HC Deb 24 July 1940 vol 363 cc799-800
40. Mr. Butcher

asked the Minister of Transport whether, to ensure the operation of the railways in the interest of the nation as a whole, he will now add to the Railway Executive Committee a high officer of his Department, a representative of the railway workers and some individual of wide commercial experience?

Sir J. Reith

The Railway Executive Committee is a body expert in all phases of railway management, and a high officer of the Ministry, the railway control officer, is in constant touch with them. I think the national interest is served by the present arrangement.

Mr. Butcher

While thanking the Minister for his reply, may I ask whether he is not of the opinion that the recent scandal about soldiers' accommodation at the stations might have been avoided if somebody, not so directly concerned with railway administration solely, had been added to that body?

Mr. Watkins

Has the Minister received any request from the railway trade unions that they should be represented on the Railway Executive, and, if not, will he take no action in the matter until he does receive such a request?

Sir J. Reith

There has certainly been no such request to my knowledge.

Viscountess Astor

If the Minister will take into consideration the age of the directors in some railways, I think he will see that you must have younger people on, or you will never get anything done.

Mr. Liddall

Arising out of the original answer, and, on behalf of all loyal Members of this House wishing you, Sir, many happy returns of the day, may I ask the Minister whether, instead of considering a high official of his Department as executive, he will recommend some ordinary Member of this House?