HC Deb 18 July 1950 vol 477 cc2031-2
45. Mr. John E. Haire

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of our recent failure in international games, he will consider allocating to the Minister of Education or other new Minister, responsibility for the encouragement and sponsoring of post-school training in athletics, team games, physical culture and sports generally.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, through his administration of the Education Act and the Physical Training and Recreation Act, is already responsible for the encouragement of physical education and training. To this end he supports the youth organisations, the Central Council of Physical Recreation and the national sports organisations, and makes financial assistance available for the provision of playing spaces and facilities. His first objective, however, is the development to the full of each person's physical potentialities and not the fostering of success at competitive games, though I would hope that this might follow.

Mr. Haire

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, despite those efforts, our recent defeats in soccer, cricket, tennis, golf and boxing, and the rest, have reduced our national morale and our international prestige in sport very seriously indeed? Will he not reconsider whether it would not be another form of social service if we were to sponsor and finance promising athletes after their school days, adult sporting organisations, and games generally?

The Prime Minister

I should have thought it was much more important to raise the general standard of physical culture and athletics than to cultivate specialism.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Are we to take it from his reply that the Prime Minister does not share the predilections of the right hon. Lady the Minister of National Insurance for the rule of law?

Mr. Fernyhough

Is it not a fact that if the world likes anything better than a good winner, it is a good loser?

Mr. H. Strauss

Why did the hen. Gentleman who asked this Question refer to the Minister of Education as a "new Minister"?

Mr. Keenan

Would the Prime Minister consider suggesting to the M.C.C. a new professional captain to go to Australia, so that we might get something done in the cricket world?

Sir W. Darling

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider a scheme for boxing under what might be called "the Summerskill rules"?