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Adjournment (Summer)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th August 1947.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington 12:00 am, 13th August 1947

I am speaking for the views of my hon. and right hon. Friends on this side of the House. I am drawing the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that he could not speak for the views of those behind him on this occasion. I hope that is quite clear. It seems to me that some of the arguments there adduced are worthy of consideration. Let me say to the right hon. Gentleman that this is what we feel about the present situation, and about the decision to adjourn for so long a period, when the Government have not only shown a lack of foresight but have already shown a stubborn unwillingness to face the facts which were apparent to any person of average intelligence without any of the Government's special sources of information. That was true of the fuel crisis last winter, and it is true also of the balance of payments crisis with which we are confronted now.

I am going to quote just one other witness in my support for saying that this Adjournment is too long. I say that we cannot leave the Government in sole charge for this long period in view of the extent to which they have misjudged the situation up to date. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking in this House in the spring said this: Questions have been raised also about the overseas balances in regard to which I would refer those who have spoken, particularly those who have spoken in terms of great gloom, to a very clear and cogent article, which I read this morning in the 'Daily Herald' by my hon. Friend the Member for North Battersea (Mr. Jay). I am sure that any hon. Member who has not read his 'Daily Herald' this morning, would profit by reading, at any rate, this article."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 1947; Vol. 434, c. 1068–9.] I turned up the article. My reason for quoting it in this connection is to show how impossible it is to leave the Government in sole charge of our affairs for two and a half months when they can so misread the situation as also does this article. This is what the hon. Member for North Battersea wrote: I have heard talk lately about the alleged rapid rate at which the American loan is being used up. The talk is grossly exaggerated. The loan is, in fact, being used more slowly than we expected it would. Therefore, do not be misled by the alarmists who argue from nightmares rather than from facts and figures. They say that the American loan—they usually forget the Canadian loan—will be used up by next winter. The truth is, I repeat, that the two loans are likely to last for about two years from now. That was the article which the Chancellor of the Exchequer a few short months ago commended with the warmest commendation to the House.