HC Deb 25 October 1973 vol 861 cc1470-1
Q7. Mr. Carter

asked the Prime Minister if he will publish a list of his official engagements during the Parliamentary Recess.

The Prime Minister

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply which I gave on 23rd October to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Exchange (Mr. Parry).—[Vol. 861, c. 472.]

Mr. Carter

Why did not the Prime Minister at one of his engagements spend some time in explaining precisely why he so severely criticised Lord Rothschild's remarks about Britain's possible future, when all sensible people regard those remarks as 100 per cent. correct.

The Prime Minister

I did not criticise Lord Rothschild's remarks. The position is that Lord Rothschild is a Permanent Secretary in the Civil Service, and under Estacode Permanent Secretaries do not make public speeches which can become matters for political controversy. Lord Rothschild thereupon apologised to me and that was the end of the matter. So far as the substance of his talk was concerned, Lord Rothschild was speaking to a gathering of scientists and emphasising to them that the resources of this country that are available for science are limited and that they must therefore make up their minds about the extent to which they want to use those resources—whether on pure science or on practical development.

Mr. William Price

Does the right hon. Gentleman believe that in such turbulent times, in view of what happened this summer, a 12-weeks' parliamentary recess is conducive to good democratic government?

The Prime Minister

The House always has the opportunity to decide that for itself before it rises.