HC Deb 08 December 1955 vol 547 cc555-7
46. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the abortive nature of the work of the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries, what steps are being taken to secure Parliamentary accountability for State electricity, State gas, the Atomic Energy Authority, the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board and other State corporations, accounts and reports for which relate to chargeable accounting periods ended up to nine months ago, and which have not yet been subject to any form of Parliamentary scrutiny; and whether he will make a statement.

51. Mr. H. Fraser

asked the Prime Minister whether he will move to amend Standing Order No. 16 in such a way as to increase the number of allotted days and to provide that such extra allotted days be reserved for debate on the nationalised industries and enterprises.

The Prime Minister

As I told the House last week, we propose to make an announcement soon about the situation arising from the Special Report of the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries. As regards the suggestion for the amendment of the Standing Order, I do not think that to increase the number of allotted Supply days is the right answer to this particular problem. In all circumstances, I would ask my hon. Friends to await the announcement I have mentioned.

Mr. Ernest Davies

Will the House be given an opportunity to debate the Report before the Government reach their final decision on the matter?

The Prime Minister

I do not know that I can give that undertaking, but this is a matter about which I think there would be discussion through the usual channels.

Mr. Renton

Does not my right hon. Friend's reply indicate that there are already not enough days in the Parliamentary year for controlling the numerous activities of the State and that, therefore, the activities of the State should be reduced to such an extent as will enable Parliament to exercise effective control?

The Prime Minister

That may be so, but what I have been asked is whether there should be an additional number of Supply days. I was pointing out that I was doubtful whether Supply days, which have a special connotation, are suitable for this kind of discussion.