HC Deb 18 November 1948 vol 458 cc569-73
Mr. Eden

Can the Leader of the House tell us the Business for next week?

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

The Business for next week will be as follows:

Monday, 22nd November—Committee and remaining stages of the Prize Bill;

Conclusion of Committee stage and remaining stages of the Recall of Army and Air Force Pensioners Bill; and

Consideration of Motions to approve the draft Furniture Industry Development Council Order and the two draft Coast Protection Orders.

Tuesday, 23rd November—Second Reading of the Civil Defence Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution; and

Report stage of the Iron and Steel [Money].

Wednesday, 24th November—Debate on Welsh Affairs on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House. It may be found convenient to deal with industrial matters during the first half of the day and agriculture afterwards.

Thursday, 25th November—Second Reading of the Coal Industry Bill, and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Friday, 26th November — Second Reading of the Pensions Appeal Tribunals Bill, and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution; and

Further progress will be made with the Judges Pensions (India and Burma) Bill, and the Colonial Loans Bill.

Mr. Eden

In view of a number of topics which seem to be active in the international sphere, would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that in the near future we should like an occasion for a discussion of the international situation?

Mr. Morrison

The House is aware that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is taking a much deserved rest. I note the request of the right hon. Gentleman for a Debate on foreign affairs, and perhaps he will be good enough to allow me to consider the matter. We could, no doubt, pursue it through the usual channels.

Mr. Watkins

May I ask the Lord President of the Council why the Welsh Parliamentary Committee, or any of its officers, have not been consulted about the arrangements and the date of the Welsh Debate, and whether any Government statement is to be made with regard to the special considerations of Wales?

Mr. Morrison

With regard to the question of consultation. I think my hon. Friend is misinformed. It is not the usual thing to consult the various groups in the House. Often there are consultations through the well-established usual channels, but we should involve ourselves in difficulties if I were to ask my right hon. Friend the Chief Whip to notify groups of the House.

Mr. Emrys Roberts

Will the Leader of the House deal with the second part of my hon. Friend's question and indicate whether any new announcement of Government policy will be made during the Debate?

Mr. Morrison

I could not say at this stage, but I think it is possible.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

May I ask if there will be an early opportunity to discuss the accounts of the airline Corporations?

Mr. Morrison

I think the hon. Gentleman is in a unique position to persuade the Opposition to put down a Supply Day for this purpose.

Mr. George Thomas

Is the Lord President aware that if he had consulted the Welsh Parliamentary party, as he did last year, he would have found that we should like the date postponed for a little while, anxious as we are to have a Debate on Wales, because he knows there are things that are not quite settled yet?

Mr. Morrison

My hon. Friend, I am afraid, is on the verge of an indiscretion. We really are following the usual course. The trouble I am in is that we have postponed the Welsh Debate for a couple of weeks and, if we do not get it going, I am afraid the Welsh day will not arise until the middle of next year, when I think we should be legitimately open to criticism. We have followed a fairly usual course.

Mr. Eden

Will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider a suggestion that the accounts of nationalised industries should be discussed upon a Supply Day? And will he bear in mind the rebuke of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to my right hon. Friend when the Chancellor said that at least one day would be available for the discussion of the finances of nationalised industries? Will the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, make it available out of Government time?

Mr. Morrison

We have both got to be reasonable about this. [An HON. MEMBER: "Are you ever?"] Certainly. Up to now the Government have made their contribution out of Government time and the Opposition have made some contribution out of Supply time in the case of this new business of Debates on the socialised industries. In principle that is perfectly reasonable, and if the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington is only trying to commit me to the Chancellor's one day of Government time, I will concede that right away.

Mr. Eden

I am anxious that the right hon. Gentleman should understand the full import of his concession. The right hon. and learned Gentleman promised us one day for the accounts of each of the nationalised industries.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Referring to the question of civil aviation, does the Lord President recall that some months ago he himself said that the Government themselves would probably give time, and that it would not come out of Supply Days?

Mr. Morrison

No; I have never accepted the doctrine in that extreme form. I am always for the forces of compromise and moderation in these matters.

Mr. Churchill

No violence.

Mr. Morrison

The Leader of the Opposition is much more likely to become violent than I am. This is a development of new business. There have been socialised industries for a number of years, of course, but in view of the number of them, I think it is one of those things on which we ought to make arrangements between ourselves, and I think the Government should make their contribution and the Opposition should make its contribution. I do suggest to the House that that is a fair way to handle this matter.

Mr. Erroll

Surely, since the Ministries controlling the nationalised industries continue to grow, we should use the Supply Days to discuss the affairs of the Ministries themselves and Government time to discuss the affairs of the nationalised industries, the activities of which are not questionable in this House.

Mr. Morrison

The hon. Gentleman is altogether wrong. He really must try and get a philosophy about this.

Mr. Erroll

I have.

Mr. Morrison

The hon. Gentleman has not. These industries are partly questionable—

Mr. Walter Fletcher

Very questionable.

Mr. Morrison

—and Ministers have certain responsibilities. In the case of the civil airlines there is a public subsidy, which indeed makes it very much a matter for the Minister.