HC Deb 24 February 1953 vol 511 cc1910-2
45. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the importance of increasing food production in Britain, if he will publish a full report of his speech to the National Farmers' Union on 17th February as a White Paper.

The Prime Minister

It would be unusual to publish speeches in this way, but I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the speech he refers to.

Mr. Hughes

In view of the universal interest amongst farmers, and the gigantic target the Prime Minister set them, could h explain, for the benefit of the farmers, how they are going to achieve this very elastic target if men are taken away for military service?

The Prime Minister

If I were to attempt to do justice to that question I should be severely straining the usual procedure at Question time.

Mr. Peart

In view of reports of the Prime Minister's speech, will he instruct the Minister of Agriculture to produce a really positive agricultural policy, in view of the absence of one?

The Prime Minister

I think the Minister of Agriculture is doing extremely well. I am sure he does not need to take any advice from the party opposite.

Mr. H. Morrison

The Prime Minister is being very dictatorial.

46. Mr. Peart

asked the Prime Minister what steps he is taking to improve the organisation of his Government with a view to reaching their recently announced objective of 60 per cent. above pre-war food production.

The Prime Minister

This subject might well be appropriate to a debate on agriculture. No changes are proposed in the organisation of Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Peart

Is the Prime Minister aware that, despite his previous answer, there is evidence that agriculture has not had the priority it should have had over the past 12 months, and would he, if the Minister of Agriculture is doing well, put him in the Cabinet, as the Minister of Agriculture was in the previous Administration?

The Prime Minister

I should be very glad to send the hon. Gentleman also a copy of the speech which I delivered, but I really could not undertake to accept his advice as to what Ministers should or should not be members of the Cabinet.

Mr. Baldwin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that one of the most effective steps that can be taken to increase food production is to pass legislation to bring the common land of this country into cultivation to give more food, and, further, will he appoint a commission to go into the question of the 16 million to 17 million acres of rough grazing which exists in Great Britain?

Mr. J. T. Price

When the Prime Minister is considering this matter very fully, would he also consider the statement reported to have been made yesterday by a member of the Cabinet, namely, that economic planning was "all boloney" and either confirm that is his opinion or deny it?

The Prime Minister

I should prefer to have an agreed definition of the meaning of "boloney" before I attempted to deal with such a topic.