HC Deb 25 January 1956 vol 548 cc191-2
47. Mr. D. Jones

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when the hon. Member for The Hartlepools can be expected to receive a reply from him to the letter that was sent him on 14th December, 1955, relating to the universal dipping of headlights.

Mr. Watkinson

I replied to the hon. Member's letter on 23rd January. I am sorry for the delay that occurred.

Mr. Jones

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why it takes his Department from 14th December to 23rd January to reply to a simple question, namely, why a body which has been in communication with his Department for over two years was deliberately left out of consultation in connection with this important matter?

Mr. Watkinson

I have already told the hon. Gentleman that I am sorry for the delay that occurred. As far as I am concerned, it will not occur again.

Mr. Champion

Is the Minister aware that I, too, had reason to complain to his predecessor about the length of time his Department takes to answer letters? Will he look into the correspondence section of his Department in order to ensure that hon. Members are treated with a little more courtesy in this respect?

Mr. Watkinson

I am only too anxious that letters shall be answered quickly, but I am a little amazed to find that my responsibilities extend as far as lighthouses in the Red Sea and to all sorts of similar things. I shall try to see that all hon. Members' letters are answered as soon as possible.

Mr. Callaghan

If we cannot get the question of automatic control settled in six years, how can we expect to get replies to letters in six weeks?

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