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Business Of The House

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 27 March 1952

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May I ask the Leader of the House if he will state the business for next week?

Perhaps I should first say that, on the conclusion of the business already announced for today, it is proposed to take the Second Reading of the Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill.

The business for next week will be as follows:


Second Reading:

Post Office and Telegraph (Money) Bill.

New Towns Bill.

Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolutions.


Committee and remaining stages:

Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill.

Second Reading:

Marine and Aviation Insurance (War Risks) Bill.

Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.


Supply [9th Allotted Day].

It is proposed to move you, Mr. Speaker, out of the Chair on Civil Estimates and Estimates for Revenue Departments, 1952–53.

The hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies), will call attention to the importance of the adequate interpretation of British opinions and policies at home and abroad.


Committee stage:

National Health Service Bill.


Consideration of Private Members' Motions.

During the week it is hoped to consider the Motion to approve the Draft Fertilisers (United Kingdom) Scheme.

It may be convenient if I inform the House that it is proposed to adjourn for the Easter Recess on Thursday, 10th April, and to meet again on Monday. 21st April.

The right hon. Gentleman has, I think, been informed, through the usual channels, that the Opposition intend to put down a Prayer on the Iron and Steel Prices Order on Monday. That is a very important matter, and it would be helpful if it could come on at a reasonable time. Perhaps it might be possible to get through Government business by seven or eight o'clock.

If the right hon. Gentleman can assist us in getting Government business through by that time it would be of great advantage, for this Prayer could then come on in good time. I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for the help he is going to give me.

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain what he means by saying that the Second Reading of the Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill will be taken after today's business? Is it intended to suspend the Rule in respect of that Bill?

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the Second Reading of the Finance Bill will be taken before Easter; and, if so, when the text will be published?

The Bill has been published, but I cannot say yet whether it will be taken the week after next or not.

Did I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that on Tuesday we are to have, first, the Second Reading of a rather important Measure, and then the Committee stage of the Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill? I am sure he will appreciate that there are 18 new Clauses in the name of the Government, let alone the new Clauses that are being put down by other hon. Members. Can he offer us another day next week for that Bill?

What I said was that we would start the day with the Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill and have the Second Reading of the Marine Aviation Insurance (War Risks) Bill afterwards.

Would the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to give a further day for the Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill, in view of the number of Government Amendments?

I have had no representations from anywhere that it was such a controversial Measure this year. I do not think that the hon. and learned Gentleman will find that it is.

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that the B.B.C. Charter was continued for six months, and that that period is coming to an end sufficiently soon to require the consideration of the new Charter or of a White Paper. Can he say when the White Paper or the new Charter will be available? I think it is time we knew, because hon. Members will want notice so that they can consider it.

I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that we shall make every effort to give proper notice for full consideration of this most important subject.

Has the right hon. Gentleman any idea when we shall get it? Presumably, the Government have had it under consideration, and he will know how advanced they are in coming to their conclusions. Can he give us any idea when we shall get it?

Does the right hon. Gentleman see no possibility of coming to an early conclusion on the conflict of views between the Conservative Central Office and Ministers about this?

Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to the very strong hope expressed by the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs during an Adjournment debate on the Kenya land question that there would be an early opportunity of discussing this matter? In view of the evictions which are now taking place in Kenya, will he arrange for that early debate?

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put that to the usual channels. I had not realised exactly what was said in the previous debate, but at first sight it seems very suitable for a Supply day, the choice of subjects for which rests, of course, with the official Opposition.

On more than one occasion in the House the right hon. Gentleman, when asked about business for the forthcoming week or future business, has evaded questions put by hon. Members and merely referred them to their own leaders. Will he not pay more serious attention to the serious questions that are put to him, even if they do not emanate from the usual channels?

That is not the difficulty at all. Questions of arranging the business for next week and the week after are very much more easily handled if a previous suggestion is made through the usual channels, but if hon. or right hon. Gentlemen like to have a word with me at any time and say, "We think such and such a debate would be a good idea," I can discuss that with the official Opposition, with whom it rests to decide what to debate on Supply days, or with my own colleagues if they are matters for which we think the Government should afford time.

Would the right hon. Gentleman give time for the discussion of the Motion standing on the Order Paper in my name and that of hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House on the question of the north-eastern area sharing a wavelength, under the B.B.C. broadcasting system, with Northern Ireland? We attach great importance to this matter in view of the Postmaster-General's attitude in refusing to discuss the matter with a deputation of Labour Members of Parliament.

Again, I do not know anything about that one. Possibly, if it is in order, it might have half a Supply day.

Has my right hon. Friend received any representations through the usual channels for another day for a debate on defence?

I doubt whether the usual channels would be agitating in that direction after the previous debate on that subject.

May I ask the Leader of the House if the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) is not a question arising out of a considered statement made by the Colonial Secretary which the Leader of the House ought to be in a position to answer and which he has evaded?

With regard to the question put concerning the wavelength referred to by the hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Ewart), does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that we are much more anxious to discuss the disadvantage under which Northern Ireland suffers in having to share this wavelength?

In view of the fact that I did not quite catch the answer given to the hon. Member for Morecambe and Lonsdale (Sir 1. Fraser), can my right hon. Friend say whether the Second Reading of the Finance Bill will be taken before or after Easter?