Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £100, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expense of certain additional married quarters at home, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March. 1962.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ Sir Arthur Vere Harvey (Macclesfield)
On a point of order. I seek your guidance, Mr. Russell. I returned to the House of Commons tonight anticipating that we would debate the Air Estimates at about this time. It seems that naval affairs have occupied the Committee, quite rightly, until this time. We are now to discuss the Army Estimates. Because the Opposition, earlier today, raised points of order concerning tonight's Prayer for over an hour and a half, it seems that we shall not be able to debate, on the Air Estimates, Votes covering many millions of pounds. I ask you, Mr. Russell, what help I can have from the Chair in seeing that these large sums of money for the Royal Air Force are discussed?
§ Mr. Dudley Williams
Further to that point of order. It is a well-known fact that the party opposite does not wish to discuss the Air Estimates because of the conflict in its ranks abrupt——
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Paget
On a point of order. Perhaps I may say, speaking from the Opposition side, that we most heartily agree with what the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Sir A. V. Harvey) has said. This 1303 time is most inadequate, and if the Government would grant us additional time to discuss these matters—which certainly should be discussed—it would be welcome. I do not think that anyone would suggest that naval questions have been discussed too fully, or that the speeches have been long. For the three Services, the time allotted for debate is utterly inadequate.
§ Sir A. V. Harvey
The Air Force is receiving many more million's of pounds than either the Army or the Navy, and it seems to me that if there is only one hour left Air Force matters should have half an hour. I must protest that this is the most unfair way of conducting our business. As I see it, the Air Force will have about two minutes in which to debate these many millions of pounds of taxpayers' money.
The Temporary Chairman
It is not in order, on these Estimates, to discuss a speech of the Secretary of State for Air.
§ Mr. Wigg
I made that comment only in passing, Mr. Russell. As always, I want to help the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Sir A. V. Harvey).
There is a very simple way out. The Consolidated Fund Bill will come forward. Its origin is in the Committee of Ways and Means, and it is, therefore, exempted business. I have every intention of speaking, if necessary, in the early hours of the morning on that Measure, and I will join with the hon. Member.
Incidentally, he says that he has just come here, but I have been here all the time, and so have many other hon. Members, and I think that it is a gross slander when hon. Members who have just strolled into the House have the brazen-faced audacity to suggest that we on this side are trying to prevent discussion of the Air Estimates. That is what I have been waiting for. The time spent this afternoon on points of order and the like was the fault of the Government in jockeying with the Business of the House. The 1304 hon. Gentleman need have no complaint. I hope that he will come next week; we will come, too, and make quite ure that we do have a discussion on the Air Estimates.
§ Mr. Dudley Williams
I hope, Mr. Russell, that you will let me put the full point that I was trying to put earlier. I take the point that the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) has made about hon. Gentlemen now coming in who have not been here all day. I may say that I have been in the precincts of the Palace and watching the annunciator to see whether the Air Estimates were called. I think that it is quite wrong of the hon. Gentleman to say that we have not been attending to our duty, but, surely, it is monstrous, with respect, that because of some dispute on the other side we should be prevented from discussing these very important Estimates.
§ Several Hon. Membersrose——
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
I want to speak on the Vote, because it is one of which I thoroughly approve. I certainly have no objection to the provision of £50,000 for married quarters All I want to say is that we have fulfilled our duties, as representatives of those who have sent us here, in very carefully scrutinising very large and, as we believe, very extravagant Estimates.
§ Question put and agreed to.
That a sum, not exceeding £100, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the expense of certain additional married quarters at home, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1962.