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Business Of The House

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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Would the Leader of the House be good enough to tell us how far he proposes to go today in the event of the Motion on the Order Paper being carried?

We hope to get a fair way today without sitting unduly late. I think the Order Paper is such that we ought to make substantial progress. What we are concerned about is that we should get the Report stage and the Third Reading of the National Service Bill and the Statistics of Trade Bill by tomorrow night. How the House divides the time between the two, we do not mind as long as we get them. I should have thought that with reasonable co-operation and a good spirit all round—[Laughter.]—well, I really think so—we ought to get both without unduly late Sittings, which are not good for anybody.

The right hon. Gentleman will realise, I think, that while we on this side of the House have no desire to make difficulties for the passage of the National Service Bill, it is not we who take up the greater part of the time for discussion. Therefore, we can give no undertaking.

I do not know about the greater part of the time. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I know the percentages exactly, and it is a fair point. It varies a bit each day, but it is a perfectly fair point and I assure the right hon. Gentleman that I have taken steps to impress it upon my hon. Friends.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that, by arrangement through the usual channels, the whole of the first day of the Committee stage was devoted to demonstration Amendments by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; that the whole of the second day was devoted to the Government Amendment to reduce the period from 18 to 12 months, and that the proper Committee examination of the Bill could not begin until 11 p.m. on the second day?

I read the Committee stage proceedings. I know all that happened, including the prominent part taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman).