§ Mr. CLYNES
I would like to put a question to the Prime Minister on the procedure proposed for to-day and, with the permission of the House, to make one or two observations which will make the purpose of my question clear. There is on the Order Paper a Motion in the name of the Prime Minister dealing with an international question of the most supreme importance, and raising, for good or for ill, very serious issues as to the commitments of this country. On that subject a statement before the House rose was not only anticipated and desired, but was asked for recently by the 1968 Leader of the Opposition. Now we find that the House, at this closing hour of the Session, with very depleted numbers indeed, is to be asked by a division to commit itself to the policy recently pursued by the Government. Into the merits of that policy I do not at this moment enter. A Government has its authority and its majority to apply it, but a minority has its rights, and I hope the Prime Minister in no sense intends to disregard those rights, I submit to the Prime Minister that no opportunity has been given to the Opposition to consider the terms of this Motion or to determine whether or not any Amendment should be placed on the Order Paper. My right hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. A. Henderson), I understand, did see a copy of this Motion after the House rose on Friday, but it was not until it was seen on the Order Paper on Saturday morning that in any sense it was presented in Parliamentary form. In view of those facts, I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether he can permit a discussion on the subject of this Motion by moving the Adjournment of the Debate, and by not pressing the Motion which is on the Order Paper to the Division Lobby.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
I will be as brief as I can in replying to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Platting (Mr. Clynes), but I must make one or two observations. I agree with him as to the importance of the Motion—-I regret its necessity—on which I was prepared to say something when I spoke later in the Debate. I may, perhaps, anticipate to this extent what I am going to say. Having regard to the fact that this matter has of necessity only come before the House practically the last day of the Session, I am going to take the rather unusual step when we come back of submitting the new Treaty in its complete form to the House of Commons, giving a whole day for the discussion of that Treaty in the terms in which it will go to the League of Nations, and asking the House either to accept or reject that Treaty. So much for that.
I may say that it is equally inconvenient for all of us who are anxious to go away for our holidays to have to consider—as I am afraid any great and Imperial Parliament must at times have to consider—an important matter at the close of a very long and very exhausting 1969 Session. It was only late on Thursday evening that the Colonial Secretary returned from Geneva, and it was only in the course of Friday that we arranged how we could give expression to the desire of the Leader of the Opposition to do as he asked me by an exhaustive series of questions. I spoke in answer to a subsequent question in this House in the same series of supplementary questions of a Debate that we should have, being entirely anxious to meet his wishes, and a Debate almost necessarily carries with it the corollary of a Motion. The responsible members of the Opposition, I think, knew within half-an-hour or so of when we did that the Motion was going down. I am aware that it is awkward to make arrangements in a hurry, but after all, just as in a football match the game is never over till the whistle has gone, so in the House of Commons our work is never done until the Prorogation, and while I am anxious in every way to meet the desire of the Opposition, I cannot, I regret to say, see my way to remove a Motion from the Paper which has been put down after deliberation by the Leader of the House.
§ Mr. CLYNES
I would like to make this observation on the statement which we have just heard. My conclusion is that the further procedure to be followed by the Government with regard to the Treaty in the next Session is the best justification we have for asking that this Motion relating to the policy of the Treaty should not be pressed to a division now. With every regard to the figure of speech which has been used as to the football match, I do not think an Opposition ought to be kicked about in this way. I regard this Motion as an effort unduly to coerce the Opposition into anticipating the decision which Parliament might reach when the Treaty has been dealt with during 1926, and I think that the constitutional practice should be, on that side of the House at least, that of observing Parliamentary traditions in relation to an Opposition's rights. In view of the statement of the Prime Minister that this Motion must go to a division, I can only now say that when this business is approached later in the day I would ask my hon. Friends behind me, with whom I act, to protest in the most vigorous manner that they can by leaving the House and taking no part in the discussion.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
On a point of Order. Is it competent for a Motion of this kind to be put down in the manner in which it has been put down without the House having been given an opportunity of putting an Amendment on the Paper?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
An Amendment can be moved without being put on the Paper, and I am open to receive any Amendments which it might be desired to move.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I quite understand that we are in order in handing in a manuscript Amendment, but that does not get over the difficulty, because the rest of the House is not able to know what is the business or how far it is suggested to amend a particular Motion that has been put down. Because of the supreme importance of this Motion, bearing as it does on an international question, I submit that it would have been in order for the Prime Minister to put it down in such a way that it would be possible to put an Amendment on the Paper to it.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
Since it was in the mind of the Government and the Whips to put this Motion on the Paper, why were no approaches made to the Opposition in time, while the House was still sitting, so as to enable them to put an Amendment on the Paper?
Mr. WARD LAW-MILNE
May I ask whether it is not the case that a Motion in connection with this matter was put down by a station of the Opposition last week and that there has been considerable discussion by different parts of the Opposition on this very question.
§ Resolved, "That this House do meet To-morrow at Eleven of the Clock."— [The Prime, Minister.]
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It is too late.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Proceedings on Government 1971 Business be exempted at this day's Sitting from the provisions of the Standing Order (Sittings of the House)."— [The Prime Minister.]
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member must put his point of Order after I have put the Question to the House.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member cannot put a question to me while I am proceeding to put the Question to the House. He will have an opportunity of putting a point of Order, should he wish, after I have put the Question.
§ Question put.
§ The House proceeded to a Division—
§ The House divided: Ayes, 218; Noes, 70.1973
|Division No. 502.]||AYES.||[4.3 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir James T.||Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Hills, Major John Walter|
|Ainsworth, Major Charles||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Crook, C. W.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D.(St. Marylebone)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hohler, Sir Gerald Fitzroy|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Crookshank, Col. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Holt, Capt. H. P.|
|Apsley, Lord||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Davidson, J.(Hertf'd, Hemel Hempst'd)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney. N )|
|Atklnson, C.||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberl'nd, Whiteh'n)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Dean, Arthur Wellesley||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||Dixey, A. C.||Hurst, Gerald B.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Eden, Captain Anthony||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'bl's)|
|Benn, sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Edmonson, Major A. J.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Elvedon, Viscount||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)||Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William|
|Blundell, F. N.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Kennedy, A. R. (Preston)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Evans, Captain A. (Cardiff, South)||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Bowyer, Captain G. E. W.||Everard, W. Lindsay||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Falle, Sir Bertram G.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Falls, Sir Charles F.||Lister, Cunliffe-, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Fermoy, Lord||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Ford, P. J.||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Handsw'th)|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Loder, J. de V.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Galbraith, J. F. W.||Looker, Herbert William|
|Bullock, Captain M.||Ganzoni, Sir John||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Burman, J. B.||Gates, Percy||Lumley, L. R.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Gee, Captain R.||McDonnell Colonel Hon. Angus|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Gilmour, Colonel Rt. Hon. Sir John||McLean, Major A.|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Glyn, Major R. G. C.||Macmillan, Captain H.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Goff, Sir Park||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Gower, Sir Robert||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Cayzer, Sir C. (Chester, City)||Grant, J. A.||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Gretton, Colonel John||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Malone, Major P. B.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Ladywood)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Marriott, Sir J. A. R.|
|Christie, J. A.||Hall. Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Merriman, F. B.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hall, Vice-Admiral Sir R.(Eastbourne)||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Hammersley, S. S.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Harrison, G. J. C.||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hartington, Marquess of||Murchison, C. K.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Nall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Joseph|
|Cockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.||Haslam, Henry C.||Newman. Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Headlam, Lieut.-Colonel C. M.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hon. W.G.(Ptrsf'ld.)|
|Cope, Major William||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.||Nield, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. Sir George L.||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford)||Nuttall, Ellis|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn, N.)||Herbert, S.(York, N. R., Scar. & Wh'by)||Oakley, T.|
|Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Savery, S. S.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Penny, Frederick George||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Perring, William George||Skelton, A. N.||Wells, S. R.|
|Pilcher, G.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Smithers, Waldron||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Litchfield)|
|Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Ramsden, E.||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. Peel||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Reid, Capt. A. S. C. (Warrington)||Stott, Lieut.-Colonel W. H.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Remnant, Sir James||Streatfield, Captain S. R.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Rice, Sir Frederick||Tasker, Major R. Inigo||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).|
|Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Wood, Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Salmon, Major I.||Tinne, J. A.||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Sandeman, A. Stewart||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank||Wallace, Captain D. E.||Commander B. Eyres Monsell and Colonel Gibbs.|
|Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Palin, John Henry|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Groves, T.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.|
|Baker, Walter||Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Beckett, John (Gateshead)||Hardie, George D.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Bowerman. Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Scurr, John|
|Briant, Frank||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)|
|Broad, F. A.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Sinclair, Major Sir A. (Caithness)|
|Bromley, J.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Snell, Harry|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Kennedy, T.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Dalton, Hugh||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Taylor, R. A,|
|Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Lansbury, George||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Lawson, John James||Thurtle, E.|
|Dennison, R.||Lee, F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Duncan, C.||Livingstone, A. M.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Dunnico, H.||Lowth, T.||Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda.)|
|Fenby, T. D.||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||March, S.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Gillett, George M.||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Windsor, Walter|
|Gosling, Harry||Montague, Frederick||Wright, W.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edln., Cent.)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)|
|Greenwood, A. (Nelson and Colne)||Naylor, T. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Mr. A. Barnes and Mr. Hayes.|
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I want to ask your ruling. Before a Question is put by you, and before the voices are collected, is a Member in order in asking a question upon business either from the Prime Minister or from whoever is the Leader of the House on that particular day?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If it be a Motion under Standing Order No. 1, then no question can be asked. If, on the other hand, it be a Motion outside Standing Order No. 10, a question can be asked. If I did the hon. Member any injustice, I extend to him my apology most sincerely. I was under the impression that on; the first Motion I had collected the voices before he rose, and I am still under that impression. If I am in error, however, I tender him my apology.
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I quite accept that statement. There is no necessity for your apology. I was rising on the second Motion, "That the proceedings 1974 be exempted from the provisions of the Standing Order," and I wanted to ask the Prime Minister a question, and that I understand has been done.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
No; those questions are asked at the end of Questions, I always wait to see if there are any questions as to what is going to be taken, but not after the Motion has been put.
§ Brigadier - General Sir HENRY CROFT
May I ask whether, when the Leader of the Opposition asks a question by leave of the House, such as occurred this afternoon, it is customary that during his statement he should make attacks upon the Government and exhort his followers to a certain course or whether that is not contrary to custom?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I was not aware what was going to be said, but I saw no reason for objecting or Interfering with the course of the statement.