HC Deb 11 November 1947 vol 444 cc181-2
24. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Minister of Labour why he sent out Form J. 152–79194/8198–200 M.9/47 D. & S.B. containing 14 paragraphs and nearly 100 questions together with a covering letter dated 27th October, 1947; why the pen ultimate paragraph was marked with a large black asterisk; how many copies were sent out; and what was the weight of paper used and the total cost involved.

Mr. Isaacs

This inquiry has been undertaken at the request of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy set up by the Lord President. Its purpose is to obtain information about the country's scientific manpower. The marking against the pen ultimate paragraph is to draw special attention to the undertaking it contains. Approximately 160,000 copies were printed, weighing about 16 cwt. and costing £88.

Sir W. Smithers

In view of the shortage of paper, can the right hon. Gentleman say why there should be this ridiculous waste for the purpose of asking questions which can have no useful results, and, further, is he aware that it is part of a dictator's technique—

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Gentleman might read page 336 of the Rules about Questions. He is not complying with one of them.

Sir W. Smithers

I wish to give notice that, in view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I propose to raise this matter on the Adjournment.