Utility Goods (Prices)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd November 1949.

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Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Ormskirk 12:00 am, 3rd November 1949

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman addresses mass meetings of every organisation which writes letters to him. [Interruption.] I am in somewhat close touch with the National Chamber of Trade, but not as close touch as hon. Members opposite, and I have not yet gone talking politics to them in the Caxton Hall. It can usually be found that if there are any people who imagine they have a grievance, some Tory M.P. will be there helping to fan the trouble, quite apart from whether the particular grievance is of such a kind that exploitation of it is contrary to the promises of his own party.

Referring to this Caxton Hall meeting, I was not there, of course—except in spirit—but I have been able to read a fairly full account of it in the "Manchester Guardian," and there is a subheading in that paper, "M.P. Fans the Glow." It says that the hon. Gentleman was unprejudiced, of course, but that everyone would agree that the basic cause of rising prices was the fantastic level of Government expenditure. It goes on a little about the question of timing, and says the hon. Gentleman "fanned the glow which was appearing in the hall." He quite rightly, and I am obliged to him for it, pointed out that the protest should be carried to the limit of the law. He did not suggest that anyone should go beyond the law. But he then used some rather inflammatory phrases, and the report goes on to say that at this stage the meeting proceeded to get out of hand. It does not use those words; that is my paraphrase.