Adjournment and Business of the House

– in the House of Commons on 9th September 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I beg to move, That, on the fourth Sitting Day after 9th August, no Question of which notice has been given be taken after the expiration of one hour after the meeting of the House, and that the House, at its rising that day, do adjourn until Tuesday, 29th Steptember. The first part of the Motion is in order to allow Questions to be taken on the fourth Sitting Day.

Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

I desire to oppose the second part of that Motion, and I do not know whether any Members of the House are likely to support me in my opposition. I want to draw the attention of the House to the statement that was made yesterday. [Interruption.]

Photo of Mr John Davidson Mr John Davidson , Glasgow Maryhill

On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. In view of. the discussion which has just transpired would you consider it within your power to ask the Leader of the House to be now present?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

That is not a point of Order.

Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

I very much regret that the Leader of the House, at this stage, has found it necessary to leave. What he said yesterday appears to have considerable bearing on the Motion now before us.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

Perhaps my hon. and gallant Friend will allow me to say that my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Privy Seal and other of his colleagues have had to go to an appointment.

Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

No doubt my right hon. Friend is in a position to reply on his behalf. This is the passage in his remarks to which I desire to draw the attention of the House, which I say has a considerable bearing on the Motion that is before the House. Yesterday he stated: I do not think that we can conduct our proceedings here with the dignity and the weight with which we should conduct them unless Members are prepared to pay greater attention to their duties in this House, which are just as great as the duties of men in the trenches at the Front."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th September, 1942; col. 112, Vol. 383.] In that somewhat wangling White Paper which was laid before the House the other day, it was pointed out that the average soldier receives the equivalent of £3 per week—a seven day week. [Interruption.] If you will allow me, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I am now coming to the relevant part. I do not know whether you, Sir, are aware that we Members of Parliament, after subtracting the holidays that we have already had this year——

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

The hon. and gallant Member is now going far beyond the terms of the Motion.

Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

You will correct me Sir, if I am wrong, but surely the terms of the Motion are that we are to have another Recess. Therefore, I want to point out to you that, subtracting the Recesses that we have already had, and adding the Recesses that we are likely to get to the end of the year, on the basis of last year, it will work out that for every six days Members of Parliament have worked in this House they received over £30, taking our remuneration at £600 a year. I would also point out that we receive that whether we work or not.

To come to another point, at the end of this year, reckoning on the same basis, this House will have had over three months' holiday—[Interruption]—and we are the people whose solemn duty it is to look after the interests of the nation and to keep an eye on and spur the Executive. We shall have had three months' holiday this year, and yet in various ways we are exhorting the workers to have less leisure and at the same time to step up their working hours. This is a disgraceful state of affairs, especially in view of the fact that right hon. Gentlemen who sit on the Front Bench opposite, when they go round the country, are never tired of telling people that we have equality of sacrifice in this country. During the wartime crisis, Parliament should have no more holidays than the workers.

The Leader of the House, who, I regret, is not here—I accept the statement that. he has had to leave for exceptional reasons—told the House at the beginning of the last Recess that one of the reasons why it was necessary to have a Recess was that Members of Parliament should be able to go to their constituencies and consult their constituents. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] An hon. Member sitting behind me says "Hear, hear" to that. I do not know whether he could prove to this House that during any of the Recesses we have had this year, half of the time was spent by him in Parliamentary business in his constituency.

Photo of Mr Arthur Reed Mr Arthur Reed , Exeter

If the hon. and gallant Gentleman wants to know, I have not even had a half-day during August that I have not been attending to my constituency, including the Bank holiday, and doing work of the kind which has been mentioned. Nor, may I add, since the war, have I had a long trip abroad. I have not been away for months from this country.

Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

I am indeed glad to hear how assiduous the hon. Gentleman has been in attending to his Parliamentary duties, but I believe that if you were to take a census of all Members of Parliament, including myself——[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]

Photo of Mrs Mavis Tate Mrs Mavis Tate , Frome

The hon. and gallant Member must remember that some of us have constituencies which want us to represent them.

Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

I should like to point out to the hon. Lady that what she has inferred is not borne out by an incident which took place in my constituency not so long ago, when I was given a vote of confidence. If I remember aright, that it not quite what happened to the hon. Lady some time ago in her own constituency.

If we in this House are to go on with these continual Recesses and do not show an example to the country of hard work, we should at least show an example to the country in national economy, and therefore I think that it would be only right and proper, considering how little work we have to do now—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—if we would agree to have our Parliamentary salary cut down to £200 a year. I think that for war purposes that would be more than sufficient.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

The question of cutting down salaries does not arise on this Motion.

Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

Let me then say this. If no Parliamentary reform is forthcoming and if we are to continue to have these constant Recesses, I believe it would be far better to do away with this farce altogether. It would be better in these circumstances, if we are unable to put our own house in order, to dissolve Parliament completely for the duration of the war. I think that would be better than this increasing mockery and discrediting of democracy.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

The hon. and gallant Member must confine himself to the terms of the Motion, and these relate solely to the question of the Adjournment.

Photo of Mr David Logan Mr David Logan , Liverpool Scotland

Would it be possible for you, Sir, to explain to the hon. and gallant Gentleman what is the subject of discussion?

Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

I agree that what I have had to say may not have been very pleasant to some hon. Members of this House, but I, for one, think that democracy is becoming thoroughly discredited in this House.

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

If the hon. and gallant Member proceeds on those lines, I shall have to order him to resume his seat.

Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

Having made my protest against these continual Recesses and against the little interest that is taken in Parliamentary affairs in this House—[HON. MEMBERS: "By whom? "]—let me say this. I believe that, in the present circumstances, rather than continue to discredit Parliamentary institutions and the cause of democracy, it would be much better if we were to do away with this farce and have a full-blooded though benevolent Churchillian dictatorship.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

I do not believe for a single moment that Parliamentary institutions are being discredited. I think that Parliamentary institutions and representative institutions of all kinds have justified themselves during this war. But that is not the issue before us. I regret that this subject has been treated with far too little dignity and too much levity. We were told yesterday by the Leader of the House that it was wrong for hon. Members to absent themselves. Now, on his Motion, we are being asked to absent ourselves for a further period. I am bound to say that that appears incongruous to me. It may be quite clear and logical to other hon. Members, but I confess it confronts me with a dilemma. Therefore, it appears to me that when the Leader of the House asks hon. Members to accept a Motion of this character, he should seek to justify it. That has not been done.

In the past, when we were asked to go into Recess in an abnormal situation, it was usually on the ground that Ministers required time to devote to the affairs of their Departments, or for the purposes, quite properly, of recuperation, and as regards the general body of Members it was said that the Recess would enable us to devote ourselves to activities in our own constituencies. [An HON. MEMBER: "Or in other constituencies."] Why not? We are not confined exclusively to local representation. Hon. Members represent the nation, and there is no reason why we should not occasionally visit other hon. Members' constituencies and express our views there. But the point surely is that Members have had the opportunity of attending to their constituency affairs, and that right hon. Gentlemen have had the opportunity of devoting themselves to the affairs of their Departments, and, as I understand—right hon. Gentlemen can deny this if they care to do so—several Members of the Government have had extended holidays, certainly much more extended than any I have ventured to undertake. That is according to my information. This farce should cease. If the Government now ask us to adjourn for a further period, they should advance substantial reasons for so doing. In the absence of those reasons, I am bound to say there is a difficulty. I shall not oppose the Motion though, frankly, I would have wished to have done so.

I do not think it has anything to do with discrediting representative institutions. It is simply a question of whether it is right or wrong to go into Recess if there is work to be done. On that point, I find on the Order Paper several Notices of Motion presented by hon. and right hon. Members of a very substantial character, dealing with important subjects. The hon. Lady the Member for Frome (Mrs. Tate) has herself been responsible for sponsoring, with other hon. Members, a Motion dealing with equal compensation for both sexes. This is a most important consideration, and there are many others, and it occurs to me that as Private Members' time has been taken from them, it would be a useful thing to use up this time—which apparently the Government do not want; that is the assumption—for purposes of discussing this important Motion. I am as anxious as anybody to get away from the House in order to undertake other work, but I think we must have a strong case with which to fortify ourselves before representing to our constituents that we ought not to be devoting all our time to this House.

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

I do not want to be associated in any way with the remarks of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for St. Marylebone (Captain Cunningham-Reid) in connection with any arrangements that are made. I am quite certain that £200 would be quite enough for him so long as he got supplies from other sources, but cheap stuff of that kind will not get us anywhere. However, as far as I am concerned, I believe there is very much work which could be done in the next few weeks. My hon. Friend the Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) mentioned some, and I would like to draw attention to. a matter which I have had occasion to bring before the House in connection with past Recesses. The Secretary of State for Scotland has usually toured the Highlands and Islands in recent Recesses, during which many speeches have been made about the situation in Scotland and the need for urgent work being done in the Highlands and Islands. I have asked before, and I ask again, why the House cannot sit during the time of the proposed further Recess to discuss the very urgent affairs that are affecting Scottish people and Scotland as a whole. We are continually up against the time factor in our discussions on the Scottish Estimates, when there are usually only three to five hours for a whole series of subjects. Now this time of the proposed further Recess is to be wasted when we could have a report from the Secretary of State for Scotland on such matters as the withdrawal of industry and women from Scotland. These and other problems could provide us with plenty of discussion. This whole matter should be reconsidered, and even if it is necessary to have a Recess, let it be cut by half so that in the following half we could have a report from the Secretary of State for Scotland, and private Members, who have particular and important questions to bring before the House, could bring them forward. There is no reason at all why the Government should object to such a course.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

In rising to make a contribution to a brief Debate on this subject, I want to say that I and those with me have never resisted the various Adjournments for which the Government have asked. I am an enthusiast for my holidays; I like to be on holiday. Whatever job I was at, I never pretended at any moment that I did not like my holidays better than my work. In that I differ from the hon. Gentleman the Member for Seaham (Mr. Shin-well). I try, and I have tried for an extended period of time, to do my job here honestly and conscientiously, and I think, with the hon. Member for Seaham, that a Member of Parliament's work is many-sided. I do not think I have to be sitting here and speaking every day to earn whatever modest emoluments I receive. I think if I spend my life trying to see that my constituents get a better share than they have done in the past and trying to make a contribution to the general political front of the nation I shall be performing my Parliamentary duties.

I do not know about others, but I do know that I use a certain portion of my Recesses to make up some arrears of my correspondence, and although it may not be apparent, I sometimes try to spend a portion of my time studying the problems with which I have to deal. I do not know whether it is evident in my case, but from time to time I do try to get an understanding of problems, places and so on that have not previously been part of my knowledge. As I have said, I have supported the various Recesses and Adjournments we have had, but always I have tried to get the House and the Government to agree that we should have it in our power to bring ourselves back During the recent Recess I wrote to Mr. Speaker asking him to recall the House with reference to the happenings in India. To me, the arrest of the Indian leaders——

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

The hon. Member must not use this occasion for addressing the House on India.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

But the recent happenings there represented a complete change in the policy we have been working. The hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) said that further time was necessary for a discussion of Scottish affairs in this House. Well, I would be the last to attempt to resist that point of view; I am as much a Scotsman as anybody. But there are only some 4,000,000 to 5,000,000 of us. Here was a matter affecting the lives of hundreds of millions, and I thought that was a situation in which the House should come together, even supposing that by an overwhelming majority it endorsed the action the Government had taken. Mr. Speaker replied to me that under the terms of the Motion that governs these matters he could only summon the House if he was asked to do so by the Government, if representations were made to him by the Government, and that representations from me or anybody else could not be taken into account. I am not attempting to put forward a hard and definite Motion now. I make a suggestion which I want hon. Members above the Gangway to consider at their party meetings, and I ask other groups to consider it at their group meetings; it is whether there should not be devised some method by which, if the House wants to summon itself, it can do so on short notice. I hope hon. Members will agree with me that that is really a more important consideration in maintaining the power and dignity of Parliament than is the question of whether we should at one time or another have a Recess for a fortnight or three weeks—the fact that we should have the power to decide when we are going to meet if we feel that the Government, who have power from us, need to be directed or restrained in the use of that power. We can be sent away for a fortnight, three weeks, or a month, and we have no power whatever to bring ourselves back. That reduces the House to ineptitude and futility, and it ought to be altered.

Photo of Mrs Mavis Tate Mrs Mavis Tate , Frome

I have no wish to oppose the Government's Motion to adjourn, if they think fit, but I do not believe that when Parliament is in Recess the average Member is taking a holiday. It is known, however, that Private Members' time has been taken by the Government, and a Private Member who wishes to raise a point is in an invidious position. I have on the Order Paper a Motion signed by 100 of my hon. Friends calling attention to the need for equal compensation for women with men for war injuries, and I sincerely hope that if I do not oppose the Motion for the Adjournment of the House, and if at a future date I wish to have my Motion discussed on the Floor of the House, I shall not be told that there is no time available.

Photo of Mr George Reakes Mr George Reakes , Wallasey

I support those hon. Members who oppose the Adjournment. I claim that the Recess which we have had should be sufficient for any Member of Parliament to have done his constituency work. There is a tendency to regard the incident at the last Sitting, when the House was counted, as showing that there is not enough work for us to do in the House. It is forgotten that many hon. Members are engaged in Committee work. On that occasion there were probably 200 Members in Committee Room 14 at the time engaged in meeting the Association of Municipal Corporations——

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

The hon. Member is out of Order. The House is not now discussing the Debate which took place at the last Sitting, but whether or not we should adjourn for a further period.

Photo of Mr George Reakes Mr George Reakes , Wallasey

I do not want to come into conflict with you,. Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but I want to offset the impression that there is no work to do in the House, and to prevent some hon. Members from making capital out of the fact that occasionally there is a sparse attendance in the House. I have mentioned in passing that, although we may not have been in our places in the House, we were engaged in very important work during the last Sitting, and I hope that that is a relevant matter to mention. On the broad issue of whether or not there should be a further Recess, I want to remind hon. Members that people in the constituencies are apt to be adversely influenced by our having a second Recess, particularly after it has been stated by the hon. Member for Sea-ham (Mr. Shinwell), the hon. Member for Frome (Mrs. Tate), and other hon. Members that there are very important matters awaiting our attention. There is also the question of the pay of Service men. Why should these matters be held up for a further period? There is no reason for that. The times move quickly, and every week brings new problems which merit the consideration of the House. I was very diffident in rising to speak because I have been a Member for only four months, but I hope I shall be forgiven, since I was returned to Parliament by an overwhelming majority, and I have the voice of the people behind me. I have made inquiries in Merseyside, and people there are surprised to read in the Press that hon. Members are to be given a further Recess. They cannot understand it. I do my best to explain it. But do not let us be misled into imagining that, because there is much constituency work to be done—which I hope is done—that is all that is involved in Parliamentary representation. It is not. We have at the centre to deal with and give consideration to problems which are falling thick and fast. I hope hon. Members will forgive me for making this intervention, in view of the fact that I am a junior Member, but I speak sincerely and for a very important part of the country—Wallasey.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I do not think there is any need for me to say much to the House on this occasion. I think my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) very clearly showed in his observations how the duties of Members of Parliament vary very much indeed. It is unfair—and I think the country appreciates this—simply to think that the duties of a Member of Parliament consist only in attendance at the House. In regard to the other point which the hon. Member made about summoning the House, as he knows, that is a matter which touches the Standing Orders. The matter has been debated on other occasions but I will report to my right hon. and learned Friend the Leader of the House what the hon. Member has said. I would only remind hon. Members, in conclusion, that the Recess which we are proposing this year is the same as it was last year. I think the country fully appreciates the many reasons why there should be a break of this character. I think people are glad to see Members of Parliament in the constituencies—at any rate, in a very large number of cases—and I think that generally the country appreciates the reason for the Recess.

Photo of Mr Neil Maclean Mr Neil Maclean , Glasgow Govan

On this occasion, as on former occasions, the Motion for the Adjournment of the House to a particular date is a manuscript Motion and has not been placed on the Order Paper. Therefore, no Amendment could be moved to it unless it were a manuscript Amendment, which would leave hon. Members generally in the dark. Would it not be a wiser proceeding, short of altering the Standing Orders, to have a satisfactory method adopted and placed on the Order Paper in a Motion? My hon. Friend the Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) has suggested that power should be given to a certain quota of Members of the House to put forward a demand for the recall of the House during the period of Recess. That could quite easily be done by adopting a Standing Order to that effect. I think it would be very suitable if the Chancellor of the Exchequer would report for consideration the alteration of the Standing Orders in that way.

The other thing I want to say is that if a Motion is to be made proposing the Adjournment of the House for a further period after it has met for only four Sitting Days, that Motion ought to be placed on the Order Paper, or sufficient notice be given to the various parties that that is the intention, so as to give parties or individual Members an opportunity, if they so desire, to put down an Amendment substituting an earlier date than that which is suggested by the Government. I can understand the difficulty in which Mr. Speaker is placed when an hon. Member or a number of hon. Members send a request asking for the recall of Parliament, as Mr. Speaker is bound by the Motion adopted by the House. I support the suggestion of the hon. Member for Bridgeton to amend the Standing Orders, and I ask the Government in future to place a Motion for the Adjournment of the House on the Order Paper, giving the date, so that Amendments can be moved and a division called if Members consider that the House should meet at an earlier date.

Photo of Mr John Davidson Mr John Davidson , Glasgow Maryhill

I, too, should like to put one or two points to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I ask him to withdraw this Motion for reconsideration and bring the matter forward again on the next Sitting Day. I would point out that many Members are absent because they are serving in His Majesty's Forces, and that the longer this House is in Recess the less opportunities they have to come here and relate their experiences and give their views. It is true that the duties of Members are in many ways divided, but I think many Members will have found that their constituents can be best represented, particularly in urgent matters, by direct representation to the Departments concerned. As a Scottish Member I have found that the method of corresponding with the various Departments concerned is very unsatisfactory; I have obtained more fruitful results by seeing the Minister or Under-Secretary concerned and thrashing the matter out on the spot. That is a method of representation which is very important indeed. The Prime Minister, President Roosevelt and other great leaders have assured us that the next few months will be the most intense of the war. They have made vague statements, which have created the impression in the minds of Members in this House and of members of the Senates all over the world that men and women in the Forces may, in the course of the next few weeks or months, have to face the greatest crisis of their lives, and this at a time when the House is in Recess. I urgently plead with the Government to allay the suspicions and the cynical outlook of the people of this country towards the House of Commons. Let them see that we are on the job and that we shall go into Recess only when the Government give us more adequate assurances than those offered during the past two days. Let them see that we shall go into Recess only when we are in a position to take a holiday from our regular duties.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

I agree with those who deplore the references which have been made to the decline of representative institutions or cynicism about them I agree with the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) that the representative institutions in this country and elsewhere have amply justified themselves during the war. One is bound to say, however, if there were any grounds for cynicism, that members of the public would be a little puzzled when comparing the events of yesterday with those of to-day. An intelligent member of the public might very well be puzzled over two things. He might wonder why, having regard to yesterday's Debate, the Government should to-day be asking the House to go into Recess, and, having regard to the length of yesterday's Debate, he might be equally puzzled to know why Members want to stay here. The Government are asking us to go into Recess without offering any reasons. It is not enough merely to say, "We have other things to do." The Government always have other things to do, and Ministers always have Departments to look after, and some do so. I am not saying that there is not ample room for a period of Recess, but we have had an ample period of . Times are critical, and the events which are now happening may very well conclusive for the future of the If the Government really believe that a further Adjournment is necessary, then they ought to give their reasons. Nothing but the most clearly proved necessity should entitle this House to go away for another Recess. I ask the Government, if they expect us to support this Motion, to give us better reasons for doing so.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I do not think I can add anything to what has already been said.

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I think they have been explained on many occasions.

Photo of Mr George Reakes Mr George Reakes , Wallasey

To let you get on with the war?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

There may be something in that. May I say, in reply to the hon. Member who asked a question about the date, that if these had been ordinary times the date would have appeared on the Order Paper; it is merely for security reasons that the date was not given, although notice was given on the day when we got back. I think it is the general sense of the House that this is a reasonable proposal.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

How long are we going on with this silly farce which denies Members their rights? We are continually referring to the next Sitting Day, whereas in fact all Europe knows exactly when and where we are meeting. It is because we are adhering to this silly farce that Members do not receive proper notice of the Government's intentions. May I suggest to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that, in addition to the other matters he is to discuss with his colleagues, he should suggest that the time has arrived when we should talk about dates instead of using this silly formula?

Photo of Mr Evelyn Walkden Mr Evelyn Walkden , Doncaster

I will not detain the House for more than a few moments. I share the views which have been expressed by many junior Members, and I make no apology for doing so because I have not been irregular in attending at this House—I think the next Sitting Day will be the third occasion when I have been an absentee, but on that day I have duties to perform elsewhere. I have been concerned in recent months about the Reports of the Select Committee on National Expenditure. I submit to the Chancellor that all these documents would have been discussed if the Government had cared to go into the details. For example, the Command Paper relating to women in the Services ought to have been discussed. We shall not get an opportunity of discussing it on the next Sitting Day. There was another issue some weeks ago dealing with production. Many Members read the Report and would have liked to discuss it. There is the Fifth Report of the Select Committee, dealing with welfare in the Services, particularly in the Army. On the next Sitting Day we shall be discussing pay and various other matters affecting men in the Army. The amount of time we shall be allowed is about seven hours, but that Report in itself requires a couple of days. Nothing very much has been done about it. We make representations to the War Office and to the different branches of the Service—

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

I would ask the hon. Member what this has to do with the Motion.

Photo of Mr Evelyn Walkden Mr Evelyn Walkden , Doncaster

During the next fortnight or so we could usefully occupy a great amount of valuable time in discussing the important subjects which have been referred to in these Reports. I would ask the right, hon. Gentlemen to take into account, in considering the protests that have been made, that we should review those Reports and allocate time to discuss them.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Rugby

If this Motion is carried to a Division, I shall find it my duty to vote against it. Before the House agrees to adjourn, it should ask itself three questions. The first is, Have we done the jobs that ought to have been done this Session? The second is, Is there likely to be material for us to deal with in the period during which the Government ask us to go away? The third is, What will be the effect on public opinion of a further Adjournment at this time? That is the test, and I am bound to answer it in this way. We have not done all that we ought to do this Session. May I mention some of the things that we ought to have done?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

That would be going beyond the scope of the Motion.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Rugby

If I can prove that there is much business that we ought to have done, am I not entitled to urge that as a reason why we should not go away until we have done it?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

No, that would be going beyond what we are allowed to discuss on the Motion.

Photo of Mr George Buchanan Mr George Buchanan , Glasgow Gorbals

On a point of Order. Surely an hon. Member is entitled to say that we ought to attend in order that certain outstanding questions should be discussed?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

That has already been done, and certain questions have been mentioned which Members think ought to be discussed, but no discussion can be allowed on it.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Rugby

It is no part of my intention to discuss the merits of any of these points, but merely to mention certain items of business which ought to be disposed of. If I strictly refrain from discussing the merits of these questions, I hope it will be thought proper that I should at least mention them. One subject that we have not dealt with is the disaster in Malaya. Another is the result of the promised inquiry into what happened at Singapore. A third is the proposal for a fundamental alteration in the functions of the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury. A fourth is the proposals to associate scientists much more actively in the technical direction of the war effort. A fifth is the question of women fire watchers. All these things would provide us with at least a week's business. Now, having answered my first test, I apply the second. Is there likely to be work for us to do during the period in which we are not to sit? It seems to me highly probable that there will—India and the morale of the Army. The question that I put earlier, which drew forth from the representative of the War Office what was intended to be a rebuke, was not put on the Paper inadvisedly or without serious reason. In all human probability, at a time which we are told will be the most crucial phase of the entire war, it is inherently probable that there will be plenty of business for the House to do.

Division No. 21.]AYES.
Acland-Troyte, Lt.-Col. G. J.Bower, Comdr. R. T. (Cleveland)Chapman, Sir S. (Edinburgh, S.)
Adams, D. (Consett)Bowles, F. G.Charleton, H. C.
Adamson, Jennie L. (Dartford)Braithwaite, Major A. N. (Buckrose)Chorlton, A. E. L.
Albery, Sir IrvingBroad, F. A.Churchill, Capt. R. F. E. (Preston)
Amman, C. G.Brocklebank, Sir C. E. R.Cluse, W. S.
Barr, J.Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Cobb, Captain E. C.
Beaumont, Maj. Hn. R. E. B. (P' tsm'h)Brawn, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Newbury)Colegate, W. A.
Bellenger, F. J.Buchanan, G.Colman, N. C. D.
Bennett, Sir P. F. B. (Edgbaston)Burke, W. A.Cooke, J. D. (Hammersmith, S.)
Benson, G.Butcher, Lieut. H. W.Courthope, Col. Rt. Hon. Sir G. L.
Bernays, R. H.Cadegan, Maj. Sir E.Craven-Ellis, W.
Blair, Sir R.Campbell, Sir E. T.Critchley, A.
Blaker, Sir R.Carver, Colonel W. H.Crooke, Sir J. Smedley
Boothby, Flight-Lieut. R. J. G.Cary, R. A.Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.
Bower, Norman (Harrow)Chapman, A. (Rutherglen)Crowder, J. F. E.

My last point is that in a democracy we must consider the psychological effect of what we do upon the people whom we represent. I agree that it is nonsense to suppose that the only work a Member of Parliament does consists of sitting in the House. We have all sorts of other functions—constituency work, private responsibilities, some of us business responsibilities, reading blue books and occasionally writing them. The man in the street is the fellow you have to keep at the back of your mind. He thinks that, when we sit only three days a week we have a fair opportunity of getting to our constituencies, if we want to, most week-ends, and when we have already had a month's recess, and he hears that we are to be given another period, the psychological effect on the community is definitely bad. I am willing to be convinced that I am wrong about this. If it should be found that there are overriding reasons of State why I should not come here for a period, no one will be more relieved than I, but we have had no reason of any kind produced. Unlesss the Chancellor of the Exchequer produces a case for sending us away which will bear more examination than the last Memorandum that we had from the Treasury on the subject of Service pay, I shall be obliged to vote against the Government. I should be sorry to do that, because ever since I came here I have been trying to vote for them, but I record with great regret that they have not up to now given me a single opportunity. I hope they will remedy this omission to-day.

Question put, That, on the fourth Sitting Day after 9th August, no Question of which notice has been given be taken after the expiration of one hour after the meeting of the House, and that the House, at its rising that day, do adjourn until Tuesday, 29th September.

The House divided: Ayes, 219; Noes, 7.

Daggar, G.Knox, Major-General Sir A. W. F.Soott, Donald (Wansbeck)
Davidson, Viscountess (H'm'l H'mst'd)Lamb, Sir J. Q.Shaw, Capt. W. T. (Forfar)
Davies, Major Sir G. F. (Y[...]ovil)Lawson, J. J.Simmonds, O. E.
De Chair, Capt. S. S.Leach, W.Smith, E. (Stoke)
Denville, AlfredLeighton, Major B. E. P.Smith, Sir R. W. (Aberdeen)
Dobbie, W.Leslle, J. R.Smith, T. (Normanton)
Douglas, F. C. R.Linstead, H. N.Snadden, W. McN.
Drewe, C.Lipson, D. L.Sorensen, R. W.
Duckworth, Arthur (Shrewsbury)Little, Dr. J. (Down)Southby, Comdr. Sir A. R. J.
Dugdale, John (W. Bromwich)Lloyd, Major E. G. R. (Renfrew, E.)Spearman, A. C. M.
Dunn, E.Loftus, P. C.Spens, W. P.
Ede, J. G.Lucas, Major Sir J. M.Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Edwards, W. J. (White[...]hapel)MacAndrew, Colonel Sir C. G.Storey, S.
Elliot, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. W. E.McCorquodale, Malcolm S.Stourton, Major Hon. J. J.
Emery, J. F.Macdonald, Capt. P. (Isle of Wight)Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Erskine-Hill, A. G.McEwen, Capt. J. H. F.Strauss, H. G. (Norwich)
Evans, D. O. (Cardigan)Mack, J. D.Stuart, Lord C. Crichton- (Northwich)
Evans, E. (Univ. of Wales)Martin, J. H.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Fildes, Sir H.Mathers, G.Studholme, Captain H. G.
Foster, W.Mellor, Sir J. S. P.Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir M. F.
Frankel, D.Messer, F.Summers, G. S.
Fremantle, Sir F. E.Milner, Major J.Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Gammans, Capt. L. D.Molson, A. H E.Sutcliffe, H.
Gardner, B. W.Montague, F.Tasker, Sir R. [...]
George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'brokeMoore, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. C. R.Taylor, Major C. S. (Eastbourne)
Gibbins, J.Morgan, R. H. (Stourbridge)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Gibson, Sir C. G.Morrison, Major J. G. (Salisbury)Thomas, I. (Keighley)
Graham, Captain A. C. (Wirral)Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)Thorneycroft, Major G. E. P.
Green, W. H. (Deptford)Mott-Radclyffe, Capt. C. E.Tinker, J. J.
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A.Murray, J. D. (Salisbury)To[...]che, G. C.
Gridley, Sir A. B.Nall, Sir J.Tufnell, Lieut.-Comdr. R. L.
Griffiths, G. A. (Hemsworth)Nunn, W.Wakefield, W. W.
Griffiths, J. (Llanelly)Oldfield, W. H.Ward, Irene M. B. (Wallsend)
Groves, T. E.Oliver, G. H.Wardlaw-Milne, Sir J. S.
Hannah, I. C.Orr-Ewing, [...] L.Waterhouse, Capt. C.
Harris, Rt. Hon. Sir P. A.Owen, Major G.Watson, W. McL.
Harvey, T. E.Paling, W.Watt, Lt.-Col. G. S. H. (Richmond)
Heilgers, Major F. F. A.Pearson, A.Westwood, J.
Henderson, J. J. Craik (Leeds, N.E.)Perkins, W. R. D.White, Sir Dymoke (Fareham)
Henderson, T. (Tradeston)Petherick, Major M.White, H. Graham (Birkenhead, E.)
Hepburn, P. G. T. Bushan-Pethick-Lawrence, Rt. Hon. F. W.Whiteley, W. (Blaydon)
Hawlett, T. H.Peto, Major B. A. J.Wickham, Lt.-Col. E. T. R.
Higgs, W. F.Pickthorn, K. W. M.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Hill, Prof. A. V.Pilkington, Captain R. A.Williams, E. J. (Ogmore)
Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPrice, M. P.Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Hollins, J. H. (Silvertown)Pym, L. R.Willink, H. U.
Howitt, Dr. A. B.Quibell, D. J. K.Windsor, W.
Hunter, T.Radford, E. A.Windsor-Clive, Lt.-Col. G.
Jeffreys, General Sir G. D.Raikes, Flight-Lieut. H. V. A. M.Wise, Major A. R.
Jenkins, A. (Pontypool)Ramsden, Sir E.Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir K. (Woolwich, W.)
Jenkins, Sir W. (Neath)Rathbone, Eleanor (English Univ's.)Woods, G. S. (Finsbury)
John, W.Reid, W. Allan (Derby)Woolley, W. E.
Johnston, Rt. Hon. T. (St'l'g&C'km'n)Rickards, G. W.Wright, Wing Commander J. A. C.
Keeling, E. H.Ridley, G.York, Capt. C.
Keir, Mrs. CazaletRitson, J.Young, A. S. L. (Partick)
Kennedy, Rt. Hon. T.Robertson, D. (Streatham)Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Kerr, H. W. (Oldham)Rowlands, G.
Kimball, Major L.Royds, Admiral Sir P. M. R.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Kirby, B. V.Savory, Professor D. L.Mr. J. P. L. Thomas and
Mr. Adamson.
NOES.
Chater, D.Granville, E. L.Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham (St. M.)
Davidson, J. J. (Maryhill)Horabin, T. L.TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Driberg, T. E. N.McGovern, J.Mr. Reakes and Mr. W. Brown.