HC Deb 06 April 1944 vol 398 cc2171-3
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will make a statement on the Business for the series of Sittings after the Easter Recess.

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

I have first to inform the House that the Government consider it no longer necessary, for security reasons, to maintain secrecy in referring to future Sitting Days in the Parliamentary Papers. I think hon. Members, once or twice, have made observations on the inconvenience of this arrangement and steps will, therefore, be taken to restore our former practice. It follows, therefore, that public reference will be able to be made, henceforth, in regard to our future Sitting days.

On Tuesday, 18th April, it is proposed to take the Committee and remaining stages of the Pensions (Increase) Bill; the Second Reading of the Police and Firemen (War Service) Bill and Motions to approve the continuance in force of Proclamations made under the Government of India Act and the Government of Burma Act.

On Wednesday, 19th April, it is proposed to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on going into Committee of Supply on the Civil Estimates and the Estimates for the Revenue Departments. The-Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Pudsey and Ottley (Sir G. Gibson), relating to research and scientific knowledge, will be considered.

[That this House, recognising the vital part which research and science and their effective application can play in reconstruction, as a means of increasing our national prosperity, raising the standard of living, recovering our export trade and developing the national resources of our Empire, urges the declaration of a bold and generous Government policy of financial assistance directed to the expansion of teaching and research facilities in our universities and technical colleges, to the extension of pure and applied research in all fields by the State, by industry through private firms and research associations and to the effective and rapid application of the results of research.]

As the House is aware, I undertook to arrange a general Debate on Dominion Affairs early after the Easter Recess. We propose to set apart Thursday, 20th April, and Friday, 21st April, for this Debate. It may be more convenient for the Debate to arise on the Motion which my Noble Friend the Member for Horsham and Worthing (Earl Winterton) and others have tabled.

[That the United Kingdom should do its utmost by close co-operation and regard for the different points of view of the nations of the Commonwealth to preserve in time of peace the unity of purpose and sentiment which has held them together in time of war.]

I must, however, mention that we can only agree to allow two days for the Debate if the House would agree to taking formally an allotted Supply Day on the Thursday. It is proposed that a Member of the War Cabinet should wind up the Debate and a Member of the Government will speak at the end of the first day's Debate, on the Thursday. As I have explained, the Government will have no particular statement to make on account of the fact that they are shortly beginning their conference. The main purpose of the Debate is to allow the House to express their opinion.

During the week it is hoped to obtain the Motions to approve the Purchase Tax (Exemptions) Orders relating to Wooden-Soled Footwear and Picture Frames.

Sir H. Williams

Is it proposed to suspend the Rule on the 18th having regard to the fact that Private Business has been put down for that day by direction of the Chairman of Ways and Means.

Mr. Eden

I think that may be necessary.

Mr. Thorne

Do we understand that, when we come back after the Recess, when a Member puts down a Question he may say Wednesday or Friday, instead of the First or Second Sitting Day.

Mr. Eden

Yes, he will have that ancient privilege.

Mrs. Cazalet Keir

When shall we have a statement on the question of equal pay.

Mr. Eden

I do not think I can add anything to what the Prime Minister said the other day.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us anything about Service pay and allowances.

Mr. Eden

I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer, another of my colleagues, said yesterday that there was nothing more to say except that we shall make our statement as soon as we possibly can.

Mr. Granville

Has the right hon. Gentleman given further consideration to the request made last week for a Debate on foreign affairs soon after we resume—not the war situation but purely foreign affairs.

Mr. Eden

Yes, I think I said at the time that I thought that that was desirable. It is certainly in our mind to have one at a convenient date after we return.

Dr. Russell Thomas

As the Debate on Imperial Affairs is to he on a Motion and not on the Adjournment of the House and we do not know the terms of the Motion, will it be in the widest terms.

Mr. Eden

The Motion is on the Paper and it is in very wide terms.