HC Deb 07 July 1948 vol 453 cc370-1
45. Earl Winterban

asked the Prime Minister if there are any rules governing the giving of evidence by Ministers before Royal Commissions on subjects for which they are not departmentally responsible.

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

I have been asked to reply. It is the usual custom that evidence before Royal Commissions and similar bodies shall be given by officials rather than by Ministers, but my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister knows of no rule on the subject.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Does not the Lord President of the Council think it desirable that Ministers who have made allegations against public institutions like the Press, should, when requested to do so, give evidence before Commissions inquiring into those institutions?

Mr. Morrison

That is not strictly related to the Question. I have been asked a general Question and I have given a reply. If a question is to be asked on a specific matter I think it should be put down.

Brigadier Head

Would it not be fair to see that the so-called prostituted and presumably verminous Press should have a chance of justifying itself and that the Minister of Health should give evidence before the Royal Commission on the Press?

Mr. Morrison

That is even more specific. I think it had better be put on the Paper.

Earl Winterton

In view of the constitutional implications of this Question which the Lord President seems to treat rather lightly, I beg to give notice, on behalf of several hon. Members on this side of the House and on my own behalf, that I will put forward this question for submission for discussion on the Adjournment for the Summer Recess. We may have an interesting Debate.