HC Deb 16 December 1948 vol 459 cc1375-6
46. Mr. G. Thomas

asked the Lord President of the Council, what response has been received to the Goverment's proposal of a National Council for Wales; and at what date he hopes to announce the names of its members.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

This is a matter on which it is difficult to generalise, and it was not to be expected that Welsh opinion would be unanimous. From the reports which I have received I would, however, say that the general reaction has been that the proposed Council for Wales and Monmouthshire should prove an important addition to the existing machinery for dealing with Welsh Affairs and should be able to make a valuable contribution to the life of the Principality, particularly in the economic and cultural fields. As regards the second half of the Question, as I told the House in the Debate on 24th November, it is not intended to set up the Council until the New Year.

Mr. Price-White

Whilst I do not in any way criticise his proposal, would the Lord President agree that it would be possible in the interests both of Wales, first, and of His Majesty's Government, afterwards, to allow a reasonable period of time to gauge reaction in Wales to the proposal of the Government?

Mr. Morrison

It is not proposed to set up the Council until the New Year and I think by that time, allowing for the time that has elapsed since the Debate, we shall be able to form a reasonable judgment on the acceptability of the proposal to Wales generally.

Sir Henry Morris-Jones

What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by "early in the New Year"? Is he aware that the representatives from Wales assembled yesterday and passed a unanimous resolution asking him to defer the setting up of this Council?

Mr. Morrison

I shall want some convincing evidence to show why it should be deferred. We must really make up our minds about things within a reasonable time and I think we can form a reasonable judgment by the time indicated. I hope the hon. Gentleman will not ask us to live under the doctrine of perpetual postponement.

Mr. Eden

Will the right hon. Gentleman indicate his interesting conclusions to the Minister of Defence?

Mr. Morrison

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, his smart observation is totally irrelevant to the Question on the Paper.

Mr. Thomas

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the proposal has been very well received in South Wales, and that there are Welsh Members who are desirous of seeing this Council set up as soon as possible?

Mr. Morrison

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend. I have also seen some support for the proposal in North Wales. There are differences of opinion, and I understand that. We must take a balanced judgment at the end of the day.

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