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Sir Lindsay Parkinson And Company

Volume 380: debated on Wednesday 3 June 1942

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether any members of his staff are connected with the firm of Sir Lindsay Parkinson and Company, Limited, and, if so, whether he will give the names and the duties they perform?

On a point of Order. Usually Private Notice Questions are urgent and of some public importance, and I would like to know on what grounds you, Sir, have allowed this Question? It seems to me that it does not come within the category of urgency.

At first sight I thought the same as the hon. Member, but I am informed that certain allegations have been made in respect of this firm, and the sooner they are dealt with the better.

If slanderous allegations made by Members in this House are entirely without foundation in fact, does it not become a question of urgency with regard to the reputation of the firm or people attacked?

The answer to the first part of the hon. and gallant Member's Question is "No," and there never has been any member of the firm of Sir Lindsay Parkinson employed in my Ministry. The second part, therefore, does not arise.

In view of the serious allegations made yesterday by the hon. Member for Maryhill (Mr. J. J. Davidson), can the hon. Gentleman take some public action to stop slanderous statements of this sort being made in the House which misrepresent people trying to do their duty to the nation at this time?

I hope the Parliamentary Secretary does not intend to start interfering with the rights and privileges of Members of this House, which have been built up over a long period.

Is it not a fact that Members should take responsibility for their statements?

That is a matter for hon. Members. Nobody has a right to interfere with their privileges.

Was the hon. Member for Maryhill notified of this Question, which is being smuggled in by the back door?

These Questions are submitted to me before they are put on the Order Paper. I do not know anything about them coming in by a back door.

The hon. Member for Maryhill has been subject to criticism, as implied in the Question. We are asking whether the ordinary courtesies were shown to him by notification that this Question was being raised to-day.

I have tried all through the House and through the Labour Whips' Office to find the hon. Member for Maryhill. He is not in his place in the House, and I had to ask the Question as a matter of urgency.