HC Deb 08 February 1968 vol 758 cc649-50
Q5. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Prime Minister how many public relations officers he has appointed since he assumed the direction of economic affairs.

Mr. George Brown

I have been asked to reply.

I have nothing to add to the Answers which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to Questions on 1st February.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I was abroad, at the Council of Europe, at the time. How many of these public relations officers have been recruited from Transport House? Is it to be the practice, as in the post-war Socialist Government, to make them all established civil servants?

Mr. Brown

I am delighted to know that the hon. Member was abroad and also delighted to know that he was at the Council of Europe, but that is no reason why he should not read HANSARD. The answer to his question is that they have not come from Transport House and there are no more now than there were before.

Mr. William Price

Can my right hon. Friend give some idea of the percentage who are journalists and who, presumably, know something about the job, and the percentage who are retired military personnel, and certainly do not?

Mr. Brown

I do not think that I want to get drawn into that.

Mr. Heath

Can the Foreign Secretary tell us whether these economic P.R.O.s are taking the Chancellor of the Exchequer's line about devaluation, that it was a defeat, or the Lord President's line, that it was the first giant stride towards Socialism?

Mr. Brown

I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman puts that question to my right hon. Friend.