HC Deb 08 June 1915 vol 72 cc219-20

(1) The office of Minister of Munitions or of Secretary in the Ministry of Munitions shall not render the holder thereof incapable of being elected to or sitting or voting as a Member of the Commons House of Parliament, but not more than two such Secretaries shall sit as Members of that House at the same time.

(2) The Minister of Munitions shall take the oath of allegiance and official oath and shall be deemed to be included in the First Part of the Schedule to the Promissory Oaths Act, 1868.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "two" ["not more than two "], and to insert instead thereof the word "one."

My right hon. Friend proposes to have two secretaries in this House for this new Department. Most of the Departments in the State have only one. It may be that there is some good reason for distinguishing this new Department from other Departments by having two secretaries.


This provision is really rather a limiting provision than anything else. It is a provision that there shall not be more than two secretaries, otherwise everybody in the House might be appointed an extra secretary to the Ministry of Munitions. In the circumstances, it is felt that there should be two secretaries to represent the new Department in this House. Other Departments of State which have two secretaries in this House are the War Office and the Admiralty. [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] Yes; they are not called in simple terms secretaries, but they act together with the Cabinet Minister, and both are Members of the House. That is the reason why it is thought necessary to have this limitation to two in the present case.


I do not think the statement of the Home Secretary is quite convincing, because, after all, we know perfectly well that when you assert you will take not more than two secretaries, the obvious interpretation is that the Government are not going to have two secretaries.




I did not gather from the Home Secretary's statement that he committed himself to having two. I understand that he has not stated distinctly that there are to be two.


I wish to be quite candid. I do not intend to make any mystery of it. I know enough of the plans of my right hon. Friend the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs to know that he hopes to have two secretaries in the House to deal with the work which will come before them.


I am glad to have that assurance. I am quite certain that there will be plenty of work for them to do, and a careful and experienced man should be appointed as secretary. I do not offer any objection, and I think that any demand made by the Minister of the new Department should certainly be welcomed by the House. I said so on the very First Heading of the Bill.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.