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Business Of The House

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 9 April 1952

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Might I ask the Leader of the House if he will state the business for the week of resumption after the Easter Recess?

Yes, Sir. Assuming that the House agrees to the Motion to adjourn tomorrow until Monday, 21st April, for the Easter Recess, the business for the week of our return will be as follows:

MONDAY, 21ST APRIL — Second Reading:

Empire Settlement Bill.

Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution, which it is hoped to obtain by about 7 p.m.

Committee and remaining stages:

Customs and Excise Bill (this is largely a consolidation Measure which has been reported upon by a Joint Committee of both Houses).

New Towns Bill.

Consideration of Motion to commit the Rating and Valuation (Scotland) Bill to the Scottish Standing Committee.

Report and Third Reading:

Electricity Supply (Meters) Bill, if there is time.

TUESDAY, 22ND APRIL—Conclusion of Committee stage:

National Health Service Bill.

WEDNESDAY, 23RD APRIL—Second Reading:

Housing Bill.

Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

THURSDAY, 24TH APRIL—Supply [10th allotted Day]:—Committee.

Subject for debate to be announced later.

FRIDAY, 25TH APRIL—Consideration of Private Members' Bills.

During the week it is hoped to take the Motion to approve the MacBrayne Mail Contract, and consider any Amendments which may be received from another place to the Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill.

Arising from the business fixed for Tuesday, 22nd April, when the Government hope to get the conclusion of the Committee stage of the National Health Service Bill, can the right hon. Gentleman say anything about how far he expects to go on that matter today?

Is it not a little premature to be so optimistic about Tuesday, 22nd April?

My right hon. Friend has intimated that he hopes to get the Second Reading of the Empire Settlement Bill and the Committee stage of the Money Resolution by seven o'clock on Monday, 21st April. Do we understand from that that if there are hon. Members on both sides of the House who wish to speak—and there is a considerable number—no action will be taken by the Government to terminate the discussion at seven o'clock?

I only said it was hoped that that time-table would suit the convenience of Members. Hon. Gentlemen must not confuse the number of Members who want to speak with the length of the speeches they want to make.

Could the right hon. Gentleman say when the Government will give time to discuss the very important Motion put down by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blackburn, West (Mr. Assheton) and supported by Members on all sides of the House?

[ That this House calls upon Her Majesty's Government immediately to reconsider their proposals with regard to Purchase Tax in order to alleviate the rising unemployment in the textile industry.]

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I should like to seek your guidance on a matter. There are three Notices of Motion to be moved by the Prime Minister, and I should like to seek your advice as to whether the second of those Motions, which has to do with the adjournment of the House tomorrow, is debatable or not?

Can the Leader of the House say when we can expect that the Government's White Paper on the future of the British Broadcasting Corporation will be available? I know there was a Question about it this afternoon, but I gathered then that the answer was that it was still uncertain.

It certainly has not changed since the answer was given to the Question.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, after the Recess, a Motion will be moved to remit the Scottish counterpart of the Housing Bill to the Scottish Standing Committee?

I have every regard for the Front Benches on both sides of the House, but I quite clearly understood that a little while ago you, Mr. Speaker, distinctly called out my name and that a point of order was then quite properly taken, as it has precedence. With great respect, why is it when someone on one of the Front Benches gets up after the point of order has been dealt with, he gets a precedence over me and I am not called again?

I think that is right, but the sequence of events was broken by an irruption from the Front Bench.

Referring to the business on Monday, 21st April, when we return, may I reinforce the plea which has been made by my hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Langford-Holt) about the importance of the debate on the Empire Settlement Bill? Would my right hon. Friend give us a full day in which to debate this subject, not because of the number who may want to speak, but because of the importance of the subject.

I quite appreciate that, and my hon. Friends need be under no misapprehension about it. I merely put it down as a first Order on the Paper. Some of the other items are purely technical and formal, I hope.

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that discussions are now going on at the Ministry of Agriculture about the farm Price Review, and it is understood that this morning a figure of about £50 million was being discussed, which will be borne by the consumers. Sometime next week an announcement is to be made as to the exact figure. In view of the sum involved, its serious implications on the cost of living, and so that we can discuss more fully this £50 million—which comes on top of the doctors' £40 million—will the right hon. Gentleman make a day available for the subject?

All this seems very hypothetical, and I cannot fit in hypothetical questions with the programme for the week when we meet again after the Easter Recess.

The right hon. Gentleman will remember that under the previous Government it was arranged that there would be three days available in Government time for the discussion of matters affecting the public corporations, apart from whatever time the Opposition might find in Supply time. Can the right hon. Gentleman say approximately when he will be ready to discuss the allocation of these three days, which, I presume, this Government will adhere to, as we did?

Would it ease the position for the right hon. Gentleman and those hon. Members who wish to have a full day for the Empire Settlement Bill if I were to say that I and my hon. Friends who are interested in the Customs and Excise Bill are prepared, in those circumstances, to allow the Committee stage to go through without putting down any Amendments or taking up any points? Will that be of assistance to the right hon. Gentleman?

Like the other matters that have been raised, I shall cobsider that carefully, but I recognise the generous action of one of the newer leaders of the Opposition.

On a point order. I have been on my feet repeatedly and have not been called, Sir, I want to put a rather important point of business of a non-party nature.