HC Deb 26 June 1969 vol 785 cc1704-6
Q4. Mr. Biffen

asked the Prime Minister whether he will seek the agreement of the Cabinet to the publication of the number of Cabinet committees, and of the Ministers who are ex-officio member of which committees.

Q6. Mr. Peyton

asked the Prime Minister why he will not alter the practice of not giving information concerning the membership and rôle of the inner Cabinet.

Q8. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Prime Minister why he will not alter the present practice of not disclosing the names of his inner Cabinet.

The Prime Minister

I would refer the hon. Members to my reply to a Question by the hon. Members to my reply to a Question by the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) on the 30th of April, 1968.—[Vol. 763, c. 999–1000.]

Mr. Biffen

In view of the significance of the post of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, is the Prime Minister aware that there is considerable disquiet about the exclusion of the right hon. Gentleman from the Inner Cabinet? As it clearly could not have arisen over considerations to do with the industrial relations legislation, can the Prime Minister now confirm that it arises from his embarrassment at the partisan behaviour of the Secretary of State for the Home Department in dealing with the Boundary Commission's Report?

The Prime Minister

I shall be glad to convey to my right hon. Friend the hon. Gentleman's concern about this.

Mr. Peyton

Why is the Prime Minister so shy about identifying the component parts of the inner Cabinet? Presumably it is of great importance. Are we to be blamed for our curiosity in wishing to know the identity of the constituent parts of this rotten apple?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman is not to be blamed for his curiosity in any way. He spends a great deal of time, late at night, polishing up the evidence of his curiosity. It does not mean that that curiosity has to be satisfied, any more than our legitimate curiosity was satisfied when we wanted to know the membership and the constituent parts of the rotten apple, when, in defiance of a pledge they had just made, they introduced the Rent Act.

Mr. Gresham-Cooke

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when I put down my Question the British public were really interested in the names of those who governed our destinies? As they now know that our destinies are governed by the T.U.C., there is no further point in my supplementary question.

The Prime Minister

I am most grateful to the hon. Gentleman for telling us how his intellectual processes have been developing. The concluding part of his question is not based on fact. If he is unaware of facts known to the rest of the country, I shall send him the full names of the Cabinet.