HC Deb 23 April 1968 vol 763 cc33-4
Q6. Sir F. Bennett

asked the Prime Minister whether he will specify the Ministers to whom the duties previously carried out by the then First Secretary of State have now been allocated.

The Prime Minister

The House knows of the long standing convention whereby the duties of Ministers without Portfolio are not normally specified. The hon. Member can, however, be assured that they have been reallocated in the most appropriate way.

Sir F. Bennett

In the light of that Answer, and many similar ones in the past, including some about the Paymaster-General, would the Prime Minister now like to clarify the position and tell the House whether those Ministers who previously did duties which were afterwards allocated to others with Departmental duties were overworked then or are underworked now?

The Prime Minister

The amount of co-ordination work and non-Departmental work in any Government is very considerable, and there will always be in any Government a number of Ministers without Portfolio and Ministers known by other titles who do these jobs. Unlike our predecessors, however, we have not a full-time party chairman on our staff.

Mr. Michael Foot

Will my right hon. Friend explain what amount of work or any other activity these Ministers have engaged in in order to get their knighthoods?