HC Deb 20 December 1944 vol 406 cc1814-6

12.31 p.m.

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

I beg to move: That this House, at its rising To-morrow, do adjourn till Tuesday, 16th January. The House will remember that I informed them on Thursday last that we proposed to adjourn between these dates, and I would also like to remind hon. Members that power already exists, of course, for the House to be recalled at short notice should an earlier re-assembly be necessary, and, should the need arise, the Government will not hesitate to use that power.

12.32 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Greenwood (Wakefield)

I hope the House will accept this Motion. I had a fear that the Government might desire to give us a rather longer holiday. The fact that there are Bills now before the House indicates the need for a shorter Recess; and I hope, therefore, as I have said, that the House will accept the Motion even if we have to curtail our holidays more than many of us, personally, would care to do.

There may be a feeling in certain quarters of the House that we should not adjourn to-morrow unless some arrangement could be made for a further discussion on the Greek situation. I am not saying this in any spirit of hostility towards the Government—indeed, I think I can say that I have never used an immoderate word on the unfortunate situation. As my right hon. Friend will appreciate, I have raised the question of debating this subject on the Adjournment this afternoon, if Mr. Speaker approves. I think that the discussion on the length of the Christmas Adjournment might well be shortened, if my right hon. Friend agrees that what may remain of to-day—and it will be a considerable portion—should be devoted to a discussion on the Greek situation.

12.35 p.m.

Mr. Colegate (The Wrekin)

I very much object to the use by the right hon. Gentleman of the word "holiday," and I would put in a plea for Members situated like myself—county Members—who have very large areas to cover and very large numbers of people who wish to see them before we embark on this tremendous programme of legislation which is coming before the House. So far as I am concerned, and I know many other county Members who reside in their constituencies are in the same boat, the time allowed through our being recalled by 16th January is quite insufficient for the purpose of familiarising ourselves with the numerous problems which our constituents wish to place before us. We are often told that this House is a stale Parliament—that it is out of touch with the electorate. Surely, one of the few occasions when we can hope to remedy that is during the Parliamentary Recess—not the Parliamentary holiday—when we get an opportunity of meeting constituents who wish to see us and discuss a variety of problems with us.

I have no doubt this Motion will be carried. I have 600 square miles to cover—four urban and two rural districts—and in all those areas I am being asked to meet deputations and people before we re-assemble in January. I should have thought that Ministers would be hard-pressed by so short a Recess, but I am speaking purely from the point of view of country constituents, and I hope this will not be made a precedent and that future Recesses will give us time to consult our constituents and hear their views.

Question put, and agreed to.