HC Deb 26 June 1952 vol 502 cc2435-8
Mr. Attlee

May I ask the Leader of the House if he will 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, 30TH JUNE—Supply (16th Allotted Day)—Committee.

Debate on the cost of living with particular reference to food.

Considerations of Motions to approve the Draft Fertilisers (England, Wales and Scotland) Scheme; the Draft Fertilisers (Northern Ireland) Scheme; and the Agriculture (Field Drainage and Water Supplies) Continuation of Grants Order.

TUESDAY, 1ST JULY—Supply (17th Allotted Day)—Committee.

Debate on the Far East.

Consideration of the Motion to approve the Draft Pneumoconiosis and Byssinosis Benefit (Amendment) Scheme.

WEDNESDAY, 2ND JULY—Consideration in Committee of the Motion for an Address to Her Majesty for the erection of a Memorial to Field Marshal Smuts.

Committee stage:

Post Office (Amendment) Bill; and, if agreeable to the House, the remaining stages by about 5.30 p.m., to enable the Opposition Prayers relating to the National Health Service Regulations to be moved at an early hour.

THURSDAY, 3RD JULY—Report stage:

Motion for an Address to Her Majesty for the erection of a Memorial to Field Marshal Smuts.

Second Reading:

Housing (Scotland) Bill, and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Report and Third Reading:

Rating and Valuation (Scotland) Bill.

Report stage:

Navy, Army and Air Expenditure, 1950–51.

FRIDAY, 4TH JULY—Consideration of Private Members' Motions.

Mr. Attlee

With regard to Tuesday's business, we should propose to take the business of Supply formally, in order to have a debate on a Motion, which will be put down, relative to the Far East.

Mr. Crookshank

As Tuesday is a Supply Day, we can meet that. It will be convenient.

Mr, H. Morrison

Is the right hon. Gentleman yet in a position to give the House any indication as to the dates with regard to the Summer Recess, or whatever arrangements might be made for the summer holidays? It might meet the convenience of the House generally to know what he has in mind.

Mr. Crookshank

I recognise that it is to the great advantage of hon. Members to know as soon as possible, but I am afraid I am not in a position to say anything today. I will make a statement as soon as I possibly can. We have a lot of business to get through, and the date does depend on the speed or slowness with which business is transacted.

Mr. Crossman

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when we shall be debating the German Contractual Agreement?

Mr. Crookshank

My right hon. Friend did refer to the matter in his speech earlier this month, but it is really very much in the hands of the Opposition, because they were offered certain dates and preferred to have it postponed.

Major Beamish

While debates on the Far East are always of the greatest importance, is it not rather a pity that the two wings of the party opposite should have a row in public in two successive weeks?

Mr. Attlee

May I remind the Leader of the House that there was an old Conservative practice at this time of the year called "The Massacre of the Innocents," in which a number of Bills dropped——

The Prime Minister

You are not an innocent.

Mr. Attlee

I suggest that there are a number of Bills which are not particularly innocent, but which might very well be dropped, some of which are not yet produced, but are threatened.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Can my right hon. Friend give us the date of the termination of the Recess?

Mr. Crookshank

That is really looking rather far ahead.

Mr. J. Paton

May I ask the Leader of the House whether the promised statements by the two Ministers on their return from the Far East will be given before the debate on Tuesday?

Mr. Crookshank

We want to consult the convenience of the House, but it had been intended that they should be taken as normal statements after Questions. I dare say that, if there are any great reasons to the contrary, the matter could be discussed through the usual channels.

Sir H. Williams

Normally, statements at the end of Questions take up a lot of time, and that time is subtracted from the time of back benchers who wish to speak in the debate. Is it not very undesirable that the time of back benchers should be taken up by these statements?

Mr. Crookshank

On this particular matter, the statement deals with the same subject which has been put down for debate that day.

Mr. Harold Davies

Would not the Leader of the House consider issuing these statements in the form of White Papers for the convenience of the House?

Mr. Crookshank

I will take note of what the hon. Gentleman has said, but these are not matters for me; I am not making a statement.

Mr. Shinwell

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether I am correct in assuming that the statement to be made by the Minister of State in this House, and the similar statement to be made by the Minister of Defence in another place, are on the narrow point of a report on their visit to Korea, and not on the general situation in the Far East? As it might be undesirable to have a statement on that narrow point preceding the debate on the general question affecting the Far East, is there not something to be said for issuing a White Paper, so that hon. Members may examine it, and perhaps ask Questions about it on various occasions?

Mr. Crookshank

I can go no further than say that I have noted what I think was roughly the same question from the hon. Gentleman below the Gangway.

Mr. Bing

While the whole House appreciates that the constitutional position of the right hon. Gentleman prevents him from making a statement on a matter of any importance, could he not use the influence which he has with his more important right hon. Friends to see if such a statement can be issued, so that hon. Members are in a position to debate the matter with knowledge in their possession when it comes up on Tuesday?

Mr. Crookshank

I did not decide that it should be discussed on Tuesday. It is the Opposition who have chosen that subject for debate on that day.

Mr. Shinwell

I think it is desirable that there should be some elucidation in order that there may be no misunderstanding. The question of the debate on the Far East on a Supply Day is, I understand, entirely a matter for the Opposition to raise, and the Government accept that. But the reports we were to receive were on the visit to Korea of two Ministers. In view of the debate on the general issue emerging on Tuesday, will not the right hon. Gentleman consider issuing a White Paper?

Mr. Crookshank

It was announced several days ago that the statement on my right hon. Friend's visit was to be made on Tuesday, and that was within the knowledge of the Opposition when they selected the subject for the Supply Day.