HC Deb 06 March 1946 vol 420 cc313-5
18. Sir G. Fox

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air for what purpose, on 25th February, 1946, at 23.00 hours, three R.A.F. vehicles Nos. 42196,69761, of M.A.P., and 167895, entered Palace Yard; whether these three vehicles had Form 658; and how these forms were made out.

Mr. Strachey

These cars took home three Ministers, including myself, from a late Sitting of the House. The appropriate form for authorising these journeys was carried and made out correctly in each case.

Sir G. Fox

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the driver of No. 42196 said he had come for the Chief Whip? Is the Chief Whip entitled to travel in a Service car? Would it not be much better to use other transport? Is it not a gross misuse of Service personnel, and if airmen were not so misemployed would not demobilisation be quicker?

Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

The hon. and gallant Member should look towards me. I myself was standing for some time.

Earl Winterton

Could the hon. Gentleman explain what are the Regulations regarding the use of these vehicles for hon. Members of this House?

Mr. Strachey

Yes, Sir, certainly. Two of the cars in question were part of a pool run by the Ministry of Aircraft Production—my own car was from the Air Ministry—and were only lent by the R.A.F. for that purpose. The rules governing the matter are that Ministers can draw on these pools on these occasions, and I think it is a fit and proper rule, if I may say so.

Mr. Driberg

Is my hon. Friend aware that Service vehicles were used by Conservative Ministers in the last Government, not only for special purposes like this, after late Sittings, but to go shopping?

Sir G. Fox

Is overcrowding of these cars permitted? In the R.A.F. only three passengers and the driver are allowed. I have seen four Members of Parliament and the driver get into these and similar cars.

Mr. Strachey

I regret, then, that I shall not be able to give the hon. and gallant Member a lift.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Is not the whole basis of the Question a lot of cheapjack nonsense?

Mr. W. J. Brown

Is the hon. Member aware that the only complaint Members of Parliament have on this subject is that we were not included?