HC Deb 05 October 1944 vol 403 cc1136-9
Mr. Pethick-Lawrence

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will tell us the Business for next week, and the hour at which we shall sit on Monday, if it is decided to sit on that day?

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

The Business for next week will be:

Tuesday, 10th October—Second Reading of the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats), Bill, and, if there is time, Second Reading of the Unemployment Insurance (Increase of Benefit) Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolutions.

Wednesday, 11th October—Committee and remaining stages of the India (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill [Lords]; Second Reading of the Liabilities (War-time Adjustment) Bill [Lords]. Further progress will be made with the Unemployment Insurance (Increase of Benefit) Bill and the Motion to approve the Coal (Charges) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order.

Thursday and Friday, 12th and 13th October—We hope to take the concluding stages of the Town and Country Planning Bill.

As the House is aware, we shall take the Committee stage of the Town and Country Planning Bill to-morrow. We made better progress yesterday, and I do not give up hope that we may yet conclude the Committee stage to-morrow. Failing this, it will be necessary to sit on Monday, as I warned the House yesterday. There is only one other small point that I want to refer to. I said yesterday, incorrectly, that if we met on Monday it would be at half past two. The intention is that if we meet on Monday, we shall meet at 2 p.m., and that there should be no Questions apart from any Private Notice Questions which you, Sir, may decide to allow.

Mr. Lewis

Is it the intention of the Government to ask us to sit late on Friday, or not?

Mr. Eden

No, Sir, I should hope it will not be necessary to do that.

Mr. Boothby

Does my right hon. Friend recollect that the Prime Minister gave an undertaking that before any final decisions were reached by the Government on the Bretton Woods proposals we should have an opportunity to discuss the matter in this House? In view of the fact that in a speech yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he was committed to principles underlying the proposals, could he arrange for us to have a Debate on this matter at the earliest possible opportunity?

Mr. Eden

The undertaking the Government gave still stands, and an opportunity for debate will certainly be given.

Mr. Pethick-Lawrence

I did not understand the answer the right hon. Gentleman gave to the hon. Member for Colchester (Mr. Lewis), who asked about to-morrow's Sitting and whether it would conclude at the usual hour. Is there any intention of extending the hour?

Mr. Eden

No. To-morrow, we shall rise at the usual hour.

Mr. Stokes

Arising out of the reply given to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence), and in view of the Chancellor's speech yesterday, in which there is a complete contradiction of the promise made to this House of a Debate on that report, may I ask whether we shall have an early opportunity of facing the Chancellor in this House and discussing it?

Mr. Eden

I think I have already dealt with that. I do not admit that what the Chancellor said yesterday was necessarily a contradiction of what he said in this House. Even Ministers have a certain freedom of expression in these matters. Certainly, there will be an opportunity for a Debate.

Mr. Loftus

In view of the influence, for good or evil, of this conference, will the right hon. Gentleman consider giving two days to the Debate on this subject, which is of immense importance to everybody in the country?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir, I quite understand the importance which the House rightly attaches to this matter, and I have an open mind at present on the question of whether we shall need two days. Possibly we may.

Sir Percy Harris

Is it not a fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer made it perfectly clear that neither the Government nor the House was committed?

Mr. Shinwell

Putting aside the obvious fact that the Government are not committed, even if the Chancellor is himself committed to certain principles in the Agreement, is it not desirable that we should, in all the circumstances, delay this Debate on the Bretton Woods Agreement until after the Presidential election?

Mr. Eden

No, Sir. Our position is that the House will have full opportunity for discussion, and I should hope the discussion will take place in the fairly near future.

Dr. Russell Thomas

In view of the partial promise of the Leader of the House regarding a Debate on post-war export trade before the end of the Session, is the right hon. Gentleman in a position to make a more definite announcement in the matter?

Mr. Eden

I do not think I made any partial promise that there would be a Debate before the end of the Session. There are a large number of topics which might usefully fall to be discussed on the King's Speech.

Mr. Pethick-Lawrence

May I ask the Prime Minister whether an opportunity will be given for a Debate on the Government's plans for the utilisation of capacity and labour released from war production?

The Prime Minister

On further consideration, Has Majesty's Government have decided that the Minister of Production should not make a statement next week, but time will be arranged for a full Debate on the whole subject before long.

Mr. Shinwell

On future Business, may I ask the Leader of the House whether he has noted that, in another place yesterday, a Debate took place on the subject of shipping and shipbuilding; and would he afford facilities for hon. Members in this Assembly to express their views on this essential topic?

Mr. Eden

Yes, I gave an assurance that there would be an occasion before the end of the Session and that promise stands.

Mr. Bellenger

May I ask how far have the Government's arrangements gone with regard to demobilisation plans, and if the right hon. Gentleman anticipates that it will be possible to have a Debate on that subject in this Session?

Mr. Eden

The House will understand that that is rather another issue. I should not like to commit myself on when the Debate will take place.

Mr. Molson

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he anticipates that there will be a Debate in this House in the present Session on the White Paper on the use of land?

Mr. Eden

That is one of the subjects that should be debated; also, I should have thought, one of the subjects which might be discussed on the King's Speech.

Mr. Montague

May I ask if it will be possible to have some full account of the Government's policy on civil aviation before the Washington Conference?

Mr. Eden

That matter was dealt with by the Secretary of State yesterday. I do not think I can say more.