As the House is aware, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will open his Budget on the next Sitting Day, and a general Debate will take place on the Budget Resolutions.
On the last Sitting Day, we shall adjourn for the Easter Recess. A statement will be made later, probably in Secret Session, as to the length of the Adjournment.
At the beginning of Business on the day before the Adjournment for Easter, the Prime Minister will make a statement on the war situation, and move a Resolution expressing the congratulations and thanks of this House to the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force for the succession of brilliant victories in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
The Debate to-day is on the subject of Food Production. It is also proposed to take the Committee and remaining stages of the Isle of Man (Detention) Bill and the Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill, and there is a Motion on the Order Paper to take those Bills before the hour appointed for the interruption of Business, and to suspend the Standing Order (Sittings of the House) in respect of Government Business. The Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill is, of course, exempted Business.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the statement he has just made means that there is only to be one Sitting for the real Debate on the Budget, because unless the Budget of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer is going to render a large proportion of the Members of this House quite inarticulate, that will not be enough?
The right hon. Gentleman says the usual time will be allowed, but the first Sitting Day will be practically a dies non; then there is the second Sitting Day, and as far as I can make out that is all.
The first Sitting Day will be the usual length of time; there will be no interruption on the second Sitting Day, and there will be other Sitting Days after Easter.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman what are the arrangements for to-day's Sitting? Do I understand that the Debate on agriculture is to go on until the normal time of rising, and that the Committee stage of the Isle of Man (Detention) Bill will then be taken, or is it proposed to conclude the agricultural Debate at an hour earlier than the normal time?
That is a matter for the House. I hope it will be possible to take the other Orders at the earlier time suggested, but I would point out that there is certain Business which we must get through before Easter.
That this day, notwithstanding anything in Standing Order No. 14, Business other than the Business of Supply may be taken before the time appointed for the interruption of Business, and that the Proceedings on Government Business be exempted, at this day's Sitting, from the provisions of the Standing Order (Sittings of the House)."—[Mr. Attlee.]