HC Deb 14 March 1957 vol 566 cc1311-2
49. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Prime Minister if the speech delivered by the Minister of Education at the London Head Teachers' Association on Saturday, 9th March, represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

50. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Prime Minister whether the statement made by the Minister of Education on 9th March at the London Head Teachers' Conference, relating to educational financial economies, represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister

My noble Friend was giving an account of how he viewed our educational system and his own functions as Minister of Education. I have read his speech with interest and admiration and, while I could not myself emulate his vivid style and dramatic presentation, I think that this country can count itself very fortunate in its Minister of Education.

Mr. Yates

Whilst welcoming the remarks made by the Minister, in view of the fact that he has publicly stated that the Estimates for Education will not fall as long as he is Minister of Education and that he has said that he is spoiling for a fight, may I ask with whom he is spoiling for a fight and whether every Minister will now be free to determine that his Estimates shall not fall?

The Prime Minister

It all seems to have been a very agreeable occasion. At the end of it one headmaster asked whether the primary school had not been the Cinderella of the educational system, and a retired headmistress said that she did not know who the Ugly Sisters were but they knew who was the Prince Charming—Lord Hailsham.

Mr. J. Johnson

Is the Prime Minister aware that the National Union of Teachers has stated that the Government's proposed new method of local government finance, by a fixed block grant system, is completely unsuited to an expanding and developing educational system? How does this square with the noble Lord's speech?

The Prime Minister

I was asked whether I agreed and approved of the speech of the Minister of Education and I said that I did.

Mr. H. Morrison

The Prime Minister was asked whether the speech of the Minister of Education represented the policy of Her Majesty's Government. Would the Prime Minister be so good as to answer this perfectly simple question, yes or no? It is a perfectly frank and straight question. Is not his Answer a deliberate evasion of the Question, and will he not say whether he agrees or not with what the Minister of Education said?

The Prime Minister

I said that, of course, I agree with what the Minister says. He always says what is sensible. That is why I made him Minister.