HL Deb 04 December 1945 vol 138 cc260-2

2.45 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to take the earliest opportunity of informing your Lordships that, in order to facilitate proceedings on the Joyce appeal case which comes before your Lordships' House in its judicial capacity next week, I shall ask your Lordships to be good enough to agree to postponing the hour of meeting next Tuesday, December 11, until 4 p.m. as the Lord Chancellor is very anxious that the Court shall have a full day's hearing of the case that day. I might, perhaps, add that we shall probably have a formal sitting next Friday afternoon after the House of Commons has risen, in order to receive the Building Materials and Housing Bill and the Elections and Jurors Bill and to read them a first time. This will enable your Lordships to have fuller time to discuss them later. As we are approaching the Christmas Recess and it is necessary to conclude all the stages of these and other Bills before we rise, I shall ask your Lordships on Tuesday next to agree to a Motion giving precedence to Government business until the Recess. This is the usual practice at this time of the year, and I am not seeking to create any precedent.

There is one further point which I might make now—namely, that we have a very long list of speakers on the important debate on agricultural policy this afternoon. It may, therefore, not be possible to conclude the debate to-day although we shall make every effort to do so. I understand that there will be no judicial sitting of the House on Thursday afternoon. If, therefore, we find it necessary to adjourn to-day's debate, noble Lords who have business on the Order Paper for Thursday afternoon would, perhaps, not object if we sat at 2.30 instead of at 4 o'clock for the purpose of dealing with their Notices and thereafter proceeded with the adjourned debate on agriculture. I am very reluctant to move the fixed times of our sittings as your Lordships are busy men and have many engagements elsewhere; but time is exceedingly precious just now and I cannot see any other alternative. Of course, the next best thing would be for us to conclude our debate this afternoon. If so, the question of changing our hour of sitting on Thursday will not arise.

2.48 p.m.


My Lords, I think that on all these matters your Lordships' House will wish to meet the suggestion of the noble Viscount. We are jealous of any time taken from us, even for so important a matter as the sitting of this House in its judicial capacity, but this particular appeal arises in such circumstance that all your Lordships, I am sure, would wish that it should be disposed of as rapidly as possible. I am sure your Lordships will agree to the later sitting next Tuesday. With regard to the suggestion that this debate should go over to next Thursday, if it cannot be finished to-day, as the number of speakers is very large, that, I think, also will meet the general convenience of the House, and I hope it will not unduly inconvenience those who have Motions on the Order Paper. The Motion to take the time of the House for certain Bills is, I think, in accordance with precedent. I shall not accuse the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, of springing any new constitutional surprise on us. As I understand it, the special meeting on Friday is for the purpose of carrying out the undertaking given by the noble Viscount the Leader of the House and the Lord Chancellor, that we should have as much time as possible between now and the Committee stage to deal with these Bills. I am sure that all quarters of your Lordships' House would wish to meet all the points made in the suggestion.

2.50 p.m.


My Lords, noble Lords on these Benches also wish to concur in the proposals made by the noble Viscount the Leader of the House. We hope that at an early date he can inform us when the House is likely to adjourn for Christmas and to reassemble in January. Perhaps the noble Viscount can tell us this when he makes his statement with regard to future business next week.


My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Viscounts for assisting in this matter. In regard to the date for the adjournment for the Christmas Recess, that depends, I am told, on the progress made with certain Bills in the other place. I am sure your Lordships will agree that we should have as much time as is reasonably possible to discuss the Bills in this House and that fact does affect the date of the adjournment. As soon as ever I am in a position to make a statement I will do so.

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