HC Deb 26 January 1956 vol 548 cc362-3
47. Mr. Jay

asked the Prime Minister what are the responsibilities of the Lord Privy Seal.

Mr. R. A. Butler

In the absence of my right hon. Friend, one of my responsibilities is to reply to this Question on his behalf. He wishes me to say that as Leader of the House my chief responsibility will be to handle the Government's programme of legislation and other Government business in Parliament.

My right hon. Friend has also asked me to answer Questions in this House on the atomic energy matters which are within the field of responsibility of my noble Friend the Lord President of the Council. These Questions should be put down for Wednesdays, when they will be placed at No. 45 or after any Questions there may be for the Prime Minister.

Mr. Jay

While noting the right hon. Gentleman's new interest in atomic energy, can he say whether he has special responsibility for the future policy of the Government, including economic policy? Will he say whether he works whole-time for the Government or whether part of his time is spent at the Conservative Central Office?

Mr. Butler

Modesty forbids me from defining the many duties which will fall to my lot inside the Government, but the right hon. Gentleman may well be satisfied that my time is devoted to the service, first of all, of the House of Commons, and secondly, to the interests of the country.

Mrs. Mann

Could the right hon. Gentleman not say, on behalf of the Prime Minister, that one of the greatest responsibilities of the present Lord Privy Seal is that of allowing the cost of living in this country to shoot up through the roof in the last four years?

Mr. Butler

The hon. Lady is looking to matters which I should like to have an opportunity of debating with her on some future occasion when I could give a more adequate reply, and a convincing one, to her allegations.