THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (VISCOUNT CRANBORNE) (Lord Cecil)
My Lords, before we proceed to the next business on the Paper, I have been asked to consult your Lordships as to whether you would wish to take the Motion [relating to postwar civil air transport] standing in the name of the noble Marquess, Lord Londonderry to-day or would rather have it postponed until the next series of sittings. I think that the noble Marquess himself feels that the time which remains to your Lordships to-day to discuss this important Motion is, perhaps, rather short. On the other hand, he is, of course, entirely in the hands of the House in this matter, and he has asked me to ask your Lordships if you would be ready to express your opinions.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
My Lords, answering the invitation of the noble Viscount, I would say that it certainly seems that there would be very little time available to-day for us to debate what is undoubtedly a very important Motion. Nevertheless, the question naturally arises whether the Motion can conveniently be 404 postponed until the next series of sittings without interference with existing Orders which have been put down. I speak with some feeling, because I happen to have an Order down for the next series of sittings.
My Lords, there is a possibility on the first sitting day. We then have the Finance Bill, which will not, I think, occupy your Lordships very long. There is next a Motion in the name of Lord Strabolgi, which is not likely to lead to a very long debate. Finally, there is a Motion in the name of Lord Hemingford, which also deals with a very limited subject, and should not occupy the House for any length of time. There had been a Motion in the name of Lord Vansittart, but he has now let me know that he intends to postpone that. There will therefore be only the Finance Bill, and two Motions on which we hope that the debates will be brief. That should give ample time for the discussion of the noble Marquess's Motion on the next sitting day.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY
My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Viscount for having suggested that perhaps, in view of the importance of the debate which I have the honour of inaugurating, we should not begin it to-day at so late an hour. I am in the hands of the House, and, if your Lordships wish me to go on, I shall be glad to do so, because on this matter I fear delay more than anything. On the other hand, if your Lordships desire that this debate should be postponed until the next sitting day, I am willing to believe that, as the noble Viscount says, the Motions which will come on before mine will not take very long. I believe, too, that your Lordships would be more willing to listen to the few remarks which I shall venture to make, and which my friends will make, if the debate is postponed. I am entirely in the hands of the House.
My Lords, I take it that it is the view of the House that the noble Marquess's Motion should be postponed to the next sitting day.