§ 21. Mr. Langford-Holt
asked the President of the Board of Trade of what persons the Board of Trade is composed; and on what date it is last recorded that it met.
§ Sir H. Shawcross
I must apologise for the length of this answer. The Board is a Committee of the Privy Council for Trade and Foreign Plantations, appointed by an Order in Council of 23rd August, 1786. The members of that Committee appointed by that Order in Council were as follow:
The present members of the Board of Trade are the President and the holders, if members of the Privy Council, of such of the offices referred to as still exist. The last recorded meeting of the Board, as a collective entity, was on 23rd December, 1850, but I must refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman—the then President of the Board of Trade on 15th March, 1901, when he said:
- The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury,
- The first Lord Commissioner of the Treasury,
- The first Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty,
- His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State,
- The Chancellor and Under Treasurer of the Exchequer, and
- The Speaker of the House of Commons; such members of the Privy Council as hold any of the following offices, namely:
- The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster,
- The Pay Master or Pay Masters General of His Majesty's Forces,
- The Treasurer of His Majesty's Navy, and
- The Master of His Majesty's Mint.
- The Speaker of the House of Commons of Ireland and such members of the Privy Council as hold office in the Kingdom of Ireland; and
- Ten named persons.
- The Right Hon. Lord Hawkesbury was appointed President.The Board of Trade does meet. The quorum consists of one person—myself.
§ Mr. Langford-Holt
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that a predecessor of his in 1923 replied 2139 that there was no record of the Board of Trade ever having met? Can he tell the House what future is contemplated for this distinguished body?
§ Sir H. Shawcross
I am considering the possibility of calling a meeting of the Board specially in connection with the Festival of Britain.
§ Mr. R. V. Grimston
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman remind himself of what was said of the Board at the time of its inception, namely:These high officials, all agree,Are grossly overpaid.There never was a Board, and nowThere isn't any Trade.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Does not the reply of my right hon. and learned Friend show how old and well-established was the principle of governmental responsibility for trade, and how for over 100 years that principle was neglected by all previous Governments until the Government of 1945?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Do the provisions of Clause 32 of the present Finance Bill and other recent provisions, compelling directors of offending bodies to prove their innocence apply to this Board; and, if it does, is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware of the concern with which his answer to Question No. 36 is expected in many quarters?
§ Mr. Henry Strauss
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the poem which has been slightly misquoted was not written at the inception of the Board but in far more recent years by Sir Alan Herbert?