HC Deb 17 November 1949 vol 469 cc2198-202
Mr. Churchill

May I ask the Lord President of the Council if he can give us any statement on the Business for the forthcoming week?

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

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

MONDAY, 21ST NOVEMBER—Debate on the Report and Accounts of the Overseas Food Corporation.

TUESDAY, 22ND NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Electoral Registers Bill;

Committee and remaining stages of the Public Works Loans Bill, the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Bill [Lords], and the Marriage Bill [Lords];

Committee stage of the Ways and Means Resolution relating to Housing accommodation for the Armed Forces of the Crown.

WEDNESDAY, 23RD NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Festival of Britain (Supplementary Provisions) Bill;

Second Reading of the Parliament Square (Improvements) Bill;

Committee stage of the Money Resolutions, if the necessary preliminaries have been completed.

THURSDAY, 24TH NOVEMBER—Debate on Welsh Affairs on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House;

Report stage of the Ways and Means Resolution relating to housing accommodation for the Armed Forces.

FRIDAY, 25TH NOVEMBER—Committee and remaining stages of the Distribution of German Enemy Property Bill; and of the Charity of Walter Stanley in West Bromwich Bill.

Mr. Clement Davies

We are having a Debate today on foreign affairs. Can the right hon. Gentleman say if it will be possible for a further day to be found for a Debate on Strasbourg apart from the general Debate?

Mr. Morrison

I cannot prejudice that matter. It may well be that Strasbourg may arise in the course of today's Debate.

Mr. Davies

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it has been considered that a further day may be possible?

Mr. Morrison

This is the first time I have heard of it, and therefore I would not like to make a pronouncement on it.

Mr. Braddock

Can the Leader of the House tell us if he has been able to arrange for Parliamentary time to be given to debate the Report stage and Third Reading of the War Damage (Amendment) Bill which has already had its Second Reading and Committee stage without amendment or opposition?

Mr. Morrison

This was dealt with last Thursday. My hon. Friend puts this question in a mood of complete innocence, but it is not so innocent. There was, of course, specific time allotted to Private Members' Bills and this has expired, except for Bills that went to another place and have yet to be dealt with as the result of amendment in another place. I am afraid that there is no possibility of extending the time for Private Members' Bills.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

Can we be assured that next week we shall not have what happened this week, when two days' were almost completely wasted, and today dozens of Members who wish to speak in the foreign affairs Debate will not be able to do so?

Mr. Morrison

I do my best. One of the charms of the House of Commons is that it is very difficult to be quite sure what it will do. Sometimes when I think we have not given enough time, we find that we have given too much, and sometimes it is the other way round; but, on the whole, we get along.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

In answer to a question on the Ways and Means Resolution relating to housing accommodation for the Armed Forces, the Minister of Defence stated yesterday that a White Paper would be laid yesterday explaining the terms of this Resolution. I made inquiries and it was not available even today at Question Time. Can the Leader of the House say when it will be made available?

Mr. Morrison

I am obliged to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman for putting that Question. It will be made available in the Vote Office at 5.30 today.

Mr. A. Edward Davies

In view of the wide interest in foreign affairs, can my right hon. Friend tell the House how many days have been allotted in this Session to discussion of foreign affairs?

Mr. Morrison

There have actually been five Debates in the present Parliamentary Session on various aspects of foreign affairs. The one today will make the sixth, and therefore there was an inaccuracy when it was assumed by one hon. Member that there had been only one Debate on foreign affairs up to now.

Mr. Harold Davies

Is the Lord President of the Council now in a position to tell the House if we shall be able to debate the Colonies before the Recess?

Mr. Morrison

I do not know, but I should not have thought so. However, one does not know what may crop up.

Mr. Henry Usborne

Further to the Question raised by the Leader of the Liberal Party, and in view of the fact that a great many people have a lot to say which cannot be said in one day, can my right hon. Friend tell us if there is any chance of another foreign affairs Debate before the Recess?

Mr. Braddock

Reverting to my previous Question on the War Damage (Amendment) Bill, does the Lord President realise that this is not an ordinary Private Members' Bill, that it is a matter of very considerable public importance, and that in view of the support that it has received in the House, it is up to the Government to give special facilities for getting this Bill through?

Mr. Morrison

I understand from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that he agrees with my hon. Friend that this is no ordinary Private Members' Bill—he having had a pretty stiff experience of it. We did give time to Private Members' legislation, and if I extend it for one Bill, I shall be in difficulties about the others.

Mrs. Ridealgh

In view of the broken promise of the War Damage Commission in relation to taking up compassionate cases and structual damage, will my right hon. Friend not think this matter out again?

Mr. Morrison

I beg my hon. Friend not to put any more supplementary questions in that way because I find that they are almost irresistible. I am advised that her description of the attitude of the War Damage Commission is not altogether fair to them, and I would ask her to be as kind to them as she is to the Leader of the House.

Mrs. Leah Manning

May I press my right hon. Friend to consider the facts? With the co-operation of the Government he could get this Bill through in five or even three minutes, and he could put it in at the end of one of these long lists of small Measures, without causing any inconvenience to the Government.

Mr. Morrison

I am very sorry, but even so, I do not see my way to concede the point.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Does the right hon. Gentleman's refusal of the blandishments lavished upon him by hon. Members behind him result from a genuine difficulty in finding a short space of time or from opposition to the nature of the Bill?

Mr. Bellenger

With reference to the question put by the Leader of the Liberal Party, although I expect that it is too late today to make any alteration in the arrangements, does not my right hon. Friend realise that on such a wide sub- ject as foreign affairs, it is impossible to debate the matter properly in one day, considering the important spheres which ought to be tackled separately as, for example, the Far East, Germany and Europe.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

Does the right hon. Gentleman now know why I put a question on Tuesday and gave him notice on Monday that I was going to put it? It was so that there would be time between then and now to make these additional arrangements. It must be obvious from the questions this afternoon that a very large number of people wish to take part in the Debate and we are not doing our job at the present moment unless some consideration is given by Members of this House to what has happened at Strasbourg.