HC Deb 18 January 1945 vol 407 cc374-6
Mr. Arthur Greenwood

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he has any statement to make on the course of Business to-day and the Business for next week?

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden)

The Business for next week will be as follows:

Tuesday—Report and Third Reading of the Representation of the People Bill; and, if there is time, Second Reading of the Licensing Planning (Temporary Provisions) Bill.

Wednesday—Report stage of the Votes of Credit; Second Reading of the Local Authorities Loans Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Thursday—Consideration of the Report from the Select Committee on the House of Commons (Rebuilding); Second Reading of a special Consolidated Fund Bill for the Votes of Credit.

Friday—Committee and remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund Bill; Committee stage of a Supplementary Estimate for the salary of the Minister for Civil Aviation.

Colonel Sir Arthur Evans

On a point of Order. Regarding to-day's Business, as the Debate on the war, I understand, will be one of a general character, may I seek your guidance, Mr. Speaker, to ask whether it would be in Order to raise the question of the posting overseas of auxiliary women who are members of the A.T.S.?

Mr. Speaker

That is not for me to say. It is a matter for the Chairman in Committee of Supply.

Mr. Greenwood

I wish to put a supplementary question on that point. My right hon. Friend will recollect that on the day the House rose for the Christmas Recess the question of the posting of A.T.S. personnel overseas was raised, and in answer to a question which I put to my right hon. Friend he agreed that before it operated there should be a discussion in the House. Can he make arrangements at an early date for that? I would not myself suggest that it should take place in a general Debate on the war situation. If my right hon. Friend will give me an answer I shall be glad.

Mr. Eden

I do recollect the position. Subject to what is said in Committee, I should have thought it would be quite in Order for any hon. Member who caught the Chairman's eye to raise the matter to-day. I have not had representations for a wider Debate, and I should be reluctant to give more time unless there was a strong demand, owing to the number of Debates we wish to get in.

Mr. Greenwood

Does not my right hon. Friend recollect that on the day the House rose there was a good deal of feeling in all quarters of the House that this decision should have been dropped on the House without any kind of notice? My right hon. Friend did give an undertaking that the matter should be discussed. It should be discussed as a problem in itself quite apart from the war situation Debate.

Mr. Eden

There is no question of trying to side-track discussion. I was in the first place meeting the suggestion from my hon. and gallant Friend below the Gangway. I should say that as far as I can judge he would be in Order in raising the matter. If it is the desire of the House to have a special discussion we shall do our best to find time and an opportunity for it.

Sir Percy Harris

A definite undertaking was given that these women should not be directed overseas until the House had had an opportunity of expressing its views.

Mr. Eden

That undertaking has been fulfilled. What I was saying was that there was an opportunity to-day, subject to the Rules of Order. If the House desires a special opportunity arrangements will be made.

Mr. A. Bevan

Are we quite clear that the promise made before the Recess still holds, and that no action will be taken in this matter until we have had a discussion?

Mr. Eden

That is the position. The discussion will be very early—some time next week.

Mr. Boothby

Does my right hon. Friend recollect that some weeks ago he told us that we should have an early Debate on Bretton Woods? Is the fact that no opportunity for such a Debate has yet been provided due to a certain lack of enthusiasm on the Government's part?

Mr. Eden

No, Sir, it is only because there has been a Recess of which the hon. Gentleman, like others, has partaken. There will be a discussion in due course.

Mr. Greenwood

On the last occasion when my right hon. Friend dealt with the war situation, his speech was interrupted to allow of an Adjournment. I wonder whether arrangements have been made for such an interruption to-day? I put the question in the interests of the House.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

I am, unfortunately, a victim of the prevalent misfortune, having got a cold, and I should like to see how I get on. But if it were agreeable to the House and I felt the need of asking their indulgence, around quarter past one or thereabouts, I might venture to ask for it, with the approval, of course, of Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Bowles

In view of the statement that there is to be a Debate on Civil Aviatiion on Friday next week, will the Leader of the House arrange for the Government to publish the speeches of the Chicago Conference—all the speeches, and not only Lord Swinton's?

Mr. Eden

I will see what I can do.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the very serious concern which is being felt, particularly in Scotland, about unemployment, due to redundancy, can we have a discussion, next week or the following week, on this very important question, which is affecting thousands of workers?

Mr. Eden

I have dealt with next week's Business. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will let me consider his request.

Mr. Sloan

When are we going to have an opportunity of discussing the Education (Scotland) Bill?

Mr. Eden

I cannot give an exact date: it will be in the near future. I hope the House will now be willing to go on to the Business.