HC Deb 29 June 1950 vol 476 cc2462-6
Mr. Churchill

Could the Lord President of the Council inform us whether he is able to make a statement on the course of Business for the coming week?

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

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

MONDAY, 3RD JULY—Report stage of the Finance Bill.

TUESDAY, 4TH JULY—Conclusion of the Report stage of the Finance Bill;

Committee stage of the Cinematograph Production (Special Loans) Bill;

Consideration of the Motion to approve the Double Taxation Order (Denmark).

WEDNESDAY, 5TH JULY—Supply (18th Allotted Day), Committee.

Debate on the situation in Korea.

THURSDAY, 6TH JULY—Supply (19th Allotted Day), Committee.

Debate on the position of Engineering Officers (Telecommunications) Association until 7 p.m.; and afterwards, a Debate on Civil Aviation;

Consideration of the Government of India (Family Pensions) Amendment Order;

Motion to approve the Greenwich Hospital Accounts.

FRIDAY, 7TH JULY—The Government will afford an opportunity for the consideration of the Special Reports from the Select Committee on the Kitchen and Refreshment Rooms.

Mr. Churchill

I note that on Wednesday the Government desire to have a Debate on the situation in Korea. We should not ourselves have asked for a Debate this coming week, although one will undoubtedly be necessary in the near future; but we are very much at the disposal of the Government in the matter and we are very glad to give them the facilities of our Supply Day if they feel it convenient and necessary to make a statement on this subject and to have a Debate on it on Wednesday next. I do not know whether the Government will take the Debate in such a way that if necessary a Division could be taken. because it seems—and it was found in past experience undesirable—that a Debate on matters of such grave consequence might be largely occupied by handfuls of Members who differed from the general view of the House, and this might give a false impression abroad. However, it is a matter for the Government to consider. We are giving them our support in the handling of this particular question.

Mr. Morrison

The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly entitled to say what he has said and I should like to express the appreciation of the Government for the co-operation that has been forthcoming from the Opposition in order to make the necessary adjustments so that this Debate could take place. I think that on the whole it would be best if the Debate were taken on Supply, and, of course, we shall put down the necessary Vote. That makes it. possible, if anybody wishes to take a Division, to challenge the action of the Government; they could do so, although naturally I should much prefer that the House should feel in a position to be unanimous about it.

Mr. Churchill

It is, of course, understood that the Government will open with a statement on this day, although it is one of our Supply Days, and we think that that would be in accordance with general convenience.

Mr. Morrison

I think that in the circumstances that is a quite proper and reasonable request.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that whilst the Opposition might not wish to have a Debate on Korea next week, there are several of us who are supporting the Government who would press for such a Debate?

Mr. Morrison

That is a little ungracious. There is going to be a Debate, partly because the Opposition have been co-operative in enabling both the Government and themselves to provide the necessary facilities. Therefore, I think that my hon. Friend should be appreciative of what has taken place.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

May I ask the Lord President when time will be given for the consideration of the legislation which is required on the question of salmon poaching in Scotland?

Mr. Morrison

The response to the request of many Scottish Members on both sides on this particular form of private enterprise is under consideration. I am not in a position to say anything firm about it this afternoon.

Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

Can my right hon. Friend say what prospect he foresees of a two- or three-day Colonial Debate before we go into Summer Recess?

Mr. Morrison

That sounds to me a rather extreme and exciting request, which I am not able to answer in the affirmative.

Mr. S. O. Davies

Reverting to a previous question, are we to understand that on Wednesday next there is a possibility of a Motion which is agreed between the Government and the Opposition being put down on the Order Paper, and if so will my right hon. Friend make arrangements that the Whips are not put on at the end of the Debate?

Mr. Morrison

My hon. Friend seems to be making a case for me to co-operate in the development of a chaotic situation. I have said that probably it had better be taken on Supply and, if that is so, there is no question of a Motion and I do not think my hon. Friend need be awake at nights in the meantime.

Mr. Keeling

Would the right hon. Gentleman give the form of the Debate on Friday on the Kitchen Committee's Reports? Will it be on a Government Motion, or on the Adjournment?

Mr. Morrison

Well, we shall have to think about that. It is a somewhat unusual issue and we shall have to think about it, if necessary, another announcement will be made

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

Seeing that the Debate is to be on the activities of the Kitchen Committee, would it not be an occasion for my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Colonel Gomme-Duncan) to raise the question of salmon poaching?

Mr. Rankin

Could my right hon. Friend say whether the Debate on Korea has to be confined within certain narrow limits which may be imposed upon us from hon. Members opposite, or will it range over a sufficiently wide field to allow expressions of opinion in regard to solutions that may not be too popular?

Mr. Morrison

If I may say so, that is a matter for you, Mr. Speaker. It is not for me to give Rulings about the scope of Debates.

Mr. Speaker

Actually, it is not a matter for mc. It is a matter for the Chairman of Ways and Means, but I understand that Votes will be put down and, within the limits of these Votes, the discussion will be open—within the limits of those Votes.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In view of the interest in the question of the atom bomb in relation to Korea, would the Leader of the House consider giving time for consideration of the Motion in the names of the hon. Members for Bridgeton (Mr. Carmichael), Ayrshire, Central (Mr. Manuel) and myself?

[That this House deplores the suggestion of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley, that the Prime Minister should advise his representatives in the United Nations to ask for the use of the atomic bomb upon the capital of North Korea, and welcomes the statement issued by the leaders of the Opposition that this suggestion "did not in any way represent the views of His Majesty's Opposition."

In view of this declaration and realising that the use of the atom bomb, not only on the capital of North Korea but on all capital cities and populous areas, cannot be justified either on grounds of humanity or for reasons of expediency urges His Majesty's Government to instruct its representatives at the United Nations to make new proposals for banning the atom bomb.]

Mr. Morrison

I am afraid not, Sir.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

In view of what you said, Sir, about the limits of Debate on a Supply Vote, of course there are some limits though they may not be very narrow limits. Would my right hon. Friend consider whether the procedure we followed so frequently during the war on many occasions of moving the Adjournment of the House could be used, so as to allow the Debate to be as wide as possible, rather than on a Vote, where there may be some embarrassing limitation?

Mr. Morrison

I do not think that would meet the situation on Supply. I do not know, but I should not think it would make much difference on the limits, whether it was on Adjournment or Supply. In any case, there is no question of legislation being involved and that is the main difficulty that arises on these matters.

Sir Ian Fraser

What Department of State is to be chosen for this Supply Day?

Mr. Morrison

We will look up the appropriate Votes, but, on the face of it, I should think the appropriate Vote would be the Foreign Office.

Mr. Emrys Roberts

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is any possibility of debating the First Report of the British Electricity Authority, as we have not had a Debate on the electricity industry since it was nationalised?

Mr. Morrison

Some discussions will go on through the usual channels. It is. possible that that may emerge.