air mail has been asked for from Major-General Bennett; when that arrives such an arrangement might be possible, but I cannot give an undertaking.

Sir W. Davison

With regard to the Red Cross inquiry, I hope there will be no delay in a matter of great urgency. Has the right hon. Gentleman any idea when we may expect the report of the Lord Privy Seal?

Mr. Eden

My right hon. and learned Friend the Paymaster-General will undertake this inquiry which was arranged by the Lord Privy Seal. I have spoken with him this morning on the matter, and it will be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Mr. Mathers

Will the right hon. Gentleman keep in mind that to carry out this inquiry thoroughly is more important than to do it quickly?