HC Deb 19 April 1955 vol 540 cc33-5
The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

It may be convenient if I inform the House that the Budget debate will be continued tomorrow and on Thursday. I apologise for my lack of voice, and assure the House that I do not intend to take any part in the Budget debates.

Instead of concluding the Budget debate on Monday next, as previously announced, we shall now ask the House to conclude the general debate on Friday of this week and immediately thereafter take the Report stages of the Budget Resolutions, so that the Finance Bill can be brought in and made available before the week end.

A Motion will be moved tomorrow to give precedence to Government business on Fridays, 22nd, 29th April and 6th May. I regret that we find it necessary to ask private Members to give up their remaining facilities.

These arrangements are proposed in order to give the House the customary four days general debate on budgetary matters and will, I trust, commend themselves to the House in the changed circumstances in which we meet.

Discussions are now taking place through the usual channels about the essential financial and other business to be dealt with before Dissolution, and I hope to be in a position to make a statement to the House on Thursday.

Mr. H. Morrison

It is perfectly clear that the Leader of the House, and we sympathise with him—

Mr. Crookshank

Thank you.

Mr. Morrison

—;is in a very, very bad condition to start a General Election. However, although the Tories can sometimes answer for themselves without saying anything at all, on the question of a constructive policy they have got nothing to say.

Is the Leader of the House aware that his announcement is rather quick business? It means that the Government, of their own volition, have interfered with the rights of Parliament, that there has been no advance consultation whatever about the decision of the Government to revise the business of the House before the announcement of a General Election. This is a diktat on the part of the new Prime Minister as to how the House of Commons is to do its business. We must, of course, regret that private Members are to lose their opportunities. It is no defence for the Leader of the House to say that the present Government restored the rights of private Members and then to announce that they are being taken away. The Motion to be moved tomorrow is debatable, and no doubt we shall take the opportunity of expressing our opinions about it.