HC Deb 15 May 1941 vol 371 cc1254-5
46. Mr. Mander

asked the Prime Minister whether, with a view to giving the fullest expression to national unity, he will consider the advisability, when a suitable opportunity presents itself, of including representatives of all three parties in the War Cabinet?

The Prime Minister

If one of the Service Ministers were included in the War Cabinet, it would be necessary to include all three. This would be in direct contradiction of the principle which is so often urged upon us that the War Cabinet should be a small body of non-Departmental Ministers. In order that the leader of the Liberal party should be a member of the War Cabinet, it would be necessary that he should give up his office as Air Minister. I should greatly regret to lose the services of my right hon. Friend the Member for Caithness (Sir A. Sinclair) in this most important war post, and I am surprised that a member of the party he leads with so much distinction should in effect propose such a course. At the time of the formation of the Government it was announced that the leaders of the three parties participating in the Government, whether members of the War Cabinet or not, would be consulted when questions arose affecting the general character and aims of the Government, including conditions of peace. It would be a great pity to depart from it.

Sir Henry Morris-Jones

Would the Prime Minister bear in mind that the best way to win this war is to forget all parties and appoint the best men available?

The Prime Minister

Certainly, Sir, but the co-operation of all parties has, indeed, facilitated the selection of the best men.