European Economic Community

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th June 1962.

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Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton 12:00 am, 7th June 1962

I intend to come to that point in a few minutes. The hon. Member has a point there.

After forty days and forty nights of agricultural negotiations in the Six, with the clock and the calendar stopped at five minutes to twelve, 31st December, 1961, after that agreement had been reached, it took the Six nearly two months to agree on the exact drafting of what they thought they had agreed, and impatiently we waited in the House for the English translation; and after sax more weeks it was vouchsafed to us; and now we have it, for my part it might as well have been in Sanskrit. I have the feeling that that was the Minister of Agriculture's first reaction when he saw it. Yet we all know that certainly the future of British agriculture and horticulture and the future of Commonwealth food imports and so of Commonwealth trade in general depend on the interpretation of those tablets.

I should like to put one question to the Minister of Agriculture. Of course we recognise the different treatment in the agricultural arrangements for what we in this country call deficiency payments and what we call production grants. Can he tell us what is the position with fertiliser subsidies and the lime subsidy? Will they be allowed, or are they to be on the index of prohibited practices? Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us?