HC Deb 24 October 1947 vol 443 cc382-3
Mr. Eden

I wonder, Mr. Speaker, whether you would be good enough to give us your guidance on the arrangement of Business for the remaining days of the Debate on the Address?

Mr. Speaker

Yes. After the discussion yesterday, I thought it might be to the general convenience of the House it on Monday we continued the general Debate, but confined ourselves, more or less, to Germany and the Report of the Estimates Committee, which I understand will be printed and before the House today. Then, at about 8.30, I will call upon the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. J. P. L. Thomas) who will move his Amendment—

[But humbly regret the absence from the Gracious Speech of any indication that the proposed acceleration of release from Your Majesty's Armed Forces is bused upon a comprehensive plan which takes account not merely of current commitments but also of the long-term requirements of Imperial security.]

and if we can have, as I think we will, one extra hour, we can take a Division on that matter at 11 o'clock. I think that will meet the convenience of the House.

Mr. Bowles

Is it proposed to exclude foreign affairs from the Debate upon the Address, except the matter of Germany?

Mr. Speaker

I was not now proposing to devote a special period to foreign affairs. In any case, the subject of foreign affairs was to have been mixed up with the particular subject of Germany. Of course, on the wide Amendment by the Opposition there will be ample opportunity for various matters to be raised.

[But humbly regret that the Gracious Speech, while clearly revealing the intention of Your Majesty's Government to continue their partisan policies, gives no assurance of the national leadership, the administrative competence, or the measures necessary to meet the economic crisis and so give relief to Your people from their ever increasing hardships.]

Mr. Eden

I was going to ask the Government whether they would consider, within the next three or four weeks, perhaps, giving us a separate opportunity for a discussion of foreign affairs in general. If that could be done it would, I think, fit in with the Government's programme and would give the House an opportunity for a discussion which the House would like.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

The Government will be quite prepared to consider that through the usual channels, having regard to the general arrangements with regard to the Business of the House. May I say, in response to what you said earlier, Sir, that His Majesty's Government will put down a Motion to extend the Sitting on Monday by one hour?

Mr. Eden

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman, and I do not want to press him now; but the word "consider" which he used is a little disappointing. Could he make it a little more hopeful than that? The Prime Minister did tell us in the Debate, in reply to my speech, that he did not want to make a statement on foreign affairs then, but would rather leave a fuller discussion to a later time, although there would be opportunities for discussing foreign affairs in the Debate on the King's Speech.

Mr. Ede

I am sorry I used a word that seemed too pessimistic to the right hon. Gentleman, but I understand that the "usual channels" have already begun to flow, and I did not want to say anything which might precipitate a flood.