HC Deb 17 October 1944 vol 403 cc2208-9
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

Can the Deputy Prime Minister make a statement on the Business to be taken during this week, especially with regard to the Town and Country Planning Bill?

Mr. Attlee

Yes. Substantial progress has been made during the week-end in preparing the new Clauses relating to compensation and I have every hope that they will appear on the Order Paper tomorrow morning. To-morrow we intend to proceed with the Report stage of the Bill.

Mr. Greenwood

This is a matter of very considerable importance to the House. The House must not be placed in the position of having to discuss Clauses which have appeared on the Order Paper only on the day of the Debate. My right hon. Friend says he has every hope that they will appear to-morrow but if it should be the case that they do not appear on the Order Paper until Thursday morning, then I submit there might have to be a substantial alteration of Business. I am quite certain that the House cannot agree to discuss Clauses on the day they appear. If it is a question of time I put it to my right hon. Friend that the House must be treated properly in these matters. If my right hon. Friend announces later in the day that his "every hope" has been destroyed, may I ask him then to tell us when we are likely to have the new Clauses?

Mr. Attlee

I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend. Certainly I have every hope that they will appear on the Paper to-morrow, but if, in the course of the day, some unforeseen obstacle should arise, a statement could be made at the rising of the House.

Sir Irving Albery

When these Clauses are put on the Order Paper will they be substantially in accordance with the statement made to the House the other day?.

Mr. Attlee

Yes, Sir.

Sir John Mellor

May I ask the Deputy Prime Minister this question? Even if the new Clauses appear on the Order Paper to-morrow morning, what opportunity will hon. Members have of considering the new Clauses and drafting Amendments to them so as to get those Amendments on the Order Paper by Thursday morning? Surely there will not be reasonable time for those who desire to put Amendments down to these new Clauses to prepare those Amendments and get them on the Paper in time for discussion on Thursday.

Mr. Attlee

I think that will depend on how the new Clauses look to hon. Members when they see them on the Paper. There is no intention whatever to rush the House in this matter. The House will be dealing with the Report stage to-morrow, and I hope it may be possible to make some progress, at all events, with the new Clauses on Thursday, possibly—if it is allowed by the Chair—by means of a somewhat general debate, on the Second Reading of the Clauses. I should like to make progress this week.

Sir J. Mellor

As hon. Members who are particularly interested in the new Clauses will be engaged in the Chamber the whole of to-morrow on the Report stage of the Bill, how can they possibly have the necessary consultations and do the necessary drafting in order to hand in Amendments to-morrow?

Mr. Attlee

I have said that we will see how we go. I have often seen it done by hon. Members. They are very good at that sort of thing.