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Business Of The House

Volume 436: debated on Thursday 24 April 1947

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May I ask the acting Leader of the House to state the Business for next week?

The Business for next week will be as follows:

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 28th, 29th and 30th April.—Report stage of the Transport Bill, being the 1st, 2nd and 3rd allotted days.

Thursday, 1st May.—Supply (4th allotted day): —Committee. I now understand that the right hon. Gentleman will wish to have a Debate on the Order in respect of the coal statement which has been made by my right hon. Friend.

Friday, 2nd May.—Motions to approve the continuance in force of the Proclamation made by the Governor of Burma and the Government of Burma (Temporary Provisions) Order, 1947, and further progress with outstanding legislation.

On Wednesday, at the end of Business, we shall ask the House to consider the Motion to approve the Biscuits (Charges) (Amendment) Order.

In view of the importance of the Report stage of the Transport Bill, and in view of the methods to which the Bill has been subjected hitherto, may I ask whether the Government will agree to the suspension of the Ten o'Clock Rule on the first two days, in view of the very large number of Amendments on the Order Paper?

I shall be very glad to consult with my right hon. Friend through the usual channels.

I am much obliged. I want to be clear about Thursday. The suggestion I made was that it should not be a Supply Day, but that we should take the consideration of the Order which the Minister requires.

I am sorry—I would not like to mislead the House. I thought my right hon. Friend agreed that if the Order was taken, a Supply Day would be granted for it.

I really do not think the right hon. Gentleman could have understood that. I made it clear to the House that I did not consider that the Government Order should result in the Opposition losing one of their Supply Days. May I point out to the acting Leader of the House that Government Orders have to be approved by this House, and, as this Order comes into force so soon, I suggest that he should seek the approval of the House on Thursday next, instead of taking a Supply Day? It never entered my head that a Supply Day should be sacrificed.

The right hon. Gentleman did ask about a Debate next week, and I thought he was assuming it would be a Supply Day. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I can express my thoughts about what I assumed without the Opposition becoming indignant. I thought he had in mind using a Supply Day. He then put a further question in regard to the Order, and up to that moment I was not quite sure when my right hon. Friend would have his Order ready. I found that it would be ready this week, and I thought I was agreeing with the right hon. Gentleman when I said we would take the Order on the Supply Day next Thursday. I am perfectly prepared to discuss the matter through the usual channels with my right hon. Friend and, if necessary, to make a statement.

I think that if the right hon. Gentleman will look at HANSARD he will find that what I said was sufficiently clear. I do not want any doubt to arise about our position. We wish to discuss the Order next week, before it comes into force, as a Government Order, and to use our Supply Day on a later occasion.

I am not trying to mislead the House. I have given my impression of what the right hon. Gentleman had in mind. I am not going to be stupid about this. I will see my right hon. Friend and make that arrangement with him.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether it is proposed to give time for a Debate upon the Report of the Local Government Boundary Commission, and if so when?

I doubt whether Members have yet read it. We must give them time to read it.

In regard to Friday's Business, if a general Debate ensues on the Burmese question, will the Under-Secretary of State for the Dominions be present to address the House?

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the desirability of having a Debate in the fairly near future on the West Indies, with particular reference to the White Paper on Bermuda, the recent disturbances in Trinidad, and the problem of the resettlement of ex-Servicemen in Jamaica?

May I ask the acting Leader of the House a question about the Report stage of the Transport Bill? Under the Guillotine Resolution we were granted three days for the Report stage, but on the Order Paper a considerable number of Amendments have been put down which will involve recommittal of the Bill to a Committee of the whole House. Can I assume that additional time will be given at the end of the three days, to make up for the time lost on this additional Committee stage at the beginning of the Report stage?

The hon. Gentleman does not appreciate that we are acting completely in accordance with the Motion which was accepted by the House on 3rd March. There is a recommittal of the Bill, but the recommittal has regard to the undertakings given by my right hon. Friend in Committee and to the desire to implement the undertakings given there. A good many of them are really consequential upon one another, and I should not think they would involve the House in very long discussions. As they are acceptances by the Government of proposals made by the other Members of the Committee, both officially and unofficially, I should have thought discussion on them would have been curtailed.

No one will deny that the right hon. Gentleman has met us on many of the points which are being put forward, on the recommittal to a Committee of the whole House. On the other hand, they are matters of considerable importance, and must take some time. My point is that whatever time they take must come out of the three days for the Report stage, and therefore additional time should be given at the end to make up for that.

May I press the right hon. Gentleman on this point, which seems to be one of some interest to the House? A certain period was allowed under the Guillotine arrangement for the Report stage. My hon. Friend was referring to issues outside the normal course of the Report stage which are the result of the decision to recommit, and I should have thought that those discussions should fall outside the Guillotine arrangement for the Report stage.

I am prepared to discuss this with the right hon. Gentleman along with the other matters, but I really should remind hon. Members that this point is covered by the Motion which was accepted by the House at the beginning of March, and that we are not trying to "pull a fast one" on the House.

But does the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that now we have emerged from the Committee stage; that during that time 37 Clauses received no discussion whatever, and that there are about 180 Government Amendments on the Order Paper for the Report stage?