Business of the House.

– in the House of Commons on 21st May 1942.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

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?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

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.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

On the question of the application of the scheme which appears in the White Paper, can we have an assurance that this will not be proceeded with until hon. Members have had an opportunity of expressing their views on the subject?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

Obviously, I cannot give an undertaking without having had any notice whatever to enable me to consult other Ministers about it.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

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.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

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.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

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.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

It is not a question of receiving a wrong copy; it is only that Article 422, with which I am concerned, is not there.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Lambeth Norwood

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.

Photo of Colonel Ralph Glyn Colonel Ralph Glyn , Abingdon

Will the Leader of the House be good enough to say when it is intended to announce to Parliament the changes in the War Office organisation on technical advice?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I cannot say the exact date, but I know that the Secretary of State for War intends to do it very shortly.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Lindsay Mr Kenneth Lindsay , Kilmarnock

As a number of Members want a Debate on the whole question of the registration of youth can the Lord Privy Seal say whether there will be any time given for such a Debate after the Whitsuntide Recess?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

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.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that, while it is desirable to discuss youth, we also want to discuss old age pensions?