HC Deb 30 November 1950 vol 481 cc1324-9
Mr. Eden

Could the Lord President tell us 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, 4TH DECEMBER—Completion of the Committee stage of the Festival of Britain (Sunday Opening) Bill.

Committee and remaining stages of the Reinstatement in Civil Employment Bill.

Committee stage of the Administration of Justice (Pensions) Bill.

Motion to refer the Alkali, etc., Works Regulation (Scotland) Bill to Scottish Standing Committee for Second Reading under Standing Order No. 60.

Motion to commit the Local Government (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Standing Committee under Standing Order No. 60; and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

TUESDAY, 5TH DECEMBER—Debate on Welsh Affairs on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House.

WEDNESDAY, 6TH DECEMBER—Second Reading of the Leasehold Property (Temporary Provisions) Bill.

THURSDAY, 7TH DECEMBER—Remaining stages of the Festival of Britain (Sunday Opening) Bill.

Remaining stages of the Administration of Justice (Pensions) Bill.

Second Reading of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Protection) (Scotland) Bill; and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

FRIDAY, 8TH DECEMBER—Consideration of Private Members' Motions.

During the week it is hoped to consider the Motions to approve the Double Taxation Relief Orders relating to Ceylon, Sarawak and Brunei.

Mr. Eden

The inclusion of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Protection) (Scotland) Bill is rather unexpected, although it was referred to in the King's Speech. I gather that it is a Bill on which many Scottish Members on both sides of the House will wish to speak, and I do not know how long the other items which precede it will last. Would the right hon. Gentleman consider making this Bill the first Order on that day, or alternatively would he tell us that it will not be taken, say, after six o'clock, because it seems rather wrong to take the Second Reading of one of the few King's Speech items so late on a given day?

Mr. Morrison

The right hon. Gentleman has raised a perfectly fair point. It is possible that we may have to suspend the Rule on that day, but I agree with what he is driving at. My hope is that the first two items will not take long, and if that should be so, I think we should take the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Protection) (Scotland) Bill, which has certain elements of urgency about it in relation to something or another that happens in this business in the new year. The other two Orders are urgent. I think the best way to leave it is to see how we get on, and I assure the right hon. Gentleman that we shall be adaptable if things should not go in such a way as to make this arrangement a good proposition.

Mr. Eden

It seems satisfactory so far as I can follow the convolutions of the right hon. Gentleman. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman another question? Could he tell us the proposed dates of the Christmas Recess?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir. If the necessary business can be completed, we hope that it will be possible to adjourn for the Christmas Recess on Friday, 15th December, and meet again on Tuesday, 23rd January next.

Mr. Eden

That is a week earlier. I am not complaining; I am just recording the fact. There are two other Questions I should like to put to the right hon. Gentleman. I think he knows that there are two debates which we are most anxious to have before we rise; I think the House as a whole would wish to have them. One is on defence; we feel that we should have that before we adjourn. We should probably ask for that to be in secret, though, of course, that will be a matter for decision by the House. The other debate is on coal which I think ought to be discussed before the House adjourns. We should like to be assured that time can be found for those two debates in one of the weeks before 15th December.

Mr. Morrison

We have had two defence debates this year and there is the foreign affairs debate this week, and they have some relationship. I think the best way to leave this matter would be to discuss it through the usual channels and we shall see what we can do.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Can my right hon. Friend inform those of us who represent English constituencies what form the debate on Welsh affairs will take on Tuesday?

Mr. Morrison

The debate will be on the Adjournment. Is gather that the understanding with Welsh members is that it will be in relation to industrial affairs and employment.

Mr. Emrys Roberts

Could the right hon. Gentleman consider putting down a Motion for Tuesday similar to the Motions put down in previous years, as a debate on the Adjournment unduly restricts the scope of debate?

Mr. Morrison

On the sphere of debate which is intended, and which I hope has been settled after consultation with representative Welsh members, I think that on this occasion the Motion for the Adjournment will be adequate.

Mr. A. Edward Davies

Will an opportunity be provided soon to consider the Colombo plan to which reference was made the other day? May I also ask whether we shall have an opportunity to consider the annual report of the British Broadcasting Corporation for last year, which has been out some time?

Mr. Morrison

On the first point, we are now debating international affairs, and presumably that subject could be mentioned. As to the other point, I doubt whether we can find time to discuss the annual report of the B.B.C. at the moment. It is one of those which come within the category of possible debates of public corporations. As my hon. Friend knows, there will shortly be published, I think, the report of the Beveridge Committee of Inquiry into the B.B.C., and my impression is—I do not know what is going to be in it—that my hon. Friend will find that it may be rather more exciting than the annual report of the B.B.C.

Mr. Peter Roberts

Will the right hon. Gentleman give time to discuss a Motion, standing in my name and in the names of my hon. Friends, on the Steel Corporation, in view of the alarming reports which are circulating about the unpreparedness of this Corporation to take over its responsibilities in 11 weeks' time?

[That this House takes note of the circulars issued by the Ministry of Labour to attract highly paid employees to the new Steel Corporation containing the statements to the effect that there is little definite information available as to the character of the organisation to be set up, and that it is understood that this Corporation is to be a kind of controlling office in London, and condemns the Government for nationalising at this particularly critical time the iron and steel industry when, as is clear from the above statements, within eleven weeks of the proposed take-over date no proper plan for the organisation of the industry has been prepared.]

Mr. Morrison

I am afraid I have not seen the Motion.

Captain Crookshank

Not seen it?

Mr. Morrison

I have known the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not to read his Order Paper before now. In any case, I should have thought that we had debated steel threadbare. I cannot see any need to debate it again. It is all going according to plan.

Mrs. Eirene White

Reverting to the Principality of Wales, can we have an assurance from the Lord President that we shall have a day soon after the House re-assembles for a debate on the first Report of the Council of Wales?

Mr. Morrison

I will see what I can do about that, but I do not want to tie myself up too firmly with my hon. Friend.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Further to the Question asked by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mr. Edward Davies), would the right hon. Gentleman consider giving a day for a debate on overseas development and foreign trade policy, including the Gray Report?

Mr. Morrison

We have not very much time between now and the Recess. All these things can be kept in mind, but I very much doubt whether there will be time available for that.

Mr. Erroll

Reverting to the Motion about the Steel Corporation, as that Corporation is desperately trying to recruit a staff only 11 weeks before it takes over this industry, will the right hon. Gentleman allow time for a debate on this Corporation, which is unfitted to take over its obligations?

Mr. Morrison

I appreciate the feelings of the hon. Gentleman and some others on the other side of the House. Nothing would please them better than to see a state of complete chaos in this matter, but I think they will be disappointed.

Mr. Douglas Marshall

May I ask the Leader of the House whether hon. Members are likely to have the Bill on the White Fish Industry available to them before 23rd January?

Mr. Morrison

I am not sure.

Brigadier Prior-Palmer

Will the Lord President consider giving a short time to a discussion on the amenities of the new Chamber, for a large number of hon. Members in all quarters of the House have some constructive suggestions to make?

Mr. Morrison

I do not know whether that is urgent or not, but if it is, I would suggest that the hon. and gallant Member tries his hand with Mr. Speaker on the day of the Adjournment. What the result will be I do not know.