HC Deb 12 March 1953 vol 512 cc1504-7
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, 16TH MARCH—Supply [9th allotted Day].

It is proposed to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on Navy Estimates, 1953–54, and to consider Votes A, 1, 2, 6, 9, 10, 13 and 15 and Navy Supplementary Estimate, 1952–53, in Committee.

TUESDAY, 17TH MARCH —Third Reading:

Iron and Steel Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 18TH MARCH—Supply [10th allotted Day].

Committee stage of Civil Supplementary Estimates, beginning with:

  • Ministry of Housing and Local Government, which the House will remember contains token provision in connection with Flood Emergency Services.
  • Ministry of Food.
  • Foreign Office.
  • Ministry of Defence.
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and Food Production Services.
  • Department of Agriculture for Scotland (Food Production Services).
  • Post Office.
  • Stationery and Printing.
At 9.30 p.m., the Question will be put from the Chair on the Vote under discussion and on all outstanding Estimates, Supplementary Estimates and Excess Votes required before the end of the financial year, in accordance with Standing Order No. 16.

THURSDAY, 19TH MARCH—Supply [11th allotted Day].

Report stage:

Army, Air and Navy Estimates, 1953–54, and of Civil Supplementary Estimates not dealt with on the previous day. At 9.30 p.m., the Question will be put from the Chair on the Vote under discussion and on all outstanding Estimates, Supplementary Estimates and Excess Votes required before the end of the financial year.

FRIDAY, 20TH MARCH—Private Members' Motions.

If I may carry matters one week ahead, it might be convenient if I were to inform the House that arrangements have been made through the usual channels for a debate to take place on Central African federation on Tuesday week.

Mr. Attlee

With regard to Wednesday's business, we had asked for the token provision for the Floods Emergency Services to be put down as the first of the Supplementary Estimates, because I think there is a general desire in the House for an early debate on the floods. If that were so, we would ask for time from the Government, because it is really a Government matter. Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is to be a statement about the floods?

Mr. Crookshank

Yes, Sir. It is the intention to make a statement on Wednesday on the compensation for flood damage, which is perhaps what the right hon. Gentleman has in mind, and which was discussed the other day.

Mr. Attlee

If that statement were made on Wednesday perhaps it would be a little early to follow it with a discussion on that day. Would it therefore be possible to rearrange the subjects for Wednesday's discussion, and perhaps have another day for the discussion on the floods?

Mr. Crookshank

All that can be discussed through the usual channels. It is necessary, under the Standing Order, to get the Estimates through, on the days to which I referred, but the right hon. Gentleman will realise that they lead up to a Consolidated Fund Bill within the next few Parliamentary days. Perhaps it can be arranged in that way, or discussed through the usual channels.

Mr. Attlee

I agree that we can discuss that point through the usual channels. Could the right hon. Gentleman say now whether the debate on Central African federation will be taken on a Government Motion?

Mr. Crookshank

I could not say at the moment. I thought it would be merely convenient that it should be known that there was going to be a debate, the form of which we can discuss later.

Sir H. Williams

Do I understand that, on the Supplementary Estimates, we are to have a full day's debate on one subject, and thus be deprived of our rights of going through these Estimates in detail? It used to be the only occasion in the whole year when the House of Commons had an opportunity of discussing questions of administration.

Mr. Crookshank

I recollect very well what used to be the practice, but all that was changed by a new Standing Order, in 1948. The Supplementary Estimates are now taken on Supply Days. That being so, it is the prerogative of the Opposition to select the order in which the Supplementary Estimates may be put down. If it so happens that the order is settled and the first one occupies all the time, that is the result of the new arrangement, and has nothing to do with this Government.

Mr. Gaitskell

Can the Leader of the House say when the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be introducing his Budget?

Mr. Crookshank

No, Sir; until my right hon. Friend returns from overseas I cannot make a statement.

Mr. H. Morrison

On the little party point which the Leader of the House tried to make, surely there is nothing in the Standing Order that requires the House to discuss a general subject all day, rather than examine the Estimates in detail. I quite agree that the Opposition have had the responsibility of saying what shall be selected, but the Standing Order surely does not require that matters of this kind should be discussed in detail.

Mr. Crookshank

Not only does it not require it, but I did not say so, either.

Mr. Pannell

Is the Leader of the House aware that the first Motion put down on the Order Paper in the last Session was one asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer to name a day for the implementation of a Resolution, unanimously passed by the House, calls for equal pay in the public service? Will the Government indicate their policy, or is that a matter that will appear in the Chancellor's Budget?

Mr. Crookshank

It is certainly not a matter for me to make any pronouncement upon without notice on the business for next week.