HC Deb 18 October 1949 vol 468 cc486-7
40 and 41. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is now the policy of His Majesty's Government with regard to the implementation of the Masterman Committee's Report on the political activities of civil servants;

(2) if he will make a statement as to the result of his discussions with the staff side of the Civil Service Whitley Council on the subject of the proposed restrictions on the political liberties of civil servants.

68. Mr. Keeling

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he can now announce the result of the Government's reconsideration of their decision to adopt the Masterman Committee's recommendations.

Sir S. Cripps

Action to implement the recommendations of the Masterman Committee remains suspended. The Staff Side of the National Whitley Council have submitted suggestions which are under consideration, and I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman now give the assurance, which the Lord President refused to give on 30th July, that no limitation shall be put on the existing political rights of any civil servant until this House has had an opportunity to debate the matter?

Sir S. Cripps

No, Sir. I cannot make any further statement until after the discussions cussions which I have mentioned have proceeded.

Mr. Eden

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that this is a very reasonable request for this House to make? I did ask the Lord President before we adjourned. All that we are now asking is whether, when these discussions are over, this House will be given an opportunity to discuss the matter before decisions are taken.

Sir S. Cripps

It is for my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House to decide discussions in this House. All I can say is that I can make no further statement until these discussions have proceeded.

Mr. Keeling

Was it not a mistake for the Government to publish their decision simultaneously with the Report itself? Would it not be better in future to await any Debate in this House? In this case the discussion was highly critical on both sides of the House.

Sir S. Cripps

No, Sir.

Mr. H. D. Hughes

Will my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that there is no case for restricting liberties which have been enjoyed in practice by a section of the community unless it can be shown that those liberties have been abused?