HC Deb 08 July 1943 vol 390 cc2263-6
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the Business for our next series of Sittings?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir. The Business for the next series of Sittings will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—Supply (14th Allotted Day), Committee. A Debate will take place on Colonial Affairs.

Second Sitting Day—Supply (15th Allotted Day), Committee. A Debate will take place on Shipping.

Third Sitting Day—Committee and remaining stages of the Restriction of Ribbon Development (Temporary Development) Bill, and Emergency Powers (Isle of Man Defence) Bill; Second Reading of the Isle of Man (Customs) Bill; Consideration of Lords Amendments to the Town and Country Planning (Interim Development) Bill; and Motion for an Address for the continuance in force of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts.

Fourth Sitting Day—Supply (16th Allotted Day), Committee. A Debate will take place on the Trend of the Population.

Mr. Bellenger

Is the right hon. Gentleman now in a position to say when the Government's White Paper on war pensions will be issued and whether any statement is likely to be made during our next series of Sittings?

Mr. Eden

I cannot say absolutely, for certain, but it is our hope that either a statement or a White Paper—probably a White Paper—will be available next week.

Sir Ian Fraser

Can my right hon. Friend say when the Debate will take place?

Mr. Eden

I could not do that, as hon. Members will no doubt wish to study either the statement or the White Paper first.

Mr. Maxton

When the right hon. Gentleman announced last week that it was proposed to sit an extra clay each week, I asked him what were the urgent matters that necessitated this step. If this question of the trend of the population is typical of the subjects to be dealt with on these extra days, is it worth putting the House to the inconvenience of having to discuss a matter which I can assure the right hon. Gentleman is very adequately discussed in local debating societies?

Mr. Eden

The hon. Gentleman will perhaps have perceived that this subject is being taken on a Supply Day, and he will be aware that we have to allow so many Supply Days in the course of the Session. This is one of them, and I do not think it will place any extra strain on the patience or perseverance of the hon. Gentleman as a Parliamentarian.

Mr. Maxton

But I always understood that Supply Days were given to us on the urgent demand of certain sections of the House. Would the right hon. Gentleman tell us from what quarter of this House the demand for this particular subject arose?

Mr. Eden

If the hon. Gentleman will consult the Order Paper, he will find there a Motion and will thus discover those who are interested in this subject.

[That this House views with alarm the continuing low birthrate and the resulting approach of a decline in population so steep as to menace the future security and prosperity of the British nation and race, and urges His Majesty's Government to adopt all possible measures, economic and educational, to avert this danger, including the introduction at the earliest practicable date of a scheme of children's allowances and improved social services, as already approved in principle by His Majesty's Government.]

Miss Rathbone

Is it not a fact that this Motion has been signed by many Members of this House?

General Sir George Jeffreys

Could time be granted for a discussion on the Report on 'Voluntary Aid Detachments? Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is grave dissatisfaction among many members of the V.A.D. and that there is strong feeling on the subject?

Mr. Eden

This matter has been raised before, when I expressed the hope— which I would repeat—that it could be raised on the Adjournment.

Mr. Sorensen

Will the Debate on Colonial affairs be of a special and restricted nature or of a general nature?

Mr. Eden

No, Sir, it is not intended, as I understand, that it should be of a restricted nature so far as Supply Day procedure allows.

Mr. Stokes

I understand that the Debate on the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts will be taken on the third Sitting Day, following, I think, four other subjects. If so, can the right hon. Gentleman give us any indication of when that Debate is likely to start?

Mr. Eden

I have looked into this matter very carefully. I know the list looks formidable, but I do not think it is as formidable as it seems. It is hoped that most of the Measures to be taken that day will not require much Debate and that we shall be able to get on to the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts Debate at a reasonable hour.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Secretary of State for War gave a definite pledge that no definite action would be taken as regards the V.A.D. until the House had had an opportunity of expressing its wishes? Does he think that about half an hour's Debate on the Adjournment fulfils a Ministerial pledge of that nature?

Mr. Eden

That is the first I have heard of a pledge by my right hon. Friend. However, I will look into it, but I still hope that we may contrive to debate the subject on the Adjournment.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform us when we are likely to be able to consider the Water Undertakings Bill, which has been sent to us from the other place?

Mr. Eden

I should have to look into that.

Mr. Walkden

The Bill has been circulated.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

Reverting to the Voluntary Aid Detachment, will my right hon. Friend consider the advisability of the Debate taking place in such a way that a vote can be taken to express the views of the House on this very important matter? The feeling among the Voluntary Aid Detachment individuals is very strong indeed that they have not been given a fair show.

Mr. Eden

My impression is that the matter has been dealt with fairly. I could not give the undertaking my hon. and gallant Friend asks for.

Mr. Gallacher

With regard to the suggested White Paper, will not the Government give some consideration to ex-Service men who fought in wars prior to this? There are many poverty-stricken survivors of the Boer War.

Mr. Eden

That is quite outside the scope of what we are seeking to do. The hon. Member had better await the White Paper.