Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the Minister of Power if he will give general directions, in the public interest, to the Gas Council and the Central Electricity Generating Board to take disciplinary action against those responsible for the recent power cuts.
Mr. Frederick Lee
No, Sir. The recent difficulties were not due to the faults of individuals. Gas and electricity staffs made very great efforts to maintain supplies.
Does the Minister think that the public will ever be well served so long as no one is willing to take the blame in the public service?
If that is the case, the hon. Member should address his Front Bench on the subject.
Will my right hon. Friend agree that these are devoted engineers, devoted public servants—[Interruption]—who are doing their public duty in the public interest to avoid the kind of complete shutdown in the public supply system which the country had three years ago?
I join my hon. Friend entirely in this. It is so easy when there is a partial breakdown in supply for what I might call energy illiterates to blame those who are working hard. The energy and efforts of those connected with these Boards are absolutely remarkable.
Order. It is against the courtesies of the House for an hon. Member to step between whoever is speaking and the Chair if that can be avoided.
Mr. Hugh Jenkins
I beg to apologise to you, Mr. Speaker.