Orders of the Day — Parliament Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th November 1947.

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Photo of Sir Eric Fletcher Sir Eric Fletcher , Islington East 12:00 am, 10th November 1947

I of course accept your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and would add that I did not intend to quote what was said in another place. In "The Times" of 7th November the Archbishop of York is reported, when addressing his Diocesan Conference at York, to have expressed his regret that the Government should have introduced this controversial Measure at this time. The Archbishop then went on to say, as the Archbishop of Canterbury had previously said, that he was not expressing any opinion on the merits or demerits of the proposal. I can appreciate the sentiment that it is a good thing to have peace and quiet in political life, but where Measures are regarded by His Majesty's Government as being good in themselves, meritorious and necessary, then one cannot refrain from introducing them merely because they may invite controversy, and partisan opposition.

We have been told almost ad nauseam in recent weeks that this country is looking for leadership. It would be an abdication of leadership to refrain from introducing Measures merely because they are controversial. I do not believe that this Measure is going to divert anybody's attention from the economic crisis. Judging from the small attendance of hon. Members opposite, this Debate is not diverting many people's attention from the crisis. On the contrary, I believe—and my opinion is based on my experience in my constituency—that the introduction of this Measure will do much to rally and to reassure those elements in the country on whose willing and sustained response to the present appeals for further production in the factories and elsewhere so much depends in these days of national crisis.