HC Deb 11 October 1944 vol 403 cc1735-6
53 and 54. Sir O. Simmonds

asked the Prime Minister (1) the duties and responsibilities of the Minister for Civil Aviation;

(2) whether the Minister for Civil Aviation will control a Department of Civil Aviation wholly independent of other Ministries.

56 and 57. Sir Frank Sanderson

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether it is proposed to appoint an Under-Secretary to assist the Minister for Civil Aviation; and to whom questions concerning civil aviation should be addressed in this House;

(2) whether he can define the precise functions of the Minister for Civil Aviation; whether it is proposed at this stage that he should take charge of the Ministry; and whether the Department of the Director-General of Civil Aviation at the Air Ministry is to be transferred to him.

Mr. Attlee

As already announced, the executive day-to-day control of civil aviation is vested by Act of Parliament in the Secretary of State for Air, and no change can be made without legislation. My noble Friend Lord Swinton will be the Minister of Cabinet rank responsible for civil aviation planning at home and abroad. The detailed arrangements to enable my Noble Friend to discharge these responsibilities cannot be settled until he has returned to this country, and has had an opportunity to survey the position himself. I would prefer to make a statement at a later date dealing with the various points raised in these Questions.

Sir O. Simmonds

Could my right hon. Friend assure the House that this com- promise, which fails to meet the almost unanimous views of the House as to the future organisation of civil aviation, will be of a temporary nature and certainly will not extend far beyond the European war?

Mr. Attlee

I am afraid I cannot accept my hon. Friend's premise.

Mr. Bowles

Will the right hon. Gentleman hand to the Minister when he returns a copy of the Labour Party's policy "Wings of Peace"?

Mr. Attlee

I hope my hon. Friend will send him one.

Mr. Shinwell

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate, in view of what has been said on the other side, that some of us are rather anxious that civil aviation should be brought into line with the Government policy on transport?

Mr. Attlee

Yes, Sir, I am quite aware of that. I thought my hon. Friend behind me over-estimated the degree to which he was expressing the unanimous opinion of the House.

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