§ 79. Mr. PRINGLE
asked the Minister of Labour whether the Mr. Parks who was a sub-agent at Seahouses, Northumberland, for the National Liberal candidate during the recent Election is the same Mr. Parks who is in charge of the Employment Exchange business at Sea-houses; whether the Ministry of Labour allows men in their pay to undertake sub-agency or other political paid work at elections or between elections; and what steps will be taken to prevent Mr. Parks combining Government work and party political work at the present time or in future?
§ Sir M. BARLOW
The branch offices of the Ministry, of which Seahouses is one, are in charge of part-time officers, who, for obvious reasons cannot personally be made subject to the same restrictions as permanent civil servants with regard to active participation in political matters. It is definitely laid down, however, that the branch offices themselves must not be in any way-associated with any political party. The branch manager at Seahouses is Mr. C. W. Parke, who, I am informed, did not act as sub-agent at the last Election, but was for two years previously hon. secretary of a local political committee which was dissolved before the General Election campaign.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Is it not the case that this gentleman continued his political activities during the Election?
§ Mr. PRINGLE
Does the right hon. Gentleman not recognise that it is not in the public interest that public servants should be taking an active part in politics?
§ Mr. R. DAVIES
Will the right hon. Gentleman take some steps to amalgamate the two wings of the Liberal party and avoid these questions?