HC Deb 12 June 1952 vol 502 cc401-5
Mr. C. R. Attlee

May I ask the Leader of the House the business for next week?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

Yes, Sir, but before announcing the business for next week I should say that we propose to ask the House to complete the Report and Third Reading of the Town Development Bill, and the Committee and remaining stages of the Distribution of German Enemy Property Bill [Lords] tonight.

This business was not completed on Tuesday, and we propose to move the suspension of the Rule for the purpose.

The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 16TH JUNE — Committee stage:

Agriculture (Ploughing Grants) Bill.

Second Reading:

Marine and Aviation Insurance (War Risks) Bill.

Committee stage of the necessary Ways and Means and Financial Resolutions.

Further progress will be made with the Motor Vehicles (International Circulation) Bill [Lords], if not already disposed of.

If there is time, Second Reading of the Insurance Contracts (War Settlement) Bill [Lords.]

TUESDAY, 17TH JUNE—Report stage:

Finance Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 18TH JUNE — Report stage:

Finance Bill, which it is hoped to conclude.

THURSDAY, 19TH JUNE—Supply (14th Allotted Day): —Committee.

Debate on the work of the United Nations Organisation and Specialised Agencies.

FRIDAY, 20TH JUNE—Consideration of Private Members' Motions.

During the week, we shall ask the House to consider a Motion to approve the B.B.C. Licence and Agreement, copies of which will be made available Tomorrow (Friday).

Mr. Attlee

Can the right hon. Gentle-may say why it was not possible to inform the House that this extra business would be taken this evening, because the failure to complete that business was on Tuesday evening, and, surely, we should have been told on Wednesday? It is certainly inconvenient to do it at the last moment like this.

Mr. Crookshank

We are only following a practice which was frequently carried out in the last Parliament when a situation of this kind arose, and communications were exchanged through the usual channels on the evening before.

Mr. Attlee

Yes, but there was plenty of time to have done this yesterday. We have had no information about it until now.

Mr. Crookshank

It is on the Order Paper, and anybody who looked at the Order Paper this morning would have had the information.

Mr. Attlee

May I also ask the right hon. Gentleman a question with regard to the Motion to approve the B.B.C. Licence and Agreement? I understand that the Licence will only be available tomorrow afternoon, and the text of the new Charter not before some time next week. Therefore, we are not in a position at present to know how far the contents of these documents will need full discussion, but, if it should be so, we should certainly want adequate time to discuss an important matter of this kind.

Mr. Crookshank

I quite recognise that, and that is why I put it in the form which I did in my statement. I realise that the House will want to study the documents, but the only one to come before us will be the Licence and Agreement. If it is necessary to have anything more than a short debate on it, we should have to consider it through the usual channels, with a view to a re-arrangement, which I would announce as early as possible.

Mr. R. T. Paget

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the delay caused with Tuesday's business was entirely due to the fact that the Government had nobody on the Front Bench to answer the questions raised on this technical Bill, and that they had no lawyer there to deal with it? May we now take it that, because of this extraordinary action taken for tonight, all pairs for tonight are automatically broken?

Mr. Crookshank

I know nothing about pairs, which, of course, concern an unofficial arrangement which does not come within my purview. I certainly cannot accept the explanation which the hon. and learned Gentleman tries to put forward as to what happened on Tuesday. There were quite different reasons from those which he gave as the reasons for which we did not get the business, though we expected to get it, because, when I announced this business previously, I also added that we should ask the House to consider other Bills, which was perfectly feasible.

Mr. Aneurin Bevan

It is strictly true that pairs are not part of the Standing Orders of the House, but part of a convention which is centuries old. If, in fact, the Order Paper is changed at the last moment, it is very difficult to alter pairs, because pairs refer to the business on the Order Paper, and not to the changed business. It really is a discourtesy to the House.

Mr. Crookshank

I can only reply that I have nothing to do with pairs. They are a private arrangement, which I know is of great convenience to hon. Members, but it has nothing to do with Standing Orders or with what is said in this Chamber. Pairs are arranged outside. As for the inconvenience, I recognise that it was inconvenient to have to put this business on for tonight, but it was equally inconvenient not to get the business, as we fully expected to do, on Tuesday.

Mr. Derek Walker-Smith

Does my right hon. Friend realise that, on this side of the House, pairs are regarded as a matter of personal and individual contract, and does he not think it very strange that a lawyer like the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) should take such an unorthodox view as he has just expressed?

Mr. I. Mikardo

Has the right hon. Gentleman been able to give further consideration to the desirability of providing time to debate the new proposals announced by the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation in respect of civil air transport?

Mr. Crookshank

I know that my right hon. Friend will be very glad to have a debate on this subject, but, as it does not, in fact, involve legislation, it could be taken on a Supply Day.

Mr. F. Beswick

Is the right hon. Gentleman certain that no legislation will be necessary to implement the proposals which his right hon. Friend has in mind?

Mr. Crookshank

That is what I am advised. If I am wrong, I am sorry, but that is the advice I have received.

Lieut.-Colonel Walter Elliot

Can my right hon. Friend say when it is expected to take the Second Reading of the Housing (Temporary Prohibition of Sale of Small Houses) (Scotland) Bill?

Mr. Crookshank

No, Sir; I cannot do so yet.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Does the right hon. Gentleman recollect saying that there had been no complaint about the business announced for one particular day, and that he was therefore assuming that that business would be obtained? May I now make a complaint about next Monday's business?

Mr. Crookshank

I was referring to conversations through the usual channels. Perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will make his complaint to his right hon. Friends opposite.