HC Deb 16 March 1944 vol 398 cc405-8
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

May I ask the Leader of the House to state the Business for the next series of Sittings?

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

Yes, Sir, the Business for the next series of Sittings will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—Committee stage of the Education Bill.

Second Sitting Day—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill. Debate will take place on War Decorations and Medals.

Third Sitting Day—We shall make further progress in Committee on the Education Bill.

Fourth Sitting Day—Committee and remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund Bill. A Debate will take place in Secret Session on the Tank position.

During the week we hope to obtain the Motion to approve the Government of India (Distribution of Revenues) (Amendment) Order.

Commander Sir Archibald Southby

In view of the very large number of Members who will, doubtless, wish to speak in the Debate on War Decorations and Medals, do the Government propose to suspend the Rule on that day? Further, can my right hon. Friend say whether an opportunity will be given in the near future for discussing the Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of various hon. Members on the question of Regulation 18B. [That this House is of opinion that the time has come for reconsideration of Regulation 18B and of the practicability of bringing to trial those now in detention on the sole responsibility of the Home Secretary.]

Mr. Erskine-Hill

Is my right hon. Friend in a position now to give a date for a Debate on delegated legislation?

Mr. Eden

With regard to the suspension of the Rule I have not had any representations about that. I am usually reluctant to suspend the Rule if it can be avoided but perhaps I might be allowed to sound the usual channels to see what demand there is for suspension. With regard to a Debate on delegated legislation I cannot give a day now, but I have it in my mind that there is a widespread request for such a Debate. I cannot promise it before Easter but we shall arrange it as soon as we can. I also cannot give a date now for the Debate on Regulation 188.

Mr. Shinwell

Has the Leader of the House yet come to a decision on the proposal to have a Debate on Dominions economic policy?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir. If we stick to our present programme, I have a date in mind before Easter.

Mr. Shinwell

Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the representations made to him that if we hold the Debate after Easter, we might have two days?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir, I did, but so far as I could discover I thought that one day would probably suffice. I think the Debate may be held before Easter.

Sir H. Williams

. Is it not the case that the Consolidated Fund Bill is exempted Business and that there is no need to suspend the Rule?

Mr. Eden

My hon. Friend is quite right, and I was quite wrong.

Mr. Quintin Hogg

Is my right hon. Friend in a position to say whether a Debate on the coal mining situation can be held in the near future?

Mr. Eden

I did not contemplate that in the Business with which we are dealing at the moment, beyond which I cannot go now.

Mr. John Dugdale

Will the Debate on Imperial affairs be confined to economic policy or will it be a wider Debate?

Mr. Eden

I think it is desired that it should cover a wide field.

Mr. George Griffiths

Would it not be wise to leave the Coal Debate alone until you have squared it out with the Ministry? It will be better for the men in the field.

Mr. W. J. Brown

Does the Leader of the House anticipate that we shall get the Committee and remaining stages of the Pensions (Increase) Bill before we rise for the Easter Recess?

Mr. Eden

Yes, I rather hope so.

Sir Granville Gibson

Has a date been fixed when the House will go into Committee of Supply on the Civil Estimates?

Mr. Eden

No, not in the Business that I am announcing now.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the desire to make progress with the Education Bill, will the right hon. Gentleman advise Members who are not particularly interested in it, not to descend suddenly on the Committee and explode with irrelevancy?

Mr. Stokes

With regard to the Debate in Secret Session on Tanks, will the Government take such steps as may be necessary to facilitate participation in the Debate by Members of the Select Committee? Obviously the House would like to hear what they have to say.

Mr. Eden

I do not think that is a matter for the Government.

Mr. Maxtor

Is the Indian business likely to be controversial?

Mr. Eden

I am always cautious with the hon. Member on Indian matters but I should hope not.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

With regard to the promise of a day to discuss delegated legislation, is it not possible to bring in the whole question of Regulation 18B in that Debate and combine the two in one, since 18B is, obviously, an example of delegated legislation?

Mr. Eden

I have it in mind that delegated legislation should have priority.

Major C. S. Taylor

With regard to the Debate on the Second Sitting Day, is it intended that a Government spokesman shall open it? Some of us feel that it should really be opened by a back Bench Member and the Government should wind up, after hearing the views and suggestions of hon. Members.

Mr. Eden

I did not contemplate any thing of that kind. I thought it would be more convenient if the Prime Minister opened with a statement.

Mr. Buchanan

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Debate on housing and the deep concern in the House and in the country on the question, will the Government consider making an early statement and allowing the House to debate the question again?

Mr. Eden

Of course the Government will be bringing in legislation, when there will be wide opportunities for Debate.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

May I ask a question upon the Business for the Second Sitting Day and the decision of the Prime Minister to speak at the beginning of the Debate instead of at the end? May I ask the Leader of the House whether that means that our proposals will not be taken into consideration but that his decision will have been made before?

Mr. Eden

The Prime Minister and I thought it would be much more convenient to the House that the result of the Government's reflections on the matter should be made available for discussion. That is all. Of course, hon. Members will be free to make suggestions, and it is for that purpose that we are having the Debate.