HC Deb 04 November 1948 vol 457 cc1028-30
Mr. Eden

May I ask the Leader of the House if he will state 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, 8th November—Consideration of the proposed Amendments to the Standing Orders on Public Business and on Private Business necessitated by the new system of Exchequer Equalisation Grants provided for by the Local Government Act, 1948.

Further progress will be made with the Colonial Stock Bill and the Debts Clearing Offices Bill; and consideration of the Motions to approve the Clearing Offices (Italy) Amendment; the Silk Duties (No. 1); the Import Duties (Imperial Preference); the Ottawa Duties (Geneva Agreement) Orders.

Tuesday, 9th November—Second Reading of the Education (Scotland) Bill. A Motion will be proposed to refer this Bill to the Scottish Standing Committee for Second Reading under the provisions of Standing Order No. 60.

Second Reading of the Water (Scotland) Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Wednesday, 10th November—Second Reading of the Wireless Telegraphy Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Consideration of the Motion relating to the Army and Air Force (Women's Service) (Adaptation of Enactments) Order.

Thursday, 11th November—Second Reading of the Special Roads Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Friday, 12th November—Second Reading of the Prize Bill, and further progress with the Recall of Army and Air Force Pensioners Bill.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

While the Scottish hon. Members on this side of the House have no objection to taking the two Scottish Bills as early as possible, we hope that an adequate interval will be allowed before the Committee stage is taken upstairs, because we have not yet had time to consult the local authorities who are directly interested in both these Measures.

Mr. Morrison

I think that is a reasonable request, and I will try to make suitable arrangements through the usual channels.

Mr. S. Silverman

May I ask my right hon. Friend, having regard to the demonstration which we have just had from overseas, and which is no doubt valid elsewhere, of the utter unreliability of popular polls of public opinion on certain questions, whether time can be found for the introduction of a one-clause Bill to abolish the death penalty?

Mr. Tom Brown

In regard to the Wireless Telegraphy Bill, is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a great deal of feeling in the country regarding the power of entry into the homes of the people, and will he make a statement?

Mr. Morrison

I must be careful not to get on to any point of substance, but I do appreciate the point raised by my hon. Friend. There is a real difficulty here, with the situation as it is, in relation to aircraft and ships, and it is a great nuisance to the ordinary users of broadcasting. I will only say that we want to be very broadminded about this, and that we should welcome the assistance of the House in trying to find a solution, without any impropriety regarding the privacy of the home. I assure the House that we will only act in that spirit, and that we hope to have the assistance of all sides of the House in this matter.

Mr. Silverman

May I have an answer to my question?

Mr. Morrison

I think this poll situation has reached a very interesting stage, and it will have repercussions on another Measure which is probably coming before the House. I do not think, however, that I had better undertake to bring in the Bill which my hon. Friend wants.

Mr. Wyatt

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether it is the Government's intention to have a Debate on Commonwealth Affairs at an early date, or an opportunity of raising Commonwealth problems, as we have not had a Debate on the subject for a very long time?

Mr. Morrison

That would be a suitable subject for a Supply Day, but I do not know that the Government can add to the official special communiqué issued at the end of the Conference. Whether that would provide sufficient material for a Debate I am not certain, but it must be appreciated that the Conference was a private one between Governments. I am not sure that it would provide a suitable subject for a Debate.

Mr. Wyatt

While agreeing that the Conference was private, is my right hon. Friend aware that there are many hon. Members who have a desire to give expression to ideas on Commonwealth matters other than those raised at the Conference?

Mr. Morrison

I think my hon. Friend had better use his persuasive powers in the right quarter so as to use a Supply Day for the purpose.