HC Deb 19 June 1952 vol 502 cc1556-60
Mr. Attlee

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

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

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

MONDAY, 23RD JUNE — Second Reading:

Post Office (Amendment) Bill, until

7 p.m.

Motion to approve the B.B.C. Licence and Agreement will then be moved.

TUESDAY, 24TH JUNE — Second Reading:

Pensions (Increase) Bill.

Committee stage of the necessary Money resolution.

Report and Third Reading of the Agriculture (Ploughing Grants) Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 25TH JUNE—Supply (15th allotted Day): —Committee.

Debate on the Cost of Living, with particular reference to food.

Consideration of the Motions to approve:

Draft National Health Service (Superannuation) (Amendment) (Nos. 1 and 2) Regulations.

Draft National Health Service (Scotland) (Superannuation) Amendment Regulations.

THURSDAY, 26TH JUNE—Consideration of a Motion for an Address to Her Majesty relating to the erection of a Memorial to the late Field Marshal Smuts.

Third Reading:

Finance Bill, which it is hoped to obtain by about 7.30 p.m.

Completion of Committee and remaining stages:

Post Office and Telegraph (Money) Bill.

Committee stages:

Navy, Army and Air Expenditure, 1950–51.

Motor Vehicles (International Circulation) Bill [Lords], if there is time.

FRIDAY, 27TH JUNE—Private Members' Bills.

Mr. Attlee

With reference to Thursday's business, there has been no agreement on either side that the Third Reading of the Finance Bill will be obtained by 7.30. It is only a hope—perhaps a triumph of hope over experience.

Mr. Crookshank

No. It is a hope, but it would not be a triumph of hope over experience, because 7.32 p.m. is the hour at which the 1951, the 1949 and the 1947 Third Readings of the Finance Bill was reached. There is only two minutes' difference between us.

Mr. Attlee

I was referring to experience with this particular Finance Bill.

Mr. Fenner Brockway

Is the right hon. Gentleman yet able to respond to the hope expressed by the former Minister of State for Colonial Affairs, three months ago, that there would be an early opportunity to discuss the land situation in Kenya?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not recollect what my right hon. Friend said at that time but, of course, there are a number of Supply Days still available for which that seems to be a suitable subject.

Mr. L. M. Lever

Can the Leader of the House tell us when we are to have the long promised Bill to amend the Education Act, 1944, with a view to giving further financial assistance to non-provided schools which are in dire difficulties due to lack of financial support?

Mr. Crookshank

I could not give a date about that; and certainly not next week.

Mr. Lever

Can the right hon. Gentleman promise that this Bill will be forthcoming in the very near future?

Mr. Crookshank

That is not a promise for me to give.

Mr. Beswick

Can the Leader of the House say when he proposes to give time for a discussion of the new policy towards civil aviation which has been announced by the Government?

Mr. Crookshank

I said the other day that, while my right hon. Friend is very anxious that there should be an early debate, this is a suitable subject for a Supply Day.

Mr. Ellis Smith

Is it considered that this country is in a serious economic position? If so, is it not a scandal that so many days should be devoted by the House to considering the position of one man, when we have not had a day or even part of a day to consider the Economic Survey, published three months ago?

Hon. Members

Who is the one man?

Mr. Smith

Seretse Khama. Will the Leader of the House consult the usual channels in order that the House can be provided with time before the Adjournment for the Summer Recess to consider the Economic Survey?

Mr. Crookshank

The debates about the one man were largely the result of representations from the hon. Member's right hon. Friends, and, as for any desire for a debate on this question, I suggest that he should approach his right hon. Friends to find out how that matter can be discussed.

Mr. Smith

We are dealing now with future business, and the Leader of the House is responsible for deciding that future business. In view of the deterioration in the economic position in this country—

Sir W. Smithers

Thanks to you.

Mr. Smith

—and the fact that thousands of our fellow countrymen are unemployed through no fault of their own—men who are far better than the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) ever was—will the right hon. Gentleman give urgent consideration to the necessity of this matter being considered?

Mr. Crookshank

The hon. Gentleman is wrong. I have not got the settlement of the business of the House. Moreover, between now and the time when the Session closes there are 11 Supply days at the disposal of the Opposition, over which I have no control.

Mr. H. Morrison

I think I have asked the right hon. Gentleman this question twice before. Can he say anything about the three days, which are not Supply days, which have been established for the right to discuss the affairs of the public corporations? Could he say what provisions the Government are making about these three days, or is he intending to forget about them?

Mr. Crookshank

No, Sir. I have not forgotten them, if for no other reason than that the right hon. Gentleman keeps reminding me. I have these things very much in mind, but I should have thought that the autumn would be a suitable time. If, however, the right hon. Gentleman has other proposals which he would like to discuss, that could be done through the usual channels.

Mr. Beswick

On the subject of civil aviation again, are we to accept it from the Leader of the House that he is laying down the doctrine that if the Government force through a new policy which strains the legislation on the Statute Book there is no obligation on. the Government to find time for discussion in the House?

Mr. Crookshank

I have not laid down any doctrine at all on any subject of that kind.

Mr. Norman Smith

Having regard to the gravity of the international position, can the Leader of the House tell us when he expects to find time for a discussion of the Motion on the Order Paper in the names of hon. Members opposite, with reference to the proposal to call a Commonwealth conference?

Mr. Crookshank

I am not proposing to offer a day for that at present.

Mr. H. Morrison

The right hon. Gentleman has referred to the three days for the public corporations in the autumn, but the understanding is that the three days should be during the Parliamentary Session, and, usually, I think that means before the House rises for the Summer Recess. I presume that the right hon. Gentleman is not presuming that this Parliamentary Session will run on indefinitely after the Summer Recess? [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] If hon. Members ask "Why not?" they had better look up a speech of the Prime Minister, in which he denounced unduly long Parliamentary Sessions.

I submit that there is a prima facie right to these three days before we rise for the Summer Recess, or the Prorogation, whichever it may be.

Mr. Crookshank

I do not think so. The days were to be taken during the course of the calendar year.

Mr. Bing

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when the House will have an opportunity of discussing in Committee the Ways and Means Resolution arising out of the Marine and Aviation Insurance (War Risks) Bill?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not remember announcing it for next week, anyhow.

Lieut-Colonel Lipton

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what is happening about the British Museum Bill, which floats to the top of the Order Paper, and then submerges and disappears without trace? Is it not becoming rather urgent?

Mr. Crookshank

It is still afloat, but it might have come to harbour if hon. Gentlemen opposite had expedited the business last Friday.