HC Deb 27 November 1951 vol 494 cc1122-4
Mr. Julian Snow

(by Private Notice) asked the Leader of the House when copies of the Consolidated Fund Bill, the Second Reading of which has been fixed for Friday next, will be available in the Vote Office.

Mr. Crookshank

Tomorrow, the House is being asked to agree to the Report stages of the Supplementary Estimates and then the Report of the Ways and Means Resolutions upon which the Consolidated Fund Bill will be ordered in.

As was explained last Thursday, this Consolidated Fund Bill is a special one and of limited scope for debate, namely, the four Supplementary Estimates.

The actual Bill will be made available on Thursday morning. We propose to take the Second Reading on Friday.

Mr. Snow

While bearing in mind what the right hon. Gentleman has said, I am sure he will appreciate that some hon. Members would like to check the accuracy of the statement—I use that expression without offence—made on 22nd November, that no debate could take place on the Bill. As we are about to go into a somewhat lengthy Recess, there are many matters affecting hon. Members on this side of the House on which they would like to question the Government.

Mr. Crookshank

I am sorry, but, of course, I am not responsible for the Rules of Order. It is for Mr. Speaker to decide what is in order and what is not in order but, on limited Consolidated Fund Bills in the past it has always been the practice that only limited debates could take place.

Mr. Geoffrey Bing

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree, in view of the broadness of some of the Supplementary Estimates contained in the Bill, that the House might discuss some of the matters which have been raised at Question-time today, and should not the right hon. Gentleman give his Friends warning that this is a matter on which the House might be called upon to divide?

Mr. A. Woodburn

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman when the Secretary of State for Scotland is likely to make the statement which his right hon. Friend promised on housing? A statement has been made on English housing today; could he tell us when the Secretary of State for Scotland is to make a statement?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not know.

Mr. William Ross

On a point of order. I have down on the Order Paper Sir, a Question, No. 108, addressed to the Secretary of State for Scotland asking if he will make a statement on Scotland's housing programme. Could you use any influence you have with him to make him break his silence today and tell us about Scottish housing?

Mr. Speaker

I have no control over that.

Mr. Woodburn

Is a statement likely to be made before we rise for Christmas, or is it to be postponed until the New Year?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order.

Mr. T. Driberg

Further to the original point of order. Although you say you have no control over that, Sir, is not it the case that if a Minister seeks your permission to make a statement at the end of Questions in reply to a Question, you are very often disposed to allow him to do so? If the Secretary of State for Scotland were to seek your permission, that would at least show that he was anxious to answer the Question: would you allow him to do so?

Mr. Speaker

In the present state of facts that question is entirely hypothetical.

Mr. Woodburn

In view of the fact that the Leader of the House, who is responsible for the conduct of business, is not himself able to answer this Question, could his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State give us an indication from the Front Bench?

Hon. Members


The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. James Stuart)

If I am permitted to do so, I would say that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government made a statement today, and with that I am in agreement. But if it is desired that a further statement should be made on my part—it will be largely repetitive, and I am not in a position to do so at this moment—I will very gladly consider it.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In view of the importance of this announcement, will the Secretary of State for Scotland give urgent attention to the Motion I have on the Order Paper asking that a special Sitting of the Scottish Grand Committee should be held during the Recess to discuss the housing problem in Scotland? Is he aware that we in Scotland do not need 59 days to celebrate Christmas?

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is not the weekly general business Question. It is merely the case of certain hon. Members asking Private Notice Questions on business.