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Business Of The House

Volume 645: debated on Wednesday 26 July 1961

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Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise a point of order in connection with the debate which is to follow. The debate on the economic situation presumably takes place on the Government Motion and the Opposition Amendment, but there are two Orders on the Order Paper—the Surcharge on Revenue Duties Order, and the Exchequer Advances (Limit) (No. 2) Order, which are closely associated with the Motions. The first Order is, of course, an integral part of the Chancellor's proposals. The second Order is something which the Government have proposed should be discussed in this debate.

Can we be assured that if we discuss the contents of these two Orders in the course of the general debate we shall not be barred by the rule of anticipation because the Orders will come up later?

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. Is it not the other way round? Unless we did something about our rules, we should be debarred from discussing the Orders in the general debate. That would seem to be very inconvenient in the context, and I expect that the House would like to discuss the Orders in the general debate. If we do that, I feel that we ought not to discuss them all over again afterwards, but, subject to that matter, no doubt it would be for the convenience of the House to adopt the course suggested by the right hon. Gentleman. The Chancellor of the Exchequer.

On a point of order. I apologise for not catching your eye immediately, Mr. Speaker, but I did not want to interrupt the Chancellor. At the time when power was taken in the Finance Bill to introduce this regulator we were told that there would be a full and adequate discussion of it, in general terms.

The economic debate will cover a wide variety of matters associated with the regulator, but not part of the regulator. I had assumed—and I dare say that many of my hon. Friends and some hon. Members opposite had also assumed—that two days was by no means an excessive time in which to discuss the general economic situation, and that there would be a need to discuss the economic regulator—the first of its kind ever—in full detail.

In those circumstances, may we ask for some enlightenment of your last remark, that you hoped that if two days were spent on the general economic debate, in this very critical situation, there would be no further discussion on the Orders themselves?

I did not say that. I just thought that it would be extremely awkward to have this general economic debate and to apply our rule which would exclude from that debate a discussion of the contents of the Orders. But it seemed a reasonable corollary to say that we should not go over the same ground again. That would appear to be rather inconvenient to the House. I am not saying that we should not have any discussion of the Orders at all.

I am obliged to you for the first Ruling you gave, Mr. Speaker, which was certainly in accordance with the wishes of the House. But there is no suggestion that we should be debarred altogether from discussing the Orders after the main Motion and Amendments have been disposed of; it was merely a suggestion that we should not want to go too long on them. Am I right in that assumption?

I am not in a position to bind the House about that. I made what I hoped would be thought to be a reasonable suggestion, so that we did not duplicate the debate in respect of the Orders.