HC Deb 10 November 1966 vol 735 cc1536-7
Q10. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister what instruction he has given to Ministers since 20th July about the number of staff who accompany them on official trips abroad.

The Prime Minister

Major Departments were asked by the Treasury on 25th July to ensure that overseas delegations, whether led by Ministers or by officials, were pruned to the absolute minimum required for the business in hand.

Mr. Marten

While I am one of those who do not wish to criticise Ministers about their overseas trips, if they are in the interests of Britain, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman can say what effect his instructions have had? Have less officials accompanied Ministers on their trips since the instructions?

The Prime Minister

Yes. To take one example which is within the Treasury, about which I was asked, the numbers accompanying my right hon. Friend the Chancellor to the I.M.F. meetings this year were the lowest for very many years. This is a practice which is now being followed. I intend also to ensure that where Ministers concerned with exports attend, for example, trade fairs, which are very desirable, they should not necessarily be accompanied by any staff at all, but should be serviced by local staff.