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Pamphlet, "Square Meals, And Square Deals"

Volume 387: debated on Tuesday 23 March 1943

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

47.

asked the Prime Minister whether the contents of the recently published pamphlet, entitled "Square Meals and Square Deals," by the Minister of Labour, represent the policy of His Majesty's Government?

This is a Labour Party publication of a highly polemical character, with which His Majesty's Government are in no way concerned. It is open to any person or organisation to publish an extract from Hansard with what comments they please.

Should it not first of all be an accurate extract from Hansard and not an inaccurate paraphrase? Is it not, further, something of an innovation for a Minister of the Crown, in the course of piloting a non-controversial Measure in this House, to make a violent attack outside the House on Members who fulfil their proper constitutional functions of opposing a Measure which they think is contrary to the public interest?

As to the accuracy of any quotation made from our Debates, that is a matter to which attention can always be drawn in the course of political controversy. As to the insinuation which the hon. and gallant Member has made against the Minister of Labour that he was connected with this publication, I can give the hon. and gallant Member the most complete denial.

Would not the best way 1:0 settle this Question be that which the right hon. Gentleman adopted the other day, namely, to circulate this pamphlet in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

Has the Prime Minister seen the pamphlet, a copy of which I have here, and is he aware that it bears these words.

"Square Meals and Square Deals, by the right hon. Ernest Bevin, M.P."?

That is a most misleading and, in my opinion, most improper description, because it suggests that the Minister of Labour has written the offensive comments at the beginning and the end, whereas, of course, it refers literally to the quotations from the Minister's speech in Parliament.

May I ask the Prime Minister very seriously whether, in view of the great bitterness already engendered in connection with this particular Measure, he will consider whether it is in the national interest that it should proceed?

We shall certainly not be deterred from Measures which are necessary because they arouse heat or bitterness.

Are we of the Opposition to understand that there has been a little friction in the ranks of the Government?

Friction is healthy, and is widely and almost universally dispersed.