HC Deb 18 July 1946 vol 425 cc1383-6
Mr. Churchill

May I ask the Leader of the House if he can give us some indication of the Business for next week?

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

The Business for next week will be as follows:

Monday, 22nd July, and Tuesday, 23rd July—Report stage of the National Health Service Bill.

Wednesday, 24th July—Supply (18th Allotted Day), Committee. Debate on the Coal Situation.

Thursday, 25th July—Supply (19th Allotted Day), Committee. Debate on the future of the Malay States until 6.30 p.m. (or earlier), and afterwards the future of the South Tyrol will be discussed on the Foreign Office Vote. At 9.30 p.m. the Committee stage of all outstanding Votes will be put from the Chair. Report and Third Reading of the Diplomatic Privileges (Extension) Bill [Lords].

Friday, 26th July—Third Reading of the National Health Service Bill.

During the week, we shall ask the House to consider Amendments to the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Bill which are expected to be received from another place; the Motion to approve the Biscuits (Charges) Order; complete the Debate on the three outstanding Government of Burma Orders and make progress with the Isle of Man (Customs) Bill.

Mr. Churchill

We, of course, realise the difficulties of the Leader of the House in tidying up the Business programme at this stage of the Session. I would like him to consider whether some more convenient time could not be found for dealing with the remaining stages of the Diplomatic Privileges (Extension) Bill. It has been the subject of animated piecemeal discussion, and it is now proposed to take it at the end of a long day's Business. We have not raised difficulties with regard to a great deal of uncontroversial legislation, but, as the Minister of State will perhaps have informed the Leader of the House, this particular Bill does not come within the category of uncontroversial legislation. There is one other point which I should like to mention, if I may do so, with your indulgence, Mr. Speaker. I do not know when it is proposed to fit the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Bill into our affairs. There are a number of Lords Amendments to be considered. It has not yet been fully considered in another place, and we do not know what that other place may do to it. Therefore, we cannot tell how much time we shall require for this business.

Mr. Morrison

With regard to the latter point, we shall have to see what another place does about it.

Mr. Churchill

Wait and see.

Mr. Morrison

That is a good ancient Liberal doctrine. With regard to the Diplomatic Privileges (Extension) Bill, this is one of those little Bills which Ministers describe to their colleagues as "an uncontroversial Measure," and, as such, it was embarked upon. I admit that this has proved otherwise; but as it has had a fair amount of time spent upon it since it was returned here from another place, it cannot be said that it has been inadequately discussed. Some people may think otherwise. I should have thought that it would be reasonable, after the Guillotine has fallen on the outstanding Votes, to resume this matter and dispose of what we thought was rather an innocent suggestion of the Foreign Office.

Mr. Janner

Would my right hon. Friend give an indication when we are to have a Debate on Palestine?

Mr. Morrison

We anticipate that there will be a Debate on Palestine the week after next.

Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew

May I ask the Leader of the House if any action is to be taken with regard to the return presented recently, dealing with the financial position of the House of Commons Members' Fund? The annual contribution of £12, deducted from every hon. Member's salary, produces a sum nearly four times that needed to cover the present expenditure, and the future liabilities on the Fund will be reduced by the passing of the National Insurance Bill. Last there was a surplus of over £6,000 and the reserve is over £40,000, £9 out of every £12 contributed is being invested by the trustees.

Mr. Morrison

I understand that this is one of the financial ventures on the part of Parliament which has turned out to be exceedingly prosperous, and, no doubt, actuarial advice will be taken. I think that it might be discussed through the usual channels, and, if there is general agreement, we may be able to meet hon. Members' wishes and deal with it expeditiously. I hope that we may be able to deal with it after the Summer Recess.

Mr. John Paton

In view of the interest which every hon. Member of the House must have in this scheme, would my right hon. Friend not consider, after the Summer Recess, allowing the House to have an opportunity to discuss it? The prosperity of the scheme may easily indicate, what I think is the truth, that the scheme is utterly inadequate for its declared purpose as it is at present run and organised. There is a very obvious reason why the whole set-up of this Fund should be reviewed by the House.

Mr. Speaker

I think that we had better stick to the Business, and not debate the Members' Insurance Fund now.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the prosperous nature of this Fund, could we not have a bonus for all-night Sittings?

Captain John Crowder

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us when the House will adjourn for the Summer Recess?

Mr. Morrison

I cannot say yet. Discussions are proceeding through the usual channels. There is certain Business which the Government feel that they must get through, and I hope to be able to say next week when the Adjournment will take place, but I am not in a position to be certain now.

Major Legge-Bourke

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is proposed to have a two days' or a one day's Debate on Palestine?

Mr. Morrison

That will be discussed through the usual channels. I cannot say at the moment.

Mr. Churchill

Does the right hon. Gentleman think it wise to postpone the Debate over next week and have it the week after? If there is a Debate, it must be a full Debate, because a great many hon. Members, on both sides of the House, have views on this matter; and the views are by no means united on either side of the House.

Mr. Morrison

That is very true. I appreciate that. We shall be willing to discuss this matter through the usual channels, but we must be careful not to get into the habit, on any subject of substance, of a two days' Debate becoming the standard. We will discuss it through the usual channels, in a quite friendly way.

Mr. Janner

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether it will be possible to consider the present Rent Restriction Acts, particularly in view of the very serious position created, by as much as £1,000 being asked for a flat, in certain districts?

Mr. Morrison

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is asking me about legislation which is highly complex and potentially controversial, and on which many hon. Members, including the legal Members, will thoroughly enjoy themselves.