May I ask the Leader of the House whether he will make arrangements for a Debate at an early date on the White Paper dealing with the transfer of merchant shipping, partly because the thing is arguable, and partly because there might be repercussions on the post-war situation? Also, I would like to ask whether it will be possible to suspend the operation of the agreement reached, until the Debate has taken place?
Obviously, I cannot answer the latter question without notice. As regards the former question, we certainly will bear in mind the desire of the House, and arrangements will be made through the usual Channels.
Does my right hon. Friend understand that if this scheme is proceeded with without Members having had an opportunity to express an opinion, on so substantial a change, the Government may have to meet a storm? They have too many storms already.
I stated in the House yesterday that/like my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox), I had been refused a copy of Army Council Instruction 422, with regard to the removal of officers over 55 years of age. I have this morning received a copy of the Army Council Instructions, but Article 422 has been removed—or is not there. What is a Member of Parliament to do in those circumstances? It is a matter of great importance that we should know whether what the House has approved is carried out in regard to officers in the Army.
I really do not know to what my hon. Friend is referring, but if, as I gather he has received a copy of the wrong Army Council Instruction by mistake, he has only to ask me, and I will send him the right one.
As I said, if my hon. Friend has received a copy of an A.C.I. other than that for which he asked, it is evident that there has been a mistake, which will be corrected.
The Motion for the Adjournment to-day would have provided a suitable opportunity, if hon. Members had taken the steps to put forward that demand; but I understand that a request has been made for an early date on which the Board of Education Estimates can be discussed, and probably that will provide the opportunity desired.