HC Deb 29 January 1948 vol 446 cc1205-9
Mr. Eden

Will the Leader of the House please tell us the Business for next week?

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

Yes, Sir. The Business for next week will be as follows:

Monday, 2nd February—Second Reading of the Industrial Assurance and Friendly Societies Bill; the Sutton's Hospital in Charterhouse Bill; and of the Animals Bill; and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Tuesday, 3rd February—Committee stage of the Cinematograph Films Bill.

Wednesday, 4th February—Conclusion of the Committee stage of the Cinematograph Films Bill.

Thursday, 5th February—Report and Third Reading of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Bill. Further progress will be made with the Post Office and Telegraph (Money) Bill; the Royal Marines Bill; and the Attempted Rape Bill; and there will be Consideration of the Motion to approve the Purchase Tax (Alteration of Rates) (No. 3) Order, 1947.

Friday, 6th February—Second Reading of the Army and Air Force (Women's Service) Bill and of the Police Pensions Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Further progress will be made with the Sutton's Hospital in Charterhouse Bill.

During the week it is hoped that there will be an opportunity to consider the Motions to approve the Leather (Charges) (No. 1) Order and the Foreign Service Order.

Mr. Eden

The right hon. Gentleman will recall that, shortly before the House met, important statements were made by Ministers on the subject of the petrol ration. I make no complaint about that, but I would like to know if we can have an early opportunity to discuss those statements, and I would like him to say whether he could assist us in the matter.

Mr. Morrison

But the House had a Debate—a fairly ample Debate—and a Division on the order. The House took a decision, and I cannot see the need for us to have a further Debate, unless it is taken on a Supply Day.

Mr. Eden

I ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that since then two important statements have been made—very full statements. The House was not sitting, and therefore the statements were not made to the House, but they were on matters of great interest to the country, and it is desirable that we should have an opportunity to debate them. Perhaps that can be discussed through the usual channels.

Mr. Morrison

The statements were explanatory of the situation. If it is desired by the Opposition to have a Debate, a Supply Day can be arranged, and we would be happy to discuss it. But, as there was a Debate and a Division earlier, I do not think it right that Government time should be given for that purpose. If the Opposition will discuss having a Supply Day, we will arrange to do so.

Mr. Eden

Supply Days are some way off.

Mr. Morrison

No, we are under a new Standing Order.

Mr. Thomas Reid

In view of the Question, and the answer which we have just heard, and of the importance of the matter, will my right hon. Friend arrange a day for a discussion of the doctors' ballot at an early date?

Mr. Morrison

Mr. Speaker has indicated that there is possibly a question of Order about that matter. I think that if a Debate took place, it would probably have to be on a somewhat wider issue than the actual plebiscite which is being taken. It might cover the outstanding issues in dispute between my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health and the British Medical Association—

Colonel Stoddart-Scott

The negotiating committee.

Mr. Morrison

Whoever they may be, it is the same thing. If there is a feeling and a wish for a Debate here—and certainly there is considerable interest in the matter in the country—the Government would not be unsympathetic to taking steps with a view to a Debate as early as possible.

Sir W. Wakefield

Will the right hon. Gentleman say when an opportunity can be given to discuss the very grave losses to the taxpayers incurred in the operation of the nationalised civil airlines?

Mr. Morrison

I think that at a suitable time there should be a Debate on civil aviation, including that aspect of it, if it is the wish of the Opposition that that should be so. We shall have to have some discussion about how we are to handle these Debates. We shall have to strike some sort of understanding or bargain about them, and I would welcome it if discussions could be opened through the usual channels.

Mr. Eden

In reference to this coming week's Business, could the right hon. Gentleman assist the House by letting us know on what day we will consider the Motion to approve the Leather (Charges) (No. 1) Order, which I understand is of considerable importance? Perhaps Wednesday would be a suitable day?

Mr. Morrison

I gathered it might be considered a suitable day and, if convenient to the House, we propose to take it on Wednesday, after the Committee stage of the Cinematograph Films Bill.

Mr. Cecil Poole

Would not the Leader of the House agree that many of these questions on which debates are required now could be cleared up if he would concede to us a small measure of Private Members' time again?

Mr. Morrison

With great respect to my hon. Friend, I cannot see what that has to do with it. There is no guarantee whatever that any of these subjects would be chosen by a Private Member in Private Members' time, unless the Opposition Whips asked him to do so.

Mr. Maclay

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an indication of when the Bill to implement the Boundary Commissions' recommendations will be taken?

Mr. Morrison

The Representation of the People Bill is being presented today, and that will include recommendations in relation to the provisions of the Boundary Commissions' Report.

Mr. Gallacher

Will the Leader of the House discuss through Scottish channels a day for considering the proposals in the White Paper on Scottish Affairs, in view of the fact that according to rumour they are going to be totally inadequate.

Mr. Morrison

I am sorry to hear that from such an influential quarter. I understood from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland that he has reason to believe there was some degree of happiness about it. There will in any case have to be a Debate on the Standing Orders regarding the proposal that Bills may go to the Grand Committee right away and that some of the Estimates procedure might take place in Standing Committee. So far as the House is concerned, that is the more important point, but there are other proposals of an administrative character and I would be willing to have discussions through the usual channels. We shall have to debate the Standing Orders and see whether we can come to some arrangement to cover essential points which people may wish to have covered.

Mr. Hale

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this House has not had an adequate and sufficient opportunity of discussing the cotton industry and textile machinery? In view of the failure of the employers to adopt the amalgamation schemes, the limited use of the subsidy scheme, the report of the working party, the many outstanding Evershed reports, and the question raised as to overtime, and other matters in recent discussions, will he give an early opportunity for discussing our greatest export industry?

Mr. Morrison

This, of course, is a matter which can be dealt with on a Supply Day, if there were a wish to do so. I rather think, speaking from memory, that some opportunity may arise for discussion of such matters.