16 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 3

The Week in Parliament

Our Parliamentary Correspondent writes : The subject of transport nearly always gives rise to a lively debate, and Tuesday's proceedings were no exception. The Labour Party were not quite certain whether they wished to discuss the Government's agreement with the railways or to adumbrate their own plans for the " unification " or " co- ordination " of all forms of inland and coastwise transport, and their speeches tended rather to straddle between those two themes. They never seem able to grasp that a Parlia- mentary attack, to be effective, should be confined to a narrow front. However, Mr. Herbert Morrison led off with a characteristic speech. His arguments do not always read so well in next day's Hansard as those of some of his colleagues on the Opposition front bench. But he has more platform personality than any of them, and consequently he never fails to command and hold the full attention of his audience. In good round terms he condemned the " hotch- potch " which Ministers had preferred to a " tidy clean-up of the whole transport situation ". The later stages of the debate were fairly equally divided between speakers with expert knowledge of railways and those who were exercised about the relative merits of private and public enterprise. By far the best case for the motion itself was made by Mr. Ben Smith, who contended that, by virtue of its control over the railways, the Government had become a competitor with other forms of transport and that they were using their powers, without much scruple, to the detriment of road hauliers.