Orders of the Day — Potato Rationing

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th November 1947.

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Photo of Mr Evelyn Strachey Mr Evelyn Strachey , Dundee 12:00 am, 10th November 1947

Far be it from me to minimise the seriousness of the topic which the hon. Member for Holland with Boston (Mr. Butcher) has raised on the Adjournment. I found it a little difficult to follow his speech, because it started with a forthright attack on myself for rationing potatoes, and then turned into an equally forthright complaint that I had not rationed potatoes earlier. The hon. Member cannot have it both ways. The hon. Member began his speech with a large number of complaints and quotations from warnings which he and other hon. Members gave me as to the situation last spring, and the supply of potatoes at that time. Whatever the rights or wrongs of those warnings may have been, they have absolutely nothing to do with the present situation, because they referred to the previous crop year, and had to do with the supply of potatoes out of the 1946 crop. That crop was short, unquestionably, but we were just able to make it last without imposing a rationing scheme, and if a rationing scheme had been imposed at that time with reference to that crop, it would not have had the slightest effect one way or the other on the present position. The hon. Member knows that quite as well as I do, and it is trading on our innocence if he pretends that it would have had the slightest effect.