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Commons Chamber

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 22 March 1951

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House Of Commons

Thursday, 22nd March, 1951

The House met at Eleven o'Clock

The Clerk at the Table informed the House of the absence through indisposition ofMr. SPEAKER from this day's Sitting.

Whereupon Major MILNER, The CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS, proceeded to the Table and, after Prayers, took the Chair, asDEPUTY-SPEAKER, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Private Business

Falkirk Burgh Extension &C Order Confirmation Bill

Read a Second time; to be considered upon Tuesday, 3rd April.


Coal Mining, Astley

I desire to present a Petition from certain of my constituents. It is the humble Petition of the Vicar and parishioners of Astley in the County of Warwick, and others; and it bears 176 signatures. The Petition states that the National Coal Board designs to extract coal from under Astley Church; that the subsidence resulting therefrom would imperil the structure of this ancient church; that the works proposed by the Board, for the mitigation of damage, include the severance of the tower from the nave; that such works would require the removal at great risk, of the painted stalls, which have remained undisturbed for 300 years; and would preclude the normal use of the church for a long period; and that Astley Church, by reason of its antiquity and beauty, is a national monument.

The Petition concludes with the Prayer:
"Wherefore your Petitioners pray that the National Coal Board be restrained from proceeding to work the coal beneath Astley Church and from causing damage thereto. And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray."

Oral Answers To Questions


Film Technician


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the man about whom the hon. And gallant Member for Chelsea wrote to him on 5th March is still unemployed; and what steps he is taking to help this man find employment in his trade of film technician.

When Mr. Lowe was interviewed at London Appointments Office on 21st February he wished to be considered for any suitable employment, not necessarily in the film industry, and he is registered for a trainee executive post. No suitable vacancy has been notified in the short period that has since elapsed.

Does the Minister realise that this man is up against a brick wall because there is, first, a closed shop in the film industry, and, second, he is refused admission to the Association of Cinematograph and Allied Technicians, and, therefore, cannot compete for this employment?

My Ministry does not intervene in agreements between employers and trade unions. Intervention would not, I think, be strictly in accordance with the neutrality which we try to observe in these fields. From the lack of complaints of this type that have come to my knowledge, I should not have thought that it was merely a question of the closed shop. It is quite possible that there are differences between Mr. Lowe and the union. I do not know the background, but I should not have thought, from the general lack of complaints I have had from this industry, that it was a question of a closed shop.

Disabled Persons


asked the Minister of Labour how many disabled men and women were awaiting training at the last available date.

On 19th February, 372 disabled men and women were awaiting allocation to training courses.

Will the Minister arrange that the unions give tickets to these people when they are trained to enable them to practise their trade?

I understand that the unions are willing to do everything in their power to help in this matter.


asked the Minister of Labour by what methods disablement rehabilitation officers are informed of the possibilities and vacancies for the training of disabled men and women at St. Loyes College, Exeter, and Queen Elizabeth's College, Leatherhead.

Disablement rehabilitation officers have been fully informed of the facilities available at these two very important establishments for training the severely disabled, and they are kept informed of current training vacancies by means of regular monthly and other circulars and memoranda.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a number of the unemployed disabled men and women he mentions are unaware of the facilities and possibilities of training at these colleges, even though the training would be of great benefit to them? Would he make quite certain that in these cases the D.R.O.'s inform the unemployed disabled of the possibilities there?

I will certainly see that that is done. My impression, from the very high numbers who occupy places available at these two colleges, is that, generally speaking, there is adequate knowledge of the facilities in them; but I will certainly have a look at the point which the hon. Member has raised.


asked the Minister of Labour how many men and women, at present in sheltered employment, have undergone courses of training at St. Loyes College, Exeter, and Queen Elizabeth's College, Leatherhead.

Complete information is not available, but of those sponsored by my Department who have undergone training at St. Loyes College, Exeter, and Queen Elizabeth's College, Leatherhead, including the needlecraft section in London, there are eight (five men and three women) and 11 (10 men and one woman) respectively who are now in sheltered employment in these undertakings.

Would the hon. Gentleman not consider that it might be of great assistance to the Disabled Persons Employment Corporation if some of their employees could have the benefit of the excellent training afforded by the two colleges before they go to Remploy?

There may be people who find their way into such employment without necessarily coming from the Ministry of Labour, but, again, I will look into the point the hon. Gentleman has put to me.


School Dentists, Rother Valley


asked the Minister of Education how many school dentists are employed for the school population in the Rother Valley area, part- or full-time.

There is no school dentist at present in this area, but emergency treatment is available at the dental clinic at Rawmarsh.

Is my hon. Friend aware that there are over 12,000 school children in this area, and that for a considerable time there has been no dentist at all? Is it not possible for him to get a dentist for at least one day per week for these schools?

In the past this area has been served by a visiting dentist with portable equipment. I am not suggesting for one moment that this represents all we should give. I am, however, surprised at the figure my hon. Friend gives of some 12,000 children unserved by the dental service in his area. The nearest estimate I have is a figure of 8,000, but I quite agree that something must be done about the matter.

School Dinners


asked the Minister of Education the net cost per head of school dinners borne by public funds when the charge is increased to 7d.; what was the net cost when the charges were 6d. and 4d., respectively: what were the estimated numbers served at each charge; and how many free dinners were served.

My right hon. Friend cannot, at this early stage, attempt to give an estimate of the average net cost per head of school dinners for 1951–52. Up to January, 1950, the charge varied, but was usually 5d. In 1949–50, 573 million dinners were served at an average net cost to public funds of 9.26d. per meal after allowing for meals supplied free or at a reduced charge. In 1950–51, it is estimated that the number of dinners served will be 552 million at an average net cost of approximately 9.9d. per meal. His returns do not enable him to say how many free dinners were served, but on single days in October, 1949 and 1950, 297,000 and 292,000 children respectively received free dinners.

What is the total cost on an annual basis of these dinners at 9¾d. each, or thereabouts, over and above what is paid by the parents?

The net cost is £25 million per annum; the amount that is collected in payment for dinners is £11½ million.

Is my hon. Friend aware that, whatever the monetary cost, for the value this is to the children it is well worth it?

Canteen Facilities, Cornwall


asked the Minister of Education how many schools under the control of the Cornwall Education Committee lack canteen facilities; and how many scholars attend these schools.

Will my hon. Friend do what he can to hasten the provision of canteens in these schools?

I certainly will, though I must point out that there have been rather exceptional difficulties in this area, of which I know my hon. Friend is aware.

Supplementary Teachers


asked the Minister of Education how many supplementary teachers were employed in primary schools in England and Wales; and how many in Cornwall at the latest convenient date.

On 31st March, 1950, the latest date for which information is available, 1,789 supplementary teachers were employed in primary and secondary schools in England and Wales. Of those, 33 were employed in Cornwall. Separate figures are not available for primary schools.

In view of the good work done by these unrecognised teachers, often in country schools where qualified teachers are not available, will my hon. Friend do what he can to see that local education authorities give them increases in salary equivalent to the increases granted to other teachers under the Burnham scale?

Schoolchildren (Employment)


asked the Minister of Education how many county council local education authorities in 1950 refused to sanction the release of schoolchildren for employment in agriculture; and how many sanctioned exemptions.

In view of the abuse of the labour of schoolchildren which occurs, will the Parliamentary Secretary ask his right hon. Friends the Ministers of Education and Agriculture to ensure that this year sees the end of this concession for children to work in school time?

This matter has been a hardy annual for some time. Preliminary discussions have taken place, and my hon. Friend knows well what the present position is in agriculture.

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that a few weeks ago the Minister of Education told me that he hoped to be consulted about this matter? Can he tell us whether his hopes have been realised?

As I understand it— and I have been at these consultations myself —consultations take place year by year.

Has there been any consultation with the children, who are the ones most interested in this subject?

Yes, Sir. I have consulted many children upon this subject, and I have found—as was certainly my experience at school—that they all seem to enjoy it very much.

Is my hon. Friend aware that Cornwall was one of the counties where children were exempted wholesale in years gone by and is now a county which does not operate a scheme? Will he take that into account as a factor towards abolishing this concession altogether?

I am certainly prepared to take into account that what comes first is the education of the children.

Technological Education (Report)


asked the Minister of Education if, in view of the adverse criticism in the national and technical Press and elsewhere of the recommendations of the Report of the National Advisory Council on the Future Development of Higher Technological Education, he will publish the comments which, in response to his invitation in the foreword, he has received on the Report.

Will the hon. Gentleman not reconsider that decision? Is he not aware that the comment on and criticism of the proposals of this Report is very widespread, especially among professional bodies; and in view of the desire of all concerned to reach the right conclusion, will he not reconsider that decision?

I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to await the debate upon this subject which begins in this House at two o'clock today.

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that that debate will be of a very limited character and for a very short time, and that it seems unlikely that all points of view can be put today; is he also aware that when the final decision is made we should be most obliged if we could have this information?

In view of the importance of technological training, especially in our highly organised industrial cities, will the Minister give further consideration to this matter?

Schools, Liverpool (Political Propaganda)


asked the Minister of Education what action he intends to take with reference to the decision of the Liverpool Education Committee in allowing the schools to be used as a medium for party political propaganda, details of which have been supplied to him.

My right hon. Friend deprecates the decision of the Liverpool local education authority to which the hon. Member refers, but his inquiries do not support her suggestion that the schools are being used as a medium for indoctrinating their pupils with party political views.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the use of the facilities in schools to promote Tory political propaganda is seriously deprecated by the organised trade union and Labour movement in Liverpool: and will he intimate that to the local education authority?

I would certainly intimate it to the local education authority. In fact, I think that an intimation has already been made to them. I would add that, on grounds of good education, I deprecate propaganda of any kind in schools.

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that this matter was passed by the City Council, and that the Liverpool Advisory Industrial Council is a non-political organisation? Would he not favour the youth of this country learning, in debate, the value of the history of the enterprise and spirit of the merchant adventurers who made the British Empire?

One could, of course, take the view that even the Liverpool education authority could make mistakes. I would myself deprecate the holding of speaking competitions among adolescent children.

Can the hon. Gentleman say, and if he cannot will he find out, how many Communist teachers there are who are using their professional position to further Communist propaganda?

Is my hon. Friend aware that, although this might have been sanctioned by the Liverpool City Council, the subject was of a party political nature; and will he take action to see that this does not occur either in Liverpool or in any other area?

My right hon. Friend has already informed the authority responsible that he deprecates the holding of these competitions, which have a political flavour. The subject under discussion in this instance was "The benefits conferred on the community by private enterprise."

Teachers (Religious Knowledge)


asked the Minister of Education what percentage of those training at county council training colleges for teachers take the course on religion.

About 45 per cent, of all the students in training colleges provided by local education authorities are taking a course in religious knowledge as part of their regular course of training.

May I say that that is very much better than I thought it was, and may I express the hope that, as the teaching of religion in schools is compulsory, the Minister will take steps to encourage teachers to take courses on how to teach religion?

Schoolgirls, Essex (Make-Up)


asked the Minister of Education if his attention has been drawn to the decision of the Essex Education Committee that secondary school teachers in that county may instruct girls in the use of make-up; and if he will circularise local educational authorities to the effect that this subject should not be included in the curriculum.

My right hon. Friend is aware of this matter, but it is not his general practice to interfere with the curriculum offered by the schools.

Would the hon. Gentleman deny that it is the policy of the Minister to displace the three Rs the three Ps—paint, powder and polish?

I think that courses or lessons of any kind in good grooming are of great value not only to boys, but to girls. I hope, as far as the girls are concerned, that what make-up they use is of a durable quality.

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the materials for this instruction are provided from public funds?

Teachers' Salaries


asked the Minister of Education when he hopes to make a statement concerning the new salary scales of agricultural teachers and teachers in farm institutes.

New scales of salary for these teachers have been approved by my right hon. Friend to come into force from 1st April.


asked the Minister of Education whether he will make a statement concerning his approval of new salary scales for full-time teachers in primary and secondary schools.

As my right hon. Friend informed the hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) last week he has now given formal approval to the new salary scales for these teachers which were recommended by the Burnham Committee.


asked the Minister of Education whether he has yet approved a new salary scale for part-time teachers in primary and secondary schools.

No, Sir. The remuneration of part-time teachers is left to the discretion of local education authorities.

Roman Catholic Schools (Cost)


asked the Minister of Education whether he will give an estimate of the total capital cost to the Roman Catholic community, to the Exchequer and to the local education authorities respectively, of carrying out the proposals contained in local education authorities' development plans for the improvement and replacement of existing Roman Catholic schools and for the building of new Roman Catholic schools to meet the anticipated increase in the number of schoolchildren.

As the answer contains a number of figures, and requires a somewhat lengthy and technical explanation, my right hon. Friend is circulating it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I can summarise the result by saying that the net initial capital cost to the Roman Catholics of bringing up to standard existing facilities for nearly 400,000 children is, on present standards and prices, estimated to be about £28,500,000. The contribution of the Exchequer and of the local education authorities to this work would amount to some £45 million.

The cost to the Roman Catholics of providing new school places for an additional 170,000 children is estimated to amount to just over £23 million. The local education authorities would be responsible for the provision of the dining and certain other facilities and this is estimated to cost just over £2 million, of which the Exchequer would carry its share by way of grant, most of it at the rate of 100 per cent.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the grave difficulties of the Church communities in meeting the demand which will be made upon them in this connection? While all connected with this problem are thankful to the Minister of Education and the Parliamentary Secretary, for what has been done in an administrative way, will everything possible be done to promote an agreed settlement which will ease the burden on the Church communities.

We are always prepared to come to any agreement which is possible under the terms of existing legislation. In reply to the earlier part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, I would point out that I do not think that this burden represents an impossible sum, bearing in mind the long period over which this expenditure will be spread and the fact that Exchequer loans will be available to help the Roman Catholics to meet the £28 million which I have mentioned.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that my hon. and right hon. Friends are in sympathy with the point of view expressed by the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Proctor) as to the difficulties experienced by the denominations? Would he agree, first, that any adjustment made within the framework of the existing settlement should be made in the interests of all denominations alike and not in favour of one particular denomination? I think we should all agree on that. Secondly, would he be ready at any time to hear representations from hon. Members on this side of the House in support of the point of view put by the hon. Member for Eccles?

Clearly, my answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question was in complete agreement with the point made by the right hon. Gentleman. Whatever can be done must be done for all denominations. In reply to the second part of the supplementary question, my right hon. Friend and myself are anxious at all times to get help in educational matters which, after all, call very much for a co-operative effort especially in this House. If the right hon. Gentleman will approach my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, no doubt any discussions which he suggests will be welcomed.

Will my hon. Friend ensure that no alteration is made in the 1944 settlement without agreement by all parties interested including the teachers?

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, though this burden may or may not be an impossible one, it has turned out to be a good deal heavier than was envisaged when the 1944 settlement was made? Though I do not expect the hon. Gentleman to give an answer in response to a supplementary question on this matter, would he agree that there is a great distinction between keeping the essence of the settlement of 1944 and making detailed changes to meet changed circumstances which perhaps nobody foresaw at the time?

We have, in fact, made certain detailed changes, but it may be that they do not go as far as the bodies to which we refer would want us to go.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary take into consideration the difficulties which are now arising with local authorities because of the great influx of Irish people into large towns and cities,

Estimated Initial Capital Cost of Implementing Development Plan Proposals
Expenditure £000s

Share of initial capital cost to be met by:

"Maintaining facilities"New (additional) school places
Alterations to existing schoolsTransferred and rebuilt schoolsSubstituted schools and schools for displaced pupilsSpecial agreement schoolsTotal
Managers and Governors4,1507,40011,0755,75028,37523,150

*Local Education Authorities

Exchequer Grant to Managers and Governors4,1507,40011,07522,625

* Subject to grant aid from Ministry of Education.

The estimate assumes that all Roman Catholic schools will become aided or special agreement schools and that in general the development plan of the local education authority, even where it has not yet received my right hon. Friend's formal approval, represents the best practicable forecast of future educational needs. It should be remembered, however, that individual projects included in development plans require detailed consideration and approval when the time comes to carry them out, and the extent to which particular projects are eligible for grant under Section 102–104 of the Education Act. 1944. will depend on the circumstances at that stage.
The scope of the estimate is limited to the initial capital cost of building work. It excludes, for example, the cost of furniture and equipment, which is provided by the local education authority; any interest charges to be met by the managers or governors for loans raised to finance their share of the initial capital cost; and any sums accruing to the managers or governors from the sale of discontinued schools or from war damage payments.
The cost of the building work has been estimated on the basis of the current ceiling figures for net cost (£140 per place for most primary schools and £240 per place for most secondary schools). Allowance has also been made for external works, such as the construction of roads and paths on the site which are excluded in the calculation of net cost per place.
The local education authorities' contribution covers the provision of dining facilities, medical inspection rooms, playing fields, etc. The cost of this work, much of which is physically inseparable from the main building work, has been apportioned on the basis of percentage figures obtained from an examination of recent school building projects. In the case of special agreement schools the local education authority also contributes 50–75 per cent. of the capital cost of the rest of the building work.
It is impossible to forecast the length of time which it will take to implement completely proposal's in development plans; but the total expenditure given in the table is bound to be spread over a considerable number of years. Generally speaking, managers and governors of aided schools can apply for Exchequer loans in respect of their share of the expenditure included under the general heading of "Maintaining Facilities", such loans being available in normal cases for a maximum period of 30 years.
Once these capital costs had been met the only expense falling on the managers or governors would as in the case of existing aided or special agreement schools, be the cost of external repairs and of any further alterations which might be found to be necessary, and towards these they could expect a grant of 50 per cent. from my Department. All the other expense of maintenance, including the salaries of the teachers, would fall on public funds.

because Birmingham alone has 20,000 Irish people and the schools are so overcrowded that it is sometimes impossible to find accommodation?

I have always understood that the main export from Ireland into Great Britain has been not creamery products, but genius.

Following are the figures:

Commonwealth (Membership)


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether His Majesty's Government will now set up machinery to ensure consultation with the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations and obtaining their approval before Colonial Territories which shall have achieved full self-government are admitted as equal partners in the Commonwealth.

It is already the practice of the United Kingdom Government to consult the Governments of the other members of the Commonwealth on such a matter.

While welcoming the prospect of new members of the Commonwealth, of whatever colour, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is true that, according to the Prime Minister of South Africa, his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies has "already cordially conceded," apparently unilaterally, the demand of West Africa to be accepted into the Commonwealth when she has achieved full self-government?

That is a question that ought to be directed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies or to Dr. Malan, but not to me.

Is it not clear that the principle of our helping, guiding and directing colonial peoples towards self-government within the Commonwealth, and therefore necessarily as members of the Commonwealth, has been so long established that, although other Dominions may perhaps wish to make suggestions on points of detail, there is no power now to stand out against that principle as a principle?

I was asked whether we have, in fact, consulted other members of the Commonwealth when new members have been admitted, and the answer is that we have. It is the ordinary practice so to do.

Yes, but it can only be on detail. There cannot be any right to bject in principle to a policy so long laid down.

Trade And Commerce

Statutory Instruments


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many Statutory Instruments have been made by him, or on his behalf, during the last six months which have the effect of either increasing or permitting an increase in the price of goods or services.

Since 1st October, 1950, the Board of Trade have made altogether 80 Statutory Instruments increasing the maximum prices which manufacturers are permitted to charge for goods or services.

In view of the very clear line of policy indicated by that very large number of permitted increases, is not the refusal of the right hon. Gentleman even to discuss further increases with the interests concerned, on the grounds of the risk of Parliamentary inconvenience in defending his decision, a completely unprecedented breach of Ministerial responsibility?

In view of the clear opposition which has been shown by hon. Members opposite to every price control order, or almost every price control order, that has been debated in the last two or three weeks, I am very surprised that the hon. Gentleman is now working up so much synthetic indignation over the matter.

Can my right hon. Friend say in how many cases concerning these 80 orders the Opposition have moved Prayers for annulment, but have not had the courage to vote on them?

No, not without notice, but the interesting thing is that, over the first few months of that period, there were virtually no Prayers. There were only two in 1950, whereas there have been 10 or 12 in the last fortnight.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the only way in which comment can be made on one of these orders at all, whether of approval or disapproval, is by praying for its annulment? Can he point to a single instance, in the last few weeks, when these Prayers have been considered, which would justify his wholly irregular and quite possibly unconstitutional action?

What I cannot point to— and I have studied the debates—is a single point of substance raised on the orders, with the exception of the point raised by the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams), which turned out to be wrong.

Does the right hon. Gentleman, by his extraordinary statement, deny the right of the Opposition to raise these subjects in debate and put forward their point of view, at whatever the hour?

No, Sir; not in the slightest. In a public statement which I made last Friday, as well as in the statement which I made in the House in the early hours of Friday morning, I said very clearly that we fully recognised the right of Prayer against any of these Statutory Orders, whether they are objectionable by reason of drafting, substance or in any other way.

How does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile that statement with his unconstitutional action in linking up his Departmental duty, or lack of duty, with the question of the rights of free speech in the House, to which the Opposition attach such great importance?

There has never been any question of linking up my Departmental duties with the right of free speech, or the lack of free speech, in the House.

Is not the whole of this country indulging in one great belly laugh at the results of the collective "old soldiering" of the Conservative Party?

On the right hon. Gentleman's statement that no points of substance were raised at all on the Prayers last week, is he aware that two Prayers took a long time to discuss, and that, concerning one of them, the Government have already given way and announced their intention to introduce an amending Order?

I am not clear whether the hon. Gentleman is referring to price control orders, but my reference, of course, was to price control orders, which form the basis of the Question before the House.

Furniture Prices Order


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether related schedule U.F.6 was laid before Parliament with the Furniture (Maximum Prices) Amendment No. 3 Order, 1951; and when copies of this related schedule were made available in the Vote Office.

The answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes, Sir." As regards the second part, I understand that His Majesty's Stationery Office delivered copies of the Order and the related schedule to the Vote Office on the morning of publication, 16th February, 1951.

Can the right hon. Gentleman then explain why his right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, in the debate on 8th March, was only able to produce U.F.5, the schedule which was being abolished, and was completely unable to produce schedule U.F.6? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the whole Order is quite meaningless unless we have schedule U.F.6?

I have already made clear that schedule U.F.6 was available in the Vote Office at the same time as the Order.

As I moved the Prayer in connection with this Order, and as I asked in the afternoon at the Vote Office and the Library for copies of the schedule and could not get them. May I ask is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I was only able to get the Library copy from the Board of Trade by telephoning his private secretary? Why was no copy available on the day of the debate?

I am not, of course, responsible for the administration of the Vote Office, or for whether enough copies were made available, but, as regards the Library, I believe there was some misunderstanding, and I understand that hon. Members who expressed interest were assured afterwards that copies were available.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that, in future, in the event of any debates being permitted on Prayers, the schedules will be available in sufficient quantities to ensure that, at least, the Leader of the House has one?

It is certainly my desire that they should be available in sufficient quantities for all hon. Members, but it is not my responsibility to instruct the Vote Office on how many copies they should take. The Vote Office can have as many copies as they ask for, and I am sure that those responsible for this question will notice the very fair point made by hon. Gentlemen opposite. It is desirable that, when these questions are raised in the House, all the essential documents should be available, because I quite agree that, without the schedule, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to understand the main Order.

Tinplate Exports


asked the President of the Board of Trade what allocations of tinplate have been made to Empire countries for the specific purpose of packing food for import into the United Kingdom.

None, Sir. Tinplate is exported to Commonwealth countries without restrictions as to its use.

Film Quotas


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about exhibitors' film quotas for the year beginning 1st October, 1951.

After consulting the Cinematograph Films Council, I do not propose to make any order this year to amend the Cinematograph Films (Quota) Order. This means that the prescribed quotas will remain at 30 per cent. for first feature films and 25 for supporting programmes for the 12 months period beginning October 1st, 1951.

Does not my right hon. Friend think that perhaps there could be an increase in this quota, in view of the great unemployment among actors, actresses and technicians in the film industry, and can he say whether he consulted with all sides of the industry before arriving at his decision?

I should very much like to have made an increase in this quota, and I am sure that the whole House would, but the size of the quota must depend on the number of films which are likely to be made, and I cannot accept the suggestion implicit in the remarks of my hon. Friend that an increased quota would increase production and employment. In answer to the latter part of his question, nearly all sections of the industry are represented on the Cinematograph Films Council.

American Sulphur


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any agreement has yet been reached about the allocation of sulphur from the United States of America; and whether he will make a statement about the distribution of sulphur to essential industries.


asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps are being taken to increase the supplies of sulphuric acid to the rayon industry.

Agreement has not yet been reached with the Government of the United States of America on the allocation of sulphur, and I still await decision on the representations which have been made. Pending this, every effort will be directed to maintain supplies to essential industries, including supplies of sulphuric acid for the rayon industry, at as high a level as practicable.

In view of the very severe threat to our industry, will my right hon. Friend say whether he intends to make a personal visit to the United States to raise this matter at the highest level; and, has he any comment to make on recent newspaper allegations that this shortage arises because we were not making dollars available?

I think it is too early to say whether any visits will be paid to the United States on this question. On the second part of my hon. Friend's question, I did see the suggestion in the Press last Saturday that the shortage was due to a failure to allocate dollars. In fact, dollars have been allocated throughout for the whole amount of the supplies available to us, and there is no foundation whatever for the "Daily Telegraph" statement.

Has my right hon. Friend explored every avenue in order to secure new markets or new sources of supply, and have there been any attempts to secure sulphuric acid from Spain and Cyprus? Is he further aware that the rayon industry in Lancashire is depreciating very severely, and that we shall be faced with unemployment if something is not done?

On the first point, we have been throwing the net very wide, not only for supplies of sulphur, but, more particularly, for pyrites, and we get large quantities from Spain. We are also going into the question of the development of supplies from Cyprus, and the development at home of acid supplies from anhydrites. On the second part, I fully agree with what my hon. Friend has said. In fact, the rayon industry has not been cut by anything like as much as it will be cut if the allocation scheme which I have already mentioned to the House has to be introduced.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that not only are these materials important in the rayon industry, but that sulphuric acid is very important from the point of view of the metal industry?

As the position will be very uncertain while these negotiations are going on, will the right hon. Gentleman say what is the Government's policy in regard to the export of superphosphates? Is such export allowed or not?

I cannot give the hon. Gentleman an answer on that specific point, but, of course, sulphur exports generally are very small.

Industrial Development, Scotland


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many new companies and with what aggregate capital were registered in Scotland in 1949 and in 1950; how many of them originated in Glasgow and Edinburgh; how many in other parts of Scotland; and how many in the seven crofter counties.

In 1949, 683 new companies were registered in Scotland with an aggregate nominal share capital of £8.2 million, and 10 were registered without a share capital. The corresponding figures for 1950 were 623 companies with an aggregate share capital of £6.6 million, and four without a share capital. As regards the second part of the Question complete information is not available, but I am obtaining some particulars, which I will send to the noble Lord.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when he gets these figures they are likely to show that by far the greater bulk of development is in the industrial belt in Scotland? Is it not desirable, in present circumstances, to get more development in the remoter regions, and will he remember that it is not a question of compulsion, but that, by encouragement, he can do a great deal to further development in the North?

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have very much at heart the desirability of establishing industries in the particular parts of Scotland which the noble Lord has in mind, but, as he has shown in his Question, he realises the difficulty.

Elections (Paper Supplies)

37 and 38.

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what stock of paper is held available for candidates' literature in the event of a general election; and if he will give an assurance that such a stock is available at the present time;

(2) if he will take steps to ensure that there is sufficient paper available for candidates' literature in the forthcoming municipal elections.


asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to ensure that adequate supplies of paper are available to all candidates in the municipal elections next May.

As explained in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery) on 20th March, arrangements have been made with the paper and printing trades for preferential treatment to be given, under the voluntary priority scheme for paper and boards, to the requirements of all political parties for both national and local elections. The trade organisations concerned have recently been reminded of the importance of this matter, and assurances of their co-operation have since been received. In these circumstances, I consider it unnecessary to earmark special stocks of paper for this purpose, but it is most important that the trade should see that these needs are met. Hon. Members may rest assured that we shall continue to watch the position very closely.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that he will keep the matter under continuous review, in view of the fact that the paper might be required at any time now? Can he further say whether representations have been made to the trade organisations in regard to paper for the municipal elections, and whether he received any information from Wembley about the difficulties they experienced in getting paper for the municipal election?

I am not aware of any representations from Wembley, but I will inquire whether there were any. As regards both municipal and national elections, that is a matter which is being kept very closely under review so far as paper supplies are concerned.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether sufficient paper will be made available to wrap up all the red herrings which the Opposition are preparing for the next election?

Nylon Production


asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent he estimates that difficulties in the supply of sulphur will lead to a decline in output of nylon yarn in the United Kingdom; and whether he anticipates any diminution of supply of nylon stockings for the home market during the year 1951.

Nylon production depends directly on the supply of nylon polymer. Sulphur and sulphuric acid are used for making some of the chemicals which go into the manufacture of nylon polymer, but the quantities are not large, and I understand that it is unlikely that production will have to be reduced owing to shortage of sulphur. As regards nylon stockings, I said in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner), on 1st March that I could see no prospect of increasing supplies further for some time to come, but I hope that it will not be necessary to reduce supplies to the home market.

As the shortage of sulphur may lead to a serious diminution in the output of rayon stockings, will the right hon. Gentleman consider making good the deficiency by diverting additional supplies of nylon stockings to the home market?

I thought that the hon. Gentleman, and, indeed, all hon. Members opposite, had accepted the vital necessity in the present economic situation, of increasing our exports. In the circumstances, therefore, however desirable it might be to have more supplies for the home market, I am sure he would not press for any diminution of an important export programme.

Tariff Conference, Torquay


asked the President of the Board of Trade when the Torquay Conference will end; and when the results of the conference will be published.

As was stated in a Press notice issued by the Secretariat of the conference at Torquay on 15th March, arrangements have been made for the completion of the bilateral and of the multilateral stages of the negotiations so as to bring the conference to a close on 21st April. The results of the conference are to remain secret until 9th May, and on 12th May the full text of the Torquay concessions will be made public by the Secretariat at Geneva. I shall, of course, arrange for the results of the conference to be made available to the House at the earliest possible moment.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House an undertaking not to sell out the Empire any further, as appears to have been done over sugar?

The hon. Gentleman is quite inaccurate in that allegation. There have been statements in this House about it, and I cannot accept the suggestion he makes. I gave an assurance about the attitude of this country towards the Imperial Preference question before the conference began, and I think that when the conference ends the House will not be dissatisfied with the way in which I have kept that assurance.

British Broadcasting Corporation (Report)


asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will now make a statement on the policy of the Government with regard to the recommendations made in the Beveridge Report on the British Broadcasting Corporation.

I am not yet in a position to add anything to the replies which were given on this subject by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary when he was Lord President of the Council, but I am giving the matter urgent attention.

While welcoming the right hon. Gentleman back to the House in his new capacity, even though he will not be allowed to hold it very long— [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]— because of the approaching end of this Parliament—will he say whether he would be prepared to receive representations from many of us who do not approve of several or, indeed, many of the recommendations of the Beveridge Report?

I intend to give the House a very full opportunity to debate this subject, but I have not yet come to a final conclusion, because I do not know whether to do it by the method of a White Paper. I want to put forward the Government's views and enable the House to have a free debate, so that the Government can then come to a final conclusion on the attitude to be adopted with regard to the B.B.C. In that way, we can hear everybody's opinion.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that it is the Government's policy not to sacrifice sound broadcasting to the development of television?

I am not an expert on either, but one thing I have learned among a lot of others in my lifetime is that the fellow who is not an expert usually makes the best settlement.

As the right hon. Gentleman started his career in Devonshire, will he see that the people of Devon get adequate sound broadcasts?


Grassland Fertiliser Scheme (Forms)


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that some agricultural executive committees have not yet received the necessary forms to enable farmers to claim subsidies under the Grassland Fertiliser Scheme; and whether, since this scheme deals with fertilisers applied during the period 1st January to 30th June, he will arrange for the early distribution of such forms so that the subsidy scheme may be administered efficiently.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture
(Mr. George Brown)

Yes, Sir, the forms of application to which the hon. Member refers are being printed and will be available early next month.

February Price Review


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will now make a statement on the results of the February price review.


asked the Minister of Agriculture when the report of the February price review can be expected.


asked the Minister of Agriculture on what dates since 1948 the guaranteed prices for farm produce were announced; and when he proposes to announce them this year.

In 1949 and 1950 guaranteed prices were announced on 17th and 23rd March respectively. The current review is not yet concluded, but my right hon. Friend hopes to announce the Government's decisions about future prices within a few days.

When these prices are announced will they be accompanied by a statement of the essential facts on which the new prices are based?

Yes. My right hon. Friend has said that in due course a White Paper will be issued giving some, at any rate, of the essential data.

Has my hon. Friend received information whether, in the event of an increase in the prices, the Opposition will start a "phoney" campaign for a reduction of prices, as they have done in other matters?

Chrysanthemum Plants (Export Licence)


asked the Minister of Agriculture why Mr. T. W. Bevan, of Apple Garth Nursery, Victoria Road, Ferndown, was refused a licence to export chrysanthemum plants to the United States; and on what grounds his Department declined to carry out the necessary inspection.

No export licence is required, but the United States Government requires a health certificate with all plant material entering that country. Through a misunderstanding, Mr. Bevan failed to arrange for his plants to be inspected so that such a certificate could be issued, but there has been no refusal to inspect the plants. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a letter which my Department has sent to Mr. Bevan explaining the position.

In view of the fact that there has been a misunderstanding, and that, according to the information I have, the misunderstanding is the Minister's, will Mr. Bevan be given some compensation for the loss of his exports?

I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman's information must be misleading. The misunderstanding was Mr. Bevan's.

Farm Workers (Food)


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware of the strain now imposed on the health and strength of farm workers resulting from lack of meat and other sustaining food; and if, in the interests of full production in agriculture, he will consult with the Minister of Food to ensure that farm workers obtain as good food as miners and other heavy workers who have the use of canteens.

My right hon. Friend is fully aware of the circumstances of the agricultural industry, and I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on this subject to the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) on 19th March.

Would the hon. Gentleman take the opportunity of the Easter Recess to see what these farm workers have to take out with them for their mid-day meal—a bit of bread, a scrap of margarine, jam or fish paste? It is really not enough.

I do not think that I myself or my right hon. Friend is in need of any instruction from the hon. Gentleman on this matter.

Will the new Order relating to cheese, which, I think, was notified yesterday, have any adverse effect on agricultural labourers, or are they exempt from the cuts to be imposed on the rest of us?

The farm workers' supplementary allowance of cheese is distinct and quite apart from the general ration.

Although the hon. Gentleman may not want advice, the point is that no action has been taken. Will he look into the matter, which is becoming very serious?

Is my hon. Friend aware that the general position of agricultural workers today at £5 a week is far better than it was in the days of Tory Governments at 30s. a week?

Rainfall (Effect)


asked the Minister of Agriculture, in view of the rainfall in recent months, and its effect on agriculture, what action has been taken by His Majesty's Government to obviate shortfalls in the estimated crops for 1951 so as to ensure no further hardship on the citizens of this country, or reductions of feedingstuffs to the farmer.

The rainfall of recent months has caused, and is causing, great difficulties to farmers in their spring sowings and cultivations, but it is much too early to forecast the final results of the harvest. There is likely to be a marked deficiency in the wheat acreage, which may be offset by increased sowings of barley, but I could not at this stage forecast yields per acre, nor the acreages of crops other than cereals. I cannot, therefore, at present accept the implications of this Question.

Is it not true that there are certain types of seed that can be sown much later than others, and will the hon. Gentleman see that they are distributed, through the county agricultural executive committees, and so on, to farmers, so that they may have the opportunity of overcoming the effects of the wet weather by using those special types of seed?

I do not think that there is any doubt about that. The executive committees, the National Agricultural Advisory Committee, the National Farmers' Union and everybody else has been co-operating not only in these past weeks but for months, indeed years, in this matter.

Animal Feedingstuffs (Ration)


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will make a statement about rations of animal feeding-stuffs for this summer.

Yes, Sir. I apologise for the length of this answer. In spite of substantial dollar purchases the total supply of animal feedingstuffs available for the ration pool in the year beginning 1st May next is likely to be rather less than in the preceding 12 months. It will, therefore, be necessary to reduce the rations for dairy cows by 14 lb. per cow per month for each of the three months May, June and July, and to reduce by one third the cereal part of the "steaming-up" allowance issued in July for cows due to calve in the autumn. The amount of discretionary reserves to be allocated by county agricultural executive committees this summer will also be less than in recent years. Apart from these changes, summer ration scales will be the same as for last year.

I should add a warning that the level of self-sufficiency in cereals for dairy cows throughout the next winter period is likely to be the same as at present, namely, the first 1⅛ gallons of milk per day, whilst, as already announced, for protein next winter we shall be requiring self-sufficiency for the first gallon of milk per day. Despite the difficulties of the present sowing season, all farmers with livestock would be well advised to plan for the maximum production of fodder crops and silage.

How does this estimate of cereals and protein feedingstuffs in the coming year compare with the figure for last year? Will it hinder the expansion programme? What steps has my hon. Friend taken to consult the farming interests in this important matter?

The comparison with last year is that we are down a little, but not very much. We have got about 5.25 million tons as against 5.4 million tons, but we are very nearly 1,750,000 tons up on 1947–48. As to the effect on the expansion programme, it may retard slightly some milk production, but with new techniques of grass growing we may well overcome that. As to consultation, this announcement was made after consulting the Ministry's rationing advisory committee, which includes representatives of the farmers.

The hon. Gentleman has said how the figure he has given us compares with that for 1948. Will he say how far down it is on that for 1938?

Not without notice, but it does not seem very relevant anyhow. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] No, with great respect. We cannot have in 1950–51 any more than is available for 1950–51, whatever may have been available in other years. This season, as everybody knows, there is, all over the world, a shortage of cereals due to the weather and other causes. We have got all we can get, including a large dollar purchase.

Was there not any wet weather before the advent of Socialism?

Ministry Land Holdings


asked the Minister of Agriculture what was the total acreage of land held by his department in March. 1945; and what is the total today.

In March, 1945, my Department held under requisition about 380,000 acres of land, and owned 14,000 acres. It now holds under requisition about 73,000 acres, and owns 182.000 acres.

Building Experiments


asked the Minister of Agriculture what experiments his Department has carried out in building agricultural houses and buildings in pisé de terre and stabilised earth.

My Department has not carried out any. Experiments in building in pisé de terre were, however, designed by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and built on the Ministry's small-holdings estate at Ames-bury in Wiltshire in 1919 and a report on the experiment was published in 1921 by H.M. Stationery Office.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say whether these buildings have proved satisfactory after 30 years of life? That is more important than a report two years after erection?

They are still there, and no special maintenance problems have been experienced.

Double Taxation (India)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will ensure that 100 per cent. relief against double taxation is given to all residents in the United Kingdom who are in receipt of pensions from the Government of India in respect of former service with the Government of undivided India or any of the provincial Governments.

The allowance in full of Indian tax against United Kingdom tax in all cases would require an alteration of the law. As I explained in answer to a Question from the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) on Tuesday, 13th March, the existing arrangements will be adequate to relieve most pensioners from any burden of double taxation.

Will the Government make sure that these pensioners are treated fairly in all cases? Ought he not to see that there is an alteration in the law? Does he appreciate that while there is some doubt about this matter, and complication, as he will no doubt agree, it means extra cost to those who have not the money to pay this extra amount of taxation?

I agree that the position is not fully satisfactory. Difficulty arises owing to the unwillingness of the Indian Government to make a double taxation agreement. We did a good deal by unilateral relief last year, but we think that the complete solution is to make such an agreement with the Indian Government.

Did not the Minister guarantee that these persons would receive their pensions in full?

No, Sir. I think that all we undertook was to reach an agreement on double taxation with the Indian Government.

Holiday Resorts (Illumination)

(by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he has any statement to make concerning illuminations for holiday resorts over the Easter holidays.

Although the supplies of coal have greatly improved, it is still necessary to make every practicable economy in its use, in order that we may start the building of stocks during the summer months from as high a level as possible. For that reason, I propose that the order which prohibits the lighting of shops and advertisements shall continue in force until 15th April, when Summer time comes in.

Illuminations provided by the local authorities of holiday resorts, however, consume much less coal. After consultation with the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Teeling), and with my hon. Friend the Member for Lowestoft (Mr. E. Evans), and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Squadron Leader Kinghorn), and others, I have come to the conclusion that it would be reasonable and right for the local authorities of holiday resorts to switch on their illuminations for three hours each evening on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of this Easter holiday. I hope that the hon. Members concerned, and the House in general, will consider that this is an acceptable plan.

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for this partial and slight concession, which, at least, will make people in holiday resorts realise what it was like in the good old days, may I ask if he will bear in mind that it is now 12 o'clock? How are the town clerks of the corporations concerned to get to know about this concession? They will have to get everything ready today. As, tomorrow, there are no newspapers, will he take steps, through the B.B.C. or in some other way, to make sure that holiday visitors know about it?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Members who are on the Holiday Resorts Committee, who put this point to him, are very grateful for the sympathetic manner in which he has received it?

Would the Minister give consideration to this point? In a scheme of corporation illuminations very often there are incorporated illuminations which are provided and paid for by private persons. These are included in the corporation's scheme, although the electricity charges are paid by the persons concerned. Will the right hon. Gentleman also allow these schemes of lighting to be restored for a temporary period in order that the whole scheme of illuminations may not be disjointed?

I will consider that. It may involve special licences which it would be very difficult to prepare in time; I am not sure.

If the Easter holiday took place about three weeks later, would not the shop windows be lit up for several minutes longer, free of charge, by Divine Providence?

Scottish National Congress (Resolution)

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the resolution, a copy of which has been sent to him, passed at a meeting of the Scottish National Congress at its meeting in Glasgow on Saturday, 17th March, containing a pledge by that conference to protect those Scots who refuse to be conscripted by an English Government; and what action His Majesty's Government now propose to take.

On a point of order. I desire, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to ask your advice. I think that perhaps you will agree, when I have concluded, that I also need your protection against what I consider to be a gross discourtesy to me today.

On Saturday last, a very important meeting took place at which a most appalling resolution was passed which is referred to in Question No. 97 the last oral Question on the Order Paper today. I tried to get advice as to whether I could raise the matter as a Private Notice Question when I reached London, but I was told that it was too late for me to do so. Therefore, I put a Question down to the Prime Minister, and if you will look at Question No. 97, Sir, you will see that it raises a very important issue about which Scottish people are very deeply concerned.

On the advice of the Table, I put the Question down to the Prime Minister and it was accepted by the Table. I realised, too late, that the Prime Minister would not be able to answer it, but it is quite customary for his deputy or someone on his behalf, to answer a Question addressed to the right hon. Gentleman. The matter has been referred to the Secretary of State for Scotland. It is quite obvious that this Question will not be answered orally, today, and I think that, in view of the very vital importance of the issue and the contempt of the people of Scotland for this disgusting resolution, we ought to have a reply from someone on behalf of the Prime Minister today.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman will appreciate that the Chair cannot intervene in this matter. Questions are transferred as between the Departments. This Question has been approved by the Table, but, of course, it has not been reached. I am sure, however, that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has ventilated the matter quite well.

In view of the fact that we have a Minister representing Scotland here today, that this is a very vital matter to the people of Scotland; that I addressed the Question in the first place to the Prime Minister and that it was accepted by the Prime Minister, would you, Sir, with the permission of the House allow the Question to be answered now?

Business Of The House

I have a request from the Leader of the Opposition to be allowed to ask a question on business.

I would like to ask this question on business. Last night the Leader of the House used this phrase:

"I think that we should be helped in dealing with these and other matters if the present clogging … of the usual channels could be removed."—[OFFICIAL REPORT 21st March, 1951; Vol. 485, c. 2565.]
Can he tell us precisely what he meant by that?

I only received notice a short while ago that a question about business—there was no conversation as to what it was—would be put to me. I received the message about six minutes to twelve o'clock.

Surely the right hon. Gentleman knows what he said and why he said it?

I endeavour to treat the right hon. Gentleman with the utmost courtesy in the House but I sometimes find it very trying, because it is very difficult to make any statement to him without having a running commentary from him while I am making it.

Since I have held the position of Leader of the House, it has been reported to me from time to time, by way of the usual channels, that the ordinary conversations that normally take place between the two major parties in the House had, in fact, not been taking place. I am exceedingly anxious that that arrangement which deals with a lot of matters which we never discuss at Question Time, and which allows the business of the House to proceed with some comfort for all concerned, and with knowledge of what is likely to happen without going too far in disclosing what the motives and desires of parties may be, should be resumed.

I am exceedingly anxious that amicable arrangements should exist, it being understood that the political fight will be continued with the utmost vigour and determination by both sides. But it would be helpful, I think if conversations took place from time to time between my right hon. Friend the Government Chief Whip and the Opposition Chief Whip, as is usual.

Let me assure the right hon. Gentleman that there is absolutely no truth in what he has said. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] There has been no change of practice by the Opposition Whips at all in the matter of discussion. They are free to continue exactly as they have done. If such an impression has been conveyed to the right hon. Gentleman, who has made himself the mouthpiece of it, it is really entirely ill-founded. My hon. Friend the Opposition Chief Whip assures me that there is not the slightest foundation for that. The usual channels are perfectly free to discuss, exactly as they always have done, matters which are within their purview. The only exception which I make is that a grave matter like the alteration——

On a point of order. Is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) entitled to make a speech of this kind, because I am under the impression that no other right hon. or hon. Member of the House would be allowed to make a speech on this occasion?

Debate is not permissible. I understood that the right hon. Gentleman was asking a question and a very full reply has been given. I do not know, but it may be that the right hon. Gentleman desires to ask another Question. I must say, with the utmost courtesy, that we cannot have a debate on this matter. This is a matter of question and answer on matters of business only.

Since the usual channels are not recognised as part of the business of the House, is not the right hon. Gentleman completely out of order in raising this matter?

I understood the right hon. Gentleman was raising a question on business.

I ask the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, in view of the assurance which I have given him that his information was incorrect and that there is no change at all on our side in the discussions of the ordinary matters of business which take place through the usual channels, if he will withdraw the statement which he has made?

No, Sir. I have made inquiries myself, because, as the right hon. Gentleman intimated one day this week, there are some things which should be discussed by the usual channels and reported to us.

There are some things which ought not to be discussed between the usual channels, and he said he would be pleased to receive me if I were prepared to discuss these matters further. I am very happy to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that on his side there is no objection to these ordinary conversations——

—these ordinary conversations being resumed. There was another matter which he raised the other day, when he intimated that he would not be in favour of conversations being conducted through the usual channels, but that he and I, and possibly some friends and the Liberal Party, should meet face to face. I am very happy to hear that there may have been some misunderstanding about these matters, and that there is every willingness on the part of the Opposition for discussions about business and that the arrangements shall be resumed, as was the case formerly.

The right hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that large issues of policy should be settled in that way. That would be quite unusual. Am I not right in thinking that he has not suggested that?

As my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Buchan-Hepburn), in his conduct of our side of the affair, has been reflected up