§ 45. Miss Irene Ward
asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the Durham County Council's decision to cease questioning teachers as to whether they are members of their appropriate unions, he will now take steps to ensure the adoption of a similar attitude with regard to other employees of the council.
§ Mr. Ede
I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has no information that similar questions are put to other employees, but Ministers are concerned to intervene in the actions 567 of local authorities only where these actions may endanger the efficiency of services for which the Ministers have responsibility.
§ Miss Ward
Would the right hon. Gentleman, if he has not the information, which is extremely surprising, take the trouble, in the interests of freedom, to find out? Are we to understand that freedom depends on trade unionism stimulating the Government to action rather than the Government giving leadership in the application of freedom to the subject?
§ Sir W. Smithers
Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the subversive activities of Councillor E. F. Peart, of Thornley, who is still urging the Durham County Council to continue the closed shop policy?
§ Mr. Blyton
Will my right hon. Friend, now that the Durham position has been happily settled, take action against the Tory dominated Council of Middlesex, which asks questions about the political faith of any teacher applying for a position?
§ Mr. Awbery
Will my right hon. Friend notify local authorities that they are still at liberty to urge their employees to join the appropriate trade union that caters for their industry, and point out that it is contrary to British custom and tradition for a man to accept privileges for which he does not carry any responsibility?
§ Mr. Henry Strauss
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that no one may be compelled to belong to an association?