In general, important announcements of policy are made to this House in the first instance whenever possible. The hon. Member will realise, however, that this is not always practicable; there are, for example, times of the year when the House is not sitting. In any event, as my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council stated last week, the communications which pass between the Government and representative bodies of citizens are within the discretion of the Government, subject always to their ultimate responsibility to this House.
Is the Prime Minister aware that Mr. Arthur Deakin, in his "Workers' Record," said that before going on the air the Chancellor of the Exchequer called on the General Council of the Trades Union Congress and gave them a preview of the Government's decision? Why was this done, and why was not the House informed? Are we to assume that he has to placate the trade unions? Will the right hon. Gentleman remember the old saying that he who calls the piper plays the tune?
The last point seems to be rather confused, but there is certainly nothing to prevent Ministers from consulting with individuals before a statement is made in the House.