§ Order for Committee read.
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for AIR (Mr. Leach)
I beg to move, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
A review of the work of the Air Ministry for the past year and of the policy for the future is profoundly interesting. No one, whatever his views, can remain unaffected by the magnificence of this organisation and the spirit of service which pervades it from top to bottom. The ex-Minister for Air (Sir S. Hoare) has left many proofs of his enthusiasm for and devotion to his office. He worked hard, and equipped himself with much knowledge. He, therefore, became a difficult man for me to follow. A few short weeks' experience leaves me at a disadvantage over my predecessor to do full justice to the story, and I must ask for the indulgence of the House, and, in particular, of the right hon. Gentleman for any shortcomings in this survey. We have issued, along with the Estimates, a Memorandum by the Secretary of State, which shows an increase in our Estimates of £787,000 gross, and £2,500,000 net, due principally to the approved expansion of the Air Force. I do not want to burden my story with financial details, which can be discussed later.