HC Deb 11 November 1948 vol 457 c1712
35. Mr. Keeling

asked the Minister of Education whether his attention has been drawn to a circular, a copy of which has been sent to him, issued by Mr. Morgan Phillips, Secretary of the Labour Party, urging the training of Labour candidates for next year's local government elections and stating that classes can be arranged in connection with the Workers' Educational Association; and whether he will give an assurance that any further grant to that association will be conditional on its taking no hand in party politics.

Mr. Tomlinson

Yes, Sir. I have now seen the circular. The reference to classes arranged in association with the Workers' Educational Association is liable to cause misunderstanding. Any such classes would be available to all members of the community equally and would be open to inspection. The conditions of grant are well understood by the Workers' Educational Association and exclude from recognition any classes or courses organised on party political lines.

Mr. Keeling

Can the Minister explain how the Labour Party came to perpetrate a circular which suggests the use of an association subsidised by the taxpayer, in order to further an object which is thus stated in the circular: It is vital that Labour's power on local authorities should be extended and thus lay the foundation for a further swift advance towards that great goal of Socialism and true liberty for which our movement has always worked. How can that be explained away?

Mr. Tomlinson

That in itself has no relationship to the organisation of classes. The information which could be obtained at those classes would be of equal value to the efficient carrying out of the duties of a local authority by a Conservative, a Liberal or a Labour member. Therefore, the organisation of the classes is not in any sense party political. If a class was organised on party political lines it would not receive a grant from the Ministry of Education.

Mr. Dumpleton

Is not my right hon. Friend aware of the outstanding need for the better education of Conservative candidates?