Business of the House.

– in the House of Commons on 28th January 1942.

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Photo of Sir Henry Morris-Jones Sir Henry Morris-Jones , Denbigh

May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether in relation to the Motion of Confidence standing upon the Order Paper in the name of His Majesty's Government it is your intention to accept any of the Amendments to that Motion which have been put upon the Order Paper?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

It is not my intention to accept any of those Amendments, the subject of which can be discussed in the course of the Debate.

Photo of Sir Henry Morris-Jones Sir Henry Morris-Jones , Denbigh

Further to that, I would like to put a question to the Prime Minister. I am sorry that he is not in his place. I gave notice that I should raise the question, but I fully accept the fact that the Prime Minister could not be present. May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether the Prime Minister did not, quite unwittingly, I admit, mislead the House on this question of a Vote of Confidence? I will recall to the House the statement made by the Prime Minister last week: Should, however, the Debate disclose any situation which seems to involve a challenge to His Majesty's Government, I shall on the second or third Sitting Day put down a Vote of Confidence. As relevant Amendments in any form can be moved to such a Motion, Members would be able to state any differences they may have with the Government in the most effective form, and the House would be enabled to express its opinion not only in speeches in the Debate, but, if it were so desired, in a Division."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th January, 1942; col. 207, Vol. 377.] I do contend that there an implied promise was given to the House by the Prime Minister that Amendments could be moved.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

Perhaps I had better answer that question. The Prime Minister forgot that the selection of Amendments rests entirely with me.

Photo of Sir Henry Morris-Jones Sir Henry Morris-Jones , Denbigh

May I with great respect put a further point of Order in regard to the Amendment standing in the name of myself and my hon. Friend the Member for the Eye Division of Suffolk (Mr. Granville)? It is to leave out from "in," to the end, and to add: the Prime Minister and will aid him to the utmost in the vigorous prosecution of the war, and in order to attain this object urges upon him the desirability of appointing to high office the most capable and active men irrespective of Party. I submit that the Motion of Confidence as framed cannot do what a Motion of this importance should do if voted upon, and that is collect the voice of the House on the entire issue. Can you give any guidance to hon. Members of this House, who are practically unanimous in supporting the Prime Minister but who do not feel that the present Government and our machinery for conducting the war meet the situation? How can the voice of the House be registered except upon an Amendment which tries to meet that difficulty?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I must tell the hon. Member that it does not serve any useful purpose to argue with the Chair whether an Amendment should be accepted or not. That is a question which rests with the Chair.

Photo of Sir Henry Morris-Jones Sir Henry Morris-Jones , Denbigh

Will you allow me, Mr. Speaker, with great respect and consideration for the Chair, to put another aspect of the matter before you?