Business of the House

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th June 1951.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford 12:00 am, 13th June 1951

May I ask the Leader of the House whether he has any statement to make in regard to any alteration of business?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

The Committee stage of the Finance Bill will be continued tomorrow, Thursday, and the Forestry Bill [Lords] and other business announced for consideration on that day will be postponed.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

Could the right hon. Gentleman indicate whether he hopes to begin tomorrow with the new Clauses?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

May I say that hope springs eternal, and it will all depend upon the progress we make today whether that desirable consummation can be attained. I do not myself put it outside the bounds of possibility, but the possibility of achieving it does not rest with this side of the House.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

Of course, it would be very nice to begin the new Clauses tomorrow, but I presume the Leader of the House quite realises that they will require two or more days next week, with the Schedules, in order to complete the Bill?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

There, again, the right hon. Gentleman said in Committee early one day this week that there can be no bargain on this kind of thing, and both he and I, I know, if there were a bargain, would feel compelled to keep it personally no matter what inconveniences that might land us in with other people. I think we had better see how we get on today, and then we could start on the new Clauses tomorrow. I certainly would not expect, with 92 new Clauses on the Paper—I do not know how many will be selected—to get all those during one ordinary sitting day. Therefore, when we see how far we get today and tomorrow, I think we can then consider what extra time, if any, will be required to finish the Bill.

Photo of Lieut-Commander Joseph Braithwaite Lieut-Commander Joseph Braithwaite , Bristol North West

Will the right hon. Gentleman do his best, in what are admittedly difficult circumstances, to safeguard the Question hour which is of such importance to Private Members on both sides, and also see what he can do in his capicity as Leader of the House to ensure that important Adjournments debates, such as that mentioned by Mr. Speaker this afternoon in connection with the lady at Stevenage, can be reached at an hour of the night at which the House can debate them properly?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

That cannot be promised by any one Member of the House, no matter what position he holds. I have noticed on two or three occasions during the Committee stage of the Finance Bill that when everybody seems to be contented, the hon. and gallant Member for Bristol, North-West (Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite) seems to think it necessary to make a few more or less humorous remarks.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Can my right hon. Friend at this stage inform the House, for the convenience of hon. Members, whether he anticipates that our discussions are likely to go on into the early hours of tomorrow morning?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

No, Sir, I would prefer to say nothing on that subject at this stage because I have hopes—I do not put it any higher than that—but I think the House knows my views about adjourning in the small hours.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we are not anxious to express any view as to the reasons that lead to all-night Sittings of the protracted kind we have had recently and which are accompanied by scenes outside the Chamber not entirely consistent with the dignity of the House? May I ask whether the two Front Benches, if we are to have a repetition of this situation, will not get together for the purpose of discussing physical conveniences for Members who are being kept in this uncivilised way for very many hours? Will he consider particularly, in the interests of the older hon. Members of the House, whether some part of the physical conveniences immobilised by another place can be thrown open for the convenience of this House? Does he appreciate that in these days all-night Sittings have not the same kind of impact upon hon. Members as they used to have, because there are more hon. Members now who have not domestic conveniences so near the House as hon. Members used to have? If we are to have a repetition of this behaviour, will my right hon. Friend, in the interests of the good health and decency of the House of Commons, consider the provision of proper physical conveniences?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

I agree with my right hon. Friend that this House was obviously not designed to deal with the kind of situation that arises from time to time in modern days when prolonged Sittings take place. I will consult with the various authorities responsible—they are more than one—to see whether something better can be arranged.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

May I assure the right hon. Gentleman that we fully agree with what he has said about the importance of having the right hon. Member for—is it?—Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) properly feather-bedded while he is so magnanimously keeping the Prime Minister in office.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

Will the right hon. Gentleman the Member for, I think, Woodford (Mr. Churchill), consult his own colleagues, for he will then realise that more Members of his own party complained to me than Members of our party?

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

As these questions continue, the earlier hopes that I had mentioned begin to grow dimmer.