HC Deb 13 December 1939 vol 355 cc1198-9
59. Mr. Stokes

asked the Minister of Supply whether, in the public interest, he will require that all those serving as controllers of material and equipment in his Department should resign from all commercial positions, and forgo the emoluments attaching thereto until the war is ended?

Mr. Burgin

No, Sir. I have already stated, in reply to earlier questions, that all the Controllers whom I have appointed are required during the tenure of their posts to cease from active participation in business enterprises in any way connected with the industry whose materials they are controlling. Subject to that, I do not regard it as either necessary or proper to introduce the stipulations which the hon. Member suggests.

Mr. Stokes

Does the Minister really think that it is satisfactory from the public point of view that these people should be asked to serve two masters?

Mr. Burgin

I do not think they are asked to serve two masters at all. Every controller who comes into a Government Department gives the same undertaking, that he will during the period of his service refrain from active participation in any business connected with the commodity which he is controlling, and I feel that to be a sensible and businesslike arrangement which will commend itself to the good sense of the House.

Mr. Garro Jones

Seeing that participation in other businesses is allowed, what is the use of forbidding them to participate in their businesses, if their whole financial interest remains in those businesses?

Mr. Burgin

I do not think it would be a particularly desirable thing to take a man from business and induce him to give his time to the State free of charge and then deprive him of any other income at all?