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Fish Supplies, Liverpool

Volume 390: debated on Wednesday 30 June 1943

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(by Private Notice) asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that fish supplies are being held up in trawlers in Fleetwood; that the people of Liverpool and district cannot get their quota and that thousands of pounds' worth of fish is likely to rot; and what action he has taken to end this hold-up?

In putting this Question, Mr. Speaker, may I say that I am in great difficulty? I put the Question to the Ministry of Food, who would not accept the responsibility. Further, the Ministry of War Transport would not accept responsibility. Ultimately, a quarter of an hour ago, I was informed that the Question had been handed over to the Ministry of Labour, who would deal with it. Having placed this Question, as a matter of primary importance, before the Minister who assumes responsibility in matters of food, I should like it to be answered by the Minister to whom I originally addressed it, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food.

I have been asked to reply——

On a point of Order. I do not know whether it is considered dignified or not in this House that when a Member addresses a Question to the Minister responsible for fish supplies that particular Minister cannot give an answer.

The usual practice is that responsibility must be accepted by the Minister who is asked to reply. In this case the Question was put down to one Minister, and it is natural for that Minister to pass that letter on to the Minister responsible, who in this case appears to be the Minister of Labour.

I have been asked to reply. Following the introduction of the dock labour scheme at Fleetwood on Sunday night, the fish lumpers objected to being brought within the scheme. The military were accordingly brought in yesterday morning, and I understand that the catches are being discharged, and so far none have been lost, and I hope that Liverpool will receive their due proportion of supplies to-day.

Can the statement made by the Minister who has replied be borne out by the responsible Minister, that the fish supplies are not rotten and that they are normal supplies? Will Liverpool get its quota?

In view of the fact that the representative of the Ministry of Labour has stated that military personnel are now making deliveries, I am now asking the responsible Minister whether I can be assured now that we are going to get fish that is normal and not rotten delivered in our city? Does the Minister know that? Can I get an answer? [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."]

The original Question was as to the action that we were taking to end the hold-up. I have endeavoured to answer that Question, but I did say that so far no fish had been lost. I hope that Liverpool will receive its due proportion to-day. I have nothing further to add to that answer.