Royal Ordnance Factories.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 5th August 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir George Benson Sir George Benson , Chesterfield

I do not propose to keep the House long, but I think that this Debate has justified itself thoroughly, not because the Report of the Committee has disclosed faults, but because the Government have come out extraordinarily well. I feel, having listened to the major portion of the Debate, that the Government have had a fairly complete answer to the bulk of the findings of the Committee. Nobody anticipates that the enormous machinery we have is going to run like a small sewing-machine. There are bound to be defects. It may be true that the Report of the Committee is fault-finding. That is the purpose of the Committee. The astonishing thing is not that it has found so much fault but that in this enormous machine it has been able to find so little. Its job is to go through the whole process to find out what is wrong. It has reported on certain details. On the majority of those details the Ministry of Supply has justified its position and explained how these various defects and irregularities have arisen, and if you meet with a difficulty which is inevitable, it is not the fault of the Government Department, and it is no evidence of incompetence. Some people seem to grumble when the Government have an adequate reply to criticism. It seems to me a matter for rejoicing rather. I emphasise what the Parliamentary Secretary said, that these headlines and the continual spate of criticism thus poured out are bound to have a depressing effect in the country. Our foreign news is bad enough at the present time, but by enlarging the proportion of faults and mistakes and miscalculations we add to the depression. I feel that the Government have come out of this Debate very well indeed, and I am convinced that they would have come out of other Debates very well indeed also if they had been able to reply as freely and adequately as has the Minister of Supply.