HC Deb 06 July 1954 vol 529 cc1971-2
47. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Prime Minister when he will be able to make a statement to the House in respect of the conversations held recently with President Eisenhower.

45. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement of the political subjects discussed and decisions reached during his conversations with United States and Canadian Ministers last week.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend is aware of these Questions and he will no doubt have them in mind against his return.

Mr. Hughes

On a point of order. I expressly deferred Question No. 45 because I knew that the Prime Minister would not be here today. Is it in order for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to answer it?

Mr. Speaker

It is quite in order. I think that had the hon. and learned Member foreseen this he might have communicated the fact to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he did not intend to ask the Question.

Mr. Hughes

I had prepared to put the Question down tomorrow. Am I therefore precluded from having it taken tomorrow?

Mr. Speaker

If it has already been answered today, it would not be in order to ask it tomorrow.

Mr. Stokes

Surely if an hon. Member defers a Question it is not his responsibility to make the Department aware of the fact; it is the responsibility of the Table Office.

Mr. Speaker

That depends on when it is withdrawn. I could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman at all. The hon. and learned Member deferred his Question a very short time ago—while we were sitting. In those circumstances it would be unreasonable to expect the Table Office to inform the Department.

Mr. Hughes

Surely the ordinary convention and practice of the House is that if one gives notice to the Table Office the Table Office informs the Department.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. and learned Member is mistaken about that.

Mr. Sorensen

Does the answer which the Chancellor gave mean that we can expect a fairly full statement by the Prime Minister at an early date? If so, will it be followed by debate?

Mr. Butler

Those are matters which must be decided by the Prime Minister on his return, which will be so soon that I think we might well leave them to his judgment. I have already taken the opportunity of informing the Prime Minister of these two Questions so that he may have them in mind in forming his judgment.