HC Deb 27 October 1953 vol 518 cc2616-7
49. Sir T. Moore

asked the Prime Minister when the Ministry of Food is to be abolished.

The Prime Minister

Not yet, Sir.

Sir T. Moore

While welcoming the forthcoming replies of the Prime Minister, might I ask him if he is aware that many people would no doubt welcome the disappearance of the Ministry itself; and whether he can give us an assurance that this would not mean the disappearance of the Minister?

The Prime Minister

I think that is a very general sentiment. We greatly admire the careful, patient and thoughtful manner in which the Minister has discharged his very difficult duties. The disappearance of any particular Ministry does not necessarily involve any loss to the House of Commons or to the Government in respect of the services of the Minister.

Mr. H. Morrison

Does the right hon. Gentleman wish to retain the services of the present Minister of Food on the merits of his ability, or upon the basis that the Prime Minister wishes to maintain some sort of façade that there are former—very former—Liberal elements associated with his Government?

The Prime Minister

The question of a façade had not entered into my mind in connection with this matter. [Interruption.] Certainly not. The right hon. Gentleman must be thinking of all those matters which occupy his own mind so very much.

Mr. Jay

Will the Prime Minister undertake to consult the farmers' and farm workers' organisations before abolishing the Ministry of Food?

The Prime Minister

I am sure that all necessary inquiries will be made by the Government, and that they will endeavour to put themselves in touch with all the sources of opinion and advice, which is necessary before important decisions are taken; but this implies no departure from the ordinary practice.

Mr. I. O. Thomas

Will the Prime Minister indicate if he will take the precaution of consulting the consuming public before he decides to abolish the Food Ministry?

The Prime Minister

On the whole, I have always found myself on the side of the consumer.