HC Deb 24 July 1946 vol 426 cc17-9
22. Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation whether he is now in a position to state the Government's policy in regard to Channel Islands Airways.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

I can add nothing to the statement which I made on 8th July.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

Does the answer mean that the Government will revise their position, and that they, realise that they have been trying to do something which is quite unconstitutional, and arc accepting the position and retracting what they have already done?

Mr. Thomas

The Government have done nothing unconstitutional in this matter. The Imperial Parliament may legislate for the Channel Islands, and it is customary to do so by means of Order in Council, so as to meet the wishes of the islanders. That has been done in the present case.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the last 140 years no such case has occurred unless the States have first expressed their demand for such legislation? Why is he now establishing this precedent, which is absolutely contrary to everything that has been done for 600 years?

Mr. Thomas

If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will pursue his researches, he will find that he is referring to Orders in Council made in the exercise of the Royal Prerogative and is not referring to Orders in Council made under statutory authority as is the case here.

Mr. Pritt

Did not this Government come in to make precedents?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether it is not a fact that the Government are actually reconsidering the whole matter?

Mr. Thomas

I have no reason to think so. Possibly the hon. Gentleman is referring to the fact that the Lord Chancellor has promised to make a statement tomorrow in another place.

45. Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

asked the Prime Minister whether, to avoid public confusion such as has occurred over Channel Island Airways, he will ensure that all statements made by Ministers to the House on the scope and method by which undertakings shall be brought under public control, receive the prior approval of the Cabinet.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

I am not aware of any confusion on this matter, except possibly in the mind of the hon. and gallant Member. The negotiations now in progress with Channel Island Airways are entirely in harmony with the Government's policy on civil aviation.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

Is not the Prime Minister aware that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 8th July said the Channel Island Airways would be taken over; that on 15th July the Prime Minister said he had no knowledge of any such arrangement; and on 22nd July in another place it was stated that the Government were considering again what they were going to do? Does he consider that is coordination?

The Prime Minister

I have considered it and I have seen the correspondence with the hon. and gallant Member. It seems to me to be quite clear that the hon. and gallant Member is barking up the wrong tree.