HL Deb 26 March 1953 vol 181 cc309-11

2.38 p.m.


My Lords, before we proceed with the Business on the Order Paper, I hope that I may be allowed to make a brief statement on the course of future Business until the Easter Recess. Owing to the Lying-in-State of Her Late Majesty Queen Mary, in Westminster Hall, the House will not meet on Monday next, as originally proposed. We have, therefore, arranged through the usual channels, and with the co-operation of my noble friend Lord Teviot, who has kindly agreed to postpone his Motion on homegrown and home-killed foodstuffs, that the remaining Sittings until the House adjourns for Easter shall be used as follows.

On Tuesday next, March 31, we shall meet at 2.30 p.m. and take the Second Reading of the Iron and Steel Bill, sitting late if necessary. On Wednesday, April I, we shall meet at 2.30 p.m. and take the Motions on Central African Federation now standing on the Paper for Tuesday, in the names of the noble Lord, Lord Noel-Bukton, and the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chichester. As there are a very large number of your Lordships who have indicated their desire to take part in this debate, we propose, if your Lordships agree, that the House should adjourn at about seven o'clock and resume the debate after the Royal Commission which is expected on Thursday morning. On that day, the House will meet at 11 a.m. when we shall resume the debate on Central African Feceration. The Royal Commission will sit at 12.30 p.m. I think it will be most convenient to sit through luncheon, in order that the House may rise at 4 p.m. or shortly after.

When the House reassembles on April 14, we propose to take the Committee stage of the Town and Country Planning Bill and the Second leading of the Prevention of Crimes Bill, which deals with the carrying of offensive weapons and which is expected from the Commons on Tuesday next. We shall take the Defence debate on Wednesday and Thursday, April 15 and 16.


My Lords, may I ask the Leader of the House one question? It concerns a matter which interests a good many of us. I refer to the Motion on social legislation standing in the name of the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Sheffield. As he is not here, I am raising the matter on his behalf. This Motion was down for April 15, and it is, I think, a matter which excites a good deal of interest—and not on Party lines. I do not want an answer on the spur of the moment, but I should like the noble Marquess to know that we on this side of the House, and I am sure many noble Lords on the other side, regard this as an interesting and important matter which merits discussion, and as soon as we can have the discussion I think we should be glad to do so.


My Lords, I can assure the noble and learned Earl that we shall keep this matter very much in mind. There is just one other point that I should like to make while I am speaking. It has been explained by the noble Earl, Lord Fortescue, that the debate on Central African Federation will start on the Wednesday, and will continue, if necessary, over Thursday. I think that we should all infinitely prefer that, if there is to be discussion on the Thursday, it should be of a short character. Many Peers have to go away, and although the last thing I want to do is to curtail discussion on a matter of such importance as this, if it turned out to be the wish of the House that we should go on a little later on the Wednesday, in order to shorten the proceedings on Thursday, that would be quite acceptable to Her Majesty's Government.