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War Cabinet

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 2 March 1943

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asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the increasing burdens involved in the central direction of the war effort, he will consider the setting-up of a small War Cabinet of Ministers, freed from the running of large Departments, in order that they may devote their whole time to a wider share in, and increased responsibility for, the problems of strategy and war policy?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir T. Moore) on 15th October last.

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that it is possible for five Members of the War Cabinet to run one and sometimes two large Departments at the same time and be able to attend to their duties as Cabinet Ministers? Is it not time we had a full-time and not a part-time War Cabinet?

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that at the time to which he has referred the Prime Minister said that he would probably refer to the matter later in the Debate and that, unfortunately, the Prime Minister forgot to do so?

I do not think my hon. and gallant Friend's recollection is correct. The answer which the Prime Minister gave was:

"Yes, Sir. I am opposed to such an arrangement for reasons which I have fully explained to the House. But another Government might take a different view."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th October, 1942; col. 1762, Vol. 383.]
There was no allusion to another Debate.

Do we gather from the reply of the right hon. Gentleman that the Prime Minister, like his predecessor, is a Unitarian and does not believe in triumvirates or "tangled Trinities"?

Is it not time that we had a full-time War Cabinet or Council of State, in order to take some of the responsibility off the shoulders of one man?