Home Information Services

Oral Answers to Questions — Paymaster-General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st August 1966.

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Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury 12:00 am, 1st August 1966

asked the Paymaster-General if he will take steps to improve the co-ordination of home information services; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

If the right hon. Gentleman is satisfied with the Department, what does he do? Does he have any responsibility for security? If so, can he explain why a temporary secretary was employed who was engaged to and subsequently married a card-carrying member of the Communist Party—and employed in No. 10 Downing Street? Was she positively vetted?

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

I cannot see how this question arises out of the original Question. Questions about my responsibilities are matters not for me but for the Prime Minister.

Photo of Sir Knox Cunningham Sir Knox Cunningham , South Antrim

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's Answer, "No", in the first case, can he not say what he has been up to in the last 18 months?

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

That, again, is a question which should be put to the Prime Minister. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] It is customary, I understand, under all Administrations that Ministers without Portfolio perform such duties as the Prime Minister may direct. That applied in the last Administration as in this. If hon. Members are curious as to my responsibilities, they should therefore ask the Prime Minister. On the point about my negative Answer, I have no responsi- bility for departmental information. I have answered by giving the correct answer—and that is "No, Sir".

Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth

On a point of order. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman how the Question got on to the Order Paper if he has no responsibility for it, in view of the rules of the House?

Photo of Mr George Wigg Mr George Wigg , Dudley

The hon. Lady has been in the House long enough to know that, whatever else I am responsible for, I am not responsible for the publication or the mustering of the Order Paper.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.