HC Deb 24 November 1949 vol 470 cc532-8
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, 28TH NOVEMBER—Second Reading of the Justices of the Peace Bill [Lords] and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

TUESDAY, 29TH NOVEMBER—Committee and remaining stages of the Festival of Britain (Supplementary Provisions) Bill;

Second Reading of the Armed Forces (Housing Loans) Bill. This Bill will be ordered in tonight on the Report stage of the Ways and Means Resolution, and copies will be made available to Members tomorrow;

Committee and remaining stages of the Electoral Registers Bill;

Committee and remaining stages of the Married Women (Restraint upon Anticipation) Bill [Lords].

WEDNESDAY, 30TH NOVEMBER—Committee and remaining stages of the Parliament Square (Improvements) Bill;

Report and Third Reading of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill [Lords];

Report and Third Reading of the Nurses (Scotland) Bill [Lords];

Consideration of Motion to approve the Draft Gas (Staff Compensation) Regulations.

I should remind the House that if a Petition is presented against the Festival of Britain Bill this Bill would have to be considered by a Select Committee. In this event, we shall be unable to proceed with the Bill on Tuesday and will then consider the other Business which I have announced for that day.

The House will realise that similar considerations apply in relation to the Parliament Square Bill, announced for consideration on Wednesday.

THURSDAY, 1ST DECEMBER—Debate on the Report of the British Transport Commission.

FRIDAY, 2ND DECEMBER—Second Reading of the British North America (No. 2) Bill [Lords] and, if agreeable to the House, the Committee and remaining stages;

Further progress will be made with the Armed Forces (Housing Loans) Bill.

Mr, Eden

While I have no comments to make on next week's Business, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he would be good enough to consider, in due course, the topics which we would like to discuss as the opportunity arises? First, as the recent foreign affairs Debate was largely circumscribed to Europe—and I am not complaining—would it not be a good thing if we could have a discussion about other parts of the world—the Far East, the Middle East and perhaps the Italian Colonies, before the House adjourns for Christmas? Second, another matter, of a more controversial nature, which we should also like to discuss is the report on the K.L.M. accident at Prestwick Airport.

Mr. Morrison

I did not know that these points would be raised, but I will look into them; no doubt they can be discussed through the usual channels.

Mr. Ralph Morley

Can my right hon. Friend say when it is proposed to give time for the Report stage and Third Reading of the War Damage (Amendment) Bill?

Mr. Morrison

I have had two rounds about this already, one last Thursday and one the Thursday before, and I cannot think of anything new to say.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when the somewhat belated report of the British Electricity Authority will be available to hon. Members?

Mr. Morrison

I do not know; I do not know whether it is belated, and when it will be available.

Mrs. Middleton

Can my right hon. Friend suggest to those Members on all sides of the House who are interested in the War Damage (Amendment) Bill, which he now says he cannot find time for, some way by which, during the business for the coming week or in succeeding weeks, the question of justice to late claimants for war damage can be discussed? Is he aware that it is more difficult to get justice for late claimants for war damage than it is to get blood out of a stone?

Mr. Morrison

I think that is first-class propaganda, on which I congratulate my hon. Friend. If she goes on like that she will certainly be safe when the Election comes. I am sorry, but the Government do not altogether admit the impeachment. The time for Private Members' legislation that has already reached that stage has passed, and I do not see my way to extend it.

Lieut-Commander Braithwaite

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us why on Tuesday' the unfortunate married ladies who are suffering from restraint upon anticipation have been placed last on the list? Could not they be given greater priority, in the hope of adequate Press reports being given to the proceedings?

Mr. Morrison

I am not sure that I understand the obscure and subtle preliminary part of the hon. and gallant Member's observation.

Mr. Chetwynd

Can my right hon. Friend say when the adjourned Debate on the consideration of the Lords Amendments to the Married Women (Maintenance) Bill is likely to come before the House?

Mr. Morrison

I do not know, but their Lordships have been working well in revising Private Members' Bills, thereby rendering a service to the collective Parliamentary institution. I think it will be all right; we are doing all we can to get these Bills through.

Mr. Boothby

In view of the prevailing anxiety in the fishing industry, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the desirability of making an early statement about the intentions of the Government concerning the Sea Fish Industry Bill?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir, that will be kept in mind.

Mr. Royle

Can my right hon. Friend say whether it is the Government's intention to pass the Justices of the Peace Bill [Lords] into law before Christmas?

Mr. Morrison

That is the intention although it will, I confess, depend on a good deal of co-operation on the part of the House because of the time factor. I do not think this is a party Bill, and if it can be dealt with expeditiously, I see no reason why it should not get on to the Statute Book this side of Christmas.

Mr. Charles Williams

Why does the right hon. Gentleman shirk the issue of getting on with the War Damage (Amendment) Bill, which many of us want to see advanced very quickly. Why not allow the House to get on with this good work, instead of wasting time on other things?

Mr. Morrison

That was a very poor effort compared with that made by my hon. Friend the Member for Sutton, Plymouth (Mrs. Middleton).

Mr. Parker

Is it proposed to deal with the Adoption of Children Bill before Christmas?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir.

Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the point about private Members' Bills? I quite understand that the time has now expired, but nevertheless, under our Standing Orders, yesterday we set up a Standing Committee to consider the Censorship of Plays (Repeal) Bill. It is a complete waste of time having all this printing done and the people engaged when we cannot possibly go ahead. It is time that the thing was looked at.

Mr. Morrison

When I heard about it the same thought occured to me, but I was told that hon. Members might learn something about drafting points in the course of considering this Bill, and that although those running it knew it was a complete waste of time, they rather liked the idea of meeting. I said if they were happy to meet they could meet, but I agree it is a waste of time. If the hon. Members concerned do not mind. I do not see why I should interfere.

Mrs. Leah Manning

Reverting to Tuesday's business, would my right hon. Friend consider re-arranging the order of business for that day and taking the Married Women (Restraint upon Anticipation) Bill [Lords] earlier in the order of business, so that it will not be blocked as it was last Friday?

Mr. Morrison

I think it will be all right. I do not want to alter the order, but I am noting my hon. Friend's point and we shall seek to take the proper precautions to prevent that happening.

Lieut-Commander Braithwaite

While thanking the Leader of the House for answering my question in reply to the hon. Member for Epping (Mrs. Manning), may I ask is it the intention to take the Married Women (Restraint upon Anticipation) Bill [Lords] on Tuesday, whatever the hour and however late the House may sit?

Mr. Morrison

I would not be surprised.

Mr. Braddock

Are we to understand that the Lord President of the Council has no objection to encouraging Members of this House to waste their time, as he describes it, and yet will not give this House the time to deal with the Measure in which we and the public are all interested—the War Damage (Amendment) Bill?

Mr. Morrison

That was not a bad try, but it is really irrelevant.

Mr. Austin

In view of the misrepresentation that is current regarding the payment of informers and the need for clarifying the position, will my right hon. Friend allow a day for discussion of this subject?

Mr. Morrison

I should have thought that rather undesirable.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Will the Leader of the House give some consideration to the Motion on the Order Paper by a number of Scottish M.P.s suggesting an Amendment of the Standing Orders in order to refer more business to the Scottish Grand Committee.

[That, if not less than twelve Members shall have given notice of their intention to move that a matter relating exclusively to Scotland be referred to the Scottish Standing Committee, the matter shall stand referred to the Committee, who shall consider it and report their opinions thereon to the House.

That this Order be a Standing Order Of the House.]

Mr. Morrison

I have not seen it, but I thought the Scottish Grand Committee was doing quite well in the new circumstances, and that the procedure adopted had met with the general approval of the Scottish Members.

Mr. Champion

Will the Lord Presidėnt extend the amount of time available on Thursday next in order to give back benchers a reasonable opportunity for participating in the Debate.

Mr. Morrison

I cannot do that very well, and I think a day for this Debate is about right.

Mr. Norman Smith

Will my right hon. Friend tell the House whether it is the intention to take the Committee stage of the Justices of the Peace Bill [Lords] upstairs or on the Floor of the House.

Mr. Morrison

We do not usually commit ourselves on these matters, but I think it will probably be taken on the Floor of the House.

Mr. Fairhurst

Will my right hon. Friend consider giving time for a further discussion on the cotton industry and what is taking place there now?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think it is likely. If my hon. Friend or other hon. Members from Lancashire get the opportunity on the Adjournment, that is all right. I do not think I can provide special time at this stage.

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