18 December 1916 – Minister for the Air?

Today in Parliament the New MInisters and Secretaries Bill was introduced as a means of giving parliamentary approval to changes in the new Government.

Clause 7 of the Bill makes provision for the appointment of additional under secretaries to the War Office, Foreign Office, and Board of Trade to deal with issues such as the blockade of Germany

The Clause, also provides that His Majesty may appoint a Parliamentary Secretary to any special authority or Board constituted in connection with the supply of aircraft for the present War – in other words the Air Board. This is not quite the Air Minister that so many have been demanding but may may provide some of the answers. The Home Secretary had this ti say about the relationship between the Air Board and the two fighting ministries – the War Office and the Admiralty:

“…I want to make this observation about the Air Board. We propose by the Bill to appoint a Parliamentary Secretary to that Board. The Government desire to go somewhat further than that. This matter is, of course, of great and pressing importance, and I think many of us would desire to have a decision as to the position which the Air Board is to take. I am authorised by the Prime Minister to say: In the pressure of work involved in the formation of the Government, it has not been possible to decide to-day all matters connected with the Air Board. The work of President is still being carried on temporarily by Lord Curzon, and the Government have satisfied themselves that the service is not suffering in the interim. But I am glad to be able to say that the two fighting Departments (the War Office and the Admiralty) have arranged to utilise to the full the services of the Air Board, and I hope in the Committee stage to be able to introduce Amendments to give effect to that decision.”



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