HC Deb 17 February 1943 vol 386 cc1714-5
20. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for Air on what grounds a service agreement was signed giving a guarantee of employment or compensation for a long period between Overseas Airways Corporation and an employee, whose name has been given to the Ministry; why the agreement was pre-dated; and whether a pension is provided for in the agreement and on what terms?

Sir A. Sinclair

As my right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary informed the hon. Member on 16th December last, the British Overseas Airways Corporation is responsible for its own internal administration, in accordance with the original intention of Parliament in the 1939 Act. I cannot, therefore, provide the information asked for.

Mr. Edwards

Does the Minister tell the House that he has no interest in a matter which may involve public funds? Is he aware that in this case there has been a considerable amount of sharp practice, and that a man who is very likely to lose his job has been guaranteed compensation in such a case?

Sir A. Sinclair

No, Sir; I am not saying that. I am saying that the Corporation either can be left to manage its own affairs or can be run from Whitehall. Parliament decided that it was to be left with the responsibility for its own management.

Sir H. Williams

Is it not the case that since that Act was passed the Emergency Powers Act has been passed, which gives the Minister power to interfere with all sorts of persons?

Sir A. Sinclair

Yes, Sir; but the intention of Parliament was that this Corporation should be responsible for the management of its own affairs.

Sir Herbert Williams

The Emergency Powers Act alters all that.

Sir A. Sinclair

It gives me the power to alter that, but I am respectful to the wishes of Parliament.

Mr. A. Edwards

In view of the Minister's indifference to this matter, and of his indifference to the misuse of public funds, I beg to give notice that I propose to raise the matter on the Adjournment.