HC Deb 29 June 1959 vol 608 cc22-3
48. Mr. Palmer

asked the Paymaster-General what forms of denationalisation for the coal industry are being considered by his Department, including the management of groups of pits by private directors.

Sir I. Horobin

None, Sir.

Mr. Palmer

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that a Member of the Government—namely, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works—put forward this proposal in a public speech on 19th June? Is that speech to be taken seriously as evidence of Government policy, or was it just a piece of typical junior Ministerial nonsense?

Sir I. Horobin

Like all speeches made my Members of the Government, it should be taken seriously—more seriously than the Question of the hon. Member, who apparently did not know that, whatever may be the merits or demerits of the suggestion, it was made clear in that speech that no question of denationalisation arose.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

On a point of order. In view of the fact that Questions to the Paymaster-General come first next week and that experience of recent weeks has shown that there are likely to be 40 or more Questions then, as there are today, may I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that before next week you give consideration to the working of the rule whereby Questions of day-to-day administration of nationalised industries cannot be asked in Parliament if they have been asked in a similar sense and refused by the Minister some time before? Is the rule being relaxed in any regard? If it is, there are hon. Members on this side of the House who would wish to ask Questions about railways and electricity.

Mr. Speaker

I can assure the noble Lord that the rule has not been relaxed in any way at all.