§ Mr. Leach
I desire, with your consent, Sir, and the permission of the House, to make a personal explanation. On 3rd April I addressed a Question to the Minister of Agriculture relating to the Astor gardens at Cliveden. That Question was based on certain statements in the Press in an interview with the head gardener of the Cliveden gardens, Mr. Young, who said:I have about 15 men working under me. We do not want to grow for the country, but only for the house. We have not changed much. Unless we are made to by law, we want to alter as little here as possible. We are going to grow all the flowers we can.My Question did not go beyond any statement contained in that interview. Mr. Young undoubtedly made an allegation against the bona fides of the Astor family in the matter of the national interest. I received from the Minister of Agriculture a promise that he would make inquiries into the matter, and he has done so, and I have his reply. He exonerates the Astor family from the charge that was implicit in my Question and certainly makes very untruthful the statement of the head gardener. In these circumstances I have no option but to withdraw the allegation in my Question and apologise to the Astor family for having made it.