HC Deb 21 June 1928 vol 218 c1794W
Viscount SANDON

asked the Prime Minister on what principle the posts of the senior departmental official and the subordinate political official are recorded in the official lists of the Departments, in some instances with the one as senior and in others vice versa; whether he will have uniformity of method in all these lists and, if so, in which direction; whether, in the absence of the political chief, there is any variation as between one Department and another as to whether the subordinate political official or the departmental head takes charge and presides over councils or boards where such exist; and if he will have any such differences made uniform?


I see no point of principle in the question which my Noble Friend raises, and I do not propose to adopt any suggestion involving interference with the traditional practice of Cabinet Ministers in this matter. As I explained to my Noble Friend on the 14th instant, there is and can be no question of instituting a comparison in rank between holders of political office and officers of His Majesty's Civil Service or of any other Service of the Crown. I need hardly say that in no circumstances are the responsibilities of Ministers of the Crown to Parliament susceptible of delegation to an official; in the absence of a Secretary of State or other principal Minister, provision would invariably be made for the discharge of his ministerial duties by some other Minister, who might be, as occasion required, either another Secretary of State or the Parliamentary Under-Secretary.