HC Deb 09 October 1944 vol 403 cc1411-4
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

May I ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make about Business this week?

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Attleé)

As the House is aware, we meet specially to-day to conclude the Committee stage of the Town and Country Planning Bill. In view of the understanding reached last Friday for dealing with Part II of the Bill, we shall not now take the Report and Third Reading of the Bill on Thursday and Friday of this week. The altered Business will, therefore, be as follows:

Thursday, 12th October—Committee and, if possible, the remaining stages of the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Bill.

Friday, 13th October—Resumed Debate on Second Reading of the Diplomatic Privileges (Extension) Bill [Lords]; further progress with the Unemployment Insurance (Increase of Benefit) Bill, if not previously disposed of; and the Committee and remaining stages of the Liabilities (War-Time Adjustment) Bill [Lords].

Mr. Greenwood

May I take it from what was said on Friday and from the change of Business this week, that it is the intention of the Government to proceed with and complete all the stages of the Town and Country Planning Bill this Session?

Mr. Attlee

Yes, Sir, we want to get on with that next week.

Sir Percy Harris

Are we to understand from the reply, that the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend the Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Pethick-Lawrence) will be carried out, and that discussions will be organised for dealing with Part II, so that we shall have a complete Bill and not a truncated Bill, and avoid the necessity for a separate Bill dealing with finance being introduced next Session?

Mr. Attlee

That is the intention.

Mr. Shinwell

May I ask my right hon. Friend to elucidate the point he has just made in reply to my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood)? He said that all stages of the Bill will be completed this Session and he added something about next week. Does that mean that the Government are coming forward with their compensation proposals next week? If so, does that mean that agreement has now been reached in the War Cabinet?

Mr. Attlee

If agreement can be reached, as I hope it will be in the course of this week, we shall try to get through this Bill next week.

Mr. Thorne

Have the Government considered the advisability of fixing up a time table for the Town and Country Planning Bill?

Mr. Attlee

That is a rather different matter. We are getting on very well. May I take the opportunity of congratulating the hon. Member on his birthday?

Mr. A. Bevan

Why should the Government limit themselves in this way? Is it not possible to extend the life of the Session, so as to give the Government more time?

Mr. Attlee

We have not limited ourselves at all. We must consider that the Bill will have to go to another place.

Mr. Bevan

Last Friday the Prime Minister said that he could not agree to, the postponement of the Clauses but that they would have to be dropped, because it might not be possible to end the negotiations for the revised Clauses before the end of the Session. Is not that putting the Government, unnecessarily, in a strait waistcoat?

Mr. Attlee

No, I do not think so.

Mr. John Wilmot

Am I correct in understanding my right hon. Friend that the financial provisions for compensation will be part of the Bill, and not a separate Bill as was at one time thought?

Mr. Attlee

That is so, if we can get agreement.

Sir IrvingAlbery

With reference to the right hon. Gentleman's announcement that the discussion on the Second Reading of the Diplomatic Privileges Bill will be resumed on Friday, can the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the circumstances under which the discussion was broken off, give the House some indication of what course the Government intend to take when the discussion is resumed?

Mr. Attlee

The House will be informed when we come to discuss that Bill, whether any discussions have taken place and what has been the result.

Sir I. Albery

That really appears to me to be a most unsatisfactory reply to give to the House of Commons. It is quite exceptional for a Second Reading of a Bill to be taken in the House and for the Government to adjourn the discussion on it and then for a Minister to come down to the House merely to announce that the discussion will be resumed without giving any indication of what steps have been taken. That seems to be lacking in ordinary Parliamentary courtesy.

Mr. Attlee

The answer is that I can give no information at the present moment.

Mr. Shinwell

My right hon. Friend has intimated that there was disagreement in the War Cabinet on this matter. Has it occurred to him that it might be desirable, in order to fortify the War Cabinet, to put the matter simply before the House and let it decide the issue, so that the War Cabinet might be duly informed of the opinion of the House itself?

Mr. Attlee

That is a very good suggestion if it were a simple matter, but it is by no means a simple matter.

Mr. Petherick

With regard to the Diplomatic Privileges Bill, are we to understand that a new Bill is to be introduced on Friday, or will it be the old Bill? There was a certain amount of noise at the time, and I found it difficult to hear what was going on, but I was under the impression that the Bill was to be withdrawn and that it was to be re-drafted and re-presented to the House. Can we have some information on that point?

Mr. Attlee

I understand that discussions are going on to see whether it is possible to put Amendments on the Paper to make the Bill generally acceptable to the House.

Mr. Driberg

Are we to take it from what the Deputy Prime Minister has said that we are dropping the compensation Clauses from the Town and Country Planning Bill absolutely, without any guarantee of their being restored before the Report stage?

Mr. Attlee

I am afraid that the hon. Member has not recollected what was said. It was exactly the contrary.

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