HC Deb 13 July 1944 vol 401 cc1891-5
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will state the Business of the House for next week?

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

The Business for next week will be as follows:

Tuesday, 18th July.—Committee stage of a Supplementary Vote of Credit for War Expenditure; Committee and remaining stages of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, and of the Isle of Man (Customs) Bill.

Wednesday, 19th July.—Second Reading of the Housing (Temporary Provisions) Bill, and of the Housing (Scotland) Bill—we hope to divide the time roughly between these two Measures—and the Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolutions.

Thursday, 20th July.—Supply (18th Allotted Day): Committee: Debate on Colonial Affairs.

Friday, 21st July—Report stage of the Vote of Credit; Second Reading of the Validation of War-Time Leases Bill, if received from another place; and Committee stage of the Housing (Temporary Provisions) Bill.

I had hoped to be in a position to announce to the House to-day the proposed dates of the Summer Recess, but if the House will allow me, I would prefer to make that statement early next week, as there are one or two matters yet to be cleared up.

Mr. Greenwood

May I put this point to my right hon. Friend about next Wednesday's Business? Could there be an understanding that the Debate on the English and Welsh Bill will end at a time which will allow of proper consideration of the Scottish Bill?

Mr. Eden

We would like to have some arrangement whereby the time would be divided fairly, between the two Bills.

Mr. Kirkwood

How long is it intended to give to the discussion of the Scottish Housing Bill? We only got a few hours the last time we were on the Floor.

Mr. Eden

We must do the best we can. I hope that we shall give adequate scope for my hon. Friend's eloquence.

Mr. Kendall

Will the Leader of the House give us time to debate the anomolies in Service pay and allowances which still exist and about which so many of us feel so keenly?

Mr. Eden

I have had no representations on that subject from any quarter.

Colonel. Greenwell

Could my right hon. Friend inform the House when art opportunity is likely to be afforded for a discussion on the future of British ship-owning and shipbuilding?

Mr. Eden

That matter is being considered. I may be able to say something about that very soon.

Captain Peter Macdonald

Regarding Thursday's Business, as we had a recent general Debate on Colonial matters, could not this coming Debate be confined to the African Colonies?

Mr. Eden

No Debate on the Colonial Vote can be confined in that way, but I understand that a number of Members wish to speak about the East and West African Colonies.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it correct that a delegation is to proceed to Washington, to discuss the oil question; and is it also correct that the delegation is to be headed by the Lord Privy Seal, who is a Member of the Government? If so, as it will not be in the category of an expert delegation, and as high policy will be involved, can we be assured that no commitment will be entered into on this oil question, until the House has been consulted?

Mr. Eden

The position will be exactly the same as that in connection with any other meeting between Ministers of two countries. Arrangements, if they are arrived at, will, of course, be presented for the approval or disapproval of the House.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the very short time that can be allowed for the Scottish housing discussion next week, and the fact that, when it is discussed, only Scottish Members will be present, will the right hon. Gentleman not consider allowing Scottish Members to have a discussion on Scottish housing during the following week-end in Edinburgh?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a question on Business for this House.

Mr. Messer

When does the right hon. Gentleman expect the Education Bill to come back to this House?

Mr. Eden

I hope, next week.

Mr. Sorensen

In view of recent developments in India, will an opportunity be given for a discussion on India, certainly before we rise for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Eden

I have received a request for such a Debate. I hope that it may be possible to hold one before the House rises for the Recess.

Mr. Reakes

Arising out of the question put by the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Kendall), surely the Government must be aware of the great dissatisfaction over the continued existence of anomalies regarding pay and allowances? Will the right hon. Gentleman give us time, so that these matters may be dealt with?

Mr. Eden

I am certainly not aware of that dissatisfaction. I think the general feeling in the House is that a great deal of work has been done to remove those anomalies. I have had no representations in the sense suggested by the hon. Member.

Miss Ward

Would it not be in Order, as the elimination of anomalies does, in fact, concern money, to discuss that matter on the Vote of Credit, if we wished to do so?

Mr. Eden

I would not like to give an answer to that question without notice.

Miss Ward

Will my right hon. Friend look into it?

Sir A. Southby

In view of the questions addressed to-day to the Deputy Prime Minister, will the Leader of the House consult with the Prime Minister as to the possibility of a future day being given, in Secret Session—[HON. MEMBERS: "No"]—to discuss the matter?

Mr. Eden

I would like to make the Government's position clear. It is not that the Government would withdraw from having a discussion if the House desired it, but it is that in a matter of this kind we feel that we must interpret the feelings of the House. Therefore, we want to take soundings to discover what the feeling of the House is. In my judgment, the feeling of the House is against it.

Mr. Granville

When the Education Bill comes back to this House, and we consider the part of the Bill which was defeated in another place, by one vote, will the Government consider it as a matter of confidence?

Mr. A. Bevan

You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that a short time ago there was a Debate in this House on the Rules and Procedure of the House. With regard to the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell), about the oil delegation to America, might I ask what sort of instrument the Leader of the House proposes using to enable the House to discuss any tentative arrangements which may be arrived at on what must be an economic question, as this cannot be treated as a treaty issue?

Mr. Eden

The position is quite clear. I am not suggesting any new practice. Any arrangement between this country and another, whatever its form, can always be brought to this House for ratification; and it will lie with this House to ratify or refuse to ratify. All documents do not, technically, require ratification, but it is the intention of the Government, on any important issue of this kind, to submit what they have done to the House.

Mr. Bevan

Is it not a fact that if these arrangements are reached between Ministers of the two Governments concerned, the prestige of the Governments will be involved in defending the decision; and is it not desirable that we should have a discussion in the House on the lines which the Government propose to take, before they commit themselves to anything?

Mr. Eden

I think my hon. Friend will see, on reflection, that he is pressing that too far. That would leave the Government no discretion. Any Administration must have power to meet and discuss, and if it so desires, arrive at arrangements, with others. We have been scrupulously careful on all these matters, to see that we present to the House the results of our work at the earliest possible moment.

Mr. Shinwell

Can we be assured that Lord Beaverbrook, who heads this delegation, does not give too much away?

Mr. Eden

The hon. Member can be assured that Lord Beaverbrook and his colleagues are going to the United States on instructions given by the War Cabinet.

Mr. Shinwell

What are his instructions?