§ Mr. Bartlett
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that civil servants were employed during the recent Election to provide answers, in office time, to questions put to candi- 92W dates representing one side; how far the use of civil servants for this purpose and on such occasions is in accordance with precedents; and will he give an assurance that he will not permit such employment of public servants at future elections.
§ Mr. Glenvil Hall
I assume that the hon. Member refers to the practice whereby the Government of the day, immediately before a General Eelection, appoints a Committee of Ministers charged, among other things, with the duty of co-ordinating answers to questionnaires and questions of a general nature put by organisations and individuals to candidates in order to elucidate the Government's views on matters before the Electorate at that Election. This has been the practice at every General Election since1923, if not earlier, and on each occasion the Secretary to the Committee has been a civil servant and, when appropriate, officials in Departments concerned with particular subjects have been brought into consultation. As my hon. Friend will realise it is impossible for me to give an assurance that this will not happen again.