HC Deb 11 May 1944 vol 399 cc2093-7
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

May I ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he will state the Business of the House for next week; and whether, at the same time, he can make a statcdient with regard to the course of Business to-day on the Education Bill, in view of the progress already made on Report?

The Deputy Prime Minister

We anticipated that three days would be required for the Report and Third Reading of the Education Bill, but rapid progress was made on Tuesday and I am advised that it may be possible for the Third Reading of the Bill to be moved at an early hour to-day, and concluded.. In this event, it is not proposed to sit to-morrow but to adjourn to-day until Tuesday next. I understand that it is inconvenient for Members to proceed with some of the Bills they now have, as these have been in their hands only a short time.

The Business for next week will be as follows:

Tuesday, 16th May—Committee stage of a Supplementary Vote of Credit for War Expenditure. Second Reading of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Wednesday, 17th May—Report stage of the Supplementary Vote of Credit. Afterwards there will be an opportunity to consider the Motion standing on the Paper in the names of the hon. Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson) and many other hon. Members relating to Statutory Rules and Orders.

That this House would welcome the setting up of a Select Committee, without power to send for persons, papers or records, whose duty it should be to carry on a continuous examination of all Statutory Rules and Orders and other instruments of delegated legislation presented to Parliament; and to report from week to week whether in the opinion of the Committee any such instrument is obscure or contains matter of a controversial nature or should for any other reason be brought to the special attention of the House.]

Thursday, 28th May—Second Reading of the Rural Water Supplies and Sewerage Bill and Committee stage of -the necessary Money Resolution.

Friday, i9th May—It will be necessary for us to ask the House to pass a special Consolidated Fund Bill for the Vote of Credit through all its stages Afterwards the Second Reading of the Food and Drugs (Milk and Dairies) Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution will be taken.

It may be for the convenience of Members if I state that we hope that the promised Debate on Foreign Affairs will take place the week after next.

Mr. Stokes

In view of the fact that the Rural Water Supplies and Sewerage Bill was obviously printed before the recent White Paper had been issued, will my right hon. Friend assure the House that some consideration will be given to what is said on the Second Reading of this Bill?

Mr. Attlee

I do not quite get my hon. Friend's point. This Bill deals with a short-term policy and the White Paper proposals dealt with a long-term policy.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) was not asking a question on Business; he was really making a Second Reading point.

Mr. Levy

Do I understand that it is proposed to take the Second Reading of the Rural Water Supplies and Sewerage Bill plus the Committee stage and Money Resolution on one day, or is a whole day to be given for the Second Reading?

Mr. Attlee

I said, "Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution."

Mr. Bowles

Apparently there is no Business for to-morrow. Surely it is still possible for the House of Commons to meet and for Private Members to be allowed to raise matters which they consider important?

Mr. Speaker

That is a matter for the House itself to decide.

Sir Edward Grigg

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any information on whether a statement is likely to be made about the meeting of Prime Ministers before the Debate on Forign Affairs takes place?

Mr. Attlee

I could not say.

Mr. Edgar Granville

In view of the fact that there has been a Debate in another place on Civil Aviation this week, and that the conference between the Lord Privy Seal and Dr. Berle has concluded, will an opportunity be provided, if not on this side of the Whitsun Recess then afterwards, for a Debate on Civil Aviation in this House?

Mr. Attlee

I would like to consider that; it is impossible to look so far ahead.

Mr. Bowles

May I move now, Mr. Speaker, that the House meet to-morrow to discuss the future of civil aviation?

Mr. Speaker

No, the hon. Member must at this stage put questions on Business.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Could the right hon. Gentleman possibly give any indication of whether the Government intend to put forward any proposals dealing with the whole problem of delegated legislation? I do not want to ask what the proposals are, but if some such indication could be given, it might assist the House. If the Government do intend to put forward proposals, could those proposals be communicated to the House, so that we shall have an opportunity of considering them before the Debate on Statutory Rules and Orders?

Mr. Attlee

The Government want to hear the views of the House in that Debate, in the course of which a Member of the Government will make a statement on the problem, and give the Government's attitude to the question.

Mr. Bowles

On Business, Mr. Speaker, may I now move that the House meet to-morrow to discuss the future of civil aviation?

Mr. Speaker

If the House is not meeting to-morrow, a Motion to adjourn until Tuesday next must be moved to-day and the hon. Member will then have his opportunity.

Mr. W. J. Brown

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House an approximate date for a discussion on the Motion on Equal Pay?

[That this House is in favour of the immediate application of the principle of equal pay as between men and women employed in those classes of the Civil Service where recruitment is open to men and women alike through the same examination, and/or where the men and women members of the class are liable for identical duties.]

Mr. Attlee

I do not know whether a Debate will be necessary, seeing that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has announced the appointment of a Royal Commission.

Mr. Brown

But is not the Deputy Prime Minister aware that a definite promise was made by the Prime Minister that we should have an opportunity of a Debate? Many of us do not want a Royal Commission.

Mr. Attlee

I gather that it was not so much a definite promise; I think the Prime Minister said that it might be a very proper subject for discussion.

Mr. Greenwood

It is some weeks now since I asked the Prime Minister whether there could be a Debate on this matter, and whether there could be some form of inquiry. The House has definitely been led to believe that the Government gave an undertaking with regard to such a Debate, quite irrespective of any inquiry. Therefore, would it not be desirable, in the circumstances, on an issue of such great principle, for the House to discuss the matter?

Mr. Attlee

I will take up with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House what my right hon. Friend opposite has just said. I have not before me exactly what was said by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. It is, of course, always our desire to meet the wishes of the House.

Captain Cobb

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Debate on Foreign Affairs will last two days, in view of the fact that a great many Members wish to take part?

Mr. Attlee

I think it will need two days.

Mr. Gallaeher

I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the statement made by the Secretary of State for Scotland that a ramp on the part of a contractor was preventing Scottish housing from going ahead, we could not have a discussion on this very urgent and very important question next week?

Mr. Attlee

That is a matter which might very well be raised on the Adjournment.

Mr. Gallacher


Major Lloyd

In view of the fact that we have a free day to-morrow, and that several Motions on Regulation 18B have been on the Order Paper for some time, would not the Government give consideration to letting the House discuss this Regulation to-morrow?

Mr. Attlee

We have to finish the Education Bill.

Mr. Driberg

With regard to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Bowles), may I draw the attention of the Deputy Prime Minister to the fact that a number of Members have given notice to raise matters of considerable interest on the Adjournment—including, to-day, the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison)—and as hon. Members were expecting to be sitting to-morrow, and many will be in London in any case, would it not be possible to treat to-morrow as an Adjournment Debate day like the Easter Adjournment?

Mr. Attlee

It is a matter entirely for the House.

Sir Waldron Smithers

In view of the vital importance of the question of an International Monetary Fund, will the right hon. Gentleman say whether another day will be given for discussion of such a project before the Government come to any decision?

Mr. Attlee

I do not think that arises at this stage.