HC Deb 25 January 1962 vol 652 cc386-7
15. Mr. Swingler

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration he has given to the Estimates Committee's criticism of the Financial Memorandum to the Army Reserve Bill; and what steps will be taken to ensure that full information is made available to the House in future regarding the financial consequences of legislation.

Mr. Brooke

The Treasury have furnished its observations on this to the Estimates Committee. It will be for that Committee, if it thinks fit, to communicate them to the House.

Mr. Swingler

In view of the fact that the House is considering a very important Motion relating to this Bill, and in view of the fact that controversy about the financial consequences of the implications of the Bill has been one of the reasons for the delay in its consideration—which will be discussed by the House today—may not the House know what is the Government's view and whether or not they admit that the Estimates Committee's criticism is justified?

Mr. Brooke

That is not a matter for me but for the Estimates Committee. I must abide by the proprieties here. Government Departments must communicate their observations to the Estimates Committee and it is entirely for that Committee to decide when to report those to the House.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not unreasonable that after a Government Department has made an egregious blunder the Government should adopt the Guillotine method to avoid discussion of precisely the matter which created the controversy at the time and which is likely to remain controversial?

Mr. Brooke

This Government never make egregious blunders.