HC Deb 13 June 1939 vol 348 cc1096-7
45. Mr. Mander

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider the advisability of so arranging duties between Ministers that the number of paid Members of the Government is not increased by the creation of new offices by legislation, such as the Ministry of Supply Bill, and that other offices, such as the Lord President of the Council, should be held concurrently with other posts?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

The hon. Member's suggestion is noted, but the cost of Ministers' salaries is only one of the considerations which have to be taken into account in the arrangement of their duties.

Mr. Mander

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that upwards of 100 Members of this House are dependent at the present time in one way or another upon the Government for their appointment; would he consider the undesirability of increasing that number and the possibility of the office of the Minister of Supply being held concurrently with such an office as that of the Lord President of the Council, in order not to increase the number of Ministers?

The Prime Minister

That seems to be the same question over again.

Mr. Sandys

Is it not most undesirable to reduce the number of Cabinet Ministers without Departmental preoccupations who are free to give their time to the formulation of broad policy?

46. Mr. Dingle Foot

asked the Prime Minister whether he will give an assurance that the doctrine of Cabinet responsibility is being fully maintained, having regard to the fact that two Cabinet Ministers were absent unpaired from the Division on the Government's Palestine proposals?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Foot

Is it consistent with the doctrine of Cabinet responsibility that Ministers should be absent from a Division of such importance, while the back bench supporters of the Government were expected to go into the Lobby?

The Prime Minister

It does not affect the point that my right hon. Friends naturally accept full responsibility for collective Cabinet decisions.

Mr. Cocks

Is the doctrine of Cabinet responsibility as fully maintained now as it was when the Cabinet contained Members of the Liberal party?