HC Deb 19 March 1951 vol 485 cc2100-1
47. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the re-allocation of the functions of the Lord President of the Council with particular reference to the answering of Questions.

48. Mr. Hollis

asked the Prime Minister what Minister is responsible to this House for the arrangements of the Festival of Britain.

The Prime Minister

My noble Friend the Lord President of the Council will continue to exercise those general responsibilities for scientific matters, which have always appertained to his office, including supervision of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and the other two Research Councils. Questions in this House on such matters will be answered by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department. The co-ordination of policy in the field of Home Information Services will be the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, but the Departmental Ministers will, of course, continue to answer to Parliament for the information policy of their own Departments, and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury will answer questions relating to the staffing, efficiency and methods of the Central Office of Information. Questions on major broadcasting policy should also be addressed to the Lord Privy Seal.

The co-ordination of overseas information will be the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Parliamentary questions within this field should be addressed to him.

Ministerial responsibility for the Festival of Britain will be transferred to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works. The Order in Council needed for this transfer of powers under the Festival of Britain (Supplementary Provisions) Act, 1949, is in preparation. In view, however, of the part played in this project by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Works will keep in touch with him on matters of special importance, and he will carry out, by agreement with the Minister, some of the public Festival engagements, arrangements for which have already been completed.

Mr. Chetwynd

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it will give great satisfaction to many people, including hon. Members on this side, to know that the Foreign Secretary is still to be the "Lord Festival."

Air Commodore Harvey

Would not the Prime Minister avoid all these complicated changes if he went to the country and had a vote on them?