27 APRIL 1951, Page 5

Two of the Prime Minister's new appointments are virtually automatic.

Everyone took it for granted that if Sir Hartley Shawcross's place fell vacant for any reason, Sir. Frank Soskice would move up and Mr. Ungoed-Thomas become Solicitor-General. That was why, after his loss of his seat at Llandaff and Barry, he was given almost the first safe vacancy at North-East Leicester. His elevation will be generally approved. If Sir Hartley Shawcross's acceptance of the Presi- dency of the Board of Trade arouses little enthusiasm, it is because his brilliant qualities would obviously show to best advantage in a post for which he is specially qualified. He would have made an admirable Foreign Secretary, and perhaps an even better Home Secretary, if events had fallen out that way. There is no danger of his being anything like a failure at the Board of Trade, but he will be not quite a square peg in a square hole there ; his readiness to exchange a salary of £10,000 for one of £5,000 will not be forgotten. As for the Ministry of Labour, Mr. Alfred Robens is something of an experiment ; but experi- ments frequently succeed. The adjective which best describes him is robust, no bad quality where toughness is required. He is certainly not inferior as an all-round Minister to Mr. Isaacs. who held the post throughout the last Parliament. But there is a good deal to be said for putting the strongest Trade Union leader at the Ministry of Labour. That would have meant giving the post to Mr. James Griffiths, in which case Mr. Creech Jones might have been nominated for Mr. Bevin's vacant seat at East Woolwich and reinstated at the Colonial Office.

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