BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
§ The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)
The House is aware from the business statement that we desire to obtain today the first five Orders on the Paper and the eight Motions relating to the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Orders. Some of the items for consideration today will not, I believe, occupy the House for any great length of time. We have already spent time in Committee on the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Protection) (Scotland) Bill and the Leasehold Property (Temporary Provisions) Bill. I trust that it will be agreeable to hon. Members in all parts of the House to assist us in completing the Committee stages of both those Bills today. The House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Orders are, of course exempted Business, but we propose to ask the House to agree to a Motion to suspend the Rule for one and a half hours.
I beg to move,That the Proceedings on Government Business he exempted, at this day's sitting, from 206 the provisions of Standing Order No. 1 (Sittings of the House) for one hour and a half after Ten o'Clock.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. Speaker
It is no good hon. Members saying "no" now. I collected the voices and there was not a single "no."
§ Mr. Eden
I am sorry, Sir. I think I ought to say, in fairness to the usual channels, that there was discussion between us as to whether this should be an unlimited suspension or not, which is what the Government themselves desire. We thought that one and a half hours was a reasonable compromise, and that is what we sought to arrive at.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am much obliged to the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) for what he has said, but I must point out to hon. Members that once I have collected the voices it is no good saying "no" afterwards. That is the important time. "Noes" should be said at the moment, not later. I do not want to be hard on anybody and I do not want to stop a Division, but it must be done in the proper way.
§ Sir H. Williams
On a point of order. As far as we could make out down here, the voices had not been collected. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] There was a great deal of noise going on—the noise was not at this end of the Chamber—and, as far as we could tell the voices had not been collected. After all, whatever the usual channels may have arranged, the great mass of the back benchers knew nothing about this. [An HON. MEMBER: "Oh, yes we did."] Naturally, the party opposite are regimented, but hon. Members on this side of the House are not.
§ Mr. Speaker
I quite agree with the hon. Member. If he does not like what his Front Bench does, he is entitled to vote against the Motion. But, after all, I am the judge of whether or not the voices have been collected, and I was quite satisfied at that moment that the voices had been collected. Therefore, the Clerk will now proceed to read the Orders of the Day.