HC Deb 17 August 1945 vol 413 cc188-90
Mr. Eden

I rise to ask the Leader of the House if he has a statement to make on Business.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

The Debate on the Address will be continued to-day and on Monday and brought to a conclusion on Tuesday. On Wednesday and Thursday a Debate will take place on the Motion to approve the Charter of the United Nations. During the week we hope the House will agree to take all stages of the Local Elections (Service Abroad) Bill; a Motion to approve the continuance in force of the Proclamation issued under the Government of India Act, 1935, and relating to Bengal; and a Motion to approve Regulations providing for proxy voting by Service voters at local elections.

If all necessary Business has been disposed of, we hope that it will be possible to take the Motion for the Adjournment on Friday, 24th August. It is proposed that the House should meet after the Recess on Tuesday, 9th October.

As I informed the House yesterday, the Government propose to set up a Select Committee to consider the procedure of this House. We hope that the House will agree to this Motion and that we can consider it before the Adjournment on Friday, 24th August.

Mr. Eden

The right hon. Gentleman will realise that the last matter to which he referred—the setting up of a Select Committee to consider the procedure of this House—does raise very important issues for the House, and I would only like to. say that we have not had much time to consider that proposal. I think it likely that the House, or at any rate those who sit on these Benches, will feel that there should be an opportunity for discussion of this matter before the House adjourns.

Mr. Morrison

That is entirely within the rights of the House and I would not dissent from it at all. The only point I would put is that the simple question before the House, as far as I know, will be whether or not a Committee on Procedure should be appointed. I should have thought that the real controversy might arise when it reported, unless there is a view that such a Committee ought not to be set up. If there is a wish for discussion, the Government will provide the facilities. In that case we might have to postpone the Adjournment Motion until Saturday, 25th August instead of Friday, 24th August.

Mr. Eden

It is not necessarily a question of controversy that I was entering into, but I thought it likely that hon. Members would want to express their opinions before the Select Committee was set up.

Mr. Morrison

I am obliged. I quite agree.

Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew

Is it the intention that this Select Committee will sit in the Recess?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir, it is intended that the Committee should have power to sit during the Recess.

Sir Ronald Ross

In view of the rather short period of the Debate on the Address, will there be time in which matters of general interest can be raised? There is one point of vital importance to myself and to my hon. Friends from Northern Ireland, and that is the inadequacy of shipping services to Northern Ireland. We have very few occasions on which we can raise such matters, and a Debate on the Address is generally one of them. I hope there will be an appropriate occasion when we can raise such matters.

Mr. Morrison

There will be a day, either Friday or Saturday, when matters can be raised on the Adjournment, but the question of what matters are to be raised and who is to be called is, of course, one for Mr. Speaker.

Sir R. Ross

It is generally the right of Private Members to raise such matters on the Debate on the Address, which is far more satisfactory than on the Adjournment. Far be it from me to make any controversial statement, but Private Members do seem to be having a tough time.

Lieut.-Colonel Dower

With regard to the right hon. Gentleman's first remarks about the Debate on the Address, has anytime been arranged when Amendments are to be taken? Amendments are on the Order Paper in the names of my hon. Friends and myself, about which we feel rather strongly.

Mr. Morrison

I think that is a matter for Mr. Speaker.

Ordered: That no Questions for oral answer be taken on Monday next, except Questions which are of an urgent character and relate either to matters of public importance or to the arrangement of Business."—[Mr. Herbert Morrison.]