HC Deb 01 April 1941 vol 370 cc857-8
45 and 46. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether his attention has been directed to the Seventh Report of the Select Committee on National Expenditure; and, in view of the fact that this Report goes to prove that the sort of allegations made by Major H. H. Evans (late Royal Engineers), Major A. ReidKellett, D.S.O., M.C., and Mr. W. H. E. Carr, A.M.I.C.E., are again substantiated, what further action does he propose to take;

(2) whether he will move the House to order the documentary evidence, on which the Seventh Report of the Select Committee on National Expenditure was based, to be sent to the judge of the High Court appointed to decide whether there are any prima facie cases of waste, extravagance and dishonesty in the carrying out of Government contracts?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)

In the opinion of His Majesty's Government the criticisms and recommendations of the Select Committee do not support the contentions of my hon. Friend, and I am not prepared to adopt the course of action he suggests. I may add that the Minister of Works and Buildings is now considering the Report in detail, with a view to taking the necessary steps, wherever practical, to give effect to the Committee's recommendations, some of which have already been adopted, and the Minister's observations on the Report generally will in due course be submitted to the Select Committee.

Sir W. Smithers

Arising out of that answer, may I ask the Prime Minister whether he will take his well-known courage in both hands and order a full-blooded judicial inquiry without delay, so that all these questions can be settled and punishment inflicted on the guilty parties? What is the reason for the delay?

The Prime Minister

A full statement has been made to the House as to the procedure which the Government propose to adopt, and it certainly is not calculated to shield anyone from the consequences of criminal action or misdemeanour.

Mr. Stokes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the great injustice done to the three persons named in the Question, and may I ask whether he proposes to take any action to see that it is put right?