HC Deb 06 February 1964 vol 688 cc1337-8
Q4. Mr. McBride

asked the Prime Minister if he will define the extent of co-ordination between Ministers charged with various responsibilities for Welsh affairs.

The Prime Minister

There is full co-ordination between Ministers charged with responsibilities in Wales. The normal arrangements for co-ordination of the work of different Ministers is reinforced by the particular responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Minister for Welsh Affairs for looking after Welsh interests.

Mr. McBride

Is not the Prime Minister aware of the hiatus which occurred between two of his Ministries, those controlled by the Secretary for Industry and Trade and the Minister for Welsh Affairs? Is he aware that when I sought to put down a Question to one Ministry it was transferred to the other and was eventually re-transferred? Does he not think that the time has come to intervene and to define the range and extent of the powers of the Ministers in charge of Welsh Affairs?

The Prime Minister

That is rather a long supplementary question but, in the event, the hon. Member did get his Question to the Minister he wanted. It was a difficult matter to decide but, on the whole, I think that it was right that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State should answer it.

Mr. G. Thomas

Is the Prime Minister aware that Welsh affairs will not be properly dealt with here until we have a Secretary of State for Wales, with a seat in the Cabinet? Is he further aware that the Welsh people are much dissatisfied with the way in which the present system works?

The Prime Minister

I know that arguments have been put forward for a Secretary of State for Wales, and I am well aware of them.

Mr. J. Morris

Would not the Prime Minister agree, from his own personal knowledge, that the Department for Welsh Affairs is a mere piece of window dressing, and the office a mere post office for other Departments?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. K. Lewis

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would it be possible to make an exception today by giving us an extra quarter of an hour so that we could put to the Prime Minister some Questions on England?

Mr. Speaker

If the House thought fit to change its rules on a nationalistic basis, but not otherwise.

Mr. Ross

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Could we have an extra quarter-hour so as to get some Answers from the Prime Minister?

Mr. Speaker

We will get another one, if I do not have points of order.