Minister of Technology

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19 November 1964.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

None, Sir. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Maxwell) on Tuesday, 17th November.

Photo of Mr David Webster Mr David Webster , Weston-Super-Mare

The Prime Minister will be aware that when, during the autumn, he referred to technological advance in this country, he evoked widespread sympathy. Note was also taken when he appointed a Minister who is more known for resistance to than for acceleration of technological change and it is very much open to remark that when the House of Commons assembles there is nobody in this House who is responsible for this Department, which makes the whole thing a complete sham.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I do not know what the hon. Gentleman is talking about. My right hon. Friend who has been appointed to this Department, to my knowledge, because I have been at many meetings with him on this question, has taken the liveliest and most progressive interest in technological questions, including his service, at the invitation of the right hon. Gentleman, or his predecessor in the work of the D.S.I.R We are not interested in sympathy about technology. We want to see some drive, which is what we have not yet had, and this is what we will get.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , St Marylebone

The right hon. Gentleman rightly referred to his Answer of two or three days ago. Does that represent an exhaustive view of the Minister of Technology's functions, or may we expect further statements? If so, could we have them before our discussions on the two Bills relating to him—the Science and Technology Bill and the Machinery of Government Bill—so that the House may know exactly what it is dealing with when it has those debates?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

It certainly was not exhaustive. It was a very brief introductory statement. I have been spending a good deal of time on this, and I am almost in a position to expand on it considerably. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman would expect, he will find that my right hon. Friend, should he come to join us in the near future, will not be in any way deficient in speaking up for himself on this question. I will consider whether it is possible for a much fuller statement to be made before the Bills to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred are debated.