HC Deb 21 February 1939 vol 344 cc179-81
11. Mr. Bellenger

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has now reconsidered the position of Sir Reginald Ford; and whether he has any statement to make?

Mr. Stanley

Yes, Sir. I asked Sir Reginald Ford to come and see me at the end of last week in order that I might discuss with him the Debate in the House on Tuesday. Sir Reginald was particularly disturbed at the suggestions made that the continuance of his tenure of office under existing circumstances might act as a handicap to the National Service recruiting campaign. He informed me, however, that he had definitely decided to remain in Brussels, and wished, therefore, in the national interest, immediately to resign his office. He assured me that he remained at the service of the Government in any capacity, whether for consultation or in an emergency. I can only express my appreciation of his public spirit, and my regret at the position in which he has been placed.

Mr. Bellenger

Although I have no doubt that the House welcomes this gentleman's public-spirited action, will the right hon. Gentleman disclose the terms on which Sir Reginald resigned? Was any money payment made, or was it an immediate cancellation of the contract?

Mr. Stanley

No terms were made. He resigned immediately and asked for no further payment.

Mr. Cocks

Is it the policy of the Government that this country should be governed from foreign capitals?

Mr. Stanley

No, Sir. That is more in accordance with the hon. Gentleman's policy.

27. Mr. Thurtle

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the published comments of the food controller for the Greater London and Home Counties area, on the discussion which recently took place in this House regarding his appointment; and whether he will take steps to see that officers of this Department refrain from public comment on Parliamentary discussions concerning the Department?

Mr. Stanley

I have seen numerous reports in the Press of questions addressed and answers attributed to Sir Reginald Ford. Sir Reginald informs me that he has made no comment on the discussion in this House apart from stating, in reply to inquiry, his position in regard to pension and Income Tax.

Mr. Thurtle

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I set this question down with no malice towards Sir Reginald Ford in order to protect the rights of Members of the House?

Mr. Stanley

I am very glad to have an opportunity of giving this complete denial. It might interest the House, to show the fairness of individuals of the Press, that I had a quite unsolicited letter from a journalist who happened to be present at the interview who said the much deplored statement attributed to Sir Reginald Ford had, in fact, never been made by him at all.