HC Deb 03 November 1949 vol 469 cc600-4
Mr. Oliver Stanley

May I ask the Leader of the House the Business for next week?

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

The Business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 7TH NOVEMBER — Second Reading of the Married Women (Restraint upon Anticipation) Bill [Lords.]

TUESDAY, 8TH NOVEMBER — Second Reading of the War Damaged Sites Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution;

Consideration of Motions to approve the draft House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) (No. 4) Order; and

The draft Civil Defence (Fire Services and Public Protection) Regulations.

WEDNESDAY, 9TH NOVEMBER—Committee stage of the Profits Tax Bill;

Committee and remaining stages of the Local Government Boundary Commission (Dissolution) Bill; and

Consideration of the Motion relating to the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act.

THURSDAY, 10TH NOVEMBER—Debate on the Report of the National Coal Board.

FRIDAY, 11TH NOVEMBER—Concluding stages of the Profits Tax Bill.

Mr. Stanley

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will be prepared to give an early date for a Debate on the Report of the Overseas Food Corporation?

Mr. Morrison

This is a public corporation and there was some provision about public corporations. I suggest that it might be discussed through the usual channels and we shall see what can be done.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will the right hon. Gentleman give time, I hope at an early date, for the discussion of the effects on Scottish affairs of devaluation which the Secretary of State for Scotland was quite unable to deal with in reply to Questions?

Mr. Morrison

We have had two Debates relating to devaluation lately. I do not know whether the hon. and gallant Member took part, but he had an opportunity of putting the Scottish aspects and he should have done so.

Mr. Henry Usborne

May I ask the Leader of the House if he is going to give time fairly soon for a Debate on the implications of the European Assembly at Strasbourg?

Mr. Morrison

I dealt with that question last week.

Mr. Gallacher

It should be "the complications."

Brigadier Medlicott

Is the right hon. Gentleman proposing to give any time for consideration of the Motion which appears on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Darwen (Mr. Prescott) relating to Members' salaries?

[That this House regrets that, in view of the necessity in the present economic crisis to give a lead to all sections of the community, no proposal was made in the Prime Minister's statement to the House of 24th October to effect a reduction in the salaries of Ministers and Members of Parliament, respectively, of 25 per cent.]

Mr. Morrison

I do not think so Sir, no.

Mr. Frank McLeavy

In view of the concern of Conservative prospective Parliamentary candidates, as revealed in the very excellent letter in "The Times" today, will my right hon. Friend reconsider the question of giving time to discuss this Motion, so that we may at least indicate on this side of the House that we are supporting the rights of candidates, irrespective of their financial position?

Mr. Morrison

I am afraid I have not seen the letter, although I am told it was a very interesting communication.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

The right hon. Gentleman said that he dealt with Strasbourg last week. Well, did he? Do I understand that the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition asked for a Debate on Foreign Affairs and that the Lord President said that Strasbourg might be considered at the same time? Is there to be a Debate on foreign affairs?

Mr. Morrison

That is under consideration, and if it does take place it is conceivable that Strasbourg can come up. That is what I meant when I said to my hon. Friend that I dealt with this matter last week.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

May I ask the Leader of the House what is the urgency in the case of the War Damaged Sites Bill, which only reached us this morning, and upon which naturally we want to consult local authorities and professional bodies? It is to have a Second reading on Tuesday next week.

Mr. Morrison

I agree that the time is rather short, but I think it would be for the convenience of public business if it were taken next week. The principle of the Bill is settled. It is not a Bill which imposes duties on local authorities; it is a Bill which permits them to do certain things. I think that in all the circumstances it would not be unreasonable for the House to take it on the day mentioned.

Mr. Usborne

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the work and implications of the European Council at Strasbourg are sufficient to warrant a full day's Debate in this House?

Mr. Morrison

I quite agree; there are all sorts of things which are sufficient to warrant a full day's Debate, but, if I have not enough days to distribute for Debates on matters which are desirable, I cannot help it. I am sorry.

Mr. Henry Strauss

Will the right hon. Gentleman say in what form the Debate will take place next Thursday?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, on a Motion.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

If there is not time for the House to discuss Scottish economy, will my right hon. Friend consider allotting a day to the Scottish Grand Committee to discuss the matter as it affects Scotland?

Mr. Morrison

The hon. Member had better make representation to the Secretary of State for Scotland or to the Scottish Whip. I forget the rules in that respect. But I must point out that there have been two Debates on the economic situation—[An HON. MEMBER: "Not Scotland."] Yes, we are all in it and I have a faint recollection that the right hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir J. Anderson) spoke.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that no Scottish Minister answered, and that is very important?

Mr. Morrison

If a Scottish Minister had answered, the hon. and gallant Member and his Friends opposite would have said that too many Ministers were taking up the time of back benchers.

Mr. Churchill

I understand we are going to have a Debate on foreign affairs, although the nuts question comes first. Is that the way the matter rests?

Mr. Morrison

If I may say so to the right hon. Gentleman, that question seems so involved that it gets past my Cockney dullness.

Mr. Churchill

I understand we are to have a Debate on the question of groundnuts; perhaps that recalls the matter to the Lord President's memory. That is to be the first of these weekly discussions and then, after that, we shall require a Debate on the foreign affairs situation, especially in regard to Germany and also in regard to what took place at Strasbourg. The Lord President will remember that he played a distinguished part there.

Mr. Morrison

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman remembers with greater accuracy than some of the Press reports which followed the morning after we had a talk. I do not follow his methods in these matters. He first refers to "these weekly Debates." I have not said anything about weekly Debates. The right hon. Gentleman seems to assume that something has to happen once a week about subjects in which he is interested. He then uses language to the effect that "we shall require a foreign affairs Debate." It is far better to leave these matters to be discussed through the usual channels—I have said that I am quite willing for that to be done—and see how we get on. I dare say that some suitable arrangement can be made. I cannot, however, get into the position that the right hon. Gentleman is able to "require" things. These things have to be done by discussion through channels which have a habit of discussing them in a friendly way, and I dare say that they can do something.

Mr. Churchill

I am very much in favour of things being discussed through the usual channels in a friendly way, but I cannot feel that the use of the word "require" on behalf of the official Opposition was improper because we always have the option of putting down a Vote of Censure.

Mr. Stokes

Will my right hon. Friend not forget, when considering the Debate on foreign affairs, the frustrated position in which so many Members found themselves in the recent economic Debate, and allow a really long extension of time so that all Members can have their say?

Mr. Morrison

It is really no use talking as though there was unlimited time. We are coming towards the end of the Session.

Mr. Stokes

There is all night.

Mr. Morrison

My hon. Friend does not know how he is provoking and tempting me to say something in return because he is not always here on all-night occasions.

Mr. Stokes

That really is a most unnecessarily offensive remark. Does my right hon. Friend realise that I am trying to fight for the rights of back benchers, which he is constantly trying to suppress?