HC Deb 04 March 1965 vol 707 cc1519-21
Q3. Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Prime Minister what further administrative changes he is contemplating in the organisation of his office at No. 10 Downing Street.

Q10. Mr. Jackson

asked the Prime Minister what changes he intends to make in the office organisation at No. 10 Downing Street.

Q12. Mr. Bence

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on what further changes he intends to make in the office organisation at No. 10 Downing Street.

The Prime Minister

With permission, I will answer this Question and Questions Nos. Q10 and Q12 together.

Hon. Members


The Prime Minister

They are very much the same question.

None, Sir, in the foreseeable future.

Mr. Griffiths

Is the Prime Minister aware that, although there is widespread admiration for the excellent work done by the civil servants in his office, both under his and his predecessor's administration, there is an understanding that, with so much concentration of power within the Prime Minister's office, he is entitled to the very best assistance that he can possibly have? Bearing in mind that the Prime Minister must deal with other heads of Government, such as the President of the United States, who have very large staffs, will he consider laying before the House of Commons proposals for the reorganisation of the 10 Downing Street staff so that he is able—

Mr. Victor Yates

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, is it in order for both right hon. and hon. Members—we have had four examples this afternoon—to make speeches under the guise of asking supplementary questions?

Mr. Speaker

The practice is not confined, unfortunately, to one side of the House. I desire to encourage short supplementary questions, if possible. We have gone as far as laying before somebody or other the reorganisation of No. 10. Perhaps the Prime Minister could answer it at that point.

The Prime Minister

I join the hon. Gentleman in the tribute he paid to the staff of No. 10, as I am sure that my predecessor would, but I have taken the line—I think this is right—that the strengthening that was required should take place in the Cabinet Office and be available to the Government as a whole, rather than by increasing the number of staff at No. 10.

Mr. Jackson

Would my right hon. Friend consider one major economy in the administrative arrangements, namely, making quite sure that we have no scriptwriters? Secondly, would he as a further economy in administrative arrangements make quite sure now that he buys fewer matches?

Mr. Bence

Would the Prime Minister give us an assurance that at no time in the future in any circumstances whatever he will call upon the services of Messrs. Colman, Prentis & Varley?

The Prime Minister

I am not aware that they were ever on the staff of No. 10.