HC Deb 19 February 1948 vol 447 cc1339-42
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, 23rd February—Supply (2nd allotted day);—Committee stage of Civil Supplementary Estimates contained in Papers Nos. 49 and 67, beginning with India and Burma Services; Ministry of Education; Ministry of Food (revised estimate); Ministry of Health.

Tuesday, 24th February—Third Reading of the Local Government Bill; and further progress will be made with the Water Bill [Lords].

Wednesday, 25th February—Second Reading of the River Boards Bill [Lords] and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Thursday, 26th February—Supply (3rd allotted day);—Committee stage of the Civil Vote on Account 1948–49. A Debate will take place on Civil Aviation.

Friday, 27th February—Report and Third Reading of the Police Pensions Bill; Committee and remaining stages of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Bill [Lords]; Second Reading of the Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution and, if there is time, Second Reading of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Mr. Cocks

On the Business for Monday, amongst the Supplementary Estimates there is a vote of £2 million as contribution to the cost of the Greek Armed Forces. Will there be an opportunity of discussing that?

Mr. H. Morrison

If there is time, there should be an opportunity.

Mr. Mikardo

With reference to the Debate on Civil Aviation, is it intended to include a discussion on the Courtney Report on the Tudor I aircraft?

Mr. Morrison

The Ruling as to the scope of the Debate is a matter for Mr. Speaker, but I should have thought, and I gather it was intended, that that should be within the scope of the Debate and therefore it may be necessary to put down appropriate votes from the Ministry of Supply as well as the Ministry of Civil Aviation. I am not quite sure how we do it under the new Standing Order.

Sir R. Glyn

Can the Leader of the House give any indication of a date being fixed for discussing the Member's Fund?

Mr. Morrison

A discussion will take place on the legislation which is being prepared. We hope it will be ready at a fairly early date.

Mr. Hale

With reference to the question I put a fortnight ago, can my right hon. Friend now say when we shall have an opportunity of debating the conditions in the textile industry and the textile machinery manufacturing industry?

Mr. Morrison

On textile machinery, there is hope that a Bill may arise. I cannot be quite certain but, if that is so, that would be an appropriate occasion. If it should not be so, we shall have to look at it again, but I hope that legislation can be brought forward.

Mr. Scollan

On which day of next week shall we be given an opportunity of introducing the vote of confidence given to the Government by Paisley?

Mr. Derek Walker-Smith

Can the Leader of the House say what was the result—[HON. MEMBERS: "Of the by-election."] I wanted, Mr. Speaker, to refer to an even less promising result than that in the minds of hon. Gentlemen opposite; I wanted to ask what was the result of the meditations of the Leader of the House, which he promised a fortnight ago, as to the possibility of a Debate on the White Paper on the utilisation of land for the Services? Is he aware that this White Paper lays down certain limitations on the normal procedure of holding public local inquiries, and does he agree, therefore, that it should be discussed by this House?

Mr. Morrison

My meditations on this point, and the result thereof, were expressed last week. There was fairly considerable discussion on the matter in relation to the Requisitioned Land and War Works Bill which I thought had fairly covered the ground. If, however, there should be further Debate wanted, it might come up on an appropriate Supply Day.

Mr. Driberg

With reference to my right hon. Friend's reply to me last Thursday, could he say whether the usual channels have yet bad an opportunity of considering the promised Debate on the subject of Questions to Ministers in regard to the administration of nationalised industries?

Mr. Morrison

I think the usual channels are working but they have not yet come to the vigorous outflow that is necessary. However, I reckon that such a Debate will take place fairly soon.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the Leader of the House aware that many hon. Members on this side are getting very appealing letters from the old age pensioners, and in view of the vote I gave in Paisley yesterday, might I ask him if he would give a day or afternoon or evening sometime for a discussion of the Motion on the all-important question of the condition of the old age pensioners?

[That this House, deeply concerned about the statement of the Chancellor that the £1 was only valued at 7s. 6d. compared to 1914 and the hardship this imposes on old age pensioners, disabled soldiers and injured or incapacitated workers, particularly miners suffering from diseases and accidents peculiar to the mining industry, demands an immediate overhaul of all such pensions with a view to bringing them into line with the urgent needs of the recipient.]

Mr. Morrison

I told the hon Gentleman last week that I was afraid though we have an understanding about the matter, we could not give a special day for the Motion he has put down, not even in consideration of the very improper gesture he has made in relation to the vote he gave yesterday though, as the ballot is secret, I do not think it is a firm bargain anyhow.

Mr. Daines

May I ask the Leader of the House if we shall have an opportunity of discussing the report of the Lucas Committee?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think there is any arrangement made to that end, and it would be best if the hon Gentleman were in the first place to put a Question to the appropriate Minister. He might then pick it up on the Adjournment.

Mr. Daines

Who is the appropriate Minister?

Mr. Morrison

Either the Minister of Agriculture or the Minister of Food, but I think it is the former.

Mr. Austin

Reverting to the question of aid for Greece, may I ask whether, in view of our straitened economic circumstances and the anxiety of hon. Members to make themselves aware of how the money is being spent in Greece, the Rule can he suspended on Monday to make certain that we can discuss this very important matter?

Mr. Morrison

I have explained that we cannot suspend the Rule on a Supply Day. As to the other parts of the hon. Member's question, they are matters of substance for the Foreign Office and the Treasury, and surely he would not like to get me into trouble with either of the Ministers concerned?

Sir Arthur Salter

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an indication of when the Committee stage of the Representation of the People Bill will be taken?

Mr. Morrison

The Bill was committed to a Committee of the whole House. I cannot say what the date will be, but the right hon. Gentleman can be assured that there will be a reasonable interval for consideration and the drafting of Amendments.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that the Lord High Commissioner (Church of Scotland) Bill has been indefinitely postponed, and that the increased grant has been frozen?

Mr. Morrison

I am not certain at the moment, but I think my hon. Friend can sleep safely and soundly in his bed, at the moment.

Mr. Willis

When are we to take the Motions altering Standing Orders to enable the new arrangements for Scottish Business to operate?

Mr. Morrison

We will take them as soon as we can.