HL Deb 17 March 1938 vol 108 cc246-8

My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl the Leader of the House if he can state the business for next week?


My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Lord, the Leader of the Opposition, for giving me an opportunity of trying to make a forecast of the work which lies before your Lordships, and I will try to do so as far as it is possible up to the end of the month. We are having a formal sitting of this House to-morrow afternoon in order to receive the Housing (Financial Provisions) Bill, which is now in its final stages in another place. As the Exchequer contributions for slum clearance and the abatement of overcrowding are at present authorised only for houses to be completed by March 31, it is necessary that this Bill should be on the Statute Book by that date. This obviously means that the time allowed to your Lordships for the consideration of the Bill is, I am afraid, an extremely short one, but I hope your Lordships will realise that the Government have no alternative but to place your Lordships in a rather difficult position, in view of the number of occasions on which the Adjournment was moved in another place. Also, of course, the whole of the programme in another place was upset by events which none of us in this country could control.

We propose, therefore, if your Lordships will agree, that we should have the First Reading to-morrow and the Second Reading on Tuesday next, the 22nd, that we should then have the Committee stage on Thursday the 24th, and that it should be completed in time to come before a Royal Commission on Wednesday, March 30. I need hardly say that I am extremely sorry that I should have to apologise to your Lordships in respect of the very natural and justifiable criticism that a Bill of this importance should have such a very short time for its consideration by your Lordships. I hope, how- ever, that you will agree that the Government are placed in a great difficulty in view of the events which I have ventured to suggest to your Lordships, and that I may be forgiven in this case. I need hardly say that I am certainly out to fight for this House having a very full opportunity to do its business in the proper way and to have adequate time for the consideration of the measures which may come before it.

We propose that we should sit on Monday next at 4.15 p.m. for the Report of Amendments to the Cinematograph Films Bill. That Bill also should receive the Royal Assent by the end of the month, because the existing legislation expires on March 31. I am advised that there will also have to come before this House an Appropriation Bill, which, of course, will have to pass through all its stages by the end of the month. Therefore we propose that there should be one Royal Commission only for all these three matters on March 30. In addition, there are a few minor matters which are already before the House and which I think will take no time to complete.

If I may just summarise, the work next week will come out as follows: Monday, 21st, the Cinematograph Films Bill, Report stage; Tuesday, Second Reading of the Infanticide Bill, which is one which the noble Viscount, Lord Dawson of Penn, introduced, and the Second Reading of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Bill; Wednesday, Committee stage of the Administration of Justice Bill, of which the Lord Chancellor is in charge, and also the Third Reading of the Cinematograph Films Bill; Thursday, 24th, Committee stage of the Cotton Industry Bill, which is in charge of my noble friend the Earl of Birkenhead and the Committee stage of the Housing Bill. I think that is as far as I can take your Lordships, and I hope that in the circumstances you will be prepared to approve the suggestions which I have ventured to offer to the House.


My Lords, I should just like to say that we shall expect to have an opportunity of making some comments on the Second Reading of the Housing Bill.

House adjourned at twenty minutes before eight o'clock.