HC Deb 20 November 1956 vol 560 cc1547-8

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:

45. Mr. LEWIS

To ask the Prime Minister, whether he will give details of the communications, resolutions and deputations he has received supporting and opposing the Government's action in Egypt.

Mr. Lewis

May I first ask your permission, Mr. Speaker, to say how sorry we are to learn of the Prime Minister's indisposition, and to wish him well; and to say that if he finds the cares of office too heavy we should be only too pleased to give him permanent leave of absence?

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

I think I should be right to respond to the former part of the remarks made by the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis).

I have been asked to reply to the Question.

No, Sir. It is not my right hon Friend's practice to give details of his correspondence. And he must resist the temptation on this occasion.

Mr. Lewis

On previous occasions when I have asked Questions similar to this, the Prime Minister has in fact given information as to the number of resolutions and protests which he has received. Can we take it that he does not want to do so now because the overwhelming majority of them are against the Government's action in Egypt?

Mr. Butler

No. I said that my right hon. Friend resisted the temptation. It would, in fact, be in my right hon. Friend's interest to declare the nature of the correspondence which he has received.

Mr. J. Griffiths

May I, on behalf of my hon. and right hon. Friends, say that we associate ourselves with my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis) in expressing regret at the Prime Minister's illness and hope for his speedy recovery?

Mr. Butler

I am sure my right hon. Friend will be very much gratified by the remarks of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition on behalf of his hon. and right hon. Friends, and by the remarks of the hon. Member for West Ham, North, which I shall not hesitate to convey to my right hon. Friend.

Mr. H. Wilson

Will the right hon. Gentleman say how many local Conservative associations have not yet replied to the urgent promptings of the Tory Central Office and sent telegrams?

Mr. Butler

I am aware of some information which was published by the Conservative Central Office, which illustrates that over 1,000 telegrams alone forwarding resolutions in support of the Government's action, not only from Conservative branches, were received by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

Mr. E. Johnson

May I ask my right hon. Friend if he is aware that a prominent member of the Labour Party in Manchester has now joined my association?

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