Business of the House.

– in the House of Commons on 26th February 1942.

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

Can the Lord Privy Seal state the Business for the next Sitting Days?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The Business for the next Sitting Days will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—Committee stage of the Civil and Revenue Departments' Vote on Account. A Debate on the Ministry of Food will take place.

Second Sitting Day—It is proposed to move Mr. Speaker out of the Chair on going into Committee of Supply on the Air Estimates, 1942, and consider Votes A and I and Air Supplementary Estimate in Committee.

Third Sitting Day—Report stage of the Civil Vote on Account. A Debate on Woman-Power will take place.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

May I ask the Lord Privy Seal whether he is aware that recently, on the publication of the White Paper on production which has now been withdrawn, suggestions were made for a Debate on production? May I ask whether that Debate will take place on the return of his right hon. Friend from Cairo, how soon will he return, and what arrangements are being made to discuss this matter?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I think it will be more convenient to await the return of the Minister of State from Cairo. I cannot state when he will return, as that would be a matter which would affect his security.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Can the Lord Privy Seal say whether he will return shortly—I am not asking for details—and whether the question of co-ordination in production is now being considered?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The latter question is being considered, but it cannot be finally considered until the Minister of State returns, and it is hoped that he will be back within a very short time.

Photo of Mr George Griffiths Mr George Griffiths , Hemsworth

Is it possible for the Debate on production to take place before the Minister of State returns, because, whether certain Members of the House know it or not, there is a great deal of unrest among the workers, especially in the mining industry from which I come; and is the Lord Privy Seal aware that we are desirous of putting the case across the Floor of this House, because the position is alarming?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I appreciate the desire of the House to debate this question, but it would be very unfortunate if the Minister of State could not be back in time to hear that Debate if he is to undertake the task of co-ordinating production.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Will the Debate on the Ministry of Food cover the question of the relationship between the distributor and the consumer?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I think it will cover any question which concerns the distribution of food, and obviously that is one of the questions.

Photo of Rear-Admiral Tufton Beamish Rear-Admiral Tufton Beamish , Lewes

Can the Lord Privy Seal say what are the prospects of the early issue of the report by Mr. Justice Bucknill, and will he make representations to the Prime Minister to permit that report to be debated in this House, if necessary in Secret Session?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I cannot give the hon. and gallant Member any information of the date when the Government are likely to receive that report. As stated by the Prime Minister, it will be a secret report, and it may or may not be possible to debate it in Secret Session.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

Will there be an early opportunity to discuss the question of agriculture, particularly the new prices recently announced by the Minister of Agriculture?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

There will be opportunities to discuss such questions on the Supply days, and a note will be taken of the desire of the House to discuss agricultural questions.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

In these days one must always be discussing the war, but even at this time would the Lord Privy Seal consult with his colleagues again about the treatment of the old people of this country and the amount of their pensions, particularly of those who are at the lowest level; and will he make representations and go into this question again, which is serious, with a view to seeing whether in these days of high cost of living some increases can be given?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I think that what my hon. Friend has just said hardly arises on the question of Business of the House.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

It applies just as much as other things, and I do not see why I should be ruled out.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

It is a question which can be debated on the Adjournment some day, and, if hon. Gentlemen wish it, I could convey the effect of that Debate to the War Cabinet.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

Will the Lord Privy Seal bear in mind that it was intended to have a Debate on the work of the Department of the Minister without Portfolio and, as soon as the necessary changes and arrangements have been made, will he consider the possibility of allowing such a Debate to take place?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

As soon as a statement is made by the Government of how that is to be dealt with, it may be that the House will be so satisfied that they will not desire to discuss it.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that nobody knows anything about the work of the Minister without Portfolio?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

If a discussion is required, it can be considered, with other matters, on the Adjournment.

Photo of Reverend James Barr Reverend James Barr , Coatbridge

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that in regard to the matter which has been raised by the hon. Member for Gorbals (Mr. Buchanan), there was issued lately a determination of needs report in its application to unemployment and to supplementation, and that that statement contains an account of what has taken place and gives a very low average of increase, and does it not call for an early discussion?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

There would be an opportunity, no doubt, at an early date to discuss the matter, as I suggested, and if the hon. Gentleman wished to take part in it, there is no doubt that he would have an opportunity.

Photo of Mr Ness Edwards Mr Ness Edwards , Caerphilly

Surely a report issued by the Department and promised to the House should be the subject of a special Debate and cannot be adequately debated on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House at the end of the day?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

It depends upon how much time is available. There are occasions when there is a considerable amount of time available.