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Business Of The House

Volume 416: debated on Thursday 29 November 1945

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Could the Leader of the House give us an outline of the Business for next week?

Monday, 3rd December—Committee stage of the Building Materials and Housing Bill.

Tuesday, 4th December—Conclusion of the Committee stage of the Building Materials and Housing Bill, if not previously concluded, and the Committee stage of the Elections and Jurors Bill.

Wednesday and Thursday—Debate on the Opposition Motion of Censure— [HoN. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am very glad that everybody is happy—relating to the policy of His Majesty's Government. I ought to say that the Government have agreed to give two days for this Debate, but we would like to say that it is in relation to the special circumstances of this case and we would not like it to be taken in any way as a precedent that Votes of Censure command a two days' Debate.

Friday, 7th December—Report and Third Reading of the Elections and Jurors Bill, and of the Building Materials and Housing Bill. Further progress willbe made with the Workmen's Compensation (Pneumoconiosis) Bill.

Might I ask the Leader of the House if those two days for the Vote of Censure are two ordinary Parliamentary days, or two days plus suspension of the Standing Order?

We thought two days. I thought that was treating the subject quite generously.

With regard to the conclusion of the Censure Debate on Thursday—the second day—I hope it might be considered whether 10,15 would not be a more appropriate time than 9.15. HoN. MEMBERS: No." Hon. Members opposite are afraid of us.

I am very anxious to be helpful to the Opposition, because I recognise that this is a trial and experimental event, and we want the Opposition to have a good chance to get itself into form. I am bound to say that I did think two days would be adequate and, while we will not refuse to look into the matter, I would have thought that in any case, if there was a question of extension, it would have been more convenient to have it on the first rather than the second day of Debate. On the face of it, I would not have thought there was a reasonable case for an extension of time.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are many precedents in the past for three days being given for a Debate on a Motion of Censure? Of course, it rests with the Opposition not to abuse the right of asking for a Vote of Censure, but at the same time it should be left without any fixture as to whether the custom is one day, two days or three days, and I must not be taken to assent in any way to the suggestion that one day is sufficient for a Vote of Censure. It would be sufficient, if Votes of Censure were put down three times a week.

Naturally, I was not seeking, and I would not seek, to bind the right hon. Gentleman. I was only seeking to bind 'myself that this would not be regarded as a precedent. I appreciate that there arc precedents for two days or even for three days, but I propose to break a lot of precedents before we are through.

No doubt the right hon. Gentleman is ready to break a lot of precedents, and a lot of good customs and worthy traditions of the House of Commons.

May I ask the Leader of the House, in view of the very serious position in Palestine, whether he will give us an assurance that there will be a Debate before Christmas, and whether he can tell us when that Debate is likely to take place?

I will do my best in the matter and I certainly will consider the suggestion, but naturally the new arrangements will add to our difficulties. I will do my best to get the Palestine Debate in before Christmas, which I. would personally like to do, but I cannot be quite sure about it.

Would it not be very desirable that the Anglo-American inquiry should be well established at this particular stage in the Palestine negotiations?

There may be doubt about that, but on the other hand I know there is a feeling in some quarters of the House that this Debate might now take place at an early date, if it were possible. I am bound to say I do not think it would do any harm, and it might do good if that were the case.

That is not settled. I hope it will not be long. I hope it will he made fairly soon.

On the Palestine issue, would not the right hon. Gentleman consider it highly undesirable that a Debate on Palestine should be taking place in this House at the same time as the Commission of Inquiry is pursuing its investigation, and therefore is it not evident that a Debate ought not to take place?

There arc arguments both ways. There was very considerable point in what was said by the Leader of the Opposition and there is also point in what my hon. Friend says. That is how Ministers live and die. We will try to reconcile these conflicting views.

May I ask the Lord President of the Council whether the delay in issuing the White Paper on Civil Aviation is due to the discussions now taking place; and whether we are to understand that the Debate promised on civil aviation will not now take place before Christmas but after the Christmas Recess?

Is the:Lord President of the Council aware that there is great feeling in connection with the question of Rosyth naval base and others matters in Scotland? Could we have a clay for the discussion of these very important questions affecting Scotland and Rosyth?

I lo not know. That is another deviation by my hon. Friend in the direction of nationalism, which I will do my best to help, but I should not have thought— [HoN. MEMBERS: We cannot hear "]—I was saying that this is a deviation by my hon. Friend towards the elevation of the national spirit, about which I always feel sad. I should not have thought, from what he said, that there was a case for a day's Debate.

May I ask when the Government propose to announce the future conditions of service of the postwar Armed Forces of the Crown, and when the Government will stop monkeying around with the Forces of the Crown?