Business of the House.

– in the House of Commons on 5th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Edinburgh East

Might I ask whether the Prime Minister has any statement to make about the forthcoming Business?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

The Business will be as follows:

First Sitting Day.Second Reading of the Securities (Validation) Bill; Committee and remaining stages of the India (Federal Courts Judges) Bill [Lords]; Committee stage of the Restoration of Pre-War Trade Practices Bill; and Report and Third Reading of the War Orphans Bill and Patents and Designs Bill [Lords].

Second Sitting Day.—The Adjournment will be moved, and a Debate will take place on the Shipping situation. It will be necessary, in order to do justice to the subject, that the Debate on Shipping should take place in Secret Session.

Third Sitting Day.—Report and Third Reading of the Restoration of Pre-War Trade Practices Bill; and of the Landlord and Tenant (Requisitioned Land) Bill.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

When will my right hon. Friend be in a position to define the duties of the new Minister of Production, his relation to the Admiralty and the Ministry of Labour, and the kind of reorganisation that will be made?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

Naturally, I should not have submitted the list to the King without having examined all those aspects. There are still some minor details which require clarification, and I think it would be better if I made a short statement to the House on the First Sitting Day, defining the duties of the Minister. At the same time, a White Paper will be issued.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

Will the right hon. Gentleman, in preparing his statement, take into account the desirability of having a spokesman of the Ministry of Production in the House of Commons?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

Yes, Sir; in fact, I can relieve the hon. Member's anxiety at this moment. The Minister of Supply will act as spokesman for the Ministry of Production in the House of Commons, and, of course, any member of the War Cabinet can speak for that Ministry at any time.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

As the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Supply will not be a member of the War Cabinet, will there not be some difficulty owing to the Ministry of Production being represented in this House by an inferior Minister?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

I do not think so. A great many matters have to be dealt with in the House of Commons by Ministers who are not Members of the War Cabinet. The pressure that has been put on me from many quarters has not been to extend the War Cabinet, but to keep it as small as possible.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Will the right hon. Gentleman be in a position to submit the Treaty with Ethiopia to the House for its approval?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

The act is done. I have had a very cordial telegram from the Emperor on the completion of the task—

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

I should imagine he would be pleased.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

—but it the House wishes to have a discussion, it could be arranged through the usual channels. I quite admit that the matter raises all kinds of difficult dilemmas.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

In view of the fact that President Roosevelt has made a very frank statement on the shipbuilding and shipping position, and that there have been many statements about it in the American Press, why is it necessary to have a Secret Session on the subject?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

Of course, a case can be stated in public; but it would not be the case which ought to be put before the House to enable it to form a proper judgment.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Will the right hon. Gentleman be in a position soon to make a statement on Service pay and allowances?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

Yes, Sir; I hope to make a statement on that point on the next Sitting Day.