HC Deb 26 November 1959 vol 614 cc557-8
46. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Prime Minster if he will define the responsibilities of the Minister for Welsh Affairs in relation to his other functions as Minister for Housing and Local Government.

The Prime Minister

It is the responsibility of the Minister for Welsh Affairs to keep himself continuously informed of Welsh points of view, to take an active interest in all aspects of public business affecting Wales and to speak in Cabinet on behalf of the interests of Wales. His responsibilities as Minister of Housing and Local Government acquaint him with the economic and social needs of Wales; and in addition other Ministers discuss with him any of their proposals or policies which affect Wales.

Mr. Donnelly

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Minister for Welsh Affairs, speaking at the Dispatch Box a few days ago in connection with a certain planning decision at Capel Curig, said that he could take into account no aspects of Welsh sentiment? Is the House to understand from the Prime Minister's statement that the Minister for Welsh Affairs is purely a figment of our imagination and does not really exist?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I think the House as a whole will recognise that the system is one which has brought advantage and that the Minister for Wales is doing a good job for Wales and is ably supported by the Minister of State.

Mr. C. Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the present arrangement is causing some confusion? Is he aware that the Minister for Welsh Affairs last week answered a Question on unemployment in Wales, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour? Can he clarify the position or appoint a Secretary of State with specific powers for Departments in Wales?

The Prime Minister

The appointment of a Secretary of State would not get over the problem which the hon. Gentleman has in mind. If I remember aright, the Minister of Labour is responsible for labour matters in Scotland where the Secretary of State system operates.