18 JANUARY 1957, Page 7

A Spectator's Notebook

BOTH THE STATEMENT of the Labour Shadow Cabinet and Mr. GritIiths's broadcast were careful to absolve the Crown from any blame, but the Labour Party has contrived to convey a feeling that there was something unconstitutional about the way the new Prime Minister was chosen. This is, of course, quite untrue and shows an alarming ignorance of the Constitution. It is possible to argue, as Robert Blake argued in The Spectator last year, that the present method of choosing a Prime Minister is a bad one, but there is no doubt that last week the correct pro- cedure was followed in all respects. Indeed, by consulting Lord Salisbury, who had taken many soundings, the Queen took more trouble to ascer- taM party opinion than even King George V did in 1923—let alone Queen Victoria in 1894. Inci- dentally, I have heard it said that all the many people whom Lord Salisbury consulted favoured Mr. Macmillan.