HC Deb 12 February 1953 vol 511 cc598-601
Mr. Morrison

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will tell us the business which the Government propose to submit to the House next week?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

Yes, Sir. The business for next week will be as follows: MONDAY, 16TH FEBRUARY—Third Reading:

Transport Bill

TUESDAY, 17TH FEBRUARY—Committee stage:

Iron and Steel Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 18TH FEBRUARY—Committee stage:

Iron and Steel Bill.

Motion to approve the Draft Jewellery and Silverware Council (Dissolution) Order.

THURSDAY, 19TH FEBRUARY—Supply [4th allotted Day] Committee stage:

Supplementary Estimate for the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, which contains token provision in connection with Flood Emergency Services and other Estimates.

FRIDAY, 20TH FEBRUARY—Private Members' Motions.

Mr. Morrison

I notice that on Thursday the debate takes place on the Vote of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government; but I presume the Home Secretary will be available in his capacity as Chairman of the Cabinet Co-ordinating Committee, in which capacity we welcome him, because he is the first publicly-announced overlord who is not a Member of the other place.

The other point I should like to raise is that, as the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate, there is substantial feeling in the House on the question of the supply of jet aircraft to the Egyptian Government. Could we not reach an agreement whereby, on Tuesday, half a day could be made available for the discussion of this subject, which is a matter of some urgency in view of the announcement which was recently made?

Mr. Crookshank

My right hon. Friend will be available, but I cannot say how wide the scope of the debate may be. The token debate is on the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

With regard to jet aircraft, I note that the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) is to raise this subject on the Adjournment on Tuesday. That is perhaps why the right hon. Gentleman has suggested that we should allot half a day to the discussion of that subject on Tuesday. Without committing myself as to when it might be possible to arrange half a day, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow conversations to take place through the usual channel with a view to fitting it in next week.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

With regard to Thursday's business, I understand that the token Vote is only for the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. That will preclude the raising of any Scottish issue. Would it not be possible to put down a Vote which would enable Scottish questions to be brought into the discussion?

Mr. Crookshank

My right hon. and gallant Friend is quite right. It is an English Vote which we are discussing on Thursday. I am not certain whether there is a Scottish Supplementary Estimate in this list. Perhaps that question could be looked into.

Mr. Morrison

I should think it might be possible to put the matter right. I agree that Scotland ought not to be excluded; nor should the other Departments of the English Administration. I suggest that we can easily arrange for that difficulty to be overcome. If we took the Vote in such a form that we could move on to the Adjournment we could have a wide discussion, as suggested by the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot).

I was aware that my hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) was raising this question of jet aircraft on the Adjournment on Tuesday, but I am sure he would be happier if we could allot half a day to it. I would press the point that the supply of jet aircraft to the Government of Egypt and to other Middle East countries is a matter of urgency. While I do not wish to insist that this debate should be on Tuesday I would press the right hon. Gentleman to agree that it should take place some time next week.

Mr. Crookshank

I quite appreciate the point and I am sure there will not be any difficulty between us. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it would be a mistake if no reference could be made to Scotland in Thursday's debate; but we need not discuss the details. It is quite possible to take Votes formally and then have another form of debate.

Mr. Woodburn

On Monday's business, has the right hon. Gentleman consulted the Minister of Transport? He has accumulated large arrears of explanations which he has to make about the Government's policy on transport. Is the Leader of the House satisfied that one day will be enough for this?

Mr. Crookshank

Yes, Sir; quite enough.

Mr. P. Morris

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Rule is to be suspended on Monday?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not see any reason why it should be.

Mr. Hale

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when he will find time to discuss the Motion standing in my name and the names of 90 other hon. Members on the question of unemployment in Lancashire? Can he also say whether he will find time to discuss the Motion of censure on the Minister of Transport, in connection with a Private Bill, in the names of 15 of his supporters, and which, therefore, would appear to be a subject for early discussion?

Mr. Crookshank

As regards the hon. Gentleman's first point, I do not see any time being available next week; but if he would like to see whether it can be raised at some other time, by consulting the acting Leader of the Opposition, that would be the way to deal with the matter. As for the other point, I really do not know to what the hon. Member refers. There is no Motion for censure on the Minister of Transport anywhere on the Order Paper, so far as I can see. As for Private Bill business, that is not within my control.

Mr. Edward Evans

Following the suggestion of the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot), may I ask whether the responsibility of the Minister of Health in respect of contingencies relating to the flood disaster can be discussed next Thursday?

Mr. Crookshank

That is what I intended. But we really cannot go into all these details now. It will be better if the hon. Gentleman will kindly leave it to his right hon. Friend and myself to discuss the matter through the usual channels to see how we can get the most useful and profitable debate on this subject.

Mr. Pannell

Does the Leader of the House appreciate that if we are to have a whole string of Government Departments represented in Thursday's debate, by the time all the Ministers and all the other right hon. Gentlemen who want to speak have spoken there will be no time available for back benchers? Does he not consider that this matter—which is urgent and important, and affects many people at the moment merits a debate of a day rather than half a day?

Mr. Crookshank

I did not mention half a day. I said that I hoped that we could have a useful and profitable debate. I am sure we can manage that. Perhaps all the speeches need not be so long.