HC Deb 19 October 1944 vol 403 cc2541-4
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

I would like to ask the Deputy Prime Minister, first, whether it is proposed to make any alteration in the course of Business for the remainder of this week, in view of the fact that two new Clauses have appeared on the Order Paper this morning, which there has been no time to consider, and, second, will he state the Business for next week?

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Alee)

The Government have received representations, through the usual channels, urging us not to attempt to finish the Town and Country Planning Bill this week, in order to give more time for the consideration of the new Clauses relating to compensation. We have decided to meet the wishes of the House, and not conclude the Bill until next week. We hoped that it would be possible to finish the Bill this week, but as the remaining new Clauses appear on the Order Paper this morning, I recognise that the request for more time is not an unreasonable one.

The Business for the remainder of this week will be as follows: To-day we shall have to recommit the Town and Country Planning Bill in respect of the new Clauses and Schedule, and consider the Clauses in Committee. It will, no doubt, be the wish of the Committee to have a general Debate on the first Clause, but that is a matter which will have to be put to the Chair.

We shall not take the Bill to-morrow, but will proceed with the Business previously announced, namely: The Committee stage of the Supplementary Vote of Credit for War Expenditure, which will be moved by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer; Committee and remaining stages of the Diplomatic Privileges Bill [Lords]; Motion for a humble Address relating to the Aden Colony (Amendment) Order. It is not proposed to take the Second Reading of the Matrimonial Causes Bill, which has only just come down from another place.

The Business for next week will be as follows:

Tuesday, 24th October.—Report stage of the Supplementary Vote of Credit. Second Reading of the Matrimonial Causes Bill [Lords]. Further progress will be made with the Diplomatic Privileges Bill [Lords], if not already disposed of, and with other outstanding Business.

Wednesday, 25th October, and Thursday, 26th October.—Conclusion of the Committee stage, Report stage, following re-committal, and Third Reading of the Town and Country Planning Bill. On Wednesday it will be necessary for us to ask the House to pass a special Consolidated Fund Bill for the Vote of Credit, so that it may receive the Royal Assent later in the week.

The Business for Friday, 27th October, will be announced later.

Mr. Greenwood

I am sure the House will be glad that at long last we have got the Business for this week settled. But there is a consequential alteration that my right hon. Friend has not made clear. It was understood that the Com- mittee stage of the Supplementary Vote of Credit was to be taken formally tomorrow, and that the Debate was to take place on the Deport stage. I now understand that there will be a Debate on the Committee stage to-morrow. Is that so?

Mr. Attlee

Yes, that is quite right.

Mr. Graham White

May I ask the Deputy Prime Minister if it is the intention of the Government to take the deferred discussion on social security before the end of this Session?

Mr. Attlee

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Bowles

In view of the fact that the Conference on Civil Aviation will be open very soon, will the right hon. Gentleman give time for a Debate on Civil Aviation before, say, Friday of next week, because, quite frankly, the contents of the White Paper, as the policy of the Government, do not, as far as I can make out, appeal to anybody on this side of the House at all?

Mrs. Tate

Could we have an assurance that, when the Debate on Civil Aviation takes place, it will not be on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House, but will be on a Motion to approve the White Paper?

Mr. Attlee

That point will arise later, but, in the meantime, there is no possibility of having a Debate in time for the opening of the discussions with the Dominions on the 24th, and I think it is the view of the House that we should not have a Debate at this juncture.

Mr. Bowles

May I put this point? Were we not informed by the Secretary of State for Air that the discussions with the Dominions, on the 23rd or 24th, are on purely technical matters, and have nothing to do with policy? I am asking for a Debate before our delegates go into the Chicago Conference with America and the other 54 nations.

Mr. Attlee

I do not think we can find time for it now.

Mr. A. Bevan

May I ask whether the Government did not know of these dates long ago, and, therefore, could have provided the House with the opportunity for a Debate if the Government were anxious to consult the House? How can the Government enter into negotiations and commit this country without the House having an opportunity of discussion? You might as well abolish the House of Commons, if this is the way we are to be treated.

Mr. Attlee

The hon. Member is quite wrong. The House has already been informed of the dates a considerable time ago.

Mr. Bevan

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the latter part of my question? How is it possible for tile Government to enter into discussions with the United States on this matter without first ascertaining the views of the House on the White Paper? This is reducing the House of Commons to a complete farce.

Mr. Attlee

Certainly not. The Government have informed the House several times—[Interruption]. The hon. Member is quite wrong in saying that the Government cannot enter into negotiations without a Debate in this House. It is quite wrong constitutionally.

Mr. Bellenger

Will the Deputy Prime Minister recollect that, when the Government issued the White Paper on demobilisation, the Prime Minister gave the House an undertaking that time would be found for a discussion? May I ask him whether it is proposed to hold that discussion before the end of this Session; and when will the House have the Government's proposals regarding industrial demobilisation?

Mr. Attlee

I am not aware exactly of what the Prime Minister said, but we shall have a Debate on industrial demobilisation as soon as possible, though I cannot give an exact date.

Mr. Bellenger

Before the end of the Session?

Mr. Attlee

I cannot say.

Mr. Leach

May I ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to be able to afford an opportunity to the House to discuss the White Paper on Social Insurance?

Mr. Attlee

There is a Motion on the Order Paper. The discussion will not be next week, but it will be before the end of the Session.