HC Deb 03 October 1944 vol 403 cc723-4
16. Mr. W. J. Brown

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he can make any statement as to Government policy for increasing the British population in the Dominions.

The Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Mr. Emrys-Evans)

I am not quite clear what the hon. Member has in mind. If he refers to measures designed to encourage an increase in the birth rate in the Dominions, that is a matter for the Dominions themselves. If he refers to migration from this country, the policy of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom has been stated on various occasions, the last being the statement by my Noble Friend in another place on the 24th May. I cannot to-day add anything to these statements except to say that the Government are at present in consultation with the Dominion Governments on the subject.

Mr. Brown

Could the hon. Gentleman give a rough estimate, of when he will be able to give us a full statement?

Mr. Emrys-Evans

No, Sir. I am afraid I am not able to do so. This matter depends on the result of our conversations with the Dominions.

Mr. Shinwell

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Gentleman has just stated that because of a statement made by his Noble Friend in another place, he has nothing to add. Are we to understand that we must rely on statements made in another place, which in fact we cannot debate and question in this House? Is that the position?

Mr. Speaker

Statements made by Ministers in another place are official statements, and they are therefore ones of which we can take notice here.

Earl Winterton

Could not my hon. Friend give a slightly less official answer? Could he not say that it is the policy of His Majesty's Government, in consultation with the Dominions, to do everything possible to bring about emigration to the Dominions? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that he sits on that Bench constantly stone-walling every question which is put to him? It is hopeless!

Mr. Emrys-Evans

No, Sir. I did make a statement on this particular question in December on the lines which the Noble Lord desires now. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom are in favour of a policy of emigration, but it must be carried out in close collaboration with the Dominions.

Mr. Petherick

Is my hon. Friend aware that there were a number of very good reports, both official and unofficial, presented to His Majesty's Government before the war? Would he cause a re-examination of all those reports to be made?

Mr. Emrys-Evans

Yes, Sir. All those reports are being re-examined at the present time, and conversations are taking place between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and the Governments of the Dominions.