HC Deb 07 March 1946 vol 420 cc507-10
Mr. Eden

Could the Leader of the House tell us the Business for next week?

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

Yes, Sir.

Monday, 11th March —Committee stage of the Civil Supplementary Estimates contained in House of Commons Paper No. 74 which was available on 19th February. We shall begin with the Estimates in Class II. Second Reading of the Patents and Designs Bill (Lords). Consideration of Lords Amendments to the Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Bill and Building Restrictions (Wartime Contraventions) Bill, and, if there is time, Statutory Instruments Bill.

Tuesday, 12th March—Supply (4th allotted day); Committee, Consideration of Air Estimates, 1946, Vote A, Vote on Account and Air Supplementary Estimate, 1945.

Wednesday, 13th March—Further progress will be made with the Miscellaneous Financial Provisions Bill and Public Works Loans Bill. Report stage of outstanding Supplementary Estimates, and Report and Third Reading of the Police Bill.

Thursday, 14th March—Supply (5th allotted day); Commitee, Consideration of Army Estimates, 1946, Vote A, Vote on Account and Army Supplementary Estimate, 1945.

Friday, 15th March—Second Reading of the India (Central Government and Legislature) Bill (Lords) and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Motions to approve the proposed Orders to be made under the Government of India and the Government of Burma Acts. We hope to dispose of this Business in a reasonable time, and afterwards it is proposed to move the Adjournment of the House in order to give an opportunity for a Debate on the Cabinet Mission to India.

Mr. Clement Davies

In view of the very serious situation in various parts of the world, particularly Europe and India, owing to the food shortage, which seems to be getting much worse than was anticipated, would the Leader of the House consider giving another day for consideration of this very serious situation?

Mr. Morrison

That could be considered through the usual channels, either for a Supply Day or otherwise. We have, of course, had two or three general Debates on the matter, I admit limited in time, and a recent Debate on the food issue. We will consider the point.

Mr. Lang

May I ask the Leader of the House if he seriously intends to take the Report stage and the Third Reading of the contentious Police Bill, being the last in order on Wednesday? Is he not aware that many hon. Members on these benches must oppose that Bill, as it now stands, most Strenuously?

Mr. Morrison

I hope we shall not get on to a crisis. If my hon. Friend examines the business I think, as we anticipate, the early business may not take a great deal of time. We think the time will be adequate. The Bill has had a very thorough examination in Committee upstairs and I think reasonable time will be afforded.

Mr. W. J. Brown

May I repeat a question which I put to the Leader of the House last Thursday, and ask him when the Government anticipate bringing in the Bill to modify the provisions of the Pensions (Increases) Act, 1944, relating to retired State servants? I was told last week he would give me a reply today.

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir, but I am afraid I am in no position to give an undertaking about legislation on that subject.

Mr. Brown

In view of the fact that we were promised consideration as long ago as before the Christmas Recess, may I ask the Government to indicate when we are likely to get this Bill, because very grave hardship is being suffered by many people?

Mr. Morrison

I understand that the Government are not committed on the matter, and therefore I am not in a position to give any undertaking at all. I think it would be best if the hon. Member were to communicate with the Minister concerned, who will presumably be the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr. Brown

I have been communicating with the Minister for months. I want something to happen.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Will the right hon. Gentleman indicate whether the House will have an opportunity of concluding its consideration of the Government's Motion on agricultural policy, and reaching a decision on the matter?

Mr. Morrison

That is a good joke. I have a sense of humour—

Mr. De la Bère

We do not want jokes about food.

Mr. Morrison

It was not the fault of the Government that no conclusion was reached. We are perfectly happy; we are quite sure that the agricultural policy—

Mr. De la Bère

We are not happy.

Mr. Morrison

I think the hon. Gentleman really is happy. The Government are quite confident that the policy of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture has the support of the House, but as the Opposition did not wish the House to reach a decision, that is all right; we cannot help it.

Mr. Bowles

Can the right hon. Gentleman now state when the Bill to nationalise the civil airlines will be introduced, and whether it is being held up by negotiations for the purchase of assets from the old services which he mentioned recently in reply to a question?

Mr. Morrison

Obviously some discussions are proceeding. The preparation of the Bill is making progress, but I am not in a position to give a date.

Mr. Stokes

Referring to the point raised by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Daviss), will my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, in considering this matter, take full notice of the very serious statement made by Field-Marshal Montgomery a day or so ago, which revealed a state of things which ought to have been revealed in the last food Debate and was not, and which this House ought to have the opportunity of discussing at the earliest possible date?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think there was any secret about the difficulty of the situation as regards food supplies in Germany. Certainly we are taking into the fullest account the view of Field-Marshal Montgomery, and we will see what can be done, but I am not in a position to give an undertaking about a Debate at the present time.

Sir W. Smithers

In order to assist the Prime Minister in his production drive, will the Government introduce a Bill soon to ensure that the Minister of Fuel and Power, in regard to coal production, and the Minister of Health, in regard to houses, will be paid by results?