HC Deb 19 February 1918 vol 103 cc629-30W

asked the Minister of Labour whether it is by his instructions that the staff of the Ministry have been forbidden to join propagandist bodies such as the Industrial Reconstruction Council, having for its object the spread of national interest in the question of industrial self-government; and whether this prohibition applies to membership of political parties such as the Labour party?


The Industrial Reconstruction Council is engaged in carrying out very praiseworthy propaganda on questions with which the Ministry of Labour is closely concerned. My right hon. Friend made the Ministry's sympathetic interest in its efforts sufficiently evident at the council's inaugural meeting at the Guildhall which he attended on Friday last, and the Department certainly hopes that it will receive valuable assist- ance from them. It is, however, obviously not unlikely that the council, being a private body, may follow rather different lines from those which the Department is pursuing in the same field. For this reason it was thought inadvisable that members of the Department should associate themselves with it, and it is a well-recognised and necessary practice in the Civil Service which debars its members from engaging in outside movements directly connected with matters which they may be called upon to deal with in their official capacity. The decision in question has nothing to do with politics or the right of officials to belong to any political party.