May I now ask the Deputy Prime Minister to state the Business for the next series of Sittings?
The House will be asked to sit an additional day in the next series of Sittings. The Business will be as follows: The Debate on the Address will be continued on the first, second and third Sitting Days and brought to a conclusion on the fourth Sitting Day. I understand that Mr. Speaker proposes shortly to announce the Amendments which he has decided to select. The third and fourth Sitting Days will be available for a continuation of the general Debate. The Government proposed to conclude the Address on the third Sitting Day, but, as I have already announced, we are giving an extra day, which will no doubt meet the general wishes of the House.In view of this arrangement, it will be necessary for us to ask for the co-operation of the House in obtaining all stages of the Expiring Laws (Continuance) Bill and of the Local Elections and Register of Electors (Temporary Provisions) Bill by the end of the next series of Sittings. This may necessitate our suspending the Rule on certain days. These Bills are required to be passed into law before the end of the year and it is desirable for them to be sent to another place for consideration during the next series of Sittings.
I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman has had any discussions through the usual channels about giving facilities for the speedy passage of these Bills, but there are some matters of considerable importance included in the Expiring Laws (Continuance) Bill. The consideration of Part I of the Mines Act, 1930, is included together with several other controversial matters, and my hon. Friends and I just cannot agree to assist the Government in getting these things through.
It might be convenient if I made a statement now with regard to the Amendments to the Address. I have already announced the Amendment I propose to call on the fourth Sitting Day. On the first day in the next series of Sittings I shall call the Amendment standing in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) and the hon. Member for East Ham, South (Mr. Barnes):
I will make a statement on the next Sitting Day as to the Amendment for the second day.["But humbly regret the admission implicit in the Gracious Speech that your Majesty's advisers have not yet reached definite decisions as to the nature of the legislative and administrative action which should be taken during the coming Session as part of the policy of post-war reconstruction, covering the control of land in the public interest, the provision of employment, social security as envisaged in the Report of Sir William Beveridge on Social Insurance and Allied Services, and the economic changes rendered necessary in the new conditions which will emerge with peace."]
Do I understand from that that the Amendment in my name is to be confined to one day? It is the widest Amendment on the Order Paper, and I had hoped we might have a second day.
May I ask you, Sir, whether we here have to sit and listen to various sections of Government supporters discussing how they are going to divide the time of the House? Will it be possible for you to let us know when the opposition elements in this House will have an opportunity of stating their opposition to the King's Speech?
Members have already had three days in which they could express their opposition.
May I press you further, Mr. Speaker? I gather that you have determined on the first Sitting Day but have not decided what Amendments are to be called later. May I put it to you that it would be for the convenience of the House if on the next Sitting Day you made a statement as to the Amendments on the other Sitting Days, so that the House will have an opportunity for preparation?
That is what I propose to do. There are a great number of Amendments, and it is rather hard to decide between them.
The Amendment that has been chosen has been put down by a political party which is fully a party to the Government. Is there any reason why they should have more consideration than any other party?
With reference to the point that was raised earlier in regard to the inability of Members to question the Home Office, will the Deputy Prime Minister consider whether it would be possible to have Questions on the fourth Sitting Day?
That matter might be considered.
Would it not facilitate matters if we adopted the full procedure of the Reichstag, seeing that Opposition Members are to be denied opportunities?
When is the Second Reading of the Local Elections Bill to be taken—to-day or in the next series of Sittings?