§ (1) For the purpose of supplying munitions for the present War, it shall be lawful for His Majesty to appoint a Minister of Munitions who shall hold office during His Majesty's pleasure.
§ (2) The Minister of Munitions may appoint such secretaries, officers, and servants as the Minister may determine.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The first Motion on the Paper standing in the name of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir H. Dalziel)—[to postpone Clause 1]—is not in order. I call upon him to move his other Amendment.
Sir H. DALZIEL
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the words "for the purpose of supplying munitions for the present War."
I put this Amendment on the Paper mainly with the view, if possible, of obtaining from the Home Secretary an assurance with regard to the limitations of the post proposed to be created. The right hon. Gentleman might possibly be able to give us an assurance—that is all I ask for—that the work of the office will deal in the main, as I understand it is intended to deal, with the better supply of ammunitions, and that should there be 200 any occasion for asking for any increased powers with regard to the larger question of the mobilisation of labour, the House will have a special opportunity of considering the matter.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir John Simon)
The right hon. Gentleman has put his point in a very few words, and I will endeavour to answer it as briefly. I know, of course, that he does not desire to strike out these words, because they govern the whole purpose of the Bill. I announced yesterday, and am glad to be able to repeat to-day, that the Member who is proposed to be appointed Minister of Munitions proposes to take the earliest opportunity of making a full statement, both as to the organisation he has in view and as to the policy that he intends to pursue. I might as well indicate at once to the House, in order that there may be no misapprehension, that when we come to Clause 2 we shall make it quite plain, by the insertion of a single word, what is really there involved, that is, by inserting the word "administrative" before the words "powers and duties." I will not deal with that matter now, but my right hon. Friend will see that that proposal which we intend to make will in effect secure the object he has in view.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member did not object when I put the request for leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ The CHAIRMAN
When an hon. Member asks leave to withdraw an Amendment he has moved, no other hon. Member has a right to rise to continue the Debate until the request for leave to withdraw has been negatived.
§ Mr. LOUGH
I beg to move, in Subsection (2), to leave out the word "Minister" ["as the Minister may determine"], and to insert instead thereof the word "Treasury."
It seems to me that the Government have used the wrong word here. The Subsection says:—
"The Minister of Munitions may appoint such secretaries, officers, and servants as the Minister may determine."
I think it is in accordance with the general rule that the Treasury should make the appointments. It would make the Clause consistent with Clause 3, which provides that the
"secretaries, officers, and servants of the Ministry" shall be paidsuch salaries or remuneration as the Treasury may from time to time determine.The Amendment makes the Bill consistent with the Resolution passed by the House on Report. It is the universal custom that the extra expenditure incurred in connection with any staff should be sanctioned by the Treasury.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Sir J. SIMON
My right hon. Friend calls attention to the fact that in Clause 3, the financial Clause, it is for the Treasury to determine what are to be the salaries or remuneration of secretaries, officers, and servants of the Ministry. On the other hand, he points out that the word at the end of the first Clause is not "Treasury" but "Minister"—the Minister may appoint such secretaries, officers, and servants as the Minister may determine. My right hon. Friend will see the reason when I remind him that the new Ministry has the offer of service, which is very greatly appreciated, volunteered by business men of high standing and experience who entirely refuse to receive any payment for what they are proposing to do. In such circumstances it is right that the Minister should appoint those servants, though, on the other hand, any servant or any officer of the Ministry who receives any payment whatever, receives it because the Treasury has determined what the amount should be. I think my right hon. Friend will see therefore that, in order to provide for the case of volunteers, the language of the Bill is really correct.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I will now put the question I wished to put a few moments ago, that is to why the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lloyd George) is not here? I understood the Home Secretary yesterday to indicate that the reason for his absence was that he was not entitled to be here. As that objection does not obtain to-day I hope we may be assured that he is attending to this work. If an assurance had been given yesterday that he was busy on munitions, no one would have said another word. The only reason given was that he was not entitled to be here, whereas Mr. Speaker yesterday asserted that he was still a Member of the House and can attend. On that I was expecting an intimation that he was occupied with his duties, and that the House should be asked to excuse him; and we should all agree. In the absence of such assurance I beg to ask my question.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
My right hon. Friend is either Minister of Munitions or he is not Minister of Munitions. If he is Minister of Munitions, he is not entitled to attend. If he is entitled to attend here, he is not Minister of Munitions. That, I think, is clear. As a matter of fact, he is not Minister of Munitions, because there is no such office until this House passes this Bill. Until it is passed in another place and receives the King's Assent, there will be no such person in the service of the State. It follows that my right hon. Friend is entitled to be here, but not as Minister of Munitions. He is engaged upon important business and will be here very soon.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.