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Business Of The House

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 12 May 1949

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Yes, Sir. The Business for next week will be as follows:

Monday, 16th May—Committee stage of the Ireland Bill.

Tuesday, 17th May—Completion of the remaining stages of the Ireland Bill by about 6.30 p.m.; and afterwards—

Third Reading of the Licensing Bill.

Wednesday, 18th May—Second Reading of the Finance Bill.

Thursday, 19th May—Supply (13th allotted Day)—Committee Debate on Fuel and Power.

Friday, 20th May—Second Reading of the Sea Fish Industry Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution; and, if there is time—

Report and Third Reading of the Prevention of Damage by Pests Bill [ Lords].

With regard to the Business for Friday, the Sea Fish Industry Bill, inquiry at the Vote Office does not yet produce a copy of this document. Shall we really be asked to take this Bill when the House has not had an opportunity of seeing it? It cannot be all that urgent, so could not the right hon. Gentleman give more time to look at it?

The Bill will be available about 5 o'clock today in the Vote Office. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is shorter notice than I would like, but it is a matter of fitting in the Business. I do not think the House will find this a particularly controversial Bill, at any rate for Second Reading purposes, though I imagine that matters will come up in Committee. While I appreciate that this is exceptional, nevertheless there will be a clear week, and I hope the House will be good enough to agree to the Second Reading on Friday.

Do I understand that only one day is given for the Second Reading of the Finance Bill? Is it not possible, in view of the importance of that matter, that we should have an extra day, or at any rate extended time during Wednesday?

It has been customary for some years to give one day to the Finance Bill. Of course a lengthy Debate on the Budget took place earlier on, but this is quite customary, and has been the case even with Budgets of a more complex and controversial character than this one.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say when he proposes to give facilities for the discussion of the Motion standing on the Order Paper in the names of a number of hon. Members regarding the increased telephone charges?

[ That this House views with alarm the prospect of increased burdens upon and restrictions of commercial activity which will be caused by the proposed increase of telephone charges and considers that in the light of a disclosed Post Office surplus of over £10,000,000 on the telephone account alone such increases are quite unjustified and calls on the Government to annul the order enforcing these charges forthwith.]

The hon. and gallant Gentleman will have a chance to discuss that, because I gather there must be a Bill about it, and there will be a Bill in due course.

Is it not a fact that the Bill covers only one part of the charges and not the other?

Well, it covers the increased rentals, and I will look into the point. Of course it could be taken on a Supply Day. I had no notice that this point was coming up.

Will the right hon. Gentleman look into it because I think he will find that the Bill covers only part of the charges, and it will not be possible to discuss the whole matter on a Supply Day because part of it will require legislation.

I am now advised that the right hon. Gentleman is quite right, and I shall keep the point in mind.

Will there be an opportunity of discussing the proposed Development Council for the wool industry, in view of the frigid response this has had from the industry?

This is a new one. I did not know there was controversy about it to that extent.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say when time will be given to debate the new Bill dealing with the merger of B.O.A.C. and British South American Airways?

I understand that the Bill is before the examiners for some reason of Standing Orders. I do not think there will be undue delay in the discussion of the Bill in this House.

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that a half day is sufficient for the Third Reading of such an important matter as the Licensing Bill? If he cannot give more time, will he consider suspending the Rule on Tuesday?

The Bill has been discussed fully in Committee, there was an important Debate on Second Reading, and there have been good Debates on Report. In all the circumstances we thought half a day was enough. Some Bills go through in a shorter period than that.

In view of the fact that there are certain elements in the House who might conceivably prolong proceedings on the Ireland Bill, is it the intention of the right hon. Gentleman to take the Third Reading of the Licensing Bill, whatever the hour?

I had said that we hope to complete the Ireland Bill by 6.30 p.m. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Certainly, why should we not hope? I think it will probably be the case, and I hope the hon. and gallant Gentleman will not intervene for the purpose of spreading alarm and despondency. He might, for all he knows, put naughty ideas into people's heads.

In the event of the hopes of the right hon. Gentleman not being fulfilled, will he persist in going on with the Licensing Bill if he is not able to start it at the time he hopes?

It is far better to meet troubles as they come and I do not feel that I should meet this one today. I have every belief that it will be all right.

Does my right hon. Friend realise that this place ought not to be a night club?