Can the Lord President of the Council tell us the Business for next week?
Yes, Sir, the Business for next week will be as follows:
Monday, 30th May—Report and Third Reading of the Housing Bill.
Tuesday, 31st May—Report and Third Reading of the Superannuation Bill; and of the Legal Aid and Solicitors (Scotland) Bill.
Wednesday, 1st June—Supply (16th allotted Day); Committee. Debate on Marginal Land until 7 p.m. and afterwards a Debate on Rural Water Supplies.
Thursday, 2nd June—Second Reading of the Auxiliary and Reserve Forces Bill, and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.
Friday, 3rd June—It is proposed to adjourn for the Whitsun Recess until Tuesday, 21st June.
At the beginning of the week it may be necessary for us to ask the House to consider any Amendments to Bills which may be received from another place.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it would be possible to reconsider taking the Auxiliary Forces Bill on Thursday in view of the fact that none of us has had any chance of consulting with the Territorial Associations or with anybody concerned, and that it cannot be an urgent matter in any case? I think the Minister would agree with that.
I think that the House has had adequate notice of the Bill, and it is a matter of some public urgency that it should be passed as early as practicable, subject to the House giving it proper consideration. It is in the national interest that that should be so.
In view of the desultory nature of the Business and the length of the holiday, is not the Lord President now ashamed of the Guillotine on the Iron and Steel Bill?
No, Sir, not at all. I think the holiday is perfectly legitimate. The only thing I am ashamed of about the Guillotine is the complete incapacity of the Opposition to make use of the generous time allotted to them.
Would my right hon. Friend resist the suggestion that a Parliamentary Recess is entirely a holiday? There is plenty of work to do in the constituencies and elsewhere?
That is perfectly true, and it really is not for the House to discredit the hard work which its Members do. Anyway, some of us are going to have a hard time.
Bearing in mind that the matter has never been fully discussed in this Parliament, but has assumed great importance recently, would the right hon. Gentleman consider giving a day after the Recess for the discussion of the future of the Italian Colonies?
I doubt it, Sir.
Would the Lord President reconsider the question of the Auxiliary Forces Bill? It is a fact that the Bill will have been before the House for little over a week. The Territorial Associations only meet from time to time, and they will have had no time to represent their views to Members of this House, and it is a matter which does concern them very intimately. Lastly, the Bill is only asking for powers which will be necessary to the Government after the present emergency powers have been taken from them, and, therefore, it is of no immediate urgency.
I appreciate the point raised by the hon. and gallant Member, and naturally I would wish hon. Members to have the opportunity of ascertaining the views of the Territorial Associations, but the Bill was presented on Monday of this week, which is not, as these Bills go, a bad time, and, after all, the points which hon. Members would wish to bring before the House on behalf of the Territorial Associations would be, in the main, Committee points. We shall see that there is proper time up to the Committee stage for the Territorial Associations to make their wishes known to hon. Members.