HC Deb 01 May 1947 vol 436 cc2160-1
45 and 46. Mr. Charles Smith

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether any guidance has now been given by the Government to nationalised undertakings with regard to the political freedom of their staffs; and, in particular, to the right of their staff to hold office in a political party;

(2) what restrictions are imposed on the staff of nationalised undertakings with regard to standing for election to local authorities or to Parliament; and whether any guidance has been given by the Government on this matter to nationalised undertakings.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

The Government have informed the boards of the general principles which in their view should govern the development of a code of practice in this matter. The broad effect of these is that the vast majority of those employed in our nationalised industries will be as free as those employed in other industries to participate without restriction in political activities, whether national or local. There is, however, one qualification affecting only a small number of employees which does not always apply in other industries. It is desirable that the senior staffs of the boards should establish a tradition of public service irrespective of party allegiances, and it follows that they must exercise a measure of discretion in political matters which will prevent them from engaging in the more controversial forms of political activity.

Sir W. Smithers

In view of that statement, may I ask the Prime Minister whether he will undertake that in all nationalised industries the policy of the closed shop shall be done away with?

The Prime Minister

That has nothing whatever to do with this Question.