HC Deb 11 March 1957 vol 566 cc800-1
46. Mr. Lipton

asked the Prime Minister why he is arranging to meet representatives of the British Medical Association for the second time.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend will meet representatives of the Joint Negotiating Committee of the medical profession tomorrow at their request. This will be the first time they have met.

Mr. Lipton

If the Prime Minister is at last going to agree that the general practitioners are entitled to an interim adjustment of pay, why did he not say so clearly at the start and thus avoid a lot of unnecessary ill-feeling? Is he now trying to tiptoe out of an impossible situation?

Mr. Butler

No, Sir. There is a series of Questions on the Order Paper on this matter for tomorrow, and I cannot anticipate them. With regard to the Prime Minister's gait, my right hon. Friend is not nearly so flatfooted as the hon. Gentleman himself.

Mr. McGovern

Will the right hon. Gentleman ask the Prime Minister also to receive a delegation of old-age pensioners in order that they may state their case at No. 10 Downing Street?

Mr. Butler

I think I had better consider that as a separate Question.

Mrs. Jeger

Can the Lord Privy Seal tell us the purpose of tomorrow's meeting, what are the subjects that will be discussed, and whether the interim pay settlement is the main item on tomorrow's agenda?

Mr. Butler

It is very difficult to tell what tomorrow will bring. The best thing I can say is that the doctors have requested a meeting with the Prime Minister, and, with his natural courtesy, he has acceded to their request.