HC Deb 11 May 1950 vol 475 cc584-6
Mr. Eden

May I ask the Leader of the House 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, 15TH MAY—Report and Third Reading of the Distribution of Industry Bill;

Committee and remaining stages of the Merchant Shipping Bill and the Midwives (Amendment) Bill [Lords].

TUESDAY, 16TH MAY—Second Reading of the Finance Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 17TH MAY—Committee stage of the Coal Mining (Subsidence) Bill.

THURSDAY, 18TH MAY—Committee stage of the Highways (Provision of Cattle-Grids) Bill;

Committee and remaining stages of the Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation Bill;

Consideration of the Motions to approve the Agriculture Act (Part I) Extension of Period Order, and the Crop Acreage Payments Orders.

FRIDAY, 19TH MAY—Consideration of Private Members' Motions.

During the week it is hoped to proceed with the Statute Law Revision Bill [Lords].

Mr. Eden

May I ask the Leader of the House a question in that connection? The Minister of Town and Country Planning yesterday made a full statement to the Press about certain Orders which were laid here this week but which were not available in the Vote Office until 1.10 p.m. today. Is not it desirable that Regulations and Orders of this nature should be available to hon. Members of this House, or alternatively, if the Orders are not available, that statements should be made in this House before Ministers make announcements to the Press about their content?

Mr. Morrison

I understand my right hon. Friend is in some dispute as to when the Orders were laid. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will leave it to me to look into it and I will discuss it with my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Eden

I understand that the Orders were laid—that notice was given—on 8th May. I think that is the right date. But the point I am making, and what concerns the House, is that they were not available in the Vote Office until 1.10 p.m. today; and we cannot understand why the Press should have had an account of the whole thing last night.

The Minister of Town and Country Planning (Mr. Dalton)

The question is a very reasonable one, but my information does not coincide with that of the right hon. Gentleman. We will certainly look into the matter and verify the details. My information is that these Orders were available in the House yesterday at 2.30 and, of course, no Press report appeared until after that time. I might also add that I answered a Question on this subject on Tuesday—it was a starred Question which was not reached—and the laying took place on Tuesday. It was far from my wish that anything should be given to the Press before it was available to the House. I thought that I had arranged the programme in such a way that that could not occur. I shall be very happy to check up on the facts.

Mr. Eden

I thank the right hon. Gentleman. It is of the utmost importance that this House should have first news of all these Orders and Regulations.

Mr. Clement Davies

Might I ask the Leader of the House whether, at the earliest possible moment, he will reserve a time for a Debate upon the very remarkable proposal that was made by France and announced yesterday? I realise, Mr. Speaker, that we have not yet——

Mr. Churchill rose——

Mr. Speaker

I think that a statement is to be made on that subject by the Prime Minister later.

Mr. Churchill

I was about to ask, Mr. Speaker, am I not right in thinking that the Prime Minister has a statement to make on this subject?

Mr. Speaker

Yes. I understand that is so, as soon as we get from the question of Business.

Mr. Paton

For the convenience of the House, and since Whitsuntide is drawing near, can the Lord President of the Council tell us the date of the promised Debate on Far Eastern affairs?

Mr. Morrison

I cannot tell the date, but it will be before the Whitsuntide Recess.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Has my right hon. Friend seen the Motion on today's Order Paper signed by 144 hon. Members about the peace efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations organisation, and will it be possible for us to have a Debate, however short, on that Motion, in view of the great interest which people are taking as to whether or not those efforts are successful?

[That this House welcomes and supports the efforts now being made by the Secretary-General on behalf of the United Nations organisation to secure peace among the Powers and to prevent a third world war which would result in untold misery for mankind.]

Mr. Morrison

I understand that there will be a Debate on Foreign Affairs—in some aspects—but I am afraid that I have not got time available to give facilities for that Motion. As the House knows, I have never accepted the doctrine that Motions on the Order Paper with a large number of signatures necessarily can command time. I am afraid that I should be in some difficulty about giving time for that Motion.

Mr. Eric Fletcher

For the convenience of the House, can my right hon. Friend announce the proposed dates of the Whitsuntide Recess?

Mr. Morrison

I am afraid I cannot at the moment, Sir. I shall announce them as soon as possible.

Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

Would my right hon. Friend consider the possibility of a Colonial Debate at some time before the Whitsuntide Recess?

Mr. Morrison

That is an idea, but these ideas come rushing along. It is quite possible that it will be selected for a Supply Day, but I do not know. That is not within my power.