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Minister's Speech

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1947

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asked the Prime Minister if the speech made by the Minister of Fuel and Power at Edinburgh on 5th May regarding women's voluntary organisations represents the policy of His Majesty's Government.

I understand from my right hon. Friend that he made reference solely to the Housewives' League and did not mention women's voluntary organisations in general. He was expressing a personal opinion.

Is the Prime Minister aware that the Minister of Fuel and Power used the expression "Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do—"

The hon. Member knows that that was put down and ruled out of Order. Therefore, he cannot put the question again as a supplementary. We cannot have the gist of that question in another form, because it was ruled out of Order when first presented to the Table.

May I put it this way? Will the Prime Minister dissociate himself from the expression used by the Minister of Fuel and Power, which has given great offence to the people, and which in the opinion of many of them verges on blasphemy?

I have already stated that I am only responsible for expressions which indicate Government policy. No Government policy was involved in this matter.

May I ask the Prime Minister, since he rightly appealed for a national effort at this time, whether he really thinks that statements of this kind by Ministers are a contribution to that effort?

I am afraid there are a great many contributions on both sides that are not helpful.

While I deplore the utterance of my right hon. Friend in this particular connection, may I ask the Prime Minister to bear in mind that the fur-coated members of the Primrose League, who are behind- the British Housewives' League, in no wise represent the masses of British housewives?