HC Deb 07 March 1940 vol 358 cc555-6
46. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, as chairman of the Committee of the War Cabinet dealing with agriculture since the outbreak of the war, he is now in a position to make a statement as regards the progress achieved?

The Lord Privy Seal (Sir Samuel Hoare)

The proceedings of all such committees are, of course, confidential, but I can assure my hon. Friend that the members of this committee are fully conscious of the great importance of the problems with which they are concerned and are giving them their constant and urgent attention. Their work covers a great variety of subjects, and if there are any specific points on which my hon. Friend wishes to have further information, I would suggest that he should put down Questions to the Ministers in charge of the Departments concerned.

Mr. De la Bère

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that what is wanted is the creative idea? Does he not further realise that a constructive and comprehensive policy for agriculture is the one thing above all else which this country needs, and that there is no indication of this at present? Does not the agricultural policy of the Government resemble a rudderless ship at sea, not knowing where it is going or what to do next?

Mr. Watkins

How long will it be before agriculture in this country is in as good a state as it was at the beginning of the war in 1914?

Sir Archibald Sinclair

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is, in many parts of the House, a desire to discuss problems which are not solely connected with the Ministry of Agriculture but also embrace the jurisdiction of the Minister of Food? Is it possible for us to have a Debate which will embrace the jurisdiction of more than one Minister, in which the right hon. Gentleman could answer for the agricultural and the food policy?

Sir S. Hoare

I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should put that question to the Prime Minister.

Sir A. Sinclair

Then I put it to the Prime Minister. Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it would be advisable to have such a wide Debate as I suggest?

The Prime Minister

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will await the statement on business.