asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how many full-time staff in his Department are engaged on public relations work in connection with surface transport.
Six, Sir, including clerical and typing staff.
Is it because the Minister's record is so bad in this that, in addition to this large number, he has had to import a private advertising agent to whitewash himself?
No, Sir. It actually represents a reduction in the size of that branch since we took over from the Socialist Government.
Can the Minister tell us what these six people are doing? Are they employed in explaining the failure to sell off the lorries under the 1953 Act?
They are doing even more useful work than they did when they were appointed by the last Government.
Is this honorary officer a permanent appointment? Is it the Minister's appointment to look after the Minister's public relations or has it something to do with the Ministry?
I was very glad to avail myself of the services of a gentleman who gave distinguished service in the Ministry of Transport during the war.
That does not answer the question. Is this the Minister's personal appointment to safeguard his own public relations or has it to do with the Ministry's public relations? If the latter, why does the Minister depart from the normal, ordinary method of having full-time public relations officers?
It may be difficult for the hon. Member to understand, but a great deal of voluntary and unpaid work is still at the service of Governments of either complexion.