The Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks (CAB 195/7)

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Lynskey Report

Lynskey Report

(a) Position of M: Belcher.
P.M. 

Must be a debate. In course of it, Belcher will prob. make statement : hope he will also resign. Precedents the other way: Boothby, Hayes-Fisher (Fin. Secy. Ty.) But attitude stiffened recently. Expulsion Arrighan[sic].
Acquitted of corruptn but influenced.  I think he shd. resign. Wd. be diff. to deal with Motion for expulsion. Think I shd. ask him to resign his seat.

A.B. 

That wd. be simply your advice?

P.M.  

Yes.

T.W. 

Suppose he refuses? Wdn't we be in worse posn?

N.B. 

No: better.

R.S.C. 

He might say he was going to consult his constituents.

A.B. 

Not offence v. Parlt. (as Allighan): and not so serious as Boothby's.

H.W. 

Regard this ques. Govt. and Party. – wh. we haven't bn. able to do so far.
They have come off ill thro' Tribunal.  Herbert Williams cdn't have escaped so lightly.
If we advise B. to resign fr. Parlt. it gives further opening to Tories.

H.M. 

Likely tht. motion for expulsion will be tabled. By amendmt. of our Motion.
Wdn't be happy to put Whips on honour of Parlt. Don't know what result might be. Awkward if House took stronger view on this than House.

P.M. 

Cd. be said we had a lower conception of what is requd. of a M.P. than Opposition.

A.B.  

Boothby is our answer to that.

Att.G. 

Feeling in Party "We knew Tories were worse : we hoped you knew better".
Boothby not an answer. Belcher found guilty of corruptn, for wh. he cd. be prosecuted. D. & P.P. is considering procdgs. Shd. find it diff. to go on with cases v. B/T. Offls. if B. left an M.P. and B. left unprosecuted.

R.S.C. 

Prosecution of B. (nothing to do with Cab). wd. turn on prosn of others involved in Tribunal procdgs.
Att.G.  The B/T. cases are not involved.

C.E. 

Don't forget it was Labour Party wh. expelled A. against advice of Govt.
I believe some of our supporters will vote for A's expulsion.
I shd. find it v. diff. to vote against expulsion.
B's conduct was outrage on traditions of Party.
We dare not advise House not to pass such a Motion.

N.B. 

I agree. Boothby : we think he shd have left H/C.
P.M. shd. advise him to resign. Best in own interests.

A. 

Support C.E.'s view. Degradation to public life.
P.M. shd. ask him to resign. Cdn't resist a motion for expulsion. We shd. vote for Motions if raised.

P.M. 

If you argue the Boothby precedent, you adopt Tory standards.

G.A.I. 

Strong feeling among "industrial" supporters of Govt.

P.M.  

I will advise him to resign, and report again to Cabinet.

W.W. 

If he rejects that advice, Parlt. must decide : and diff. for us. Before publn. of Rpt. feeling in Party was v. strong against Belcher.
B. mtg. his constituents on Sat. week.  

P.M.

Too late.

(b) Contact Men.
P.M.
 

Raised in Press. Former Civil Servants. Income tax reputable.
Suggested we shd. have an enquiry – proposed t. of r.
Don't suggest public enquiry – Governmental. Cd. quote t. of r. but shdn't promise publn of report.

A. 

Where do you stop? French employed by Rank because his knowledge of Govt. Dpts.

P.M. 

Not same as man setting himself up as agent for others in arranging contacts with firms.

A.B. 

On t. of r. "Permits and licences" invites attack on economic controls. Change those words. 

P.M.   

Agreed.
Sunday Times article. Business world concerned.  My informn. shd. not be limited to what comes fr. officials.

R.S.C. 

"How far persons are offering themselves for payment as intermediaries ….."
Don't suggest they are giving a useful service.

H.W. 

One diff. Parly. case. M.P. setting up as industrial consultant and offering, inter alia, to make contacts with Govt. Dpts. 

P.M.   

V. improper.

(c) Personal applications.
P.M. 

Need for care.
Minister gets much informn. fr. lrs. addd to him.
Expedition secured by personal letters.
On the other hand, dangers eg. escape fr. Nat. Service when you want buttress betwn. Minister and applicant.
Posn differs in different Dpts.

A.B. 

Minister mustn't facilitate anything for his friends – since Lynskey.
Because we drive with our friends, it is implied there is corruption. This was evidently basis of Police enquiries.
Value of informn occurred for my Dpt. and others by personal contacts.
Integrity depends on character, not on isolation.

H.W. 

Tried to deal with this in my evidence.
Contacts with business most useful over meals. But must be careful whom you meet.
Valuable thing tht. we get applns and repns fr. personal friends because we can trust their motives.

P.M. 

Effect of inexperienced P.S. saying "Minister is keenly interested".

Att.G. 

Agreed with R.S.C. and H.W. No suggns such as made by A.B. weren't discussed by Tribunal.  Not a ques of obtaining informn. ques. of granting concessions etc. to friends.
Proposal approved – with some reluctance.

Taken from C.M. 7(49) - Meeting held on 27 January 1949.


Lynskey Report

P.M. 

Outlined his speech.
Applns from personal friends.
Diff. to generalise.  But considering wthr. further guidance shd. be given.

Hospitality.
Matter for good sense. But mistake to put oneself under obligns.
Position of Parly. Secretaries.
As in draft speech.
Contact Men.
Two types (i) real experts : even here possibilities of abuse. Because access.
Announce Cttee. under Edwin Herbert.

A.B. & others. 

Suggested omission of reference to ex civil servants. Amended formula agreed.
   (ii)  agents who claim they can put people in touch with Ministers or M.P.'s and abuse the facilities of H/Commons.  Speaker thinks Wigg case is too stale for Cttee. of Privileges.  He is willing to review rules re   adminn of strangers and their use of its facilities – with a Cttee. of 5 members (all Party).
This enquiry was welcomed by Cabinet.

Att.G. 

Tribunal's use of anonymous lrs. Can't be disregarded: basis of much Police action. Not used in Tribunal procdgs. unless Police enquiries showed there was substance in them.

J. 

Procedure is necessary on exceptional occasions.

Taken from C.M. 9(49) - Meeting held on 3 February 1949.