HC Deb 12 April 1945 vol 409 cc1973-4
45. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Prime Minister if he has now considered the views expressed in the Debate on the Adjournment on 26th May, 1944; and what steps he is taking to secure that the parliamentary machinery may be best adapted to meet our post-war needs and function with speed and efficiency, while preserving the rights of private Members and safeguarding our democratic rights.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

The Government have considered this matter and have reached the conclusion that the question of adapting Parliamentary machinery to meet post-war needs, ought to be reserved for consideration by the Parliament to which post-war tasks will fall.

Mr. Smith

May I ask the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision? Does he remember giving evidence before the Committee presided over by the right hon. Gentleman and, if so, in view of the fact that the problems will be greater and of a more urgent character, should not the combined experience of the House be brought to bear in order to give attention to the problems raised in the Question?

The Prime Minister

I think, having regard to the general position of our affairs, it would be much more appro- priate for the new Parliament to take these matters into consideration. The hon. Member need not take too gloomy a view of it.

Earl Winterton

As the originator of the Debate to which reference is made in the Question, may I ask my right hon. Friend if he did not very distinctly state that this would require the attention of the Government? Would it be possible to create a Cabinet Committee on the subject, especially in view of the fact that the political issues involved are so slight that it might be possible to discuss them on any platform without open war between Members of the Government?

The Prime Minister

The attention of the Government was given to the subject and the result of that attention was to reach the point which has enabled me to make the present answer.

Colonel Sir Arthur Evans

In view of what the Prime Minister has said, will the Government consider withdrawing the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Bill, as this is a Measure dealing with Parliamentary procedure especially affecting the legislative machinery of this House, and, further, were the appropriate Committees of the House, particularly the Selection Committee, consulted, before this Bill was introduced?

The Prime Minister

I endeavour to take a deeper and a comprehensive view of our affairs as far as possible. I must express my great regret that I could not attempt to answer such a question without notice.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the hon. Member who put the Question is not taking a gloomy view of the future?

Mr. Stephen

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen the cartoon in to-day's "Evening Standard"?

The Prime Minister

I can assure the House that it belongs to the realm of caricature rather than of factual reproduction.