HC Deb 04 April 1944 vol 398 cc1806-8
54. Mr. Granville

asked the Prime Minister if he can make a statement on the attitude of the Government towards instituting an inquiry into the whole question of the rate for the job in all public services and if he will arrange for Parliamentary time to discuss this.

The Prime Minister

I understand there is a Motion on the Paper to which 161mbers have given their names. This would certainly seem to indicate a wish on the part of the House that the matter should be discussed and I gather that that view is shared by others who took a more active part than the hon. Member. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House is considering whether an opportunity can be found in the course of the present Session. I only hope he will be successful.

[That this House is in favour of the immediate application of the principle of equal pay as between men and women employed in those classes of the Civil Service where recruitment is open to men and women alike through the same examination, and/or where the men and women members of the class are liable for identical duties.]

Mr. W. J. Brown

Arising out of that reply, am I right in supposing that the present Session would carry us right into November or thereabouts? Cannot the right hon. Gentleman indicate an early date for discussion?

Mr. Arthur Greenwood

May I put this point to my right hon. Friend? When I raised it with him last week he said that if the point were put here, he would gladly reply. The question he has been asked is whether he can arrange for Parliamentary time to discuss the institution of an inquiry. As I understand it, the Motion of my hon. Friend is on the substance of equal pay for equal work. Would it not be in accordance with the war-time position in the House that the substance shall be debated, and not the question of whether there shall be an inquiry, so that, in the light of the discussion, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House might be in a position to state at the end of it, that the Government would be prepared to establish such an inquiry?

Sir H. Williams

On a point of Order. Are we discussing Business or a supplementary question?

The Prime Minister

I have addressed myself to the Question on the Paper, and to other cognate inquiries which have arisen around it. Let me say that the Government have every wish to enable the House to discuss this matter. The exact vehicle and exact opportunity for discussing it, had better be settled by discussion through the usual channels.

Mr. Shinwell

If such a discussion should now take place, can we understand that it will not take place on a Motion of Confidence? Before this discussion takes place will the right hon. Gentleman indicate to hon. Members whether the Government will resent any particular course of action hon. Members may take in the Division Lobby?

The Prime Minister

Even a National Government, supported, officially, by all the three Parties, has the same right as an ordinary party Government in securing and maintaining control over its own legislation.

Several hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

The House has got very far from the original Question.

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