HC Deb 08 July 1941 vol 373 cc28-9
48. Sir D. Thomson

asked the Prime Minister why the announcement in regard to coal rationing was made, on a day when this House was sitting, through the Press by an official of the Mines Department instead of being made in this House by the Minister responsible?

The Prime Minister

It was thought to be the most convenient course in a case of this kind and fully in harmony with the practice of the House.

Sir D. Thomson

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that there is very general confusion in the public mind and in this House about this scheme; and would it not be better to have a proper statement in this House rather than a Press report, which is necessarily abridged?

The Prime Minister

I understand that the statement was a long and rather complicated one, and the House has never desired unduly to encumber its business by long, technical, and detailed statements being interpolated in the time available for Questions. It was on that ground that the course taken was chosen.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Would the Prime Minister consider what would be the desire in the minds of Members in various parts of the House, arranging for the Debate to take place very soon, as there is great dissatisfaction throughout the country?

The Prime Minister

I am always anxious to divide the time of the House in a manner most fitting to the discharge of our duties, and I shall have to make inquiries through the usual channels as to what is the relative priority.

Earl Winterton

May I take it from the answer of my right hon. Friend that it was for the technical reasons he mentioned that the ordinary practice was not followed of having a Private Notice Question on this matter?

The Prime Minister

Certainly, Sir, but, as I say, a great many statements are made and given out even on days when Parliament is in session which are not made here. The principle to be followed is to select the really important matters.