HC Deb 17 June 1941 vol 372 cc455-6
2. Mr. Leslie

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the unanimous recommendation from the administrative and technical representatives of the Whitley Council of the Department of Agriculture for Scotland that, in the best interests of the State, and for the better co-ordination of administration, it is desirable that the filling up of the vacancy in the post of chief technical officer to the Department should not be delayed any longer; and at what decision he has arrived?

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Westwood)

This question was considered in March, 1940, when my predecessor stated that the arrangements then existing worked well in practice. My right hon. Friend has now reviewed the position and is satisfied that no change is called for in present circumstances.

Mr. Leslie

Seeing that this was the unanimous recommendation of the staff on a matter of vital importance to Scottish agriculture, will my hon. Friend be good enough to give the reasons why he could not accede to this request?

Mr. Westwood

That would take too long to be dealt with at Question Time, but executive decisions must be taken by the Government and do not necessarily follow recommendations made by any outside authority.

Mr. Kirk wood

Arising from the original reply, I would like to ask, seeing that the Secretary of State for Scotland, when he was Under-Secretary of State, made great play about the amount of bracken to be found in Scotland, whether the hon. Gentleman will put before the right hon. Gentleman now that he should use all his power to see that as far as possible bracken is eradicated from the hills and dales of Scotland?

Mr. Speaker

That does not arise on this Question.

Mr. Neil Maclean

This is a matter of practice, but will he not also consider it from the point of view of principle?

Mr. Westwood

We have considered it from the point of view of principle, and if there was any case at any time for the appointment of a technical officer, there is less of a case to-day, due to changes that have taken place since.

Mr. Kirkwood

Will the hon. Gentleman put the point I have raised before the Secretary of State for Scotland?

Mr. Westwood

Without hesitation, although it does not arise out of the original Question.