HC Deb 11 April 1940 vol 359 cc699-700
47. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Prime Minister whether the First Lord of the Admiralty is now to carry out the essential part of the functions for which the office of Minister for Co-ordination of Defence was created?

The Prime Minister

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 1st February to a Question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft). From this it will be seen that the office of Minister for Co-ordination of Defence was created primarily for peace time duties in connection with the work of the Committee of Imperial Defence, and that the changes which have been made, since the outbreak of war, in the machinery for the supreme direction of the war have necessarily resulted in an alteration of the functions for which that office was created. As announced on 4th April, arrangements have been made whereby the First Lord of the Admiralty, as senior Service Minister will normally preside over the Ministerial Committee on Military Co-ordination, the Chairmanship of which was previously included among the duties of my Noble Friend Lord Chatfield. More recently I have agreed, at the request of my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty to take the chair myself at meetings of this Committee when matters of exceptional importance, relating to the general conduct of the war, are under discussion. In addition, arrangements have been made for the re-allocation of the other functions previously performed by my Noble Friend.

Mr. Edwards

Am I understand from the reply that the office originally created for the Minister of Co-ordination of Defence has now been abolished?

The Prime Minister

It has lapsed for the time being.

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