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Business Of The House

Volume 415: debated on Thursday 1 November 1945

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May I ask the Leader of the House whether he is able to give us any information about the Business for next week?

The Business for next week will be as follows: Monday, 5th November—Second Reading of the Building Restrictions (Wartime Contraventions) Bill; Second Reading of the Civil Defence (Suspension of Powers) Bill.

Tuesday, 6th November—Second Reading of the Statutory Instruments Bill; Committee and remaining stages of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill; and, if there is time, Second Reading of the Agriculture (Artificial Insemination) Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution; Committee and Third Reading of the Chartered and Other Bodies (Resumption of Elections) Bill (Lords).

On Wednesday, 7th November, the Adjournment of the House will be moved to afford an opportunity for a Debate on certain aspects of Foreign Affairs before my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister leaves this country to meet President Truman and the Prime Minister of Canada. We believe that this arrangement will meet the general wishes of the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has suggested that the Debate should centre upon the recent statement of President Truman and, in view of the forthcoming discussions in Washington, the House will perhaps allow me to take the unusual course of expressing the hope, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, that a Debate of limited range will be agreed to on this occasion.

Thursday, 8th November—Second Reading of the Trunk Roads Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Friday, 9th November—Second Reading of the War Damage (Valuation Appeals) Bill (Lords) and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution. Second Reading of the Police (Overseas Service) Bill; and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution; Second Reading of the National Service (Release of Conscientious Objectors) Bill.

I am very much obliged to His Majesty's Government for giving us an opportunity of a Debate on the very important declaration made by President Truman in the last few days, as I think it desirable that the House should discuss that matter before the Prime Minister leaves for his important mission, in which we all wish him the greatest success. I certainly agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it would be well to limit this Debate to the American sphere, to President Truman's declaration, and the topics raised by it, and not, at this stage, to bring in the whole European and world-wide aspect of Foreign Affairs. On that, I am led to believe that towards the end of the latter half of the month it may be possible for the Foreign Secretary to make some statement on the subject. Certainly we should like to have a Debate—in addition to this specific Debate on the American aspect of President Truman's speech—upon the whole European and Asiatic scene of foreign affairs. I trust that may be borne in mind as something that might happen in or after the week of 18th November.

The Government recognise that it would be proper for the House to have a Debate on the wide features of foreign affairs and foreign policy and, if the matter is discussed through the usual channels, we will try to meet the general convenience of the House. It is thought that it would not be wise for the Debate next week to be of a wide character, but we recognise that we have a responsibility to meet in principle the request which the right hon. Gentleman has made.

May I ask whether it is the intention of the Government to make any statement in the Debate on Wednesday, either at the beginning or the end?

It is perfectly obvious that a Minister or Ministers will make a speech or speeches.

May I ask the Leader of the House whether time will be found to discuss the decision of the Minister of Education to withdraw grants from certain direct-grant schools, and whether that time will be provided before too long?

I should have thought that was a legitimate matter to raise on a Supply Day. However, if we can, we will try to judge how much feeling there is about it and consider this, but we must be careful from the Government's point of view about making away with too many days on this kind of discussion, because we have a great deal of legislation to deal with.

Arising out of the Business for next week, will the Minister make any provision for the Scottish Members, since we have lost Wednesday for the Hydro-Electric Bill? Are we going to have it the following Wednesday?

I am sorry about the Hydro-Electric Order. It was intended, as my hon. Friend said, to take it next Wednesday, but in the new circumstances we feel that it will hardly be practicable. Arrangements, therefore, have been made for it to be taken on the following Wednesday, which will be within the necessary time-limit imposed by Statutory Orders.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, in regard to the Debate on Foreign Affairs, whether the Debate will be wide enough to cover Palestine, seeing that the Prime Minister and President Truman will be engaged in conversations in relation to the policy to be pursued there?

It was not proposed that Palestine should be included in the Debate next week. First of all, I am not sure that a statement will have been made about Government policy, although we hope to make it shortly. Secondly, I think it would complicate the Debate that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition contemplated. Finally, if and when the statement on Palestine is made—unless the statement goes so well that it is not necessary—if there is a general feeling in the House that there should be a Debate on Palestine, the Government recognise that they must provide the facilities.

May we hope that the Government will leave a sufficient interval between the declaration of policy on their part, and the Debate upon the subject, because the matter has to be carefully considered? It would be a great pity to bring in the Debate immediately following the declaration of policy.

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he sees any chance of a Debate soon, on the future, if any, of the Ministry of Information, with particular reference to the disintegration of the European and overseas services which have done very valuable service in the past?

No, Sir, I am afraid I cannot. I am not quite clear what is the future of the Ministry of Information.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say why the Dock Workers Bill, which has been in the hands of hon. Members for three weeks, is not being taken, instead of Bills which have not yet even been printed? Will he give an assurance that the Government are not being intimidated by the dock strike to delay the progress of this Bill?

The hon. Gentleman asked a question which has nothing to do with Business.

On the Business for next week, Mr. Speaker, I asked why a certain Bill which has been in our hands for three weeks was not being taken, and, instead, a Bill which has not yet even been printed is to be taken. Surely, with great respect, that question is in Order and should be answered.

The hon. Gentleman implied as the reason that the Government were being intimidated, an innuendo which is nothing to do with Business.

In connection with the Trunk Roads Bill which is being taken on Thursday, as there are many roads—in fact from Land's End to John o' Groats—referred to in the Bill, I wonder if hon. Members could have a descriptive map. It is necessary that we should have a map giving all the roads, as otherwise it is impossible to understand what the Bill is about.

I will put the point to the Minister of War Transport, but I think that such a map is already in the map room.

Will the Leader of the House bear in mind that the House has not yet had an opportunity of a full Debate on the failure, or the temporary breakdown on the Foreign Ministers' Conference? Would it be a subject appropriate for next Wednesday?

I am quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary would think that quite inappropriate for next Wednesday. It would be more appropriate for inclusion in the wider Debate.

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether the announcement of the Government's policy for Palestine will precede the Prime Minister's visit to the United States, and whether it will form part of the discussions with President Truman?

I am not sure that that arises out of the week's Business, but I cannot give the assurance which the hon. Lady I think would like.

I think that we have now got very far away from the Business for next week.