Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th December 1958.

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Photo of Mr John Peel Mr John Peel , Leicester South East 12:00 am, 17th December 1958

This is an extremely important subject, because it involves a very human problem. Any subject that has to do with human beings is one to which we should give great attention. Fortunately, Leicester is blessed in that the level of unemployment is well below the national average. During the last month, no doubt due to the sensible measures which the Government have taken, the level has dropped.

It is high time that the House and the country understood quite clearly how completely erroneous is the impression deliberately put about by Members of the Opposition that the Conservative Party is the party of unemployment. [HON. MEMBERS: "So it is."] That is utterly untrue. If hon. Members look at the figures, they will see that unemployment has always been higher under a Socialist Administration than under a Tory one. In the economic crisis at the end of the 'twenties and the beginning of the 'thirties, unemployment rose rapidly as soon as a Socialist Administration took over. After the war, in 1947, during the fuel crisis, there were 2¼ million unemployed—