Oral Answers to Questions — Mine Workers (Meeting with Prime Minister)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th January 1951.

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Photo of Brigadier Ralph Rayner Brigadier Ralph Rayner , Totnes 12:00 am, 24th January 1951

asked the Prime Minister whether representatives of the National Coal Board were present during his meeting with the National Union of Mine Workers on 3rd January.

Photo of Brigadier Ralph Rayner Brigadier Ralph Rayner , Totnes

As, on this occasion, the right hon. Gentleman went over the head of the National Coal Board, which he appointed, does it mean that he has lost faith in that body and equally lost faith in the other nationalised undertakings?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Walthamstow West

The hon. and gallant Member is entirely wrong. This meeting was undertaken with the full knowledge and approval of the National Coal Board.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lloyd Mr Geoffrey Lloyd , Birmingham King's Norton

Even though this meeting took place at the request of the National Coal Board, is it not a confession, to some extent, of failure in their relations with the miners?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Walthamstow West

Not the slightest. The right hon. Gentleman will remember that very often when difficulties have arisen meetings have been held by Prime Ministers, including my predecessor, when they desired to speak more widely to the people actually concerned. It was done in regard to the coal miners during the war, and it never showed any distrust. It was done also with the coal owners, and I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman was pressed then about having shown distrust of the coal owners.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Carlton

How, since the National Coal Board was not to be pre-sent on this occasion, did the right hon.

Gentleman make sure that no day-to-day matters would be raised?

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Walthamstow West

I do not quite know what the hon. Member means.

Hon. Members:

Ask the Lord President of the Council.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Walthamstow West

I understand that the hon. Member is referring to Questions in the House of Commons.