HC Deb 11 February 1941 vol 368 c1229
Mr. Mander

I desire to make a short personal statement. In the Debate upon the Conduct of a Member which took place on 28th January I made a reference to certain evidence given by the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) before the Select Committee. In connection with that I have received a letter from him. It has appeared in the Press, but it seems to me that, owing to its nature, it ought to be on the records of this House for future reference, and with your permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to read it: I have read with careful attention your observations in the Debate on the Conduct of a Member in the House of Commons last Tuesday. I hasten to assure you that the passages in my final speech to the Select Committee to which you referred dealt solely with the question of the obligations of Members of Parliament with regard to disclosure; and that I was making no charges, either of a general or of a specific character, against the integrity of any Member. I had in mind such questions as the disclosure of an interest in a trade or industry, or a shareholding in a company, and the difference which has hitherto been made between public and private companies—upon which there appear to be no clear precedents or rulings. It seems to me that there must inevitably be a somewhat wider application of the obligation to disclose personal interests in the case of a Minister of the Crown than in that of a private Member, by reason of the different functions they discharge. But I would like to make it quite plain that I was not suggesting that any different standards of conduct should be laid down, nor was it my intention to cast the slightest reflection either upon the House as such, or upon any individual Member. I shall be glad if you will make whatever use of this letter you may wish to do.