HC Deb 13 April 1965 vol 710 cc1156-7
Q3. Mrs. Anne Kerr

asked the Prime Minister if he will request all Ministers to ask their Departments to provide them with an analysis of all correspondence on subjects within their responsibilities.

The Prime Minister

It is for Ministers themselves to give whatever instructions they think necessary to ensure that they are informed of matters within their responsibility.

Mrs. Kerr

Does my right hon. Friend feel that this method of democratic channelling is being fully utilised by his Ministers at this time? Will he ask them to see correspondence relating to problems, which are coming in in large numbers, particularly on the question of Vietnam and the needs of very elderly people who are not receiving pensions?

The Prime Minister

I do not think it is necessary for me to draw the attention of Ministers to the need to have an analysis made of correspondence. Where the correspondence is light, the Minister is able to read every letter. In any case it would, I think, be automatic that there would be summaries of this kind. Certainly I get a summary in my own Department. I can assure my hon. Friend that the priorities in my correspondence—which ought to be a pretty fair guide—do not quite follow the priorities she has laid down.

Sir W. Bromley-Davenport

If all of the right hon. Gentleman's correspondence were produced, would not it prove to be a red-letter day?

The Prime Minister

I think it a very good thing that the House is shortly to have a holiday so that we may have time to appreciate all the more the inner witticism of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's remark. I should say that I miss from my correspondence any regular letters from the hon. and gallant Gentleman. I know that he is one of the more literate of the hon. Members of this House and I should like to hear from him more often.