No one who has read the report submitted by Mr. John Morris can fail to appreciate the care with which he has examined the difficulties submitted to him or the reasonableness of the proposals which he has made to resolve them. I rise, on behalf of myself and a number of my hon. Friends, to express our appreciation of the action of the Government in having put into effect administratively as many of these proposals as they could, and in now implementing their promise by introducing legislation to cover the two points which could not be dealt with administratively. In the second place, I should like, again on behalf of myself and my hon. Friends, to say how much we appreciate the clear explanation of the two matters which are dealt with in the Bill, just given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General. He has covered the ground in such a way that it is unnecessary for me to make more than one comment of a general character on the Bill.
My comment is a curious one. It will be appreciated, I think, that hidden in the interstices of this technical and complicated Measure is to be found the Government's forecast of the duration of the war. It will be noted that the proposals for the disclaimer of leases are meant to cover only those leases which, roughly, coincide with or extend a little beyond the probable duration of the requisition. The material date we have to look at is that on which the premises were requisitioned. The earliest date at which premises could have been requisitioned, broadly speaking, was the date of the outbreak of the war. I suppose that requisition will extend a little beyond the duration of the war, and the period given in Clause 8 is five years. I deduce from that that it is the considered view of His Majesty's Government that we are now more than half-way through the war. I can, therefore, express my appreciation of this Measure, not only on what it directly seeks to achieve, but on what it indirectly reveals in hopefulness for us.