HC Deb 26 November 1946 vol 430 cc1391-2
18. Sir W. Darling

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has for regular consultation with all Scottish Members at Edinburgh; and if, in particular, he will arrange for an early meeting to consider, with the Minister of Labour, the unemployment situation in Scotland.

Mr. Westwood

I am always prepared to meet Scottish Members, as can suitably be arranged either in Edinburgh or London, whenever there is any indication of a general desire for such a meeting and when it is clear that the opportunity so provided of informal discussion would be advantageous in dealing with any particular Scottish problem.

With regard to the second part of the Question, I am in constant touch with my right hon. Friends the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Labour on the employment situation in Scotland; and I should of course consult them about any proposal made to me through the usual channels.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of that reply, may I ask the Secretary of State if he will arrange an early meeting of the Scottish Members in Edinburgh to discuss the question of unemployment in Scotland and to prepare a resolution for submission to the Government?

Commander Galbraith

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in view of the Parliamentary programme it would be more convenient if such matters were referred to the Scottish Grand Committee?

Mr. Westwood

I am not aware of that, but I am aware that it would be of interest to Scottish Members to meet informally to discuss particular problems affecting Scotland in the same way as they did under my predecessors. As I have already said, if there are representations through the usual channels I am prepared to consider them.

Sir W. Darling

Do I understand from the right hon. Gentleman that the initiative in this matter must come from Scottish Members and not from him?

Mr. Westwood

I require to discover through the usual channels any particular subject they wish to discuss with me so that I may have an opportunity to see that the appropriate officials are present and that expert advice is available.

Mr. McGovern

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the opinion of certain hon. Members is that most of the meetings in Edinburgh were a waste of time and money, and does he not think that if there are to be discussions they should be held in London, which is much more convenient than calling hon. Members to Edinburgh?