Clause 3. — (Charge of Temporary Customs Duty.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st December 1964.

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Photo of Hon. Grenville Howard Hon. Grenville Howard , St Ives 12:00 am, 1st December 1964

I do not wish to detain the Committee longer than is necessary, but I should like to quote what some friends in Portugal, another E.F.T.A. country, have said about the deep sense of hurt and injustice which this has created and what a Belgian friend has said. I was at a function the other day where an important member of the Belgian Chamber of Commerce in this country said to me, "If only we had been consulted. If you had come to us as partners and consulted us, we should have been able, perhaps, to go some way with you. But in doing this in defiance of treaty obligations and without any warning, your Government have done something which it will take months, if not years, to put right".

The lack of confidence in this country among countries abroad will have a bad effect on our exports. I speak as one who used to do this job many years ago. Before the war I used to go abroad, and an Englishman's word was his bond, especially in Eastern countries. A friend of mine who travels round the world says that he is amazed at the feeling against the British Government throughout the world. This is not a matter for joking or for amusing speeches. This is a matter which affects the prestige of this country abroad, and it should be looked on as such. It is for those reasons that I support the Amendment most wholeheartedly.