Business of the House

– in the House of Commons on 1st October 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

May I ask the Leader of the House to state the forthcoming Business?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The forthcoming Business will be as follows:

First Sitting Day—The Debate on the coal situation will be concluded.

Second Sitting Day—The Adjournment of the House will be moved in order to give an opportunity for a Debate upon the First Report from the Public Accounts Committee, dealing with contracts. At the end of the Debate we shall ask leave to withdraw the Motion for the Adjournment and take the Committee and remaining stages of the Prolongation of Parliament Bill and of the Local Elections Bill, if there is time.

Third Sitting Day-Second Reading of the India and Burma (Temporary and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill.

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether in the Debate on the India and Burma Bill you will allow an opportunity for a Debate on a rather wider basis?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I have given some consideration to this matter and can only say that as there have been two previous occasions when in similar circumstances a wider discussion was allowed than would have been strictly in Order, I propose therefore to allow a wide discussion in the Debate on the India Bill. I think, however, that the Minister in making his statement should connect as much as he can the proposals in the Bill with the history and the future government of India.

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for what I may call with the deepest respect a very wise Ruling.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker, with regard to your Ruling about the discussion on the India and Burma Bill. Are we to take it that this slightly out of Order, almost in Order, Debate on this Bill about Indian administration and Burmese matters is to take the place of the Indian Debate which the Prime Minister promised the House, when there would be an opportunity for the House to cast a vote definitely for or against the new policy in India?

Photo of Dr Leslie Haden-Guest Dr Leslie Haden-Guest , Islington North

Is not the House to have an opportunity of debating the Motion in the name of the hon. Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn), which will allow us to express a clear-cut view by a Division whether hon. Members approve of the Prime Minister's statement on India, or not? Is it not desirable that there should be a definite opportunity for the House to express its opinion?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

The Bill which was introduced by the Secretary of State for India yesterday is an urgent Measure, which must he dealt with by the House within the course of the next few days, and it is not considered advisable, in view of the fact that there has already been one day's Debate on the Indian situation—[HON; MEMBERS: "No, it was on the Adjournment."] It was on the Adjournment, but it was on the Indian situation as well—to have a third Debate on the same subject matter. As Mr. Speaker has said, the Debate on the Bill will be a broad Debate, in which reference can be made to general matters with which hon. Members are concerned.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

In view of the fact that the Prime Minister gave consent to certain hon. Members putting down a Motion supporting his statement on India, is it not desirable to proceed with it? Would it not be of interest to the House to know what the views of the right hon. and learned Gentleman are on the Prime Minister's statement?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

It might or might not be of interest to the House to hear my views, but it is perfectly possible for the House, if hon. Members wish to vote on the matter, to vote on the Second Reading of the Bill which has been brought forward.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Are we to understand that Government policy on India, which took such a sharp turn in the last few weeks, is not to be submitted to this House for approval? Are we to understand that the Prime Minister makes his own statement and his own policy and consults nobody at all?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I am not aware of any change, sharp or otherwise, in the policy in the last few weeks or days.

Photo of Colonel Ralph Glyn Colonel Ralph Glyn , Abingdon

Are we to understand that the Debate will be without prejudice to the rights of hon. Members to discuss the matter on the Motion which stands on the Paper?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

It is always without prejudice, of course.

Photo of Colonel Ralph Glyn Colonel Ralph Glyn , Abingdon

I mean by that that a day will be allotted by the Government, if the forthcoming Debate is not satisfactory?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

We had better wait and see how the Debate goes.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Does that mean that the statement made by the Prime Minister on India is also to be the subject of discussion during the Debate?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

It is a matter for Mr. Speaker to say whether that specific question can be raised, as it has already been raised on one occasion before.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

I am much obliged to my right hon. and learned Friend. I put it to Mr. Speaker now, whether that matter can be raised?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

It is impossible for me to say at the moment whether that matter can be raised in the Debate. I must see first whether anybody raises it.

Photo of Dr Leslie Haden-Guest Dr Leslie Haden-Guest , Islington North

Would it not be desirable for the House to have an opportunity to decide for or against the Motion put down by the hon. Member for Abingdon? It is a perfectly straight Motion. A great many of my hon. Friends would like to vote against it, and no doubt a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite wish to vote for it. Is the House afraid of showing whatever division of opinion there may be?

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

Would a reasoned Amendment to the Motion for the Second Reading of the Bill, protesting against the imprisonment of leaders of the Indian Congress Party and expressing regret that complete independence has not been granted to India, be regarded by you, Sir, as a competent Amendment to the Motion for the Second Reading of that Bill?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I would like to see that Amendment on paper.

Photo of Mr James Maxton Mr James Maxton , Glasgow Bridgeton

You will have the opportunity, Sir.

Photo of Mr Walter Elliot Mr Walter Elliot , Glasgow Kelvingrove

Would the Government consider issuing a White Paper showing the present position of the particular contracts to which reference is made in the Report of the Public Accounts Committee?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

Yes, Sir. The Government propose to issue a White Paper, and I hope it will be in the hands of hon. Members by the end of this week.

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

May I ask my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Privy Seal whether he saw a report in the Press about to-day's Debate which appeared to show that there has been an alteration in the procedure? The Debate was asked for by my hon. Friends on the Adjournment, and it was assumed that we should open it, but, according to a Press statement of last night, the Debate is to be opened by the Minister of Fuel and Power.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I understand that the arrangement which was contemplated was that the Minister should open the Debate with a record of his administration during the last few months and that then the House would have an opportunity of discussing it, in the light of the facts which he will have laid before us.

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

I am not raising any question about the Minister of Fuel and Power. My recollection of the usual channels is that, as we asked for the Debate, we should be granted the usual right to open it.

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I should be very sorry if there had been any misunderstanding, but I think the usual channels were under the impression that there was an indication that it would be convenient to have the matter of coal debated, and as it had already been promised some time ago that the Minister should make a statement on the progress of events in his Department, it was thought that he should open the Debate by making a statement.

Photo of Mr Arthur Greenwood Mr Arthur Greenwood , Wakefield

My end of the usual channels has not that impression at all.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Cambridge University

How did the statement come to be in the Press?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I cannot answer the question. I did not see the matter in the Press, and I have no knowledge of how the Press knew anything about it.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

In view of what happened on a recent occasion, would it not be possible, after the Minister of Fuel and Power has opened the Debate, at a somewhat late hour which may impinge on the meal hour, for the House to suspend its Sittings for one hour after hearing his statement and then to resume the Debate?

Photo of Sir Stafford Cripps Sir Stafford Cripps , Bristol East

I suppose the hon. Member is at liberty to make that Motion, if Mr. Speaker will accept it.

Photo of Mr Austin Hopkinson Mr Austin Hopkinson , Mossley

In order to avoid a repetition of that unfortunate incident, could not you, Sir, call, as second speaker, someone who is not a member of the Front Opposition Bench?