HC Deb 25 June 1964 vol 697 cc614-5
Q1. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister if he will now appoint a Minister as Deputy Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)

No, Sir.

Mr. Hamilton

Is it not the case that the right hon. Gentleman recently has been canvassing the claims of the Leader of the House—and he at least has got the merit that he will be no worse than anybody else—and does he not agree that, as his party's electoral prospects get bleaker and bleaker as the days go by, he himself will have to spend more time outside this House speaking to Tory women and anybody else who can bear to listen to him and that we should like to see the position regularised inside this Chamber?

The Prime Minister

I do not know what the hon. Member would like and I do not much mind, but I have not canvassed anybody's claims to this curious position which does not exist under the Constitution.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Since the hon. Member's proposal, if adopted, could not possibly take practical effect in the present Parliament, is it not very obliging of him to make this constructive proposal for the organisation of the Conservative Government to be formed in the autumn by my right hon. Friend?

Mr. Jay

If this position does not exist under the Constitution, how was it that the present Foreign Secretary held it for several years?

The Prime Minister

The right hon. Gentleman really ought to be better informed. People can act as Deputy Prime Ministers—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."]—but it is not a position submitted to the Sovereign. If hon. Members do not know it, it is time they did.