HC Deb 04 March 1953 vol 512 cc384-6
45. Mr. Lewis

asked the Prime Minister what action the Government have taken to increase our national output, to keep the people fully employed, to halt the rising cost of living and to preserve our social services; and whether he will show by comparisons with previous years what the results of these plans have been.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Winston Churchill)

These large and general issues seem better suited to party and political discussions here and out-of-doors than to Question time. I feel that I should trespass on the opportunities of other hon. Members, who are seeking factual information, if I were to attempt to make a detailed reply. I may, however, recommend the hon. Member to peruse carefully the "Weekly News Letter" issued by the Conservative Central Office under the editorship of Mr. G. E. Christ, from which he might derive valuable educational results.

Mr. Lewis

Is the Prime Minister aware of the fact that I have taken the trouble to read the Conservative Party manifesto? Will he look at that document, when he will see that every promise contained in the Question is also contained in that manifesto? Will he agree that every action of the Government so far has been in contradiction of those promises? May I further ask him whether he is likely to implement some of the promises he made?

The Prime Minister

As the hon. Gentleman has begun his studies, I can only hope that he will continue.

Mr. Shinwell

Surely, the right hon. Gentleman will agree that all that this Question is asking is whether the Government have justified their existence, and whether the right hon. Gentleman, with his customary honesty, will reply in the negative?

The Prime Minister

I can quite see how the idea whether any particular person has justified his existence or not arises in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman, particularly on the occasion of the debate which we are to have this afternoon.

Mr. Osborne

May I ask the Prime Minister if he will send to the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) copies of the speeches made by the late Sir Stafford Cripps, when he will be able to understand the question?

Mr. Shinwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to inform the House which is the debate this afternoon to which he has just made reference?

The Prime Minister

I must apologise; I was thinking of the debate tomorrow. No doubt, it is in the right hon. Gentleman's mind. In reply to my hon. Friend, I have great respect for the memory of Sir Stafford Cripps, and I think we had better keep the discussion on the high level hitherto maintained.

Mr. H. Morrison

May I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the "Weekly News Letter" of the Conservative Party, to which he referred, not long ago strongly condemned the suggestion which arose as to the merging of the Ministry of Pensions and other Departments?

The Prime Minister

I am very glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman studies this literature, which his close interest in party politics and electioneering has no doubt led him to do.

Mr. Speaker

This is becoming like a debate on the Queen's Speech.