HC Deb 17 December 1957 vol 580 cc198-9
49. Mr. Mellish

asked the Prime Minister whether a date has yet been fixed for his meeting with the Staff Side Whitley Council, Hospital Staffs.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend has arranged to see the deputation towards the end of this week, or at the beginning of next.

Mr. Mellish

Will the Lord Privy Seal ask his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to take note of the fact that the Minister of Health yesterday announced an award by the Whitley Council, after arbitration, to another section of workers in the hospital service, and that it really does make his previous decision quite ludicrous? And will he please bring this matter to an end? It is a wretched dispute, and ought to be stopped.

Mr. Butler

I think my right hon. Friend ought to be free to see this deputation. Of course, I will bring to his attention the point raised by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. H. Morrison

Can we take it from the right hon. Gentleman that the Prime Minister, in meeting the deputation, will not meet it with a closed mind but will have an open mind and will be willing to listen to the representations on their merits, notwithstanding the previous decision, which we deplore, of the Minister of Health?

Mr. Butler

I cannot give any undertaking as to what state of mind my right hon. Friend will have. We must leave the Prime Minister complete authority to receive the deputation as he thinks best, but I feel certain that he would not take the trouble to see it—as, indeed, he wishes to—unless he wished to hear what it had to say.