HC Deb 11 February 1941 vol 368 cc1220-1
38. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Prime Minister whether he can give the House an assurance that, with the exception of the necessary consideration of security in war time, the recent practice by certain Ministers of the Crown of answering Questions which have appeared on the Order Paper by writing to the Member concerned and not circulating the reply, shall be discontinued?

The Prime Minister

Apart from the considerations of national safety to which my hon. Friend refers, there is no intention of departing from the well-established practice whereby answers to Questions are circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT. There are cases, however, where the matter is not of general interest or importance, or the information asked for is detailed and not immediately available. In these cases a reply by letter is, I think, not without precedent. Even so, it has always been open to any hon. Member to ask for the Answer to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT or placed in the Library for reference.

Mr. Dc la Bère

Will the right hon. Gentleman have the answer given to the hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Higgs) recently in connection with the appointment of Mr. Michael Arlen circulated, as it is of great interest to Members of Parliament for the Midland Region?

The Prime Minister

Certainly, if it is asked for.

Mr. Mander

Is it not the case that a Written Answer was given on the subject?

Mr. De la Bère

Is it not a fact that that answer was not specific?