HC Deb 22 June 1943 vol 390 cc1000-1
47. Mr. John Dugdale

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the time devoted by the House to discussion of purely Scottish affairs; and whether, in view of the large concentration of population in the Midlands, he will make arrangements for a comparable amount of time to be allotted to discussion of Midland affairs?

Mr. Eden

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative, and to the second part in the negative. My hon. Friend is no doubt aware that the difference between England and Scotland in matters of law and administration requires separate Scottish Measures, and the consideration by this House of various phases of Scottish administration. No such considerations apply in regard to the Midlands.

Mr. Dugdale

While fully recognising the very great importance of Scottish affairs and the ability of those Members who raise them, does the right hon. Gentleman not agree that housing, health, and other local matters in the Midlands—and, indeed, in London and other very large centres of population—are very important, and that it is the duty of hon. Members to raise those matters when possible?

Mr. Eden

It is not a question of rival importance—we should get into difficulties if we adopted that basis—it is a question——

Mr. Gallacher

Mr. Speaker——

Mr. Eden

Perhaps I might finish my sentence. It is a question of the different bases in which these matters have their origin. So far as Scottish questions are concerned, the basis is found in 1707.

Mr. Gallacher

Is there not very strong complaint in Scotland about the lack of opportunity for discussion of Scottish affairs? Would the Leader of the House consider a proposal which is often made, that we should be allowed to discuss Scottish affairs in Scotland?

Mr. Buchanan

Could I ask the Leader of the House, seriously and earnestly, whether, in view of the terrible housing conditions and the terrible position in regard to tuberculosis in Scotland, he would, instead of reducing the time available, allow more time to consider these very serious problems in that part of Great Britain called Scotland?

Mr. Eden

That is a different question from the one on the Paper. At the moment I am trying to withstand an attack from one direction, only to meet one from another.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan

Is it not better that one Member should suffer the chagrin of losing the Adjournment than that Scotland should he deprived of the opportunity to have its affairs debated?