§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House yesterday that he had an important statement to make with regard to public business.
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
I hope we shall be able to get through the Committee stage of the Finance Bill to-night, and I trust that my hon. Friends will assist us in getting to the end of these proceedings. If we do, we shall propose to-morrow to 2004 proceed with the Development Bill. If we do not succeed in securing the Report and Third Beading stages this week, we shall proceed with the Bill on Monday in next week; and, as soon as the third reading has been secured, we shall propose to adjourn the House until the following Monday, to enable Members of the House to have a full opportunity of considering Amendments for the Report of the Finance Bill, which will be placed on the Paper before the Adjournment. On Monday, the 18th instant, we propose to put down, as the first Order, the London Elections Bill, Report stage, and to proceed on Tuesday, 19th October, with the Report stage of the Finance Bill.
§ Mr. BALFOUR
I understand the right hon. Gentleman does not in any event propose to take a Saturday sitting? If the Development Bill is not finished on Friday he proposes to take it on Monday. I believe there will be no difficulty, as far as my inquiries go, in finishing the Finance Bill to-night if everyone sets his mind to work; but I understand that that is contingent upon the right hon. Gentleman being of the same mind as he was yesterday, and giving us an opportunity of considering the Tobacco Duties upon the re-committal of the Bill at a later stage?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
If we find we cannot get a Debate on the Tobacco Duties to-night, it will be a perfectly reasonable thing for the Opposition to ask for opportunities for a discussion on a re-committal. Perhaps we had better not make up our minds about that until we see whether we cannot get a Debate to-night at a reasonable time. I have promised the right hon. Gentleman, if that was his view, that, so far as I was concerned, I would agree to a re-committal for the purpose of getting a Debate owing to the circumstances in which it passed the Committee. With regard to a Saturday sitting I am very much in the hands of the House. Supposing we could not get through the Development Bill, third Reading, as well as Report, to-morrow and Friday, it might be more convenient for everyone even, if necessary, to have a Saturday sitting in order to have the whole of next week. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would allow that to be discussed later on in the usual way and say nothing for the present. I simply suggest that it might be more convenient for everyone that we should dispose of the Bill this week so as to have the whole week.
§ Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON
May I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman whether the course the Government propose to adopt in adjourning over next week at such short notice is going to be very inconvenient to the great majority of Members, and is going to prolong the Session probably a week nearer Christmas. We understand that there is still a considerable amount of business to be got through before the Session closes. There are Bills which have been to another place and have to come back here for consideration, and to have an adjournment next week is only going to prolong the final closing of the Session. Could we not get on with the Housing and Town Planning Bill?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
There will be plenty of time to consider those Bills when the Finance Bill leaves the House. The Government have arranged that it will not have the ultimate effect of prolonging the Session. It is quite necessary that there should be at least a week's interval. A good many promises have been made in the course of the Committee stage of Amendments on the Report stage, and I think the Government should have full time to consider them before they are placed on the Paper. The Amendments refer to matters of considerable importance, and I think it would be a mistake to put them down in a hurry. It would certainly be in the interest not only of the Government but of all parties that there should be at least a week's interval.