Oral Answers to Questions — Public Service (Public and Personal Interests)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 1964.

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Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West 12:00 am, 30th January 1964

asked the Prime Minister if he will move to appoint a Select Committee to consider standardising the law and practice relating to the exercise of responsibility by individuals in public life in cases where there may be a conflict of public and personal interests.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

No, Sir. The main principle is clearly understood—that no conflict must be allowed to arise between private interests and public duties—and I do not see that the existing arrangements require any comprehensive review.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that increasing concern is being expressed about the way in which Ministers can receive pecuniary gains from policies which they themselves pursue? Does he know that his right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government said last week that members of councils should not vote on matters which manifestly affect their own pockets? If this dictum applies in the case of councillors who are council house tenants, should it not apply also to Ministers and, if not, should it apply to councillors?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Ministers have all sorts of responsibilities and Ministers in the Cabinet have overall responsibilities for every kind of policy. I do not think that we can have a rule more effective than that which all Governments have observed up to now.

Photo of Mr Charles Loughlin Mr Charles Loughlin , Gloucestershire West

But if it is true that it should not apply to Ministers, would the Prime Minister give further consideration to the position of local authority representatives who are inhibited in this way in the work of the local authorities? Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the local authorities should achieve a greater importance in the shaping of future Governments, and will he kindly have a look at this matter with a view to standardising the practice?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

If the hon. Member will put down a Question—

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

The hon. Member's Question asks me if I … will move to appoint a Select Committee to consider standardising the law and practice relating to the exercise of responsibility by individuals in public life in cases where there may be a conflict of public and personal interests. If the hon. Member wants me to answer a specific question about local authorities he should put one down.