HC Deb 04 February 1953 vol 510 cc1843-5
45. Sir I. Fraser

asked the Minister of Food whether he is now in a position to end the rationing of sweets.

48. Mr. K. Thompson

asked the Minister of Food what consultations have taken place with trade representatives with a view to ending the rationing of chocolates and sweets; and if he will now make a statement.

Major Lloyd George

The rationing and price control of chocolate and sugar confectionery end today.

Sir I. Fraser

While thanking the Minister for a sweet answer, may I ask him to give an assurance that there are such abundant stocks that all demands will be met?

Mr. Lloyd George

I have no doubt whatever that stocks are sufficient to do that.

Mr. Thompson

Is the Minister aware that this step will give great satisfaction both to the consumers and to the manufacturing industry and the trade who will supply such demands as may arise?

Mr. Pannell

On a point of order. Before the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. K. Thompson) asks questions about a commodity in which he is interested ought he not to declare an interest?

Mr. Thompson

That is a new doctrine. It is obvious from the remarks which have just been made that my interest is not secret.

Mr. Speaker

I have never encountered this point before in connection with Questions. I have heard Members declare an interest in speeches and before votes, but I have never struck the point about Questions. I should like to consider it.

Mr. Pannell

Further to that point of order. Did I understand you to say that you will consider it as a point of order and that you will bring the result of your deliberations back to the House?

Mr. Speaker

It occurs to me at first sight that a Question is put down for the purpose of getting information. I am aware that sometimes in subsequent proceedings at Question time the position changes, but it is in a different category from persuasive, argumentative speeches. I will consider the matter.

Mr. Shinwell

I merely wish to ask if the Government can think of anything else they have got to brag about?

Sir H. Williams

Further to the point of order. Do I understand that in future every representative in this House of a trade union or the Co-op has to declare his interest at the beginning of his speech?

Mr. Speaker

I would ask the House not to argue the point now. I should like to consider it.

Mrs. Castle

There are one or two serious questions of fact which some of us were anxious to put arising out of the announcement by the Minister of Food. The only supplementary questions asked by hon. Gentlemen opposite have been ones of general jubilation. Could not we ask questions?

Mr. Speaker

If there are other questions arising out of this matter they must be asked on another day. The time for Questions has passed.

Mr. Lewis


Mr. Speaker

Order. I called the two hon. Members whose Questions were answered together. I gave them an opportunity to ask a supplementary.

Mr. Lewis

On the last point, Mr. Speaker, I believe that I understood you aright and that you said that there will be an opportunity of asking Questions on this matter later. May I put it to you that the Table has ruled on many occasions that once a commodity has been de-rationed or de-controlled the Minister's power ceases and, therefore, it is not in order to put Questions down? That means that we shall not be able to put any Questions from this side of the House.

Mr. Speaker

If there is any trouble about de-rationing, I have no doubt that the House will find a way of dealing with it.