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Business Of The House

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 18 March 1943

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Will the Prime Minister state the Business for the next series of Sittings? I understand that the White Paper on India is in course of being printed, and I think it would be convenient to the House to know at the same time when it will be in the hands of Members.

The Paper on India is with the printers now, and it will be printed and circulated early next week.

The Business for the next series of Sittings will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—Committee and Third Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill. A Debate on War Pensions will take place. I understand that is a subject which interests hon. Members in all quarters of the House.

Second Sitting Day—Second Reading of the Nurses Bill. This Bill was presented yesterday, and copies are now available in the Vote Office; Second Reading of the Housing (Agricultural Population) (Scotland) Bill, and of the Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill; and, if there is time, Committee stage of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Bill, which has come to us from the Lords.

Third Sitting Day—Committee stage of the Catering Wages Bill.

I understand it will not be possible for us, in the next series of Sittings, to have, on the Nurses Bill, a discussion on the terms of the Rushcliffe Committee Report, because the Nurses Bill is couched in very narrow terms. In these circumstances may I ask when the right hon. Gentleman thinks it will be possible for the House to have a discussion on the Rushcliffe Report?

I understand that notice has been given by an hon. Member of his intention to raise this point on the Adjournment.

In view of the fact that the Secretary of State for Air gave an undertaking last week that we would have a full day for the discussion of civil aviation, would the right hon. Gentleman consider placing that high on the priority list for debate in the future?

Is the Prime Minister aware that the Leader of the House a fortnight or so ago did promise us facilities for a Debate on the Rushcliffe Committee Report? Are we to understand that that opportunity is to be taken from the House as a whole because one hon. Member proposes to raise it on the Adjournment?

I understand that there was no definite promise but only a conditional undertaking to be guided by the feeling of the House in the matter.

Does the Prime Minister really think he can continue to get distinguished Members of the other place to become chairmen of committees, and labour on these committees and produce reports, to have them dealt with in this House by a private Member raising them on the Adjournment? Surely, that is not a proper way for the Prime Minister to treat a Committee which his own Government have set up.

The Upper House receives continued refreshment and fortification and is able, I think, to bear the strain implied in the situation which has now arisen, more especially as I understand that the recommendations of the Report are to be put into effect on 1st April.

Has the Prime Minister conferred with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies with a view to a continuation of the Debate on the West Indies and the Jamaica Constitution which we had this week?

I am dealing to-day only with the Business for the next series of Sittings.

On a point of Order. In view of the fact that I gave notice that I would raise on the Adjournment the question of the ward sisters that was contained in the recommendations of the Rushcliffe Committee, do I understand that it is going to prevent a Debate on the whole Report? If so, I want to withdraw my notice to raise it. I was only dealing with the sisters in the Report and not with the whole Report.

I have some direction on such matters. The fact that the hon. Member had given Notice for an Adjournment would not prevent a Debate on the Report on the ground of anticipation.

Would it not be better if this problem was discussed through the usual channels?

Is the Rule to be suspended on the day we discuss war pensions? Very many people will want to take part.

I understand we are to have a White Paper on post-war currency and other financial questions now being considered in the Treasury and by the United Nations. Can the Prime Minister give us any indication when that will be published, and in view of the Chancellor's assurance that no decision will be come to without consulting this House, when there will be an opportunity for debating it here?

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider postponing the Committee stage of the Catering Wages Bill to the following series of Sittings? My right hon. Friend who has taken such a large part in the discussions on this Bill is indisposed at the present time, and I cannot believe that there can be any real desire to rush this Bill, and we were promised that there would be a reasonable time.

Over five weeks have passed since this Bill was read a Second time. In my experience, that is quite an exceptionally long time to intervene, and this long delay has been arranged in order that the differences might be reduced as far as possible. I certainly feel that we have now reached the point at which we have to come to grips with this question.

I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he will not seriously consider giving an extra day in the next series of Sittings so that we can have a discussion on the war situation. Are these discussions to be left entirely to the other place?

I do not think it would be desirable to have a discussion on the war situation in this coming series of Sittings. As to the future, naturally if there is any need and occasion for a further statement from me, I should be ready to give one, even though it was rather a short one, and to give opportunity for discussion, but I am not contemplating it in the next series of Sittings.

As there seems to be a certain amount of confusion about the differentiation (between Nazis and Germans generally, would the Prime Minister consider giving the House an opportunity of debating this subject and also other matters concerning post-war Germany?

I fear that the contributions of some hon. Members might well add to the prevailing confusion.