HC Deb 23 September 1943 vol 392 cc382-3
45. Mr. Purbrick

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the position of high national importance of Members of Parliament and the fact that they have to judge how the duty of service in the Legislature can best be performed, whether Members of Parliament are entitled to travel in and out of the country as long as it does not involve subversive action against the State?

The Deputy-Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

No, Sir. I gather that my hon. Friend's Question arises out of a refusal of an application by him for a permit to visit Eire primarily for a. change of air and environment. The question of travel by Members of Parliament to neutral countries has been considered by the Government on several occasions, and their view has always been that in this matter Members should be subject to the same rules as other persons. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister does not think that the high national importance of a Member of Parliament's position, or his duty of service in the legislature, would be in any way enhanced by granting him special facilities for leaving the country.

Mr. Purbrick

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his statement with regard to me personally, that the main reason was that I wanted to go for the benefit of my health, is entirely incorrect and misleading the House? It was one of the reasons and not the entire reason, which is set out very clearly in the correspondence with the Home Secretary, and therefore is it not very wrong to make a reflection upon an hon. Member in this fashion?

Mr. Attlee

I understood that that was the principal reason why the hon. Member wanted to go.

Sir Herbert Williams

Is it not the case that the privilege of Members of Parliament is not personal and that it is not an advantage personally to hon. Members, but that the privilege is the privilege of their constituents, and King's officers have no right to hinder a Member of Parliament from doing what is, in his judgment, part of his public duty?

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not true to say that the privilege of hon. Members is confined to this country?

Commander Loeker-Lampson

But is not the hon. Member's health a national asset?