HC Deb 07 May 1941 vol 371 cc856-7
44. Major Vyvyan

Adams asked the Prime Minister whether it is intended to introduce legislation to legalise the new office of Minister of State?

The Prime Minister

No legislation is necessary for this purpose.

Major Adams

Is not this office a wholly novel one in our Constitution?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, His Majesty has from time immemorial appointed what Ministers he thinks desirable to whatever office he thinks appropriate. Legislation is only necessary where it is desired that the holder of a newly created office should sit in the House of Commons. The Minister of State lately appointed sits, of course, in the other place, but no fresh legislation would be required even if it were desired to appoint a Minister of State who is a Member of this House, because provision has already been made by Section 2 of the Re-election of Ministers Act, 1919, whereby a member of the Privy Council may be appointed a Minister of the Crown at a salary and may sit and vote in this House, provided that not more than three such Ministers are so appointed at the same time.

Mr. Maxton

Will the Prime Minister let us know what is the distinction between a Minister without Portfolio and a Minister of State?

The Prime Minister

The advantage in the new term lies not so much in the distinction as in the difference.

Mr. Thorne

Have they got the same power and authority?

The Prime Minister

Certainly. They are both members of the War Cabinet and have both general and particular spheres of duty assigned to them.

Mr. Mander

Can the right hon. Gentleman state the salary which will be paid to the Minister of State?

The Prime Minister

It would be the salary of the other members of the War Cabinet, but I do not know whether he takes it or not. I have not been told.