HC Deb 05 February 1951 vol 483 cc1328-9
34. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether, in view of the announcement by the chairman of the British Electricity Authority on 5th December, 1950, in London, that the electricity system of this country might collapse by reason of the failure of His Majesty's Government to allot sufficient funds for the construction of generating stations, he proposes to terminate the chairman's appointment.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

No, Sir.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Does it follow from that answer that the right hon. Gentleman accepts as true the very serious charges against His Majesty's Government contained in the noble Lord's speech? Is he aware that if they are true, then other and more conspicuous resignations will be demanded?

Mr. Noel-Baker

No, Sir, I do not admit the interpretation put on the speech by the hon. Member.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Will my right hon. Friend resist the suggestion that a totalitarian uniformity of opinion should be imposed on the chairmen of national boards?

Mr. Gammans

Is it with the Minister's knowledge and approval that the chairman has been absent from this country for over two months at a time of crisis?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Yes, Sir. It was thought to be of great importance that Lord Citrine should attend a conference in India.

Mr. John Hynd

As the speech of the chairman has been obviously misrepresented in the Question, will my right hon. Friend tell us precisely what he did say?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what interpretation he places on the statement that the electricity industry of this country might collapse owing to the financial policy of His Majesty's Government?

Mr. Noel-Baker

That is not what Lord Citrine said. Perhaps the hon. Member will be good enough to look it up.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I will send it to the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Noel-Baker

And I will send a copy to the hon. Member.