§ LORD PONSONBY OF SHULBREDE
My Lords, perhaps it would be convenient to your Lordships if I were to ask the noble and learned Viscount the Leader of the House a rather comprehensive question about business. I want to ask whether we are to be called to sit to-morrow, whether the legislation projected in the speech of the President of the Board of Trade in another place yesterday is to be dealt with in your Lordships' House on Friday, and if so at what hour the House will sit, and what procedure will be adopted in order to expedite the passage of the Bill. If I may put one further question, it is as to whether it is the intention that we should be called together to sit on Tuesday next.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (VISCOUNT HAILSHAM)
My Lords, I am very much obliged to the noble Lord for giving me the opportunity of making a statement which I could not make before. Your Lordships may have seen in the public Press that His Majesty's Government propose to ask Parliament to pass a Bill which will give power to the President of the Board of Trade by Order in Council to impose duties not exceed- 45 ing 100 per cent. ad valorem on manufactured and partly-manufactured articles imported from abroad in abnormal quantities, in order to prevent what is technically known, I think, as forestalling. Your Lordships will appreciate that it is essential if such a measure is to be effective that the shortest possible time should elapse between its introduction sad its passage into law. In those circumstances the House of Commons is being asked to expedite its procedure so as to pass the necessary Resolutions and the Bill by Thursday night. In the event of that request being accepted by the other place I am proposing to ask your Lordships to be good enough to meet on Friday morning—I would suggest at 11 o'clock if that is a convenient time for the House—and to take all the stages of the Bill in this House on the one day so that the Royal Assent may be given on the same evening. Your Lordships will appreciate that the Bill will presumably be a certified Bill under the Parliament Act so that there would be normally no Committee or Report Stage, and in the circumstances I hope your Lordships will see your way to having a Friday sitting and disposing of the Bill in the one day.
As to the other question, I understand that the two Motions that have been put (town for to-morrow have been postponed to a later date so that there appears to be no effective business for to-morrow. I suggest that it is not necessary in those circumstances to meet tomorrow and I understand the same is true of Thursday. That being so, probably it would be convenient if we adjourn at the close of to-day's proceedings until Friday morning at 11 o'clock. I am not quite sure yet about next Tuesday. I will try to get a satisfactory answer by Friday, but I am not quite sure what business there may be by that time. I have to give Notice, in accordance with the statement I have made, that I propose to move on Friday next that in the event of a Message being received from the Commons that they have passed the Abnormal Importations (Customs Duties) Bill, Standing Order No. XXXIX be suspended for that day's sitting for the purpose of passing the Bill through all its stages.