HC Deb 15 March 1937 vol 321 cc1626-7
46. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the large expenditure to be incurred on the Royal Air Force and the importance and complexity of air questions, he will make arrangements whereby the Air Minister, whose Estimates are now the second largest of the Defence Ministries, may be a Member of this House?

The Prime Minister

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer which I gave on 19th March last in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Leigh (Mr. Tinker).

Lieut-Commander Fletcher

In view of the enormous sums now involved in air Defence, is it not only right that this House should have an opportunity of questioning the Minister himself, and is it not due to the status of the Air Ministry that it should be represented in this House by a Minister?

The Prime Minister

There is, of course, another side to that. In view of the enormous amount of work which rests on the Secretary of State, there are advantages in his being more free to devote himself to the work that he has to do and to be represented here by a Parliamentary Secretary. The strain at present on this particular office is enormous, and I think it does conduce to the best interests of administration that the representation at present should remain as it is.

Mr. Mander

Then is it proposed that the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary of State for War should go to the House of Lords?

The Prime Minister

Neither of those posts at the present time imposes the same strain that attaches to what is practically the creation of a new Force.