HC Deb 02 May 1949 vol 464 cc626-7
6. Colonel Clarke

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why he has invited the Standing Joint Committee of Working Women's Organisations, which acts as an advisory committee to the executive committee of the Labour Party, to make nominations for the Electricity Consultative Councils; and what representatives of other political parties have been invited to make similar nominations.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power (Mr. Robens)

Because it represents a large body of working-class women. My right hon. Friend has not invited any representatives of political parties to submit nominations. Although the Standing Joint Committee acts in an advisory capacity to the Labour Party on women's questions, it is not a party organisation. It has been consulted by successive Governments on a number of women's questions since its foundation in 1916 and has acted in an advisory capacity to a number of official bodies and Government committees.

Colonel Clarke

May I ask the Minister why, if he considers it inappropriate to ask political parties to put forward nominations, he has invited this organisation, which I understand annually presents a report to the Labour women's annual conference, and whose chairman is the chairman who presides at that conference, and whose members are drawn from a number of Labour political organisations?

Mr. Robens

It may well be that those who are associated with other women's organisations that have been invited are also prominent members of other political parties, but that does not make the Standing Advisory Council a political body.

Miss Bacon

Is my hon. Friend aware that this body represents 2½ million working women, and as such is fully representative of the working women in the country in giving advice on these matters?

Mr. Robens

It is for that reason that we invited them.

Mr. Keeling

Is the Minister aware that this is one of several cases in which women members of the Labour Party with a well-known political bias have been given preference by the Government on advisory bodies?

Mr. Robens

I do not accept that at all, and the hon. Member will recollect that successive Governments of all political colours have from time to time consulted this organisation.

Forward to