BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE. (Hansard, 24 June 1936)
HC Deb 24 June 1936 vol 313 cc1766-70
Mr. ATTLEE

Has the Prime Minister any statement to make in regard to the business that the Government hope to get to-night?

The PRIME MINISTER

We hope to get the Central (Coal Mines) Scheme (Amendment) Order through at a reasonable hour. Then we hope to get the Clearing Office (Rumania) Order, which I do not think presents any difficulty. We also hope to get the Government of India Act and the Government of Burma Act Orders, which were fully debated in the House on 12th June, the proceedings on which are formal. These are all exempted business, and I hope that it may be possible to get them this evening. If there is time before 11 o'clock—the Eleven o'Clock Rule is not being suspended—we should like to make progress with the Land Registration Bill, the Hours of Employment (Conventions) Bill, Committee, and the Petroleum (Transfer of Licences) Bill, Committee.

Mr. ATTLEE

I hope the Prime Minister is not thinking of keeping the House late.

The PRIME MINISTER

We do not propose to keep the House late.

Mr. MESSER

Does the Prime Minister believe in payment by results?

Mr. H. G. WILLIAMS

May I ask whether it is proposed, after the Central coal selling scheme Order has been dealt with, to consider the Motions on the Order Paper in respect of the district Orders, or will they come separately, after other Government business?

The PRIME MINISTER

They will come separately, after other Government business.

Mr. WILLIAMS

Then there will be two coal Debates, and not one?

Mr. STEPHEN

Does that mean that we shall sit late on the other business?

Mr. WILLIAMS

May I raise the point again? With great respect, I do not think the Prime Minister appreciated the point. The Central selling scheme raises the major issue. In the Debate on that scheme certain aspects of the local schemes will be raised. I understand that various hon. Members have particular points which they wish to raise in respect of certain district schemes. It will be manifestly absurd to have a long Debate on coal, then proceed with other Orders and come back later to the subject of coal. Would it not be desirable, and for the convenience of the House, that the 17 Motions which have been put on the Order Paper should be taken immediately after the Government Motion has been disposed of?

The PRIME MINISTER

I understand that they are private Members' Prayers—I think that is the right technical term—and they can be taken after 11 o'clock.

Mr. WILLIAMS

Is it not grossly unfair that those private Members who have put down these Motions on the same day as the Government Motion relating to the Central scheme on the understanding that they would be considered on the main Motion, should be forced to consider them after 11 o'clock?

The PR IM E MINISTER

I do not think there is any understanding of any kind.

Mr. STEPHEN

Does it mean that we may have to sit throughout the night on these other Motions, or is it the Prime Minister's intention that the House should rise at a reasonably early hour?

The PRIME MINISTER

I have not the slightest intention of sitting through the night.

Mr. H. G. WILLIAMS

Are not Members on this side of the House entitled to as much consideration as Members of the Opposition? It seems to me that our only alternative is to put the House to 17 Divisions unless we can be treated with proper consideration.

Mr. T. WILLIAMS

Is the Prime Minister aware that the Opposition are not anxious, any more than hon. Members opposite, to discuss the details of isolated marketing schemes after 11 o'clock, and that he would be consulting the convenience of hon. Members in all parts of the House if we could discuss the whole of these marketing schemes in one Debate?

Sir W. DAVISON

Is it not possible to discuss all these Motions in one Debate rather than have two Debates? Private Members of the House have certain rights, and I would like to ask whether it is not possible to consider the convenience of private Members in this matter?

The PRIME MINISTER

I am told that all these private Members' Motions can be discussed on the one Motion.

Mr. T. WILLIAMS

Is the Prime Minister not aware that we are merely discussing a symbol? I do not think that any coal organisation is in possession of a single marketing scheme. We are merely to discuss the principle, and not the schemes themselves. Whether the schemes will involve happiness and contentment no one can say until they are actually before us.

The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Captain Margesson)

Perhaps it may be convenient if I say a word at this stage. It seems to me that it should be possible to dispose of the Motion to be moved by the Secretary for Mines at a reasonable hour. The next Orders are not controversial, and should take no time at all, and therefore, there should still be a reasonable time before 11 o'clock to discuss the details of the various schemes on the Order Paper. We may have to sit a short time after 11 o'clock but at least we should have had a reasonable time before 11 o'clock to discuss these other schemes.

Sir ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR

Would it not meet the general convenience of the House if the non-controversial Orders on the Paper to-day were dropped and brought forward on another day. I think it would be convenient if the Debate on these various coal schemes could continue uninterrupted.

Captain MARGESSON

That, of course, can be done, but I think the House will realise that we are getting near to the end of June and it is important that some of these Government Orders should be got out of the way. On a day such as this the time need not necessarily be entirely occupied, and these small Orders might be disposed of and these other schemes dealt with. It is always possible as the Debate proceeds to see how we are getting on and make the best arrangements through the usual channels.

Mr. ATTLEE

I take it that there is nothing fixed on this matter and that we mast see how the discussion on the Coal Orders goes. At any rate, we are to have the discussion on this one subject interrupted throughout the day, and as some of these district schemes are reached it may be possible that they will be found to be more controversial than anticipated. I think it is inconvenient that any of these Government Orders should have been put on the Paper to-day if they are going to interrupt connected business.

Mr. CHURCHILL

I do not know exactly where we are. The last operative opinion we received was from the Prime Minister, who, in effect, told us to "wait and see," a phrase I have heard before on other lips. Are we to continue the coal Debate through these private Prayers, or is there to be an interruption by these non-controversial Motions? Would it not be better that we should know now whether they are to be postponed, and whether we can dispose of these coal Motions in one discussion?

Mr. MABANE

Can we deal with the non-controversial measures first?

Captain MARGESSON

I think, if the House will agree to the Government business a satisfactory arrangement can be made through the ordinary channels when we see how the Debate on the first order proceeds.

The SECRETARY for MINES (Captain Crookshank)

I desire to put a point of Order, which perhaps may help to solve some of the difficulties of hon. Members. I should like to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether as the Motion which I am about to move specifically refers to the co-ordination of surface schemes, it will be in order on that Motion to debate the various district schemes?

Mr. SPEAKER

That seems to me to be a sensible way of conducting the Debate as all these Orders are included in the main Motion, and they can be discussed on that Motion.

Mr. H. G. WILLIAMS

Without having read all the 17 Orders, I find that they are apparently in three classes. The one affecting Lancashire is different from the other 16, and the 16 fall into two separate groups. The Orders, therefore, are not identical, and although I do not want to discuss them in any detail, it is possible that certain hon. Members may desire to raise specific points on certain Orders which cannot be conveniently raised in the general Debate.

Mr. CHURCHILL

I understand that what is going to happen is that there is to be a general Debate in which all these Orders may be discussed, but that the rights of hon. Members are reserved in regard to a Debate on each Order separately?

Mr. SPEAKER

Certainly, so long, as the Debate is not repeated.

Mr. CHURCHILL

Obviously the same arguments and the same speeches should not be repeated, but if there is a general Debate on matters much wider than the Orders, a Debate confined to a particular Order would be permitted, although some speeches had been made referring to it in the general Debate?

Mr. SPEAKER

I think it will be undesirable for the same speeches to be repeated.

GLOBAL ISLES COURT OF RECORD