HC Deb 14 June 1955 vol 542 cc425-7
Mr. Attlee

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal whether he has a statement to make about business?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

Yes, Sir. In an interchange about business last Friday across the Floor of the House the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition put forward a suggestion that the proposed discussion tomorrow on the debate on the Address should be extended so that colonial matters might also be raised in the debate.

In order, however, to give more time for debates on both these subjects, which together cover a very wide field, the Government propose, so that tomorrow can be devoted to foreign affairs, that a day should be set aside next week out of Government time for a discussion on colonial matters. The day we propose is Tuesday, 21st June.

Mr. Attlee

I am obliged to the Lord Privy Seal.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the Lord Privy Seal be prepared to enter into discussions to ensure that the debate on colonial affairs next week shall not cover the Report just issued on East Africa? Will he consider that Report as of sufficient importance to have another day later to discuss it? Otherwise, if we are to have a debate on colonial matters and at the same time on this very important Report, within a few days of receiving it, it is likely to be a confused debate. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider that point between now and tomorrow?

Mr. Crookshank

I do not know that I can promise a whole series of debates on colonial affairs, because there are other topics which other right hon. and hon. Gentlemen may wish to raise. In view of what the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) has said, it might be worth considering postponing the debate altogether until a further week, but perhaps that could be discussed through the usual channels.

Mr. Alport

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the suggestion made by the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) would find considerable support from many hon. Members on this side of the House who are deeply concerned that this vitally important Report of the Royal Commission should have the treatment by the House which the work of that Commission over the last two years and the importance of the subject with which it dealt undoubtedly deserve?

Mr. Crookshank

That, of course, was one of the reasons which influenced the Government in suggesting that there should not be a telescoped debate tomorrow.

Mr. Lee

During the course of the debate on the Address, will an opportunity be given to the Prime Minister to enlarge upon the statement which he has just made in order to assure trade unions which have agreements with the Ministry of Supply that there will be no diminution in conditions of employment now that certain industries are to go over to the Board of Trade?

Mr. Crookshank

It is not for me to arrange the course of the debate in detail in that way. I thought I heard my right hon. Friend say that all this had been agreed with the trade unions and that it was done after consulting them.

Mr. Lee

Is it not a fact that the Prime Minister did not say that it had been agreed? Did he not say that there had been consultations, but that he could not say that there had been agreement?

The Prime Minister

That is quite right.

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