HC Deb 02 April 1947 vol 435 cc2039-40
Mr. Eden

Can the acting Leader of the House tell us the Business for the week after Easter?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Arthur Greenwood)

Yes, Sir. The Business for the first week after the Easter Recess will be as follows: Tuesday, 15th April.—My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will open his Budget.

Wednesday, 16th April, and Thursday, 17th April.—General Debate on the Budget Resolutions.

Friday, 18th April.—Report and Third Reading of the Cotton (Centralised Buying) Bill.

In order to meet the general wishes of the House we arranged for a fuel Debate to take place before Easter, that is, today, and postponed consideration of the Cotton (Centralised Buying) Bill. Following this rearrangement of Business, I think it will be generally understood that we shall obtain the concluding stages of the Cotton (Centralised Buying) Bill in the normal time available on Friday, 18th April.

Major Legge-Bourke

With reference to the Business for the week after Easter, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will bear in mind that a statement is to be made by the Government tomorrow on the floods, and that there are many hon. Members on both sides of the House who have views which they would like to express on the matter? Can the Leader of the House give some assurance that at the earliest date possible there will be a Debate on the floods? May I suggest that the Motion standing in my name, and in the names of 160 other hon. Members of the House, would be a suitable Motion on which to have such a Debate?

[That this House cannot but recognise the recent widespread flooding especially in the Fens as a national disaster and urges His Majesty's Government to treat it as such.]

Mr. Greenwood

I think the hon. and gallant Member had better await the statement which is to he made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture tomorrow morning. Thereafter, if an opportunity arises, as it may well do on the Estimates, no doubt a Debate may be arranged.

Major Legge-Bourke

Does not the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that when a statement is made, it is extremely difficult to have anything in the nature of a Debate upon it? Only a very few questions can be asked. Will he bear that in mind?

Mr. David Eccles

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether the Budget White Paper is to be published this year, a few days before the introduction of the Budget, as I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer promised last year? It would be of great assistance to Members.

Mr. Greenwood

I will certainly consult my right hon. Friend on that point. I am quite certain that there is no desire to mislead the House on the facts of the situation.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the Government proposals about procedure, arising out of the last Report of the Select Committee, are to be made to the House in time to affect the Budget procedure this year?

Mr. Greenwood

No. I made a statement to the House, I think a fortnight ago, in which I said that we had settled our procedure for this Session, and that nothing in the Report of the Select Committee could affect this Session's procedure.