Skip to main content

Business Of The House

Volume 393: debated on Tuesday 2 November 1943

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

May I ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he can make a statement on the course of Business to-day, and how far it is proposed to go?

We desire to get the Wage-earners' Income Tax Bill and the Price Control (Regulation of Disposal of Stocks) Bill [Lords] to-day and to make some progress, if we can, with the Water Undertakings Bill [Lords]. To meet our purpose we wish to ask the House to sit late, and I propose, therefore, to move the suspension of the Rule.

Do I understand that the Water Undertakings Bill is coming on to-day and not on the fourth day of this series of Sittings?

It is hoped to make progress with it to-day and also on the fourth day of the present series of Sittings.

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that the Water Undertakings Bill is a highly controversial Measure, in which many Members are keenly interested and have had no notice that this Bill would come on again today? The latest information we had was that it would be taken on the fourth Day of this series of Sittings, and in these circumstances does he think it is quite fair, in view of the fact that this is not a party Measure and that issues of great importance are involved, to spring it on the House like this?

My hon. Friend will realise that the Second Reading was not obtained last week and that it will, therefore, be a continuation of the Second Reading discussion. The highly technical points will largely come up on the Committee stage, but we hope to make some progress to-day with the Second Reading.

Do I understand that it is proposed to have the Second Reading Debate at odd times during the next fortnight?

The Water Undertakings Bill is bound to come on very late. It was arranged to come on on the fourth Day of the present series of Sittings, and would it not, therefore, be better for all concerned that it should come on on that day, particularly as the Bill is involved, technical and of a highly controversial nature?

I gathered that Members had stated that they wanted plenty of time. If we can find time for the Bill to-day without being unreasonably late, I think we might well do so.

Is it the intention of the Government to have the Second Reading to-day and then to move that the Bill should be committed to a Committee of the Whole House?

Would my right hon. Friend give some further attention to this extraordinary procedure of beginning the Second Reading of a Bill of this nature in such a short time as was available last week, when there was only time for the Minister to make his introductory speech?

We will do what we can, but my hon. Friend must know how difficult it is to foretell exactly the course of Business. We would not like to leave hon. Members' time unoccupied through not putting down enough Business.

If the Second Reading of this Bill is to be continued to-day, will the Minister give an undertaking that it will not be committed to a Committee of the Whole House to-day, because it is a matter in which a large number of Members are interested?

Am I to understand that this Bill is not to go upstairs but is to be committed to a Committee of the Whole House?