§ Tuesday, 12th June—Supply: Committee (12th Allotted Day). A Debate will take place on Housing and Health in Scotland.
§ Wednesday, 21st June, and Thursday, 22nd June—Debate on a Government Motion relating to the White Paper on Employment Policy.
§ Friday, 23rd June—Supply: Committee (13th Allotted Day). The subject for Debate will be announced later.
§ Mr. Greenwood
As the right hon. Gentleman will recollect, on the Beveridge Report we had three days, and in view of the range of problems which are bound to be discussed, does he think that two days will be adequate for the Debate on the White Paper on Employment Policy? I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that the House would very gladly approve of the Friday Supply Day being devoted to a continuance of the Debate.
§ Mr. Greenwood
I suggest that that proposal would meet with the general approval of Members of the House and in that case we could have a continuous three days' Debate.
§ Commander Sir Archibald Southby
With reference to the Business for tomorrow, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether he has now had an opportunity of reading the new Motion which has appeared on the Order Paper in the names of my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Sir I. Albery), myself, and other hon. Members?
§ [That this House is of opinion that the operation of Regulation 18B should now be reconsidered with a view to the amendment thereof and to the transfer to a judicial tribunal specially constituted, if need be, for the purpose of final responsibility for determining whether there is reasonable cause for detention under the said Regulation; and, in particular, that the detention of an honourable Member for over four years without trial or charge conflicts with the ancient and well-establighed right of the House to the service of its Members, deprives the electors of the honourable Member from proper representation, constitutes a precedent damaging to the prestige of the House and dangerous to the Constitution of the country and ought to cease unless justified to the House, if necessary, in Secret Session.]
§ May I further ask him whether he cannot now see his way to allow the Debate to take place on that Motion, and not on the Home Secretary's salary, in view of the fact that the House has, for some years, endeavoured to have a Debate on the clear-cut question of the detention of one of its Members—any Member? Further, Mr. Speaker, this Debate, if taken on a Vote in Supply, will take place with you not in the Chair. As this matter concerns the House and its rights, would it not be better that you, Mr. Speaker, should be in the Chair when it is debated?
§ Mr. Eden
I observed that the Motion has been put down by my hon. and gallant Friend and other hon. Members in place of the preceding Motion, and I think it will serve us as a guide in the matter we propose to discuss, but this Business was announced last Tuesday, and I am certainly not prepared now to make any change.
§ Sir H. O'Neill
With regard to the Debate to-morrow, in view of the fact that it will be extremely difficult for Members to come to a conclusion about why the hon. and gallant Member for Peebles and Southern (Captain Ramsay) is detained, without knowing something about the reasons, which have never yet been given, will it not be possible for some announcement of the reasons to be given, if necessary, in Secret Session?
§ Mr. Eden
I think it would be for the convenience of the House for the hon. 2150 Member who put the Motion down to open the discussion and for my right hon. Friend to speak a little later. In the course of his speech my right hon. Friend will, no doubt, give his reasons why he cannot do that, but I do not want to anticipate what my right hon. Friend is going to say. I want to make it plain to my hon. and gallant Friend that the point will be dealt with by my right hon. Friend in his speech.
§ Sir R. Acland
May I ask the Leader of the House if he can find time next week for a discussion of the Motion put down by myself and three or four other hon. Members in regard to the Recognition of the Provisional Government of France?
§ [That in the opinion of this House the failure of His Majesty's Government to recognise the Committee of National Liberation as the Provisional Government of France and to secure its complete participation in the administration of liberated French territory, is inconsistent with the much more favourable treatment given to provisional Governments manifestly less representative of the peoples concerned; and the continuance of this policy must spread misunderstanding and dismay amongst the resistance movements of France and may diminish this enthusiasm for the manifold and dangerous acts of co-operation by which they can save the lives and speed the advance of the men of the Allied invasion force.]—[Sir R. Acland.]
§ Mr. Eden
No, Sir; what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said yesterday covers that point. If there are any new developments we shall, of course, take the earliest opportunity of letting the House know them. In reply to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Epsom (Sir A. Southby), I do not want there to be misunderstanding about to-morrow. Of course, we are dealing with my right hon. Friend's administration and it will be absolutely open to the House to express itself by vote or any other way just in the same way as if it was on a Motion.
§ Sir R. Acland
This Motion is put down by four or five hon. Members who have been elected to this House precisely by people who have no confidence in the Government in this kind of matter, and I give notice that to-morrow, when it is moved to adjourn till Tuesday next, I 2151 shall oppose that Motion, so that we can meet on Monday to discuss the Motion in question.
On the Scottish Supply Day, will the Leader of the House arrange for the Standing Order to be suspended so that Scottish Members may have an opportunity of debating adequately the matters to be discussed?
May I remind the right hon. Gentleman that Members on this side of the House have already vigorously and unanimously made representations through the usual channels on this point?
§ Sir H. Williams
May I ask whether, in his speech to-morrow, the Home Secretary will deal with the constitutional issue of how we could solve the problem, should he, in a moment of mental aberration, decide to intern all his colleagues in the Government?
§ Mr. A. Bevan
Does the Leader of the House realise that by his device for tomorrow, and by taking a Supply Day formally next Friday, the House will have been effectively deprived of two Supply Days?
§ Mr. Bevan
Yes, in effect, because we are actually taking to-morrow, on Supply, a Motion which ought to have been taken by itself as a substantive Motion. [HON. MEMBERS: "Not at all."] A very large number of hon. Members do think so. May I ask the Leader of the House on what day the Motion on the White Paper will be available?
§ Mr. Pickthorn
When the Leader of the House tells us that it is ordinary for a Supply Day to be used for "just this particular purpose," does he recollect that "just this particular purpose" has never before arisen? Is it not an extreme straining of the war-time privileges of the Government to say not only that a Member shall be detained for three, four, or five years, but also, when a considerable section of the House desires to debate that—
§ Mr. A. Bevan
Would you yourself, Mr. Speaker, as the guardian of the Privileges of the House, consider a representation made to you that to use a Supply Day for a matter of this sort, which is concerning the prestige and the Privileges of a Member of the House treating it as though it was a conflict with the Government on a matter of Supply, is an outrage?
§ Mr. Gallacher
Is the Minister aware of the very strong feeling in Scotland that not enough time is given to Scottish questions, and in view of that will he arrange to suspend the Standing Order without any time limit?
§ Sir Irving Albery
I understood my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House to suggest that as he had announced the Business on Tuesday it was too late to change the matter now. I am sure it is within his memory that those persons whose names were appended to the Motion have been against the procedure which he proposes to employ, and I want to make this point—if I am correct, as I think I am—that by taking this Debate on the Home Office Vote, the Motion on the Paper will not, in fact, be dealt with. It will remain on the Paper and will not have been dealt with.
§ Mr. Eden
I think that may be so, but the only point I was trying to make, and I was not trying to dodge anything, is that, whether the Debate is on the Motion or on my right hon. Friend's salary, the Motion does call in question the administration of the Home Secretary, which the House is perfectly entitled to do—neither my right hon. Friend nor I am taking exception to that—but it is perfectly proper and ordinary when a situation of that kind arises that the Debate should take place on the Vote of the Minister concerned.
§ Mr. McGovern
May I ask the Leader of the House to consider this point again, as it causes a great deal of confusion? There are many of us in-favour of abolishing Regulation 18B, but we might have some reserve in connection with certain individuals, if only individuals were to be released and not the general body of the internees. I do not want to deprive the Home Secretary of his salary, but we want to abolish 18B. Could there not be a vote for or against 18B?
§ Sir W. Davison
Are there not two other distinct points, one the administration of Regulation 18B and the other the continued detention of a Member of the House; and how can the House express an opinion on these two different matters in the form in which the business is now being presented?
§ Sir A. Southby
On a point of Order. I apologise to you, Mr. Speaker, but the Leader of the House said that the Motion on the Order Paper called in question the conduct of the Home Secretary. May I point out that that is not so?
While it is a legitimate use of a Supply Day to meet the demand of an Opposition for a Debate to put down the salary of the Minister, this is a matter of high Government policy, and I would further point out that the original offence, if it is an offence, was not committed by the present Home Secretary but by his predecessor, and to propose to reduce the present Home Secretary's salary for an offence of his predecessor seems to me to be a misuse of a Supply Day. I would urge the Leader of the House to reconsider the matter. May I 2154 make this further point with reference to the proposal to give an extra day next week to the Debate upon the White Paper, that it means appropriating a Supply Day for Government Business, which seems to me to be a complete misuse of a Supply Day? [HON. MEMBERS: Speech."] I am asking questions, even though there may not be a note of interrogation at the end of each sentence. May I ask on what Motion we shall start the discussion upon the White Paper upon Wednesday? Is it to be a Motion to reduce the Minister's salary, or do we propose to increase his salary for the first two days and to reduce it on the third day? Will the right hon. Gentleman give us some guidance as to the nature of the Motion to be put down on Wednesday, so that we can have a continuous Debate upon the White Paper on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday?
§ Mr. Eden
I thought I had already dealt with the point which my hon. Friend has raised. I have told him that we shall put the Motion on the Paper to-day, and so there will be ample opportunity for him to study it to-morrow and over the week-end, and to be ready for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. As regards the point about the Debate to-morrow, I wish to make the Government's position quite plain. We are not seeking to have a discussion on one particular Motion or one particular Vote as opposed to another. There is only one way in which I can meet the wishes of the House. If the House will agree that we shall get our Supply formally then, so far as we are concerned, we are quite prepared to take the Motion; but I have to try to interpret what I understand to be all the points of view in this House, and when I was given to understand that there would not be unanimity in giving us the Supply, without which we cannot get it, then I thought we must have a Debate upon the salary of my right hon. Friend. If the House is willing to let us have the Supply then my right hon. Friend and I are perfectly prepared to take the Debate on the Motion.