HC Deb 19 July 1935 vol 304 cc1421-5

The Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) and others, in page 1, line 11, after "exceeded" to insert: provided that the representation of the War Office, Admiralty and Air Ministry in Parliament does not exceed six"— is out of order.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, without Amendment.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

1.8 p.m.


On this side of the House we wish to take advantage of this final opportunity of declaring that we regard the Bill as quite unnecessary and that the Government is not justified in bringing forward a Measure of this kind. It provides for an addition to the Foreign Office staff, and it has not yet been shown that that addition is necessary or justified. We have not been convinced that the Foreign Office has been undermanned. Our complaint is that it has lacked policy rather than sufficient servants to carry out that policy. There is, indeed, a danger that in the addition of these persons we may have too many hands. There is an old adage that too many cooks spoil the broth. It would be difficult to conceive a worse job being made of the Foreign Office but the task of that office has not been assisted at all by the accession of the Secretaries provided for in this Bill.

Another point that we wish to call attention to is that there is already some confusion in the House and in the minds of Ministers as to the exact Parliamentary status of the Minister for the League of Nations. If he is to appear in the House and be looked at and heard but not spoken to, we hardly find any advantage to the House in having such an officer appointed. Another Under Secretary will only add to the embarrassment of the present situation. We would urge upon the Government and upon the House the necessity of deciding upon a definite foreign policy which the Government will pursue steadfastly and consistently rather than a multiplicity of officers divided in counsel and uncertain as to their exact function or status in the large body to which they belong.

We have never had a Foreign Office with so many Parliamentary officers at its disposal. I understand that the new Under-Secretary has already been abroad to Warsaw and Moscow, careering all

over Europe in search of some opportunity for service to his country. When he was a Parliamentary Private Secretary I heard no complaints about the way he did his work, but now that he has responsibility of his own he may start off on adventures without consulting anyone and the House will never know where he is and what he is doing. In all parts of the House there is a fervent wish that the Foreign Secretary will be successful in the very difficult days ahead in international affairs, but we are convinced that the addition to the number of his sub-ordinates will not assist him and we take this opportunity of declaring that we shall vote against the Bill.

1.13 p.m.


I do not take any strong exception to the Government increasing its number. My objection is to the method of approach to the problem. I think the Government ought to have taken the opportunity of reviewing the whole problem of Cabinet rank, seeing whether they could not do with a smaller Cabinet and abolishing certain under-secretaryships, though I am not sure that in other Departments an increase may not be warranted other than the increases that we are now sanctioning. Instead of coming here with a small Bill dealing with the Foreign Office, when they were reconstructing the Government the whole question of the size of the Cabinet and the duties that executive officers undertake ought to have been gone into. Jobs that are now undertaken in certain Departments have become to some extent out of date and ought to be allocated to other Departments. The whole thing should be subjected to review and inquiry. For these reasons I intend to oppose the Bill.

Question put, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

The House divided: Ayes, 139; Noes, 32.

Division No. 279.] AYES. [1.12 p.m.
Albery, Irving James Brass, captain Sir William Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Cobb, Sir Cyril
Aske, Sir Robert William Broadbent, Colonel John Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.
Anderson, Sir Alan Garrett Brockiebank, C. E. R. Conant, R. J. E.
Balniel, Lord Brown, Rt. Hon. Ernest (Leith) Cooke, Douglas
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Cooper, A. Duff
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)
Bossom, A. C. Burnett, John George Cross, R. H.
Boulton, W. W. Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly) Davidson, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)
Boyce, H. Leslie Caporn, Arthur Cecil Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)
Denman, Hon. R. D. Jamieson, Rt. Hon. Douglas Rickards, George William
Dickie, John P. Kerr, Hamilton W. Robinson, John Roland
Doran, Edward Kirkpatrick, William M. Ropner, Colonel L.
Duckworth, George A. V. Levy, Thomas Ross, Ronald D.
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock) Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Eastwood, John Francis Liewellin, Major John J. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey Mabane, William Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. Sir Charles Sheppsrson, Sir Ernest W.
Entwistle, Cyril Fullard MacDonald. Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham) Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Essenhigh, Reginald Clare McEwen, Captain J. H. F. Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-ln-F.)
Fremantle, Sir Francis McKie, John Hamilton Somervell, Sir Donald
Ganzoni, Sir John McLean, Major Sir Alan Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Macquisten, Frederick AlexanderSpencer, Captain Richard A.
Goff. Sir Park Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Spens, William Patrick
Goldie, Noel B. Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Stourton, Hon. John J.
Gower, Sir Robert Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Strauss, Edward A.
Grimston, R. V. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)
Gunston, Captain D. W. Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Summersby, Charles H.
Guy, J. C. Morrison Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh) Tree, Ronald
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties) Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Hales, Harold K. Morrison, William Shepherd Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)
Hartington, Marquess of Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)
Hartland, George A. Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A. Ward, Sarah Adelalde (Cannock)
Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Patrick, Colin M. Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Sir Cuthbert Penny, Sir George Wells, Sydney Richard
Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Percy, Lord Eustace Whyte, Jardine Bell
Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Petherick, M. Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple) Wilson, Lt.-Col. Sir Arnold (Hertf'd)
Hornby, Frank Power, Sir John Cecil Wise, Alfred R.
Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Ramsbotham, Herwald Womersley, Sir Walter
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Reid, David D. (County Down)
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Reid, James S. C. (Stirling) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Reid, William Allan (Derby) Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Remer, John R. and Mr. Blindell.
James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H. Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Thorne, William James
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw vale) Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zti'nd) Tinker, John Joseph
Buchanan, George Harris, Sir Percy Waterhouse, Captain Charles
Cove, William G. Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) West, F. R.
Daggar, George Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George White, Henry Graham
Dobbie, William Lawson, John James Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)
Edwards, Sir Charles Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Wilmot, John
Gardner, Benjamin Walter McEntee, Valentine L. Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Maxton, James TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Rea, Sir Walter Mr. John and Mr. Groves.
Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, anti passed.