The Business for next week will be as follows:
MONDAY, 7TH NOVEMBER — Second Reading of the Married Women (Restraint upon Anticipation) Bill [Lords.]
TUESDAY, 8TH NOVEMBER — Second Reading of the War Damaged Sites Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution;
Consideration of Motions to approve the draft House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) (No. 4) Order; and
WEDNESDAY, 9TH NOVEMBER—Committee stage of the Profits Tax Bill;
Committee and remaining stages of the Local Government Boundary Commission (Dissolution) Bill; and
Consideration of the Motion relating to the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act.
THURSDAY, 10TH NOVEMBER—Debate on the Report of the National Coal Board.
FRIDAY, 11TH NOVEMBER—Concluding stages of the Profits Tax Bill.
This is a public corporation and there was some provision about public corporations. I suggest that it might be discussed through the usual channels and we shall see what can be done.
Is the right hon. Gentleman proposing to give any time for consideration of the Motion which appears on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Darwen (Mr. Prescott) relating to Members' salaries?
[That this House regrets that, in view of the necessity in the present economic crisis to give a lead to all sections of the community, no proposal was made in the Prime Minister's statement to the House of 24th October to effect a reduction in the salaries of Ministers and Members of Parliament, respectively, of 25 per cent.]
In view of the concern of Conservative prospective Parliamentary candidates, as revealed in the very excellent letter in "The Times" today, will my right hon. Friend reconsider the question of giving time to discuss this Motion, so that we may at least indicate on this side of the House that we are supporting the rights of candidates, irrespective of their financial position?
The right hon. Gentleman said that he dealt with Strasbourg last week. Well, did he? Do I understand that the Deputy-Leader of the Opposition asked for a Debate on Foreign Affairs and that the Lord President said that Strasbourg might be considered at the same time? Is there to be a Debate on foreign affairs?
That is under consideration, and if it does take place it is conceivable that Strasbourg can come up. That is what I meant when I said to my hon. Friend that I dealt with this matter last week.
I agree that the time is rather short, but I think it would be for the convenience of public business if it were taken next week. The principle of the Bill is settled. It is not a Bill which imposes duties on local authorities; it is a Bill which permits them to do certain things. I think that in all the circumstances it would not be unreasonable for the House to take it on the day mentioned.
I quite agree; there are all sorts of things which are sufficient to warrant a full day's Debate, but, if I have not enough days to distribute for Debates on matters which are desirable, I cannot help it. I am sorry.
The hon. Member had better make representation to the Secretary of State for Scotland or to the Scottish Whip. I forget the rules in that respect. But I must point out that there have been two Debates on the economic situation—[An HON. MEMBER: "Not Scotland."] Yes, we are all in it and I have a faint recollection that the right hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir J. Anderson) spoke.
I understand we are to have a Debate on the question of groundnuts; perhaps that recalls the matter to the Lord President's memory. That is to be the first of these weekly discussions and then, after that, we shall require a Debate on the foreign affairs situation, especially in regard to Germany and also in regard to what took place at Strasbourg. The Lord President will remember that he played a distinguished part there.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman remembers with greater accuracy than some of the Press reports which followed the morning after we had a talk. I do not follow his methods in these matters. He first refers to "these weekly Debates." I have not said anything about weekly Debates. The right hon. Gentleman seems to assume that something has to happen once a week about subjects in which he is interested. He then uses language to the effect that "we shall require a foreign affairs Debate." It is far better to leave these matters to be discussed through the usual channels—I have said that I am quite willing for that to be done—and see how we get on. I dare say that some suitable arrangement can be made. I cannot, however, get into the position that the right hon. Gentleman is able to "require" things. These things have to be done by discussion through channels which have a habit of discussing them in a friendly way, and I dare say that they can do something.
I am very much in favour of things being discussed through the usual channels in a friendly way, but I cannot feel that the use of the word "require" on behalf of the official Opposition was improper because we always have the option of putting down a Vote of Censure.
Will my right hon. Friend not forget, when considering the Debate on foreign affairs, the frustrated position in which so many Members found themselves in the recent economic Debate, and allow a really long extension of time so that all Members can have their say?
That really is a most unnecessarily offensive remark. Does my right hon. Friend realise that I am trying to fight for the rights of back benchers, which he is constantly trying to suppress?