Civil Service National Whitley Council.

Oral Answers to Questions — Kenya Colony. – in the House of Commons on 23rd March 1922.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Hayday Mr Arthur Hayday , Nottingham West

41.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the method to be adopted in appointing a number of Members of Parliament to serve on the Civil Service Whitley Council; how many are to be appointed; and whether they are to be drawn from the various sections of the House?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

The official side of the National Whitley Council for the Civil Service is nominated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I propose accordingly to invite three Members of Parliament to serve on the Council. It has already been explained to the House that Members of Parliament so appointed will form part of the side which is responsible to Ministers and exercises such authority and responsibility as may be delegated to it by the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and under these conditions nomination would naturally be confined to supporters of the Government of the time.

Photo of Mr Arthur Hayday Mr Arthur Hayday , Nottingham West

If, as was mentioned during the Debate on this subject, there should be direct representation from the House, surely it is only fair and reasonable that the representation from the House itself ought to be drawn from the various parties, and not particularly from those immediately under the control of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Department?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

That is a matter for debate. I can only say I entirely disagree.

Sir J. D. REES:

Who will be committed by the action of its members other than the members themselves, and does not the hon. Member's question show how undesirable it is to appoint them?

Photo of Mr Arthur Hayday Mr Arthur Hayday , Nottingham West

If the Whitley Council is to be representative, as was the intention of the House, of the civil servants' side and those nominated from the Department by the right hon. Gentleman, surely it can only be carried out by representation directly responsible to the House, and not acting under the direction or authority of any particular Minister?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

I am afraid the situation is quite the contrary to what the hon. Member describes. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the person who is responsible for the official side of the Whitley Council, and accordingly the responsibility lies upon him and not with the House. It is for him to select those members whom he delegates for the purpose.

Photo of Mr Charles Ammon Mr Charles Ammon , Camberwell North

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider keeping in being the Civil Service Arbitration Board complementary to the Whitley Council?

Photo of Sir Robert Horne Sir Robert Horne , Glasgow Hillhead

No; on the contrary, the reason why the Arbitration Board has been cancelled is because it so interrupts and interferes with the acts of the Whitley Council.