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Business Of The House

Volume 360: debated on Thursday 9 May 1940

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May I ask the Prime Minister what business will be taken after the Whitsun Recess.

The business will be:

Tuesday, 21st May: Supply; Committee [8th Allotted Day]. A Debate on the conduct of the economic war will take place.

Wednesday, 22nd May: Second Reading of the Colonial Development and Welfare Bill, and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Thursday, 23rd May: Second Reading of the Limitation of Dividends Bill, and, if there is time, the Second Reading of the War Risks Insurance Bill, and Committee Stage of the necessary Money Resolutions.

I should like to ask a few questions with regard to the business after the Whitsuntide Recess. In regard to Tuesday, 21st May, I take it that if events should prove it necessary to have a Debate on the war situation that that subject will be taken, and that if there should be a proposal to take a Debate on the conduct of the economic war arrangements will be made that that should be taken in Private Session? Secondly, I want to put a question as regards the Motion on the Paper to-day for the Whitsuntide Adjournment. May I ask whether it is understood that that Motion includes the power if necessary, in the event of either internal or external circumstances necessitating it, to recall the House at an earlier date?

Yes, Sir, In answer to the first question, of course if events should make it desirable to have a general Debate on the conduct of the war or a phase of the war in consequence of fresh developments, we shall be ready to arrange it. The second question which he put to me was whether, if we do have a Debate upon the economic war, we could have it in Secret Session. That, I have already said I would be glad to arrange, and, of course, I stand by that arrangement. With regard to the third question, the right hon. Gentleman will remember that on 30th November of last year the House passed a Resolution under which every time we adjourned for a Recess of this kind, power is given to Mr. Speaker to summon the House earlier if, on the advice of the Government, it is felt desirable to do so. Therefore, that applies to the Motion that will be moved to-day as it has done to similar Motions in the past.

May I ask whether, in the Debate on economic warfare which may take place in secret, the Resolution will be drawn in such terms as not unduly to restrict the scope of the Debate?

We have no desire unduly to restrict the scope of the Debate, and I will consider the suggestion of my hon. Friend.