HC Deb 20 December 1955 vol 547 cc1854-7
Mr. Gaitskell

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal whether he will state the business for the first week after the Christmas Recess?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crook-shank)

Yes, Sir. The business for the first week after the Christmas Recess will be as follows:

TUESDAY, 24TH JANUARY and WEDNESDAY, 25TH JANUARY—Committee stage of the Housing Subsidies Bill.

THURSDAY, 26TH JANUARY—Report and Third Reading of the Dentists Bill.

Committee and remaining stages of the Agricultural Research Bill.

Second Reading of the Therapeutic Substances Bill [Lords], which is a consolidation Measure.

FRIDAY, 27TH JANUARY—Government business will be taken.

Committee and remaining stages of the Leeward Islands Bill [Lords].

The usual Ballot for Notices of Motions on going into Committee of Supply on the Navy, Army, Air and Civil Estimates will take place after Questions on Thursday, 2nd February.

Mr. Gaitskell

Can the right hon. Gentleman give us an assurance that the Colonial Secretary will be making a statement on Cyprus before we adjourn for the Christmas Recess? Further, may I ask him whether, in view of the remark just made by the Secretary of State for War, we may expect a statement on the long-awaited Government changes before the Christmas Recess?

Mr. Crookshank

I observe that there is a Question on the Order Paper to my right hon. Friend tomorrow about Cyprus, and that will give him an opportunity to say whatever he thinks is right.

Mr. Gaitskell

May I take it that if that Question is not reached, the Colonial Secretary will seek permission to answer it?

Mr. Crookshank

Yes, certainly.

Mr. Gaitskell

Will the right hon. Gentleman arrange for an early debate on Welsh Affairs after the Recess and, as soon as the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister return from America, on foreign affairs?

Mr. Crookshank

That is looking a little far ahead. It had been our hope to have the Welsh debate before Christmas. Plans were in hand, but it was postponed as a result of representations made through the usual channels.

Mr. Brockway

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the very important decision that was taken by the Sudan Parliament yesterday, a statement will be made by the Government on that matter before the House rises?

Mr. Speaker

I think there is one coming shortly.

Mr. Crookshank

If the hon. Gentleman will possess his soul in patience, he will, in a few minutes, get a reply.

Dame Irene Ward

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he has in mind a debate on the Phillips' Report as soon as the House resumes after Christmas?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not think that it will necessarily be within the first week after we return.

Mr. S. Silverman

On the question of a proposed debate on foreign affairs, for which my right hon. Friend asked, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that no statement has yet been made by the Foreign Secretary about the results of the second Geneva Conference, which was attended by the Foreign Secretaries of the four Powers? In view of the fact that the Secretary of State for War today appears to have let the cat out of the bag head first, can he assure the House that the present Foreign Secretary will be able to give an account of his stewardship to the House of Commons while he still holds that office?

Mr. Crookshank

All these matters will be noted.

Mr. Strachey

Would the Lord Privy Seal not agree that, in view of the very important defence decisions which we are obviously to be asked to make when we come back, we ought to have a longer time than usual this year for debate—at least two days—on defence or on the Army Estimates, or both?

Mr. Crookshank

I think that we had better see what the defence White Paper looks like before we decide on how long we take to debate it.

Mr. Bellenger

Will not the statement made by the Secretary of State for War today have a bearing on our Service Estimates debates, because the Leader of the House has announced that there will be the Ballot for Motions on going into Committee of Supply on the Army Estimates, and that is bound to interrupt our proceedings on the Army Estimates? In view of the important statement which the Secretary of State for War has made, will not the Leader of the House consider this matter with his colleagues so that the House has adequate time, at a reasonable hour, to discuss important defence matters?

Mr. Crookshank

I am quite sure that the Government will see that adequate time is given for any important matters and changes about defence.

Mr. M. Stewart

The right hon. Gentleman has mentioned certain subjects which we shall be discussing in the first week after the Recess. Can he, without going into details about possible Government changes, at any rate tell the House who will be in charge of the housing, dentists, agriculture, and Leeward Islands debates respectively on those occasions?