Government Policy

Part of Orders of the Day — King's Speech – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th October 1947.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Marlowe Mr Anthony Marlowe , Brighton 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

The hon. Gentleman is quite right, I did not understand them. They did not appear to me to have much to do with what we are discussing. I want to go back to the Amendment which is divided into three parts. The charge set out in this Amendment against the Government is one of administrative incompetence, partisanship and lack of leadership. Those are the three components of this Amendment. I am not going to take up any time with the question of incompetence, because apparently we do not have to do that. Every right hon. Gentleman who sits on that Front Bench and makes a public speech advertises his incompetence and it is not necessary for us to labour the point. I just want to refer for a moment to the two other heads—partisanship and lack of leadership.

Let us consider in relation to the King's Speech the question of the Parliament Act of 1911. That, as we know, has been much debated during the course of the Address and I am not going over the ground again, but I was a little interested to notice that when the right hon. Gentleman the Lord President of the Council was speaking in his constituency on Monday night he dealt with this question. What was the only reason which I saw reported for this action? The right hon. Gentleman said that the House of Lords met in the Recess. That was his complaint against the House of Lords, and I suppose retaliatory action has to be taken.

Then there is a reference to steel in the King's Speech. The Government have shown themselves to be in a dilemma over this matter because, being faced with a crisis, they have postponed the nationalisation of steel. What does that mean? It means that they know that at this time they dare not put any industry into a state of inefficiency, and therefore the only logical conclusion is that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite recognise that inefficiency follows nationalisation. It must be one way or the other. They cannot have it that they believe nationalisation makes for efficiency, otherwise at a moment like this they would nationalise the industry and get as much efficiency as they could.