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Sickness Certificates

Volume 480: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1950

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asked the Minister of National Insurance whether she has received the letter from the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrew, Eastern, enclosing statements from doctors about dishonest attempts to obtain sickness certificates from them, for which she asked on 24th October; and what action she intends to take to put an end to these practices.

I have received the hon. and gallant Member's letter of 9th November enclosing four letters written to him after I had answered his Question on 24th October. I am giving these letters my attention, and am consulting my right hon. Friends.

Does the right hon. Lady admit, in view of the fact that there are more than 900,000 people absent from work through sickness every day in this country, that when I asked her a Question she challenged me to produce even three letters from doctors to justify my suggestion, and that I not only gave her more than three but gave her quotations from others as well? Would it not be as well——

I will certainly not withdraw it, for this reason: The Question asked me was on 24th October, in which the hon. and gallant Gentleman implied that I had information which I was not disclosing.

I therefore challenged the hon. and gallant Gentleman to produce the information he had. That was on the 24th October, and on the 25th the Press gave wide publicity to this matter. Since then—and not before the 24th—four doctors out of many thousands have come to the help of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, and he has sent me their letters.

On a point of order. The right hon. Lady has entirely misinterpreted the original Question. My original Question asked her if she was aware——

The hon. and gallant Gentleman will now resume his seat. He will obey the Speaker.

Is it not in order, Mr. Speaker, for a questioner to give notice at the end of his Question, when he is dissatisfied with an answer, that he wishes to raise the matter on the Adjournment? That, I think, was what my hon. and gallant Friend was trying to do.

I should like to have been entitled to do more. In view of the grossly inaccurate statement and misrepresentation of the right hon. Lady—doubtless by accident, as I respectfully say—I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.