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Adjournment (Whitsuntide)

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 2 June 1949

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Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House, at its rising Tomorrow, do adjourn till Tuesday, 21st June."—[ The Prime Minister.]

4.1 p.m.

I do not wish to detain the House from the important Business with which it has to deal today, especially as I understand that within a short time we shall have to go to another place, but I cannot allow the Motion, so eloquently moved by the Prime Minister, to pass without some comment. I have been in the House 25 years. [HON. MEMBERS: "Too long."] I was here before many hon. Members opposite came in, and I shall still be here after many of them have gone out. I do not recollect that in those 25 years we have ever been asked to adjourn at Whitsuntide for such a long Recess as we are now taking. I must admit that in making that statement I am trusting my memory and have not indulged in any research. Although there are many matters on which my memory is not wholly trustworthy—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—when it comes to having an extra holiday I probably do remember.

None of my hon. Friends, and certainly not I, want to take any pedantic or priggish view about holidays. On the whole, we think they are a good thing. If I may be allowed for once to borrow the phraseology of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that charming schoolboy simplicity which is such an obvious sign of having the common touch, I would say that I am not one to complain that holidays are frightfully long, especially holidays in which I am going to share.

Nor are we on this side of the House in any way lacking in generosity or a sense of justice. We realise that hon. Members opposite—particularly right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite—are in rather a different position from us. Whereas next week each one of us will be pursuing whatever innocent and recuperative pursuit we select, sufficient in a few days' time to bring us back to the House with restored health and vigour, right hon. Gentlemen opposite will be engaged in a different way. They are all converging, I understand, on a celebrated and, to me, well-known northern resort. Some, we are told, are going by road, some, we understand, are going by air; and it may even be that a few of the less important will travel by our railways. We fully realise that they will have an arduous week in front of them. Blackpool for them will not be at all the kind of place which in the past Blackpool has been to me. They will have to spend their time discussing whether Labour believes in the nation and also the even more important question of whether Labour believes in the Lord President of the Council——