HC Deb 17 June 1948 vol 452 cc652-3
46. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Prime Minister if he intends to set up an inquiry into the working of the nationalised industries; and what will be the nature and scope of the inquiry.

Mr. H. Morrison

I have been asked to reply. No, Sir.

Mr. Churchill

There is then no truth in the rumours that have appeared that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, the present Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, is to be employed in this investigation? Before answering, I hope the Leader of the House will consider whether this, if adopted by the Government, would not be a very good example of Satan investigating sin?

Mr. Morrison

I do not propose to follow up the rather personal and controversial observations of the right hon. Gentleman at the end of his question, but the rumours to which he has referred do not represent decisions of the Government, but decisions of the Beaverbrook Press, which was inaccurate on this occasion, as it quite often is.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Should we assume from the right hon. Gentleman's first answer that no inquiries into individual nationalised industries are in the mind of the Government?

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir.

Mr. Osborne

Does the answer mean that the Government are satisfied with the working of nationalised industries so far?

Mr. Morrison

This is a Government which has virtue on its side—

Mr. Osborne

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the question?

Mr. Morrison

—and always sees possibilities of improvement. Therefore, the assumption in the hon. Member's question would not be accurate.

Mr. N. Macpherson

The right hon. Gentleman did not say that the statement was wrong, but that it was inaccurate. Will he, therefore, make an accurate statement?

Mr. Morrison

I said that the announcements of Government policy made in the Beaverbrook Press were inaccurate. I am perfectly willing to add that they are wrong and that they are sometimes somewhat beside the truth as regards the actual reporting of news.