HC Deb 06 March 1947 vol 434 cc659-62
Mr. Eden

May I ask the acting Leader of the House for a statement on the Business for next week?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Arthur Greenwood)

The Business for next week will be as follows:

Monday, 10th March, Tuesday, 11th March, and Wednesday, 12th March.—A Debate will take place on the economic situation, which will arise on a Government Motion.

Thursday, 13th March.—It is proposed to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on first going into Committee of Supply on the Army Estimates, 1947–48, and to consider Votes A, 1, 2, 6, 8 and 10 in Committee.

Friday, 14th March.—Committee and remaining stages of the Air Navigation

together with additional adjustments in certain weight grades.

Eggs (sold through packing stations). An increase of 1d. per dozen for the period April to September, 1947, and 2d. per dozen from October, 1947 to March, 1948.


a Where seasonal scales and weight grades are in force the detailed method of applying the average price increases will be discussed with the Farmers' Unions and the Milk Market ing Boards and announced later.

b The additional rd. per dozen in the price of eggs for the period October, 1947, to March, 1948, is without prejudice to arrangements for differential seasonal prices in future years, a subject which the Departments intend to discuss with producers.

Bill [Lords] and further consideration of outstanding Supplementary Estimates in Committee and on Report.

Mr. Eden

Will the right hon. Gentle man consider suspending the Rule for one hour on the first day, at any rate, of the three day Debate? I understand that the opening Government statement is likely to be of some length. We make no complaint about that, but hon. Members on all sides of the House will want to make contributions and I think an extension would be generally welcomed. I suggest that it might be given on the first day, and we might consider on Monday whether it would be a good thing to give it also for the second day.

Mr. Greenwood

I thought we had acted with great generosity when we gave three days to this matter—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh"]. Certainly. But if my right hon. Friend and I could get together, through the usual channels, certainly I will be prepared to agree to any reasonable request which meets with the wishes of the House.

Mr. Quintin Hogg

The right hon. Gentleman said that the Debate on the economic situation would be on a Government Motion. Would he indicate the kind of ground which we shall be free to cover within the ambit of that Motion? Will he give an assurance that a fairly wide Debate will be possible, having regard to these terms?

Mr. Greenwood

Of course, it will be as wide as the White Paper. The Motion will appear on the Order Paper tomorrow morning.

Mr. Clement Davies

As finance must form a very important part of policy in considering the economic conditions of this country, will the Chancellor of the Exchequer take part in the Debate during the first three days of next week?

Mr. Greenwood

I should have thought that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will, shortly after Easter, have his great opportunity. I gather that the major interest is really on producion and manpower and not on finance. But if there are big financial issues raised, which will not prejudice my right hon. Friend on his Budget Statement, of course he will be prepared to intervene.

Mr. Henry Strauss

When the right hon. Gentleman fixed the extremely important Business for next Thursday, was he aware that one of his colleagues had proposed that a Standing Committee should sit on that afternoon?

Mr. Greenwood

I was perfectly well aware of it. I am quite certain that whatever the Business might be for any day, it will be inconvenient for some hon. Members to attend a Standing Committee meeting.

Mr. Eden

Is the right hon. Gentleman now admitting the force of the argument he denied last week?

Mr. Greenwood

Certainly not.

Mr. Ronald Chamberlain

As the acting Leader of the House last Thursday used these words: In the Debate on the economic position, there will be ample opportunity to raise the whole of the manpower issue with regard to the Defence Services."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 4th March, 1947; Vol. 433, c. 2291.] will he see that the Motion for Monday is sufficiently wide to include a fairly comprehensive consideration of defence issues?

Mr. Greenwood

Most certainly, and I may say now that the Minister of Defence will take part in the Debate.

Brigadier Low

Whilst paying due attention to the last remark of the right hon. Gentleman, may I ask him to tell the House why the Government have departed from the principle enunciated by the Prime Minister last year in the Debate on defence that a Debate involving a discussion of the allocation of resources between the three Services, should always take place before the individual Estimates were taken?

Mr. Greenwood

I have really answered that question before. We have had Debates of that kind. So far as I know, I have had no representation made to me that the Opposition desired such a Debate at this stage.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

We must get on.