May I ask the Leader of the House, in view of the importance of matters to be discussed to-day and the large number of Members who wish to take part in the discussion, if he will consider either suspending the Rule to-day or affording another day for a continuation of the Debate?
I have made such inquiries as were open to me, and, from what I can learn, there is no general desire to adopt the course my hon. Friend suggests.
If the right hon. Gentleman does not see his way to suspending the Rule, will he give an assurance that another day will be afforded in the near future, failing which, will he give a definite undertaking that no commitments shall be entered into without coming to the House?
That would be infinitely more difficult. It might meet the situation if speeches were not very long.
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider suspending the Rule later on in the day if there is a widespread desire for it?
I shall be here, and we can always look at the situation, but, as far as I can judge, there is no demand for it.
As it is well known that there is a very large number of speakers, more than would normally get into the Debate, and having regard to the fact that we recently passed a Motion which would give us some facilities in the matter, will my right hon. Friend take note of what happens in the course of the Debate with a view to meeting the wishes of the House?
Certainly. My hon. Friend's knowledge may be greater than mine. I only say that, according to mine, there is not a general demand.
On the suggestion that the suspension of the Rule might be considered later on, is it possible, under the Order recently passed, to suspend the Rule while we are sitting in Committee?
The Rule cannot be suspended without the House being reformed, and that would end the Committee of Supply.