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Business Of The House

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 28 February 1952

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

The business for next week will be as follows:

MONDAY, 3RD MARCH—Supply (2nd allotted Day):

Committee stage of the Civil Estimates and Estimates for Revenue Departments Vote on Account, 1952–53.

A debate will take place on the appointment of Lord Waverley as Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Taxation of Profits and Income.

TUESDAY, 4TH MARCH—Supply (3rd allotted Day):

Report stage of the Civil Estimates and Estimates for Revenue Departments Vote on Account, 1952–53.

A debate will take place on Central African Federation.

WEDNESDAY, 5TH MARCH—Debate on Defence, which will take place on a Government Motion to approve the White Paper.

Consideration of Motions to approve:

Draft Civil Defence (Police) Regulations;

Similar Regulations for Scotland;

Biscuits (Charges) Order.

THURSDAY, 6TH MARcH—Supply (4th allotted Day):

It is proposed to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on Navy Estimates, 1952–53, and to consider Votes A, 1, 2, 6, 9, 10, 13, and 15; and Navy Supplementary Estimates, 1951–52, in Committee.

FRIDAY, 7TH MARCH—Consideration of Private Members' Motions.

During the week it is hoped to obtain the Report and Third Reading of the Agriculture (Fertilisers) Bill.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in regard to Monday's business, it would not be convenient if the Committee stage of the Civil Estimates were to be taken formally and if a discussion were to take place on a Motion which is on the Order Paper in the name of some of my hon. Friends?

Yes, Sir, we are in the hands of the Opposition; it is one of their days. If they like to carry on in that way, of course the Government can have no objection.

On Wednesday's business, if it is not possible to reconsider having, possibly, two days instead of one day for the Defence debate, would the Leader of the House make arrangements to have one or two hours extra that day so that the very complicated subjects arising from the Defence debate concerning both the discussions at Lisbon and the Defence White Paper itself might have an opportunity of being fully debated?

I have not heard this suggestion from anybody before. We foreshadowed the debate on a great many occasions, but nobody has said before that there ought to be an extension of time. Of course, I will consider anything that is put to me.

Will the Leader of the House ensure next week that a Government Whip and Government supporters attend Standing Committee A, because it strains a loyal Opposition to have to provide Whips, quorum and majority on Standing Committee A in order to get through Government business, as we did this morning?

I have not had any information on the subject raised by the hon. Gentleman, but on the facts as stated by him I am sure I am very grateful to him.

In view of the confusion caused by changes in the Government programme, can the right hon. Gentleman confirm or deny the report that the Budget speech is now to be made in the House of Lords by Lord Cherwell?

May I address a question to you personally, Mr. Speaker? Did I understand you to say last Thursday that when the Leader of the House had given details of business for the ensuing week, it was not in order to ask when another Bill not mentioned was to come up? My reason for asking is that I want to know when the Government are going to find time to bring in the British Museum Bill, because I am very anxious to see that the Caryatid is returned to its rightful place.

In view of the fact that we are now, I understand, to have a statement on the important discussions in Lisbon, and that the Defence Estimates would be a convenient opportunity for a debate, can the Leader of the House say whether there could be a suspension for one hour on the Defence debate?

As I said, until the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Foot) raised the question, nobody had made the point to me, still less through the usual channels. Though I must not be taken as accepting that a debate on Defence necessarily means a debate on the Lisbon conference—they do not seem to be quite the same thing—I said that the debate on Defence would be postponed in order that it might be seen within the framework of what had been decided in Lisbon. But as I said just now, if there is a desire to extend the time, I shall certainly consider it.

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's statement, I must ask whether we could have a day for discussion of the Lisbon report. I understood that, owing to certain difficulties about Government business, it was unlikely that the Government could find time, but if we can have a day on the Lisbon report it would be much better than having another day on Defence.

Of course, we can look into that, because there are certain days available. There might have been Monday, for example.

Can the Leader of the House give us the latest information about the date of the Budget, and can he deny rumours that the date is to be deferred still further because the Cabinet are unable to reach a decision about its contents?

Can the right hon. Gentleman give some indication to the House when the National Health Service Bill is likely to be introduced?

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Arising from your last observation, is the House to take it that that is a reply on behalf of the Government?

No. The question was asked whether the right hon. Gentleman could name the date for the introduction of the National Health Service Bill. As no reply was given, I took it that silence meant an answer in the negative.

Can we have some more precise details from the Leader of the House about Monday's business? The Estimates have been mentioned, and also the matter of the appointment of the Chairman of the Royal Commission on Taxation. Previously it had been announced that a Private Bill was to be taken—the British Transport Commission Bill. Are we to take it that that will not come on Monday, and if so, how is time to be arranged?

It will be taken on Monday at Seven o'Clock.

With regard to Monday's business, can the Leader of the House say how far it will be in order to quote from the speeches of Lord Waverley in the House of Lords? I understand it is normally not possible to quote from speeches in another place unless they are statements on Government policy.