HC Deb 01 February 1956 vol 548 cc903-4
14. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will so exercise his powers of appointment under Section 1 (2) of the Transport Act, 1947, that the top control of British Transport shall be placed in the hands of experienced transport trade unionists, instead of in the hands of men whose working lives have been spent in other than the transport industry.

Mr. Watkinson

No, Sir. While it is my constant desire to use the skill and wise counsels of the trade union movement to the full, I am convinced that the British Transport Commission is best directed by a well balanced board who, between them, have experience of the transport business and also wide knowledge of administrative and industrial practice.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Minister laying it down as a principle that inexpert persons shall be in charge of expert and difficult technical problems? Can he give any reasons for that surprising proposition?

Mr. Watkinson

I am laying it down as a principle that I am going to pick the best men I can find for the job.

Captain Duncan

Can my right hon. Friend say whether this Question is a sign of a change in the Socialist Party policy from Socialism to syndicalism?

Mr. Watkinson

I would not know anything about that.