Actions of Her Majesty's Government

Bills Presented – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd February 1965.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster 12:00 am, 2nd February 1965

In the ensuing debate, I shall select the Amendment standing in the names of the Prime Minister and other right hon. Members, and no other.

3.48 p.m.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I beg to move, That this House deplores the hasty and ill-considered actions of Her Majesty's Government during their first hundred days of office and has no confidence in their ability to conduct the nation's affairs. The best epitaph on the 100 days of Socialist Government so far is the arrival in the House today, by popular vote, of my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton, (Mr. Buxton), and, I must add in fairness, the arrival yesterday of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Cousins).

I am, glad to see the right hon. Gentleman in his place at last, for what we feel will be the short time available to him in the House, and I hope that he will not take it amiss if, during the next few weeks, we press him to justify his existence as a Minister and the existence of his Ministry. I must say to him that we do not so far know very much what it is about.

When I spoke to the House at the opening of this Session of Parliament, in the debate on the Address, I expressed my misgivings as to the prospects for the country under applied Socialism. The First Secretary of State had said, "Let us get in and you will all be mightily surprised by Christmas" The Prime Minister had acclaimed in advance the virtues of the 100 dynamic days. The mood of the country, having elected the Socialists, was to give the Government a fair trial and, in this atmosphere of general euphoria, we gave the Government on every possible occasion the benefit of the doubt, even to the point of being severely criticised for doing so by many of our supporters.

Now we have had the surprises—and more than enough of them, if I may say so. The dynamism about which the Prime Minister spoke has been the dynamism of the bull in the china shop. The pronouncements of the Government and their methods of proceeding have made confusion worse confounded, though I must now announce that the honeymoon is over, and for the best of all possible reasons—that the promises have proved false and the solemn vows undertaken at the General Election have been dishonoured.

That the Government are at odds with the people seems to be dawning on hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I notice that a committee of Ministers has been set up, with the Prime Minister in the chair, to keep the Prime Minister and his colleagues in touch with the people—a very comic conception, I must say. I will, if I may, suggest an agenda for the first meeting. On the left-hand side would be the statements made by right hon. Gentlemen opposite at the General Election. On the right-hand side would be the facts after the 100 days. It would read something like this:

"Let's Go With Labour"—7 per cent. Bank Rate and credit restrictions.

"The World wants it and welcomes it"—The surcharge.

"The British people want it, deserve it and urgently need it"—The petrol tax and the Income Tax.

"We will mobilise the resources of technology under a national plan"—The Concord and the aircraft industry.

"Labour is ready poised to swing their plans into instant operation"—The higher interest rates for the house buyer.

That would be an agenda which the Prime Minister might well study. It is a record of sterility and incompetence that can scarcely ever have been paralleled in the early days of a Government. There is now so much on the debit side of the Government balance sheet that I must begin the count-down on the Government now.

My first count against them is closely related to the Amendment which they have put on the Order Paper, and I intend to treat that Amendment seriously, as well as the argument in it. They, in their Amendment, say that they inherited a crisis. We say, and this is now capable of proof, that the crisis was created by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The Prime Minister will answer this charge and speak to his Amendment, so I hope that hon. Members opposite will listen to the argument on the other side. We say that this is capable of proof.

The export trend of the last three months, the record export figures for December and the renewed increase in production fulfil exactly the forecasts made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) throughout the summer to the House. What is more, they fulfil exactly the account of the economy and progress that the country was likely to make which he gave to the Commonwealth Finance Ministers in September and to the International Bank. There was no suggestion at either of those meetings that there was, or was likely to be, any crisis involving the value of the £.

It was recognised, of course, that there was the problem of increasing exports from this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."] If hon. Gentlemen opposite will allow me to continue this sentence I think that they will not disagree with what I am saying. There was the problem of increasing exports to rectify a balance of payments deficit, and it was serious. But there was not a crisis and no suggestion of a crisis involving the value of the £ sterling.

There was no crisis, I would remind the Prime Minister, on the rundown to the General Election, nor during it, although it was a very testing time, nor after it, even though right hon. Gentlemen opposite, for what they conceived to be political advantage, on every occasion bandied about the figure of the assessed deficit of £800 million. There was no crisis, even then. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I have no doubt that the Prime Minister and his hon. Friends will listen to what I am saying, because the Prime Minister admitted all this as late as 23rd November, and I will quote what he said to the House.

The right hon. Gentleman said: … so far as the trade gap is concerned … there were reserves and borrowings more than adequate to meet this, but in the course of the past week"— that was the week preceding 23rd November— there has been this new development arising from confidence factors …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd November, 1964; Vol. 702, c. 933.] In saying that it was a new development the Prime Minister was right, because if he will consult the records of the movement of foreign exchange at that time he will see that it is quite apparent that the real crisis involving the value of the £ dated from the time when people overseas got the double shock of the method which led to the surcharge fiasco and the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget, which was irrelevant to the problems of the time.

However, everyone knew that Britain had to get through a particularly difficult period in 1964, in particular the last months of 1964. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I should have thought that hon. Members opposite would know why, for 1964—I would inform the vociferous hon. Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence), in particular—was a year in which industry was restocking so that it could surge forward in a new expansion in the latter part of 1964 and the early part of 1965. In fact, this is what is happening now, because hon. Members opposite will have seen the trend for exports and the increase in the production figures. They will not deny it, I hope, because it is happening. What the situation demanded in the autumn of 1964 was calm, financial skill and confidence, and those are three skills singularly lacking in the Socialist Government. Instead, we had panic measures.

The trouble was that right hon. and hon. Members opposite were hypnotised by their own political propaganda and could not resist the temptation of giving hysterical and exaggerated accounts of Britain's problems. They could hardly complain, particularly after the notorious performance of Her Majesty's Ministers at the E.F.T.A. meeting, if foreigners took fright. If we got through the crisis of confidence, it was not because of the Government's actions but in spite of them.

It was in spite of a Socialist Government's actions and the breach of treaties that they involved, and the distrust they showed of friends and allies by failure to have any consultations with them whatever, that the international bankers—a fine stroke of irony for the party opposite—believed in the integrity of Britain, because they had always experienced it and had faith in the fundamental strength and future buoyancy of the British economy.

If the export situation now is really improving—and I believe and hope that it is—that is good, but the improvement is due to export orders placed long ago, and when the right hon. Gentleman got as near as he did, on a television programme last night, to saying that the improvements we note now in the economy are due to actions taken by the Socialist Government, he really stretched credulity to breaking point.

If the advice of my right hon. Friends and the Conservative Government had been taken in the autumn there would have been no crisis involving the value of the £ sterling; so my first count against the Government is that they shook confidence in Britain—an unforgiveable thing for a British Government to do. The Government's Amendment is the last fling of misrepresentation. Nobody is any longer deceived.

My second count is that it is the people who will pay a very heavy bill as a consequence of the Government's hasty action. It is a direct consequence of Government action because, against everything that the Prime Minister and his right hon. Friends ever said in the past, or any Socialist on those benches so far as I know, they have now slammed on the brakes. It was on this aspect of our affairs that the Prime Minister and his right hon. Friends were most specific in their pledges.

On 26th October, the Government said that they rejected any policy based on a return to stop-go economics. Three times the Prime Minister said that the Bank Rate would not be raised. On numberless occasions, he and his right hon. Friends poured scorn on the credit squeeze. There is now one operating. How many electors, attracted by the slogan "Let's Go With Labour", thought that in a few months they would be up against that? I can only say that the Government have done all these things that were solemnly pledged not to do, and if there is any rectitude left in them, they should go—

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Does the right hon. Gentleman want a General Election?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

The right hon. Gentleman will have his chance to speak, but I do not wonder that the Patronage Secretary was getting a little agitated, because he will have to arrange the demise when it comes.

The results of the Government's action will be felt in future, and for the rest of this year still further, because the right hon. Gentleman the First Secretary of State, in particular, must know that firm after firm—and local authorities, too—have had their plans for development held up. Already the country is saddled with increased debt, and if we are to avoid unemployment in the autumn—and every one of us in the House wants to do that—it will not be because of the Government's actions, but in spite of them.

This adverse position has been immensely aggravated by the Government's habit, apparently incurable, of announcing in principle—if that is the right word—what they want to do, without stopping to examine whether it is possible. They have done this time and again during the last 100 days. The first example I would give is that of the Concord. They first christened it a prestige programme. In doing so, and in the way they handled the matter, they laid themselves open to the accusation by a partner and ally of bad faith and breach of contract.

The Concord is saved, and the programme goes forward—at least, I assume that it does—but that is not because of the Government, but in spite of them and, in particular, because my right hon. and hon Friends insisted that this was not a prestige project but one that involved our aviation industry. I say that the whole of this operation on the Concord, as conducted by the Government, was unnecessary, and has been highly damaging to Britain.

The second example I would give is the aircraft industry. I think that the Prime Minister is making the aircraft industry a feature of his speech this afternoon—for transparent reasons. The Government are, of course, right to keep the development of these large aviation and aircraft programmes under constant review—no one would complain about that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is the method of handling all these matters that is so much at fault, and I want to make some very serious points to the right hon. Gentleman on our aviation and aircraft development.

Nobody has been pressing the Prime Minister to make announcements about this. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]In fact, it is well within the recollection of the House that early in this Parliament I begged him not to make hasty judgments on these matters of defence and security. Indeed, I pressed him to take time. Yet, within a few weeks of the Government's coming into power, the rumours began to leak out in Government circles, and became more and more circumstantial, that this or that aircraft under development was to be scrapped.

Then we were told that the Plowden Committee was being set up to consider the future structure and rôle of the aircraft industry in Britain. The rumours multiplied until it was clear—and this was apparent to the workers in the factories—that the Government were preparing to scrap large parts of the aircraft development and production programme to an extent that would fundamentally affect the structure of the industry. This was the point at which everyone, including those in the factories, was alerted to the real danger. It was obvious that they were doing this before they had decided whether it was Government policy to sustain an aircraft industry in Britain and on what scale.

The reason why it is so vital to take the big decision first is that it is so very easy to create a situation in which design teams and technicians are disbanded because there is nothing worth while left for them to do. If that happens the country will be left without the ability to develop sophisticated aircraft of this kind at all. There would then be no alternative—let us face this—but to buy American at America's prices. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I am coming to the reason if hon. Members will keep quiet for a moment.

It is necessary sometimes, of course, if the price is right and it fulfils a need, to buy American aircraft, but there is all the difference in the world—I hope that hon. Members who interrupted will understand this—between that situation and one in which there is an American monopoly and nothing else. Nothing could be more expensive for this country than that.

We are a much smaller country and in that sense at a disadvantage with the United States both in the scale on which we can produce and the scale on which we can order the final product, but so, too, are France, Italy and Germany. The answer to this problem, I believe, is to exploit as far as we possibly can the joint development of aircraft and weapons in Europe with other Euporean countries. I can only say—and I believe that the Leader of the Liberal Party agrees with this part at least of what I am saying—that it is no preparation for future partnership with European countries, first, to throw away the asset of good will, which the Government did in the case of the Concord, and secondly, to abandon our ability to make a technical contribution through our design teams.

The Prime Minister has elected himself to announce the decisions, or some decisions, today in the middle of a Motion of censure debate. We shall, of course study his statement with the greatest care. I say to him now that it will clearly need a separate debate in which we can study these matters, and I hope very soon.

I make only two more points before I leave this question of aircraft and aircraft development and production. I hope that the Prime Minister will not be tempted to write down the aircraft and the weapons which are in service, or coming into service, as being obsolete or inadequate. The Lightnings, the Buccaneers in service, the VCIO in Transport Command, Blue Steel in Bomber Command and the new weapons of which the Prime Minister is aware, but which I shall not mention here—he knows that these are all of the highest quality. In addition, the TSR2, the P1154, the HS681 and the Belfasts will give the Royal Air Force a strength unexampled in its history.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I will not shirk anything if the right hon. Gentleman will listen to what I have to say.

I hope that in assessing and comparing costs and time scales given by American and British companies, the right hon. Gentleman will exercise some caution. We are dealing with very narrow margins in a field of ruthless competition and I beg the Prime Minister to remember that many people would like to see us out of this business altogether.

Our Government, the Conservative Government, contrived a bomber force and we were able to rely upon using every one of those bombers if we wished to do so and if we wished to deploy them. They have a very important conventional rôle. If we give away half our bomber force to an international force, which we could not use, for instance, in the case of the defence of Malaysia, we shall reduce the effective strength of our Air Force. I hope that what the Prime Minister says today will not be a cover for any such plan. I have constantly called attention to the dangers of losing control of our ability to employ our own forces, and I repeat that now.

My next count against the Government—and I shall not spend as long as I should have liked to on all these headings, but leave some of them to my hon. and right hon. Friends—is the doubt and confusion which they have inflicted on the country by their taxation policies.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

The Prime Minister—[Laughter.] The Leader of the Opposition said that he would shirk nothing, and that he would certainly deal with the question I asked him, which was when those aeroplanes he referred to would be available. He has now moved off that subject, without dealing with the point which he said he would not shirk. Will he now tell the House when the aeroplanes he enumerated were, in his view, to come into service?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

The right hon. Gentleman eventually got it right, I hope that his prophecy will prove more accurate than many of the Government's have proved. What I said was that these time scales are extremely narrow when we have to consider whether to have the TSR2 or the TFX. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] The time—

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I cannot answer a question if I am not allowed to speak.

The time scale of an American estimate for 1968 and ours for 1967–68 is a very narrow scale. I want right hon. Gentleman opposite to consider that very carefully when making their decisions.

My next count against the Government, to which I must direct the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is on the Government's taxation policy. I have already reminded the Chancellor of the statement which he and others made to the effect that Socialism would not mean general increases in taxation. I will give him one refresher. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet forecast that Socialism would mean increases in taxation, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that this was screwy, nursery school stuff. Who was screwy? It was not my right hon. Friend.

In the event, no one could have believed, in view of the Prime Minister's advertised reputation for competence the mess, the muddle and confusion that spread throughout business owing to the method of approach by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the corporation and capital gains taxes. No one can tell the effect that those taxes will have on future business prospects. This Government of planners have, in fact, made planning impossible. We shall do our best to clarify these taxes in the debates on the Finance Bill, if and when we reach it.

There are many other counts which I could bring against the Government. I must leave some for my right hon. and hon. Friends, but I must mention prices. The Government cannot evade the charge that in their autumn Budget they gave a boost to rising prices. How many housewives, having to meet higher prices over the widest range of goods, were taken in by the promise of the First Secretary that he would tackle rising prices at the roots?

I do not question the right hon. Gentleman's intentions. He has a statement of intent on incomes policy, which I welcome. He is establishing machinery, I understand, to inquire into rising prices. I understand that he is calling it a court. I hope that it will not be an inquisition. We shall be vigilant to see that it is not. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]

That is the attitude of a great many hon. Gentlemen opposite. They like an inquisition; they like the full paraphernalia of Socialist controls, under which they wish to keep the nation. But what is the use of intent when the cost of living soars and wages go chasing after? I am afraid that those who receive the extra pensions and benefits will have an experience similar to that which they had under the last Socialist Government, when increased benefits were continuously eroded by rising prices.

The First Secretary has said some tough things about certain price increases. He may be right; I do not know. But let him be cautious. For instance, let him ask the local authorities how much the autumn taxes are adding to their estimates for 1965. He will find all over the country very substantial additions, and these have to be carried by the rates; and local authorities are not interested in squeezing the public.

My next indictment is that if the Government have a shred of political integrity, they ought to resign. [Laughter.] Let the First Secretary get his laugh over. He will not laugh again during what I have to say. I refer to the specific pledge given to the electors by the Prime Minister and the First Secretary, and repeated by other Ministers on the Front Bench and every hon. Member on the Government back benches, that interest rates would be reduced for those who wish to build houses for themselves.

The pledges are within the recollection of everybody, and they were over a wide range. They included 100 per cent. mortgages, lower mortgage rates, and lower interest rates. The Prime Minister said, "We shall cheapen the cost of housing by our interest rate policy." The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, "House owners are to be aided by favourable interest rates."

A great many people were deceived by this. The First Secretary went so far as to suggest that the interest rate might be 3 per cent.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

This must have disappointed very many people. I have a letter from a gentleman who decided to take advantage of the right hon. Gentleman's 3 per cent. scheme and wrote and asked the right hon. Gentleman for papers explaining it. The letter was handed to the Minister of Housing and Local Government, and after a month this gentleman got the following reply: Any local authority which makes loans for houses will supply details if application is made to them. There is no Government mortgage loan scheme. That is what the right hon. Gentleman and the Minister of Housing and Local Government said. Could any elector have thought, after the General Election, that if he wrote to the right hon. Gentleman he would get that reply?

Let us suppose that the man goes to the London County Council. It would charge him 7¼ per cent., I understand. If he goes to some other local authorities, they will be forced to tell him that they have had to stop loans for house ownership altogether. So little faith has the London County Council in the Socialist Government and Socialist promises that it has floated two new loans at 6¾ per cent. In such circumstances it is useless for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to rant at the building societies. With terms of that sort coming on the market, what can the building societies do if they are to attract funds?

Also, the President of the Builders' Federation has said that the effects of the autumn taxes together have added between £90 and £100 to the cost of building an average-size house. He adds that it would be fair to say that the new three-bedroom houses being built by local authorities will cost about £100 more as the result of the autumn Budget. Are we now to see the effects of these extra costs in rent and rates?

If pledges given at General Elections are to be meaningless, what happens to democracy? I do not know how right hon. Gentlemen opposite can sit complacently in their places with this litter of broken pledges all around them. If I may say so to the Leader of the Liberal Party, I do not know how he can keep them there.

Hon. Members:

Give way.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I cannot give way. Hon Gentlemen opposite will notice that the Leader of the Liberal Party is still sitting in his place.

So much for the final sentences of the Government's Amendment to our Motion of censure.

If, after this appalling record, the Government still want to go on clinging to office, they must get their priorities right. I do not see the President of the Board of Trade here, but I welcome the measures that have been taken to stimulate exports. But what right hon. Gentlemen opposite do with their right hand they undo with their left. I have pointed out time and again that we cannot afford to sacrifice exports because of political prejudice. I would quantify for the House, and particularly for the Prime Minister, the orders that we might have received from Spain. The country and, in Particular, the people in the factories manufacturing the electronic equipment can see the attitude of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite.

The first batch of orders was for £11½ million. The next batch of orders will be worth about £100 million, and we could have got a large proportion of it. The unspeakable folly of this is that these orders have gone to the United States—our ally in defence of democracy. I hope that the British workers who are deprived of their work and earnings will march on Downing Street, because this loss was the Prime Minister's own doing.

The first task of the Conservative Government to come will be to restore confidence in Britain and to convince the foreigner—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh"]. I have plenty of time. If hon. Members opposite will keep quiet a little more they will not have to wait much longer, but they are going to get one or two more nasty blows.

The first task of the Conservative Government which must succeed this one will be to restore confidence in Britain; to convince people that it is profitable to bank and invest here; to start repairing the damage caused to E.F.T.A. and Europe; to make it clear that partnership means consultation and trust; that we mean to continue as banker for the sterling area; and that our purpose is to resume steady economic growth; to achieve the widest possible economic base for British industry; to add to such joint exploits in Europe as the Concord and E.L.D.O. projects; and to put the first emphasis on competitive industry and give our technologists the chance to hold their own.

Finally, I must say to the Government, in spite of what the Prime Minister said to the country last night on television, that they should drop the nationalisation of steel. It is recognised by the electors at home as the ultimate folly and abroad as being foolish. The record of the Government so far, if it is coupled with the nationalisation of steel, shows that they have no theme for the greatness of this country, but that they are small-minded, introspective men.

I reminded the House at the beginning of my speech of the statements by right hon. Gentlemen opposite which preceded the 100 days. We are now getting more considered and erudite statements about the attitude of the Government to the next 100 days. One example has been given by Lord Bowden, in Australia. He said: Mr. Wilson needs to give Britain a kick in the backside and if he cannot do it, nobody can. I want to ask—[Interruption.]

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. I hope that the House will give the Leader of the Opposition an orderly hearing.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Perhaps hon. Members opposite will let me ask the Prime Minister one question. Does this speech by Lord Bowden represent Government policy? If so, then the muddle continues, because, in a moment of candid confidence, not very long ago, the Prime Minister, speaking of himself, said: I fly by the seat of my pants. It seems that the boot may be on the other foot and that very soon the country will see to it that the right hon. Gentleman does. Not for the first time will it be necessary for a Conservative Government to clear up the mess of Socialism, and we are ready to so.

4.35 p.m.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I beg to move, to leave out from "deplores" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: the irresponsibility of the former administration leading to the serious situation which confronted Her Majesty's Government, and pledges its support for remedial measures to strengthen the country's economy and security and provide rising standards for the British people". I think that the all-time high or low of the Leader of the Opposition's speech —it depends how one looks at it—in terms of measuring his sincerity was his thrice-repeated call for an early General Election. This, from a right hon. Gentleman—[HON. MEMBERS: "Resign."] We have plenty of time. This was from a right hon. Gentleman who clung to office to the very last humiliating minute because he was afraid of the electorate, and who, by doing so, made much worse an economic situation about which his own Chancellor of the Exchequer had warned him.

I was interested in some of the right hon. Gentleman's obiter dicta. Most of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was taken from a Tory Central Office pamphlet, which I have here. He missed a rather neat point on page 45, I thought. [Interruption.]

Photo of Bernard Braine Bernard Braine , Essex South East

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. The Prime Minister has referred to a pamphlet which is not in the possession of the House. Fortunately, I have a copy in my hand. The right hon. Gentleman referred—[Interruption.]

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. The House must listen when an hon. Gentleman is trying to put a point of order.

Photo of Bernard Braine Bernard Braine , Essex South East

I wondered whether the Prime Minister was referring to the point in the pamphlet which says—[Interruption.]

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. I hope that the House will not indulge in the habit of trying to introduce argument under the guise of a point of order.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I was about to refer—

Several Hon. Members:

Several Hon. Members rose

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

With respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I would have thought that it was relevant and in order for the Prime Minister to refer to a document which points out that—[Interruption.]

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. The hon. Member for Exeter (Sir Rolf Dudley Williams) is experienced enough in Parliamentary ways to know that that is no more a point of order than was the first interruption.

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

Sir Rolf Dudley Williams rose

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

I must ask the hon. Gentleman to obey the Chair.

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

On a point of order.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Has the hon. Gentleman a point of order which he wishes to raise?

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. I said before that I hoped that hon. Members would not waste the time of the House by raising alleged points of order which are not points of order. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to put a point of order, I will listen to it.

Photo of Bernard Braine Bernard Braine , Essex South East

My point of order was simply that in referring to a pamphlet which he hoped nobody else had the Prime Minister was making an innuendo, which was that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition was missing a point on page 45 of the pamphlet. That was a clear innuendo. I seek your guidance, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. If it is improper for me to read the passage from the pamphlet, which is in my hand, will you invite the Prime Minister to—

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. The hon. Gentleman claims the right to refer to an innuendo in his point of order. But it was not a point of order. As for the Prime Minister's speech, innuendoes are a matter of argument, not of order.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

I must ask hon. Gentlemen to conduct themselves in accordance with the best traditions of the House.

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

On a point of order. I am grateful to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to put this point of order, which is new. The Prime Minister referred to a document. Is it not within the rules of order that if a Member refers to a document he should disclose to what it is he is referring?

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

That was not a document within the rules of the House.

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

Sir Rolf Dudley Williams rose

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

I must ask the hon. Member, who has risen several times, to conduct himself in accordance with the traditions of the House.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Can I help the right hon. Gentleman?

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition wishes to address the Chair on a point of order.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

It was not on a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I want to say to the Prime Minister that I think I can help here. [Interruption.] If the right hon. Gentleman will be quiet, I will simply say that I have now had the chance to read page 45 of the document. I only intended to tell the Prime Minister that I had not, of course, consulted page 45. I did not quote from it and I did not evade anything in it. Now he can get on with his speech.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I can understand the obvious unwillingness of hon. Members opposite to get the facts which they are going to get in the next half an hour.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I was about to refer—[Interruption.]

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. May I make one observation? Hon. Members have deprecated the practice outside the House of not allowing candidates at General Elections to speak and to be heard. I hope that the House will extend to its own Members the courtesy which it demands for each of its Members outside the House.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I was about to mention the reference by the right hon. Gentleman to the word "court" in connection with the proposed new body to inquire into incomes and prices. This came very strangely from the right hon. Gentleman, since it was his Government which set up the Restrictive Practices Court, with all the inquisitorial powers to which he objected.

The main burden of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was to complain, as he did in his concluding words, that pledges given in a General Election had not been carried out in the first 13 weeks of office. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman remembers how many pledges the 1951 Government carried out in their first 13 weeks. I will tell him. It was their pledge given to the brewers to allow them to open tied "pubs" in new towns. The one pledge. Their other two pledges in that election—to "mend the hole in the purse" and to reduce Government expenditure by £700 million—were never carried out in 13 years.

I do not intend to spend too much time on the right hon. Gentleman's speech itself, because we all recognise that in moving a Motion of confidence—[HON. MEMBERS: "No confidence."]—it is a bit hard to tell sometimes—and in calling for a General Election, the right hon. Gentleman has no intention or hope of succeeding with either. [HON. MEMBERS: "Resign."] I will take advice from some Members, but on the question of an early General Election not from the right hon. Gentleman or those sitting behind him.

There is only one election in which the right hon. Gentleman is interested—the election of the Leader of the Conservative Party. In this succession of continual Motions of censure which we have been promised we are to get the whole parade of all the candidates. What we are getting now is a prolonged Tory selection conference without the wives. I will leave that point by saying that we on this side of the House are united in support of the right hon. Gentleman's own candidature, which is more than can be said about hon. Members opposite.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I am going now directly to the main theme of the Opposition's Motion, summed up in one word in their Motion, "hasty", which they say our measures have been. Whatever else one likes to call our measures, they certainly have not been that. Overdue, if one likes, long overdue—six months, a year, two years or more overdue, because for two years up to last October we had no government in this country. Indeed we can take a longer period.

If we take the period of the Common Market negotiations, to which the then Government looked as a means of having decisions taken for this country which they were unwilling or unable to take for themselves, we have a period of well over three years in which virtually nothing was done and nothing was decided, and in which an already serious situation deteriorated. We then had this long paralysis because the right hon. Gentleman was unable to make up his mind about the timing of the election. Nothing was more irresponsible than the right hon. Gentleman postponing the election, and postponing any remedial action to deal with the economic situation until the last possible date.

Which measures does the right hon. Gentleman think were over-hasty? He gave us a few illustrations; but, of course, he was very selective. I will remind him of one or two others which were introduced on which it would have been interesting to know his attitude, which he never mentioned. I might mention the first Act to receive the Royal Assent in this Parliament. It was only a small Act, but it was one which ended the indefensible anomaly in our law which prevented old-age pensioners in many parts of the country from getting free bus passes while others were getting them. I know that this was something which the Tories held up. Successive Ministers of Transport held it up for nine years when we pressed them to do something about it. The Leader of the Opposition was dickering with it right through last spring and summer. But when we introduced the Bill in fulfilment of an election pledge hon. Members opposite did not oppose it. They did not even have the courage of their nine-year old convictions. Of course, they would never have done it. Do they say that we were hasty in putting this matter right?

Take another one—the abolition of the earnings rule for widows. Again, hon. Members opposite did not oppose that when we brought it forward. They never got round to it in 13 years. Was that hasty and ill-considered, as we are told in the Motion? If so, why did not hon. Members opposite oppose it? If it was necessary, why did not they do it?

Take our decision to raise the retirement pension, unemployment and sickness benefits, the widows' pension, the widowed mothers' allowance, the long overdue addition to the so-called 10s. widows and the decision to increase National Assistance rates. Were they hasty and ill-considered or not? The right hon. Gentleman did not tell us. Certainly, hon. Members opposite would never have dealt with those matters, because, knowing them, if they did not do so before an election they would certainly not have done so after. But, again, when we proposed to deal with those matters hon. Members opposite did not vote against it. They did, of course, vote against the means of paying for the increases. This is a measure of their responsibility.

We should know the attitude of hon. Members opposite to this question, because we are talking about the record of the first 100 days of this Government. Was it hasty of us to raise pensions or not? If it was unnecessarily precipitate —[Interruption.] I should have thought that the last people in the House to talk about delays in paying the increased pension would be hon. Members opposite. The delay was due to the fact that they were never going to increase pensions and they left a machine which could not be speeded up.

A by-election address circulated by hon. Members opposite reads: PensionsAnother winter with nothing for the old folk while M.P.s get a huge rise immediately". Is that the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman, when he was responsible for not paying the increased pensions, and when he was as committed, as we were, to the pay rise for Members of Parliament? That, again, is a measure of the right hon. Gentleman's sincerity.

I will press the question of the pension increase further. If hon. Members opposite accepted the need for the increase, and if they did not vote against it, how did they think that it would be paid for? I take it that I carry the right hon. Gentleman with me when I say that it could not have been paid for by adding to the overall Budget deficit. I think that the right hon. Gentleman would agree that if we had simply added the cost to the deficit that would have been inflationary. He does not disagree with that, I take it.

I must put these questions to the right hon. Gentleman, because we get so many different answers from different Front Bench Members who claim to be the alternative Government, although the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) would disagree with a lot of them on everything. I have to ask the Leader of the Opposition, as mover of the Motion, where he stands. Since he agrees, presumably—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."]. Hon. Members opposite have had our answers. We introduced the Bill increasing the pensions and we had the integrity to say how it would be paid for. We did not vote for the increased pensions and vote against the means of paying for them—

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

The hon. Gentleman knows that if the Prime Minister does not give way he must resume his seat. I must ask the hon. Gentleman to control himself.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

This is a question of the integrity of the Opposition Front Bench, not of the hon. Gentleman. What I am asking is this: did they consider it hasty to introduce the Pensions (Increase) Measure or not? If they thought that it was not hasty, how did they think that it would be paid for except by the Budget introduced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I will give way to the Leader of the Opposition if he wants to answer these questions. I have some more to ask him.

If the right hon. Gentleman intends to agree with the pensions, but to object to the taxes which we put in the Budget, what other taxes would he have put in? The whole integrity of his case is destroyed when we put this question to him.

Take another case, the Act introduced to prevent—

Hon. Members:

Sit down.

Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough

On a point of order. In view of the obvious importance to this debate of the page in a booklet to which reference has been made, would you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, be good enough to arrange for an extract from that page to be included in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. The hon. Gentleman is wasting the time of the House.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I will give way to the so-called Leader of the Opposition, not to the candidates.

Hon. Members:

Cheap.

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

On a point of order. Is it in order for the Prime Minister to refer to the Leader of the Opposition, who is a paid Member of the House and draws a salary, as "the so-called Leader of the Opposition"?

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

It is not customary, but it is in order.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Now, I come—[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] I intend to make the speech I came to make, whatever hon. Members opposite may do. The Leader of the Opposition made his—

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Before I can call the hon. Member to put his point of order, may I deprecate from the Chair the spending of a lot of time on points of order in what is a very important debate.

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

We are grateful, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for your Ruling about my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition being described by the Prime Minister as the so-called Leader of the Opposition. My point of order is to ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, whether it would be in order to call the Prime Minister the so-called Prime Minister.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

I would hope that in this debate, and in other debates, hon. Members would end the practice of raising bogus points of order.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I should have thought that the hon. Member opposite had enough responsibility for some of the speeches to which we have had to listen without adding to our gaiety this afternoon

I want to come to another question, to see whether hon. Members opposite regard our actions as hasty. I refer to the Act to prevent over-hasty evictions by landlords. The whole House must agree by now that the Tory Rent Act of 1957 has failed in its purpose of equating supply to demand, that it has caused intolerable hardship and that it has destroyed security of tenure for hundreds of thousands of families. There cannot be much argument about that.

We asked in the election for a mandate to repeal that Act and we shall carry out that mandate. We are working on the Bill now. As every hon. Member knows, however, the knowledge that landlords would lose their freedom to evict tenants for unjust reasons meant a great increase of threatened evictions last October. So we acted quickly with my right hon. Friend's Bill.

Again, hon. Members opposite, who were up to their necks in responsibility for the Rent Act and its consequences, did not oppose our Measure. It was a hasty Measure, I agree. It was hasty because it was dealing with an urgent and critical situation. Do hon. Members opposite say that it was too hasty? This one was not mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition.

The question of prescription charges—was that hasty and ill-considered?

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Surbiton

Mr. Nigel Fisher (Surbiton) indicated assent.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Does the Leader of the Opposition think so? Why did he not vote against it? Our new Bill to establish Law Commissioners to deal with all the ancient, moss-grown system of 5,000 Acts of Parliament, is this hasty? This, surely, is long overdue.

Again, there is a wide range of measures, to which the right hon. Gentleman did not refer, not involving legislation. He referred to and praised the diligence of my right hon. Friend the First Secretary in securing the declaration of intent on incomes and prices. He did not suggest that that was hasty and ill-considered, I take it. The right hon. Gentleman has been telling us for years that it was necessary if we were to get expansion without inflation. The trouble with hon. Members opposite was that, while they were willing the end of an incomes policy, they were too doctrinaire to produce the means necessary to get one.

During the election, however, a note of urgency crept into the voices of right hon. and hon. Members opposite on this question. Then, the Leader of the Opposition said that he would require the unions to deal with these issues, whatever he may have meant by that. But does he feel that our action in pushing on with plans for an incomes policy was hasty and ill-considered?

Again, the Leader of the Opposition is not really responsible—he does not tell us these things—because he is in serious difficulty here as well. The right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) rightly says that this is essential, whereas the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West—it is only a few weeks since the "shadow" fatted calf was killed for him on his return to the Front Bench—has, if he was correctly reported, described an incomes policy as being a nonsense, a silly nonsense, a transparent nonsense and, what is worse, a dangerous nonsense.

Photo of Mr Enoch Powell Mr Enoch Powell , Wolverhampton South West

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West) indicated assent.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I am glad to have confirmation from the right hon. Gentleman that that is his attitude to our incomes policy.

Does the right hon. Member for Barnet agree with that? Very well. We know that he is very coy about these things, but where does the Leader of the Opposition stand on this one? After all, he was even talking this afternoon about being an alternative Government. Look at them! I do not wish to confuse counsel by referring to the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), but I noticed that in one of those outbursts of sick humour in The Guardian this week he was put in the short list of three for the candidature.

To take another case, the decision announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport to halt all major railway closures except those where the position had been decided by his predecessor. Was this a hasty decision? [Interruption.] Some say "Yes", some say "No" and the Leader of the Opposition says nothing at all.

Then there is our decision to reverse the action of the previous Government, when time after time for, I should have thought, doctrinaire ideological reasons they refused to allow railway workshops to tender for private contracts for rolling stock on a competitive basis. We put this right. Was that hasty? Did right hon. and hon. Members opposite agree with it or not? [Interruption.] Wrong again. As I say, I should like a little help from the Leader of the Opposition on these answers, despite the fact that the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover) is trying to answer some of these questions.

The Leader of the Opposition did not single out any one of these instances which I have mentioned of important legislation or action by the Government. He did not deal with any of these. He had his own short list, and to that short list of his I now turn. [Interruption.] The House will recognise that I am moving an Amendment. I am speaking to that Amendment and I intend to go on speaking to it.

The right hon. Gentleman did not even stick to his Motion, but I will refer to the case that he made. On the question of tariff surcharges, does he really think that we acted precipitately? Does he? [HON. MEMBERS: "Tell us."] I wonder whether he really thinks that we could have gone on with that ominously mounting trade gap as it was, without taking action? The real charge against the late Government is their monumental irresponsibility in letting that gap get worse, neither taking action, nor having an election to make way for those who were prepared to take it.

We are talking of a very serious issue here. If the House will be serious for a moment, I will give those who are interested, and able to understand them, the figures quarter by quarter. These are the figures of the visible balance of trade from the beginning of 1963, seasonally adjusted. These are the straight trade figures, the balance of imports against exports and re-exports. These are the straightforward trade figures on an f.o.b. basis—nothing to do with financial transactions, no speculative movements, no leads and lags, just the straightforward balance of trade measurable figures which are available to the whole House. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about capital investment?"] That does not enter into the figures of exports.

I am giving the trade figures, and if hon. Gentlemen listen carefully they will see where they lead. These are the straightforward figures on the new f.o.b. basis, both ways. In the first quarter of 1963 the country had a favourable balance of £23 million—plus 23. In the second quarter we had an unfavourable balance of £6 million—minus 6. In the third quarter, an unfavourable balance of £24 million. In the fourth quarter, an unfavourable balance of £42 million. In the first quarter of 1964, we had an unfavourable balance of £108 million—minus 108.

This was the quarter when the right hon. Gentleman started to go round repeating that the economy had seldom, if ever, been stronger, and when, in fact, the balance of trade was then running at a rate well over £500 million a year worse than a year earlier. In the second quarter of last year the figure was minus £135 million. In the third quarter, the last period when they were in office, the figure was minus £156 million. And all this time the invisible balance, too, was worsening. Of course, it was in the third quarter when the right hon. Gentleman was making his election speeches accusing us of trying to take the country into a crisis.

Those were the figures, so in seven quarters we had a progressive worsening—plus 23, minus 6, minus 24, minus 42, minus 108, minus 135, and, finally, minus 156. From a surplus at an annual rate of nearly £100 million in the first quarter of 1963, we moved to a deficit in the quarter ending September last at an annual rate of £624 million. All that the right hon. Gentleman could do then was to go on his interminable whistle-stop tours proclaiming that the economy had never been stronger.

All that the right hon. Gentleman can say today is that urgent action to deal with that situation when we came in was over-hasty. Let me remind the Opposition that they dined out for 13 years on the 1951 legend. Although the 1951 figures were immeasurably worsened by fantastically high import prices due to Korea, which no one will deny—the import prices index was one-third higher than in 1964—even so the basic trade and payments position which we found in October last was worse than in October, 1951.

Last November right hon. Gentlemen questioned the estimate of a balance of payments deficit of £700 million to £800 million. Since then we have had the published figures for the third quarter ending 30th September. The deficit in those three months was £283 million, representing an annual rate of nearly £1,130 million, and that was the figure which we faced when we took office. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to have any reputation for integrity in this matter, he must answer that. He must have known these figures, which were available to the House, and if any hon. Member who catches the eye of the Chair wants to shoot them down, he is free to try to do so. These are figures which have never been questioned. They are the official figures published mainly by the Party opposite when they were in power. I got the figure of £1,130 million by multiplying £283 million by four, and if anyone else does the same sum he will get that answer.

Photo of Mr John Rodgers Mr John Rodgers , Sevenoaks

Sir John Rodgers (Sevenoaks) rose

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I will give way when the Leader of the Opposition rises to answer this. He must have known of the worsening payments situation throughout last year.

I think that to go on repeating his claim that the economy had seldom, if ever, been stronger, when he knew the facts, and to use his authority as Prime Minister for this kind of electioneering, was a total misleading of the country. Does he still think that he was right in saying that the economy had seldom, if ever, been stronger? Does he, in the light of these figures, think that he was giving the country an honest picture when he said that? I will give way to the right hon. Gentleman if he wants me to do so. They were all in it.

Hon. Members:

What about aircraft?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I can understand hon. Gentlemen opposite not wanting this to be rubbed in. This is what the right hon. Gentleman said right through 1964. Some hon. Gentleman opposite would not have been here if some people in the country had not believed what the right hon. Gentleman said. They believed that he spoke with authority, and now he has not got the guts to stand up and say that he stands by the decision he made then.

That was the background to the surcharge, because, as I think the House will agree, the most serious element in the worsening position was the big increase in the import of manufactured goods, many of them goods in whose production and export not long ago we led the world. The right hon. Gentleman denied it a year ago when I said it. The right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath) devoted a great part of his speech during the Budget debate to a sustained attack on me for having said it, but we have the figures now. Manufactured goods imports rose 122 per cent. in the past five years, adding £460 million a year to our import bill, and they rose nearly 30 per cent. last year compared with 1963, but they said that this action was not needed, so we had to take urgent action ten days after we came in. Was this over-hasty against the figures which I have given? In my submission, it was long overdue, but did we take the right action?

I wonder whether the Opposition have been right to condemn surcharges. There were really two choices if we were to contain this dangerous increase in imports. The day before our announcement was made, the right hon. Member for Barnet said, in the Sunday Times:I thought it wise in the summer to prepare measures against the posibility that the trade gap would prove more stubborn than we expected and I set afoot a full re-examination of import controls, tariff surcharges, and incentives to exports. As between surcharges and import quotas, rightly or wrongly we chose surcharges. I have some experience of administering import quotas in the system that we inherited at the end of the war, and the Government felt that import quotas would do far more, and lasting, damage not only to the general pattern of world trade, but to production and industry in this country. In choosing surcharges rather than quotas we had the backing of the right hon. Member for Barnet, because, as soon as we had made the announcement, he issued a statement saying that we had chosen his diagnosis and his remedies.

The right hon. Member for Bexley, presumably because his right hon. Friend had supported surcharges, denounced them—because one does not find any agreement between those two right hon. Gentlemen on anything, as far as I can see. Again, the Leader of the Opposition has not told us where he stands between these competing factions. Does he support his ex-Chancellor, who supported surcharges, or his ex-President of the Board of Trade, who denounced them? I will not ask the Leader of the Opposition about some of his other hon. Friends.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that we should have consulted our trading partners. Does he really mean that we should have informed them so that the shock would be less, or does he mean that we should have told them what we had in mind and said that we would not go on with it unless we could secure their good will? If he means the second of the two alternatives, the surcharges could never have been brought into operation and we would not have stopped the bleeding. He knows that the surcharges, as a temporary measure, were necessary. The former Chancellor is much straighter about this.

The Leader of the Opposition does not like the way that we did it. It is the last refuge of an Opposition which are not quite sure, to say about something, "It is all right to do that, but you should not have done it in that way." The right hon. Gentleman, in his most improbable rôle as scat singer, is proclaiming "'Tain't what you do; it's the way that you do it". We fully understand the feelings of our trade partners on this question. We have emphasised—and I emphasise again—that this is a temporary emergency measure which will be relaxed and then removed at the earliest possible moment. We want to see a month or two's trade figures first. We are always told, quite rightly, by hon. Members opposite that one does not decide what is happening to trade figures on the basis of a single month.

Let me tell the House what hon. Members opposite would have done, faced with this situation, and with an election behind them. They would have introduced panic measures, as in 1957 and 1961. In 1957 and in 1961, with a situation which was, both on trade and payments, incomparably less bad than that which we faced last year, they met the situation with a slamming on of the brakes, with three years stagnation, each time resulting in unemployment and short-time working.

I am sorry that I have not got to this part of my speech earlier, but there have been rather a lot of interesting points of order. I said that I would answer the points made by the right hon. Gentleman, and I am trying to do so as far as possible in the order in which he raised them.

I now come to the question of the Concord. As the House knows, we have now decided to go ahead with this project. The right hon. Gentleman argued that we were too hasty in asking for a review of the programme. Were we? Is he saying that any responsible Government, finding that some major item of expenditure, to which their predecessors have committed them, has slipped in time and escalated in cost should not ask for a review of such a programme? The estimates had risen from £150–£170 million when the scheme was announced, in November, 1962, to £275 million less than two years later, with a recognition that further large sums would be necessary to develop the aircraft and engine after initial certification. There was no guarantee against further escalation.

Let us suppose that the cost continued to escalate and that it rose to £700 million, and then to £1,000 million. Would it then be wrong to ask for a review? At what point is it right to take action in order to protect the taxpayers' interest in these matters? At what point would right hon. Gentlemen opposite consider it to be over-hasty?

After dealing with one other aspect raised by the right hon. Gentleman I shall come to the wider aspects of the aircraft programme and expenditure, as I promised. First, however, I want to refer, as did the right hon. Gentleman, to the autumn Budget—the November Budget. Unless the right hon. Gentleman is going to say, which he did not, that we should not have increased pensions, he must accept the need for that Budget. [Interruption.] I know that hon. Members opposite do not do things the way that we do them. In the matter of increased pensions they would not have taken action. But once it has been decided to increase pensions, they have to be paid for.

I am willing to give way to the right hon. Gentleman. He made a charge, and he has gained an answer. If he thinks that I am unfair he will no doubt say so. Once we accepted the Pensions Bill we accepted the need for some increased taxation. The right hon. Gentleman has not yet responded to my invitation, which I repeat, to say which items of taxation he would have increased.

There is another point which I am sure that a number of right hon. Gentlemen opposite will accept, namely, that in addition to raising the money needed for the social services expenditure it was necessary, if we were to extend exports and to contain the rising imports, to make the necessary overall financial provision. This was one of the elements of the right hon. Gentleman's own Budget last April.

As the House knows, if one is living on imports which one is not paying for, if one fails to achieve one's export targets, things are disinflationary—as long as one can go on doing them one can do it without having to make room in the economy. One does not need budgetary provision for it. But when the nation begins to deploy more of its industrial resources on exports, and more factories produce the goods that we need, so that we do not have to get them on the slate from abroad, we need a bigger Budget surplus. That is what my right hon. Friend's Budget aimed to achieve. [Interruption.] On every question I ask, whenever I want an answer somebody opposite wants me to slip on as quickly as possible to another subject. I can understand that.

I shall now refer to what the right hon. Gentleman said about the corporation tax and the capital gains tax. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman referred to this matter, and he shall be answered. I was not quite clear whether he supported or opposed the principle of a corporation tax. He was not very clear about it. I do not know whether or not hon. Members opposite support it. Conservative Chancellors have been very much in favour of it. The right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) announced his support of the principle in his 1961 Budget.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I never announced my support for, or ever examined the possibility of, a corporation tax which would mean double taxation—first, the corporation tax, then a separate tax on distributed dividends.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

This is very interesting, because the right hon. and learned Gentleman, a year later, said that he supported this corporation tax, unifying Income Tax and Profits Tax.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Yes, and in his second and last Budget speech he said that he had instructed the Board of Inland Revenue to frame a scheme and to discuss it with professional bodies. He said: We have got beyond the stage of general talk about the desirability…of a single tax and can now look at a possible scheme."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th April, 1962; Vol. 657, c. 972.]

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

A unifying scheme.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

If we are to be told by the right hon. and learned Gentleman that to announce in principle a new corporation tax of any kind—whether one supports one kind of corporation tax or another—is causing unsettlement, what was he doing in announcing in two successive years that this was his policy?

Right hon. Gentlemen on both sides have stressed its great value in encouraging firms to plough back profits for productive investment. No one will deny the need for that. It will be the end to many disreputable tax avoidance devices, like the payment of dividends out of capital allowances, which was scathingly reported on by the Public Accounts Committee last year.

Again, on the question of a capital gains tax, I was not sure whether the right hon. Gentleman was for it or against it. It has long been the declared policy of this party, and I think that the case for it is fully established, not least in ending the manifest unfairness of a system which, under any Government, imposes a high rate of tax on the top earned incomes and no tax at all on the increments of spending power which arises from unearned capital gains.

Again on the question of uncertainty, the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral announced his own capital gains tax, such as it was—a poor thing but his own—on 25th July, 1961, and he did not bring forward legislation until 16th April, 1962. And when we hear from the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon that this is causing uncertainty and unsettlement in investment—[HON. MEMBERS: "It is."]—I am not quite sure how the right hon. Gentleman reconciles that with the declared intention of industrialists to increase their investment this year by 10 per cent., and there has been no fall in that compared with three months ago.

I promised to deal with the question of aircraft procurement. I am sorry that I have been so long in coming to this, but there have been a lot of interruptions from hon. Gentlemen opposite. I hope to be able to give them a statement on this, but if they do not get it, it will be their fault, not mine. As I have already told the House, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence is engaged in a detailed round-the-clock, round-the-globe examination of our defence policy, our commitments—[HON. MEMBERS: "Round and round."] I am prepared to leave this and to make the statement on another occasion if hon. Gentlemen interrupt, if they are more interested in the kind of behaviour we have had than in a matter of vital concern to the defences of this country. Some of the points of order we have had, well, really—[HON. MEMBERS: "Get on with it."] I shall be glad to get on with it if hon. Gentlemen will allow me.

As I have already told the House, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence is engaged in a round-the-clock examination of our defence policy, commitments, the total burden, the three rôles we have been trying to discharge without any attempt to determine priority. He is also looking to see what this means in terms of expenditure. He will be reporting to the House in due course, but I think it right to make a statement in broad terms of our intentions concerning military aircraft. But I want to say one or two general words before coming to the question of aircraft.

As the House knows, right hon. Gentlemen opposite have spent a figure of £20,000 million during the past 13 years on defence. Although we did not expect much when we came to office we have been appalled at what we found, and what we have not found. The right hon. Gentleman and some of his supporters have attacked the fact that we have had to call in question some of the vastly expensive programmes on which they had embarked, apparently without thought and certainly without cost control. I submit to the House that it is the duty of any responsible Government, with the responsibility that the Government and this House owe to the taxpayer, to review all such programmes when, as is manifestly the case here, they have flatly got out of timing, out of hand, and costs have increased out of all proportion. But there is a more urgent and overriding consideration even than the control of expenditure.

The first duty of any Government of any party is to ensure that the nation's defences are adequate and effective, that the nation's security is fully defended. This means that if this House, as a matter of defence or foreign policy, puts British Service men into the field, or into the air, to fulfil national commitments, those who take up those burdens must have the right to feel that they are adequately equipped. Although I intend to give the House some grave figures of costs on the programmes we have inherited, if at the end of the day I felt that our security and the efficiency of our Service men, whether at home or abroad, could be guaranteed only by costs of this magnitude, I should not hesitate today to say so to the House, whatever the implications. But the problem we face is not only, or even primarily, one of cost. It is a question of the time scale and the availability of the necessary equipment. That is what I am dealing with principally this evening.

The House will recall the many statements, many changes of policy about replacements for the R.A.F. Hunter and the Royal Navy's Sea Vixen. In July, 1963 the project P1154 was going to meet both requirements. By November there was a wobble in policy. In February, 1964, this was all changed and the then Government decided to buy American Phantom aircraft as the Sea Vixen replacement. This was their decision. Meanwhile, the P1154 was to go on to provide a replacement for the Hunter when that was withdrawn from service.

I have to tell the House that this is not a practicable proposition. It is not so much the question of cost, though the present estimate, made when the aircraft is still only in the design stage, is a very heavy estimate indeed; and, of course, our experiences of other planes and missiles produced over the past few years suggest that estimates made at this design stage invariably escalate sometimes many times. The problem here is that on these present estimated requirements, and on the latest realistic estimate of the remaining life of the Hunter aircraft, the P1154 will not be in service in time to serve as a Hunter replacement. That is the real answer to the right hon. Gentleman, who made some rather glib comments on this this afternoon, when he comes to examine the time scale. We are perfectly prepared, and I keep offering, to place all this information at the disposal of right hon. Gentlemen opposite if they will come and study it. When the right hon. Gentleman studies that, he will find that there is a time gap of some years which no Government can ask either its Service chiefs or its Service men to accept. In these circumstances, on defence grounds alone—quite apart from the cost argument—it will be necessary to extend the late Government's purchasing programme for Phantoms and to use this aircraft as a partial replacement for the Hunter. This is the only way to close the time gap. All of us regret it, but this has been forced on us by the facts.

They will have British engines and will incorporate as many British components as possible. We are urgently examining the possibility of manufacturing, or at any rate assembling, them, and making some of the parts in this country. We have been urgently surveying the needs of our forces in the light of present revised estimates of commitments. We believe that there is an urgent need for an operational version of P1127, a successful aircraft which, in its present experimental form, is about to go to an American-German-R.A.F. squadron for evaluation by all three countries. As soon as it can be negotiated, a contract will be placed for a limited development programme so that the R.A.F. can have, by the time they need it—it is no good having this wonderful twinkle-in-the-designer's-eye kind of aircraft, we have to have them in service when needed—an aircraft which will in fact be first in the field, with vertical take-off for close support of our land forces. We shall see to close control of the cost of this scheme. We are also going into the question of further R. and D. on this, to see whether it can be boosted into something much more substantial.

The House will be glad to know that after we had examined a wide range of different aircraft, Comets, specially modified to meet the requirements, will be ordered as a replacement for the Shackle-ton Mark II which has given splendid service for many years.

Now I turn to the transport plane. Hastings and Beverleys are still in service, although we all expressed concern at the time of the Cyprus airlift about their short range. Again, while the proposed HS681 can be developed at a cost—again a very high cost even on the first estimate and which might well escalate, for this also is at its earliest design stage—the fact is that its development was authorised so late that it cannot enter service at a date which will meet the real needs of the Forces. We have therefore—I say this with very great regret—to buy planes that are already in existence, with performance and capabilities—to say nothing of their cost—that are known, and which can be provided in time for the duty for which they are required.

The range of possibilities is not very great and in our view, after very thorough consideration, there appears to be no alternative to buying the American C130 which, though offering a lower performance than the HS681, can be ready much earlier. The problem is having them there when they are needed.

There is, of course, a very considerable saving to the Exchequer. Each C130 costs, off the production line, about one-third of the present very early estimate of the cost of the HS681, one-third per plane. And, of course, I think the expectation may well be from past experience that the early estimate of the HS681 will possibly escalate still further. I do not think that the House can really ignore the saving—one-third of the estimated cost—but even if that were not the issue at all, the question of time scale, having it for the right time, is the important one.

Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington

Mr. Lubbock rose

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I should like to complete this point by referring to the Canberra replacement.

Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington

I was going to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is possible to fit the Lockheed C130 with British engines.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I think that this will be doubtful, because it is currently in production. I know that we are trying to do it for all the planes we may have to buy. I should not like to give the hon. Member an off-the-cuff answer on this matter.

Photo of Mr Stanley McMaster Mr Stanley McMaster , Belfast East

Mr. Stanley R. McMaster (Belfast, East) rose

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I know that the hon. Gentleman wants to ask about the Belfast. The Belfast is in production. We are very concerned, as the hon. Member is, about the effect of what I have just announced on the sub-contracting programme for Short and Harlands. We are very much concerned. One of the things which we want to look at—I do not want to raise hopes too much—is the possibility of getting some other subcontracting either as a result of the manufacture in this country of Phantoms or in the matter of some of the other new planes which we have announced, whether the Comet, the Kestrel or one of the others.

Photo of Mr Stanley McMaster Mr Stanley McMaster , Belfast East

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that assurance, I should like to ask him whether he has really considered the alternatives carefully between the C130 and the Belfast. I am very well informed that the Belfast will do what the C130 will do, and can be delivered as soon.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

. I hope that the House will accept from me that some of us have spent very many weeks and months on this. I have myself spent 30 or 40 hours on this, not only with my colleagues but with leaders of the aircraft industry. I only wish that I could agree with the hon. Member. I only wish that the Government could feel that the Belfast could do the job which is required. I am afraid that although we feel that there is a place for the Belfasts ordered by the previous Government, we have come to the same conclusion as the previous Government about the Belfast's capabilities.

I will turn to the longer-term problem of the Canberra replacement. In 1958 the Secretary of State for Air announced in the House that it had been decided to develop the TSR2 as a Canberra replacement, that is, as a tactical strike and reconnaissance aircraft, and this was approved. It was at a later stage—the history of this has inevitably been clouded by nuclear controversy—that what the right hon. Gentleman the then Secretary of State for Air called the "nuclear bonus" concept came into being. There has been a certain amount of confusion all along about this, which was increased by the Leader of the Opposition speaking from this Box last March, when he said that nuclear bombers would be phased out by the time that Polaris came in in 1968. The TSR2, at its earliest, would not be in squadron service by that time.

Few aircraft have been surrounded with greater controversy than the TSR2, not excluding passionate controversy over cost estimates. I shall go no further in that controversy tonight. But there has been criticism of the Government for calling the TSR2 programme into question. I must say, again, that it is the duty of any responsible Government to call into question any programme of this kind as soon as it discovers the facts of costs, of time, to say nothing of possible questions about its capabilities. So far as costs are concerned, the original estimate for R. & D. for this aircraft was £90 million. It has now risen to the region of £300 million and the most authoritative estimate which I can get today for research, design and production is £750 million, which, on an order of 150, would cost £5 million per aircraft or 25 times the cost of the Canberra which it is designed to replace. No one can be frivolous about a question of this kind, when each plane is costing about as much as a pre-war battleship.

I do not intend to apologise to the House for the time which we have spent on this problem. On grounds of defence, of the cost, the future of the aircraft industry, which has been central in our minds, it was right that this should be examined and re-examined, that all possible options and combination of options should be carefully analysed and where possible costed. I want to say that one apparently attractive proposal that we could combine 50 TSR2s with 50, 60 or 100 TFX's or any other kind of plane is—I am quite sure the House will agree once Members have thought about it—not a practicable proposition, because, with the need to have some held back for training or anything else, the number of planes in squadron service, whether here or overseas, would be very much smaller if based on a mixed package than if we had a single package of one or the other.

The aircraft flew for the first time in October, over a year behind schedule. It has flown a number of times since at slow speeds and, of course, has not begun to be tested as a complete weapons system—for that is what it is—with all the terrain following capabilities for which it was designed. Even at its present stage many technical adjustments are having to be made every week, though many of them, of course, are quite minor. It is still far too early to say whether, operationally, it will succeed or not. Among the problems we have to deal with are those of metal strain in low-level contour flying which exposes the aircraft to very special buffetting. This will mean still more evaluation tests, which are going ahead.

Now let me say what considerations are in the mind of the Government on the decisions which will have to be taken. I have mentioned the cost. To replace the TSR2 with the nearest equivalent—which would mean going to the United States—would, despite the amount already committed and writing off the millions which have already been spent, certainly save at least £250 million of public money. On the other hand, it would involve additional dollar expenditure, which no Government would lightly undertake. We are also deeply concerned about the effect of any such decision on the aircraft industry, both in the immediate future and further ahead.

Equally, the decision which, one way or another, must be taken is no easy decision. I am only trying to suggest that there are some very difficult problems here. This is not a matter on which it is easy to make frivolous or short-term replies or even one to drag into the centre of political controversy. The decision, when it is taken, must have inevitable reactions on employment in certain areas, not only of the many thousands who are at present engaged on production, but on the much more intractable problem of design teams. I am not normally one to lose sleep, but when I got, as I did, from one of the factories concerned, a letter signed by a large number of design team men and women, with their qualifications, their technical abilities as aerodynamicists, technicians or whatever they may have been, I realised what a decision to cancel the TSR2 would mean for them, with the difficulties of re-employment on similar work in this country. I emphasise that this is not an easy decision. It is an agonising decision and the House must realise it.

What this House wants to ensure and what the State of our economy demands is a healthy and balanced aircraft industry, an industry which never again becomes virtually dependent for its existence on one highly costly venture of this kind. We have always said that this was a brilliantly conceived and designed aircraft or, rather, a flying weapon system. Whatever the unhappy history of this case, the Government believe that, properly deployed on the right types of work, the aircraft industry has an important and vital rôle to play both in provision for our defences and in its contribution to the national economy. In addition to schemes which I have mentioned for making engines and other components and assembling U.S. designed planes in this country, we have also been discussing urgently with the leaders of the industry those lines of future R. & D. which are best suited to the needs of the industry and of the country in the years which lie ahead.

One of the basic problems with which we are faced has been the growing R. & D. costs of developing a modern and sophisticated aircraft combined with the relatively small number required for our own Service and for our own purposes. The total cost of R. & D., when it amounts to the figure which I have quoted, divided by the number of aircraft which we have ordered obviously becomes very high compared with what some other countries are able to achieve.

It is for this reason that we are now examining a number of possibilities for joint R. & D. both with the United States and with the French and other Continental partners. In particular, we intend to enter into immediate discussions with the French Government and, if possible, with other European countries about a jet strike trainer, using the variable geometry concept which was first developed in this country by our own people and tragically neglected by us. The House must recognise that R. & D. expenditure is so heavy that joint production rather than separate and costly ventures must be the pattern of the future, and this may apply in the long term increasingly to civil as will as to military aircraft. All these questions will be central to the work of the Plowden Committee. But meanwhile we are going ahead, without waiting, with joint projects with our Continental partners.

I have indicated the principles which must dominate this critical decision. The future of the aircraft industry, the requirements of our defences, the cost to the taxpayer, our balance of payments: all these are inextricably linked and we cannot at this stage form anything like a final assessment either of the cost of TSR2 or of the cost of certain possible replacements. Still more important, I cannot tell the House that we can at this stage take a final decision either about the capabilities or about the time scale of the TSR2 or whether it will ever succeed at all.

For those reasons, there is no one in the House or in the country who can suggest that it was not the bounden duty of the Government to submit this whole problem to a searching and factual examination. I hope that no one will criticise that. Equally, I hope that I have said enough in relation to cost, performance and uncertainty about alternatives, and not least certain recent problems encountered in development and testing, to show that this decision cannot be taken today.

We have therefore decided, first, against the background of our long-term commitments and requirements, that we need to have the immediate evaluation of the future TSR2, to which I have referred, which we have not yet got in terms of some of the technical problems which I have mentioned. Secondly, we need an authoritative estimate from the firms concerned of the final cost of the aircraft, backed by the strictest contractual conditions as to price, performance and delivery. We cannot go on with estimates. We shall have to have fixed prices, guaranteeed, with penalty clauses on delivery and the rest, if we are not to put the time scale still further back. We must have that before we can decide.

Thirdly, we need more information than we have at present about the certainty, capability and cost of certain possible alternatives. This information will take some more months to assemble. As soon as we have the minimum required on which to take this important decision, we shall do so and inform the House. Meanwhile, TSR 2 will go on. When that decision is taken, as I have said, it will be against a background of our operational defence requirements, of the cost to the taxpaper, and of the future of our aircraft industry.

Meanwhile, the House should know that the combined effect of the other decisions which I have mentioned just now will enable us to save at least £300 million over the next ten years in terms of Government expenditure, even on the basis of present cost estimates of the planes mentioned, and taking no account of further escalations on British aircraft. Moreover, as far as these decisions are concerned, the R.A.F. will be guaranteed delivery at the right time of the aircraft which it needs to discharge its operational rôles.

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield

When the Prime Minister refers to a possible saving of £250 million, is he taking into account the cancellation charge on TSR 2? Is the figure based on Mark I or Mark II TFX? In referring to the TSR 2, the Prime Minister will agree that the weapon system, which has been carried in another type of aircraft, has made good progress in that aircraft.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Of course, full allowance was made for the cancellation charge and other charges and all things of that kind. In addition, no credit at all has been taken for the very large sum of money which as already gone into the aircraft and which will be written-off. That, of course, is money down the drain if the project is cancelled. It is probably money down the drain anyway in terms of the cost about which we are thinking. The point about the TFX Mark I and Mark II was the point which I had in mind when I referred to alternatives. We still do not know what the production programme will be for either, whether Mark I will be dropped for Mark II, what is the cost and what the operational capabilities of either may be. We must know more about these things before a decision is taken. Meanwhile, TSR 2 goes on, but the House should bear in mind that going on will cost the taxpayer about £4 million a month while it goes on, possibly to no end result.

Had there not been a rather long delay at the beginning of the debate, I wanted to refer to some of the major developments in production and export policy. I was not able to make a statement to the House about exports although, as the House knows, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade made a very full statement outside the House when the House stood adjourned last week. As part of the national development plan with which my right hon. Friend will be dealing tonight, top priority must now be given to increasing the proportion of our national production going to new investment and to increasing the proportion of that investment which takes the form of the most modern, particularly automative equipment.

A century ago we were the workshop of the world. Now our task is to be the machine shop, the tool room, above all the R. and D. centre of the world. This means a massive programme of technological advance and of the application of the results of that advance to accepted and time-honoured processes of industry. It means a new attack on the problem of the abuse of monopoly and of restrictive practices.

The Government must be able to satisfy themselves that the public interest is advanced and that industrial efficiency does not suffer, even though competition is reduced, by monopoly or mergers. We intend to introduce this Session important new legislation in this field. Its purpose will be to increase the size of the Monopolies Commission, to authorise it to work in panels, and to enable the Government to ask it to investigate mergers and also monopolies and restrictive practices, such as price-fixing, in the provision of services. It will also provide new and stronger powers for the Government in dealing with mergers and with monopolistic abuses.

But more than monopoly legislation will be needed to turn this part of the statement of intent, signed by my right hon. Friend, into a reality. A great deal of thought, and urgent thought, has been devoted on both sides of industry to problems of the most efficient use of human resources—our greatest national asset—including the question of industrial relationships. The Government consider that the time has now come to carry this forward further.

I am able to inform the House that Her Majesty the Queen has been pleased to approve the recommendation that a Royal Commission should be appointed with the following terms of reference: To consider relations between managements and employees and the rôle of trade unions and employers' associations in promoting the interests of their members and in accelerating the social and economic advance of the nation, with particular reference to the law affecting the activities of these bodies; and to report. I am glad to be able to anounce also that the Queen has approved the appointment of Lord Donovan as Chairman of the Royal Commission.

What we are really debating today—and I am sorry that I had to spend so much time on the aircraft problem, although I think the House wanted to know our position on this—behind the party barrage of censure Motion and Amendment is the survival of our country and the resumption of purposive economic advance. And what this means, above all, is a readiness to accept, to welcome, change. We regarded the nation's decision which led to the formation of this Government as a mandate for change. The Measures in the Queen's Speech last November, the Measures now before the House, and those which will shortly be before it, are a fulfilment of that mandate. But still more—and this is the test—it must be in our industry, in our factories, in our board rooms, in our bank parlours, in trade union branches, in the negotiating chamber, in our docks, on the railways, in our distribution system, that the process of change must be felt.

What we all in the House will insist is that the change be democratic and under the control of this House; what we—especially this side of the House—will demand is that it be socially just, purposive and fair. This is what we have tried to achieve, despite the enormous difficulties which we have faced. As I have said, those difficulties have forced some backward steps on us—I mentioned the tariff surcharge—which some will seek to turn to their short-term advantage. But that will not deter us from the task to which we have set our hand. A hundred days. A thousand days will be needed, and more, before we can solve the inheritance of five thousand days. Let no one, at home or abroad, doubt our determination or our ultimate success.

6.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

I believe that many people when they study the debate will be thankful that there is a third party in this country. We have spent most of the afternoon ploughing over one of the most miserable stories of economic defeat which this country has suffered. We have gone over and have been forced to go over a record of muddle. Only in the last half an hour of the Prime Minister's speech did he turn to the future, and it is about the future that the House ought to be concerned.

We are always told that the Conservative Party is a party of business men and patriots. Yet it left office at the last possible moment, having run up a deficit of over £700 million. The right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) has told us that he was worried about this and that he had had remedies prepared. We were told that they were exactly the same remedies that the Government have put into effect; they were compiled while the right hon. Member for Barnet was at the Treasury and they were there for the Labour Government when they took office. But this afternoon we have heard from the Leader of the Opposition that he does not consider that this was a serious matter at all; on the contrary, he practically planned it. The impression he gave was—why were we worried; why should anyone be concerned about the total failure of British exports; the Conservative Party knew that this was happening; it was taking no steps about it; why should we have been concerned at all about this deficit; of course the Tories knew it was going to happen and if only they had been returned to office con- fidence would have flowed back to the country and all would have been well. What an extraordinary beginning to a Motion of censure and what an extraordinary defence of the record of a party which has been in charge of our affairs not for 100 days but for 13 years.

Now about the future. We are always asked by the Conservative Party to state what our policy is. Today we heard not one single word about what the Opposition's policy is. I believe that it will not be very long before the Conservative Party very much misses the new Master of Trinity. I am sure that I speak for the whole of the Conservative Party, as well as for the Liberal Party, when I express our regret that he has departed from us. I only hope that, now that he is freed from his shadow membership of the Cabinet, he will feel a little freer to comment more often on the political scene. I look forward to a constant stream of remarks and encouragement to the Conservatives emanating from the lodgings of Trinity College.

Another feature of Conservative tactics is always that nothing is their fault. We were told that the reason why the Labour Government are kept in office is all because of the wicked Liberals. I find this very, very flattering, but in point of fact I must point out the inaccuracy of it, because, whatever the headlines in the Conservative papers say, however many of the Opposition vote this evening we cannot defeat the Government. This is a matter of mathematics. It does not even need matchsticks.

I will tell the House another reason why we will not defeat the Government—because it is the very last thing that the Conservatives want to do. What they want to have is a Labour Government in office and the Liberals to blame. There is nothing that terrifies the Opposition Chief Whip more than if he thinks there is going to be a near Division. He rushes out and people are locked in lavatories. I must say to the other parties, "We are not going to have anything to do with you, nor with you either"; but if there comes a time when our combined forces may defeat the Government I shall look for a bigger turnout from the Conservative Party than we have had in our debates so far.

Another reason which the Leader of the Opposition told us this afternoon is that a honeymoon period has been going on. Not even I ever suggested that I was on a honeymoon, either with the First Secretary or with the Prime Minister. We are told that up to now the Conservative Party has been helping and encouraging the Government. I hope that the Government enjoyed it, but they can hardly then complain about other people keeping the Government in office.

I turn, before I come to the main part of my speech, to what we have heard from the Prime Minister about the aircraft industry. I would hope that at some point one or two questions will be answered. First, many decisions seem to have been taken before the Plowden Committee has considered the industry. It would be helpful if the House could be assured that the work of the Plowden Committee will not be done before it has reported. Secondly, as regards the Belfast, am I not right in saying that its cost is not very much more than that of its Lockheed equivalent and its performance much better? Thirdly, is it not true that, whatever economies may eventually come from changes in the policy on aircraft, we cannot see any diminution of the defence budget for many years?

I believe that this debate should be about the future, and principally about the future economy of the country. But it may be relevant to consider for a few moments what has gone wrong in the past. The real indictment of the Tory Government is that when things were easy for this country they did not seek to put right the fundamental defects in our economy. After all, things were very easy. World trade was booming during much of the period of office of the late Government. Other countries have expanded at a phenonemal rate compared with us. The Tories cannot complain that they had any drastic international economic difficulties during their period of office, but they did not take advantage of the sun when it shone to put right the fundamental defects in our economic structure. This is the real indictment of the Tories.

What do I mean by the fundamental defects in our economic structure? First, the home market was too soft: there was not enough competition. Secondly, we failed to get into Europe. We never tackled the problems of regional imbalance and industrial relations. I very much hope that the present Government, whatever they may have been doing up to now, will bend their mind to certain of the obvious defects in the economy.

Right at the head of the list I put this. We must make up our minds where the steam is to come from to drive the economy. What is to be the driving power in the British economy? What is going to make the docker work on Sundays? What is going to make the chap with an idea chance his arm and put it into operation? I do not dissent from the proposition that an incomes policy may be a necessary element in our economic structure, but it will not put steam into the economy. Most of the wealth in this country is made by private enterprise. Private enterprise works on the profit motive. So long as this is the sort of economy we run, we must show people, from the docker right up to the man in the board room, that there are incentives and that they will get better rewards for extra work, more enterprise, and more courage in taking decisions. I refer to the men who go out and open up new markets as much as or even more than the men who sit at home.

As for the incomes policy, I hope that it will not be an instrument mitigating against change. I want to see the sort of thing that went on at Fawley, the type of agreement where one gets rid of a whole lot of restrictive practices in return for a big increase in wages all round. I want to see a reduction in direct taxation. I want to see all sorts of incentives, and I welcome those already given, to people who go to the export markets, which are not fun as once we were told but are hard work. One view only is held in the country at the moment and that is that we must work a free enterprise economy.

I believe that we must look again at Europe. One of the fundamental reappraisals which the Government should be making now, and I hope that we are doing it, is of our position in the world in general. Where I disagree with much said from the Front Bench opposite is that I do not believe that our rôle is to act as a general policeman. I am also sceptical of a sort of open-ended obligation east of Suez. We should get used to the fact that the route to the East lies across America and that bases in the Indian Ocean are becoming much less important. We should concentrate on the rather narrow obligations which are all that we can fulfil. I am convinced that in the next two or three years this country must go back to Europe. Let hon. Members consider what was said today about the aircraft industry and the inevitable logic of events. The Prime Minister said quite rightly that we have not a big enough market to support our aircraft and electronic industries. Where are we to look? There is only one place and that is across the Channel. A movement is going on in Europe whether Britain pushes her head in the sand or does not, and we should be very foolish to behave like ostriches.

I hope that the Prime Minister will make every effort to explore the thinking of President de Gaulle and to convince him that the British do not believe that they are not Europeans. I hope that we shall have a conference on the whole future of the electronics industry of Europe, including our own, and that we shall review the whole field of defence and foreign affairs, as N.A.T.O. is reformed, moving towards the idea of a European diplomatic or political community.

We must tackle restrictive practices. I welcome what has been said today. But we must go further. Some restrictive practices should be made illegal. We should look very closely at those industries which are still protected by high tariffs and yet have a near monopoly of the home market. I know that the Government have said that the 15 per cent. surcharge is the last swig from the bottle of protection, but this is always said by drunkards. They always have one more last drink, but I hope that the Government will resist the temptation to keep not only the surcharge but tariffs for a moment longer than is essential.

Incentive is the key to everything that we want to do to encourage the hoped for 4 per cent. growth in productivity. We cannot build roads and hospitals out of a deficit. We must get back to expansion and no one knows that better than those on the Front Bench opposite. This is not going to be easy, but they must put at the top of their priorities expansion and a drive in the economy, and a great many good things must wait until we have earned the wealth to pay for them. The expansion of the economy should be the No. 1 priority and I trust that when the Government consider this matter they will give a high priority to the abolition of restrictive practices and monopolies, to widening our market in Europe, and putting more steam behind the economy.

Photo of Mr Daniel Jones Mr Daniel Jones , Burnley

When the right hon. Gentleman talks about restrictive practices, will he give some attention to restrictive practices among the professional classes and the way in which they affect the economy?

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

I will not do that now. I am already in hot water for doing it. The Liberal Party is full of lawyers and I have already been extremely critical of the restrictive practices of the Bar.

I do not believe that there would be anything dishonourable or dishonest in the Labour Party reorientating its priorities. There seems to be a feeling in the Labour Party that there is something dishonest about its postponing its proposals on steel. I do not believe this. The Government must broaden their basis of support in the country. If they are to do that they must go forward with the sort of Measures which will command a wider support. There is a series of Measures, some of which were included in the Queen's Speech, which will do just that. There is the question of regionalism and the attack on restrictive practices. I want to see these Measures put at the head of the programme and those Measures for which there is no wide support put at the bottom or dropped out altogether.

In the last few weeks there has been a great deal of euphoria in the country and many things have been said about the British character which cannot be supported by the facts. It is not always true that the British respond to leadership or that they like to be told the truth. They have been told the truth about the economy again and again. Sir Winston Churchill gave them lead enough before the war but they did not respond. It is no good going on making incantations and exhortations. There has been far too much talk, promise and generalisation from the Government and too little action.

The type of action that appealed to me was the decision to stop arms going to South Africa. When that was announced one could almost feel the effect in the House. We were so used to having announcements of this kind carefully followed by conditions and clauses in small type covered up to mean not this year or next year that when the Government said that they would not send arms to South Afrcia one could hear a sharp intake of breath in the House because that was the kind of thing that had been lacking here for many years. These were precise words followed by precise action. Words of themselves have no effect on the British people. They are like water off a duck's back. But though they may not like actions at the time they may get to like them. Even Dr. Beeching is getting quite popular, and when he is getting popular that is certainly something.

Let us, therefore, have the clear priority that the one thing that the country must do is to generate wealth, encourage exports and get the economy right. It should be accepted that the major section if not all of wealth-producing industry is run by private enterprise and that the tax system should be reformed to encourage it. We have spent far too little time in considering whether we can carry the present enormous public service on the back of the economy which we now have, but since we are doing it let us by every means encourage production by the entrepreneur, the scientists, the technicians and the men on the shop floor, and let us reward them by reforms in our tax system. Let us bring out the good points and not only the unpopular points in the proposed reforms. Sometimes when one hears the Chancellor speaking one would think that the system was designed to whip industry. Changes in taxation ought to allow us to give incentives to the right sort of people. If this is done and if these promises are followed by action and we get away from that disastrous treadmill to which we got back last autumn, with higher Bank Rate, 15 per cent. surcharge and a credit squeeze, we can use the break in the clouds which I am sure will come for a short time to tackle the inherent weaknesses in the economy.

This Parliament may be short. I have no fear of a General Election. I do not think that the people mind a General Election. Rather than have this Parliament wearing itself out on futile arguments, let us have a General Election by all means. I would much prefer to have an election than that we should sit here bickering, passing Motions of censure on one another and getting no business done. I do not believe that the country would welcome a Parliament which simply frittered itself away in party manoeuvre as we have done today. I do not agree with the Government about everything. If we Liberals did, we would be Socialists. But there is a job to be done, and some of the things which the Government say they will do we shall support because we think that the country needs a good dose of radicalism. Unless it gets it, the future will be very bleak. Britain cannot afford to return to the 1964 type of Conservative Government. The Conservatives know this, and they know full well that if they went to the country now under the leadership of last autumn they would be beaten, and, this time, beaten squarely.

6.20 p.m.

Photo of Alan Williams Alan Williams , Swansea West

I realise that a Motion of censure is hardly the ideal Motion on which to be making one's maiden speech, but I should like the House to know that I have, on two previous occasions, endeavoured to make my maiden speech, but, unfortunately, I have been too far back in the queue of new Members. I hope that, within the context of the Motion before us, I shall be forgiven if towards the end of my speech, I make some points which may, perhaps, be interpreted as mildly controversial.

Before I come to my main theme, however, I wish in all sincerity to say that I am extremely proud to have the opportunity of speaking in the House of Commons. I realise very well that this is a privilege and an honour enjoyed by very few. For this reason, the House will understand that my present situation slightly overawes me, as, indeed, does one's first entry into the House. I can only hope that today's trial will pass as pleasantly as did my first day here when I was sworn in. My favourite recollection of the House so far is that, within the first five minutes of my sitting on one of these benches, I turned to one of the longest-standing Members of my party and said to him, looking at the Government benches, "After 13 years, it must be wonderful to be sitting on this side". He replied, "It is wonderful. The sun gets in your eyes on the other side".

I am particularly proud to represent a constituency in Swansea. Swansea has a radical tradition, so radical, indeed, that it even departed on one occasion, for a short time, from its own tradition and temporarily flirted with the forces of Conservatism. Now, however, it has realised its error and returned to the true radical fold.

Swansea as an industrial port is, perhaps, unique. It combines many advantages. It has the amenities of a city, although it is only a medium-sized town, with the traditional friendliness which one associates with a smaller Welsh village and, at the same time, it offers the pleasures of a seaside resort. For this reason, it is understandable that it has been seen as an ideal location for many new firms.

The people of Swansea, like the people of Wales, are politically sophisticated, and, speaking as a politician, I suppose that that means that they vote in the right direction. Because they are sophisticated, they will regard today's Motion of Censure with considerable scepticism. They will have in mind that, for every single day which we have been on the Government side, hon. and right hon. Members opposite had nearly 50. They will ask themselves a series of questions in connection with this debate. They will ask what Wales has had from the 100 days of Labour Government, and, for answer, they will point to the Secretary of State for Wales, to the pledge on leasehold reform, to the machinery for regional planning which is being set up, and to the promise of a new town for Wales.

The people of Swansea will ask themselves what Wales got from the 4,700 days of Conservative Administration. Did we get a Secretary of State or his equivalent? All we got was a Minister whom we had to share with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and who, by some peculiar quirk of geographical convenience, happened to be the right hon. Gentleman who sits for a Yorkshire constituency. For this reason, we can, perhaps, regard the present situation on the opposite benches as an improvement. At least, the Opposition have got as far as Hereford. They are getting warm, and, in the distant future, we may even see a Welsh Member on the Conservative benches speaking for Wales. In the meantime, the people of Wales will, understandably, keep in mind that we have a Secretary of State whose single responsibility is the wellbeing of Wales, a Secretary of State with a seat in the Cabinet in his own right. They will remember that this move was opposed by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and they will ask whether that opposition means that, if the Conservatives were ever returned to power, they would abolish the office of Secretary of State for Wales and give Wales once more a part-time Minister to look after its interests.

They will ask whether anything was done during the 4,700 Conservative days about leasehold reform, a subject so important to Wales. They will remember that no promise was made and they will recall the speeches which came from the responsible right hon. Gentlemen opposite. The Minister of Housing and Local Government told us that there was no evidence of hardship being caused by leasehold interests. I suppose that, in a sense, one can say that this is correct if one does not count losing one's home or the ownership of one's home as hardship. But, of course, we on this side do not share that view. The people of Wales will remember, also, the Minister's speech in Cardiff when he said that legislation was too heavy a weapon to use against a few ground landlords. But a heavy weapon is better than no weapon at all, which is all we were offered by the Conservatives when they were in power. In any case, to say that only a few ground landlords are involved is to misrepresent the magnitude of the problem. The fact that they are few in number does not undermine their importance. A few of them happen to own, as companies, hundreds of freeholds. Therefore, legislation is all the more necessary, and it must not be forgotten that every individual ground landlord is, by the nature of his contract, a monopolist. It is essential that something be done, therefore, to equalise the balance of bargaining power in favour of the leaseholder.

Did Wales have any planning or the benefits of planning under the Conservatives? Did we have our fair share of the new prosperity talked about so much by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite? During the election, the Minister for Welsh Affairs said that Wales did have its fair share. But look at the facts. During the 13 years of Conservative Administration, the number of jobs in Wales increased by only half as much as it did in England. There was a 5·3 per cent. increase in the number of jobs in Wales, and in England and Wales taken together the increase was 9·6 per cent.

The people of Wales will ask whether anything was done to stop depopulation, the problem which we are now trying to meet with our new town. Again, they will look at the facts, remembering that over 43,000 Welshmen had to leave Wales during the 13 years of Conservative rule. Moreover, the rate of depopulation in Mid-Wales actually doubled in that time.

Did any benefits accrue to Wales from the fact that the Minister for Welsh Affairs was, coincidentally, the Minister of Housing? Did it mean that, during the period of Conservative Government, the housing problem of Wales was solved? The answer must be an overwhelming "No". The statistics are most damning. In 1954, 15,800 houses were built in Wales. Four years later, in 1958, not 15,000 but 10,000 houses were built—two for every three. In the following year, 10,000 were built, in the next year 11,000, and in the next year 12,000. In fact, one had to wait 10 years before the Conservative Administration could ever reach the output of houses which it achieved in 1954. On the basis of the 1954 output, this means that in the six years from 1957 to 1963, Wales lost the equivalent of one whole year's output of housing. This was despite the fact that we were in a period when the building industry was expanding.

I suggest that the House can hardly wonder that Wales, far from censuring the Labour Government, will welcome the first 100 days of Labour office. As for the criticism that the action has been hasty, the people of Wales will make the point that, by comparison with the pantechnicon progress made by the Conservatives, any motion whatsoever must appear today as unseemly haste. They will reject the argument that our policy has been ill-considered, and will counter with the argument that Welsh problems during the last 13 years of Conservative Administration, so far from being ill-considered, were, unfortunately, unconsidered.

6.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

In accordance with the pleasant tradition of the House, it is now my agreeable duty and privilege to extend to the hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams) the congratulations of the House on making his maiden speech. I am sure that I speak for all hon. Members in saying how much we have enjoyed the felicitous speech which he has contributed to or proceeding.

The hon. Member began by saying that it was perhaps a bold thing, and it is, indeed, perhaps, an unorthodox thing, to make one's maiden speech on a Motion of censure, but, having taken the bold course, he succeeded very well in steering his barque between the Scylla of irrelevance and the Charybdis of controversy. If just from time to time in the very interesting observations that he made it looked as if he were in either danger, it might perhaps be that he was coming a little closer to the Charybdis of controversy; but after all, this is a censure debate, and I am sure that that was a wise choice.

The hon. Member touched on a variety of matters of great interest to his constituents, and, indeed, to Wales and the whole country generally, and I am sure that the House will look forward to hearing him again on these matters, and I myself look forward with particular pleasure to his contributions on the vexed problems of leasehold reform in which I have long taken a close interest.

This debate on a Motion of censure on the Government after 100 days of their conduct in office is exceptional in the sense that if as a result of the debate hurt ensues to the Government—on the facts, it is very difficult to see how any other result can be arrived at—it will be in the nature of a self-inflicted wound in that there is nothing in our constitutional practice or Parliamentary timetable to compel an Administration to subject itself to express assessment and adjudication at the end of this precise period or, indeed, any particular period.

Photo of Mr Daniel Jones Mr Daniel Jones , Burnley

The Government have a sense of dynamism.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

A sense of dynamism does not necessarily mean that the Government must emulate the antics of the Gadarene swine; they also showed a sense of dynamism, but they showed it at the wrong moment and in the wrong direction.

Sooner or later, all Governments, be they good or bad, have to submit themselves to judgment, and it would be very difficult to think that at the end of the day the present Government, unless there is a miraculous improvement, would not sustain conviction. But the curious thing about the present trial—because the Government stand on trial for their conduct in office over the 100 days—is that it is an occasion of their own contrivance. It is by their own will and their own action in formulating the 100-day period that they stand on trial at this time. There is, after all, nothing unusual in the spectacle of a prisoner standing his trial, but it is unusual to the point of being unique to have a prisoner who insists on erecting his own dock and, indeed, on climbing into it, although in the ordinary way his case would not come into the calendar at that time.

The Government have, I think, a weak case, and it has been made no more convincing by the speech this afternoon of their chosen advocate, the Prime Minister. His speech in defence of his 100 days put me in mind of the young barrister who, having made a very long and eloquent plea in mitigation on behalf of his client, the accused, was somewhat disconcerted to hear the judge say, "Before I heard your learned counsel in mitigation I was minded to put you on probation, but now I feel I have no alternative but to send you to prison."

I would give a great deal to know the secret thoughts of the Prime Minister and his colleagues at present in regard to the formulation of the 100 days. What then no doubt seemed to be a bright idea has turned out to be the albatross of the present Government. It was always historically inept for their purpose, although in the event it has been strikingly prophetic of what has happened. The 100 days in history were, of course, Napoleon's 100 days from Elba to Waterloo, days of doubt, difficulty, decline, disaster and defeat. Those were the 100 days in history, though I suppose it is fair to say that if Napoleon had possessed the imaginative ingenuity of the Prime Minister he might on the morrow of the battle have sent a dispatch showing how, in spite of superficial impressions to the contrary, it was really a great victory.

It was not only the historical judgment of the Prime Minister that was at fault. It was an act of vainglory and boasting to make the pronouncement about the 100 days. It was an act of hubris, which was bound to attract, as the Greek tragedies would have told the right hon. Gentleman, its fate in the end; and if the right hon. Gentleman was not going to take warning from the Greek tragedies, then at least he could have paid regard to the wise counsel given in the Book of Kings: Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off. The fact is that the 100-days concept has caused, or at any rate certainly substantially contributed to, the sorry state of affairs which has overtaken the country in the last few months. In the ordinary way a Government start their period of administration in an atmosphere of reasonable calm, and indeed, good will. They have an opportunity to play themselves in, which is appropriate in a cricketing nation. That Governments do normally start in this way is appropriate. It is part of our democratic system, and part, I suppose, of the sporting spirit to see what the other side can do, and, indeed, it is probably also a part-heritage from the practice of the later part of the nineteenth century when there was a sort of turn and turn about, an alternation, which came to be taken almost for granted—six years of Gladstone followed by six years of Disraeli or Salisbury, as the case might be.

That is not a bad working system, at any rate in an ideal democracy, because the longer one spends in politics the more difficult it is to accept holus-bolus the party convention that an absolute monopoly of wisdom is vested in one particular section of people. However, perhaps that is a theme not very suitable to a censure debate and to be treated as strictly parenthetical at the present time.

Be that as it may, there is much merit in a calm beginning to any period of Government. It enables right hon. Gentlemen who have been in Opposition to get the feel of administration, which is a very different thing. It enables them to test what can only be the theories and aspirations of Opposition against the hard rock of practicality. It enables them to apply Cavour's well-known maxim—le tact des choses possibles, which is ordinarily translated as the "art of the possible" but is perhaps better rendered as the "feel of the possible". This is something one cannot do in Opposition but which can only be got by actual experience in Whitehall.

If this be the case in ordinary circumstances, how much more was it the case last autumn when those who took office were necessarily untried and untested in administration because, by the will of the electorate, they had spent 13 years in Opposition and the sum total of their administrative experience was necessarily very small.

I remember an article in the Economist a few years ago which said that Ministers required six months to get out of their administrative nappies, as the phrase went. Right hon. Members of this Government have refused a period of six months, of six weeks or even of six days for that indispensable if rather inelegant and inconvenient period. I will not follow up, though tempted to do so, the possible elaboration of the metaphor because that might lead one into difficulties, besides trespassing on the time of the House, but I will say that not only have right hon. Gentlemen opposite sought to run before they can walk; they have climbed out of the playpen—indeed, some of the more exuberant of them started to break up parts of the playpen—even before they could toddle.

The effect of changing the ordinary custom of a quiet period at the start of the Government has been to create a feverish climate ill-suited to calm decision and dispassionate judgment. Speed rather than sagacity has become the criterion of the decisions of Ministers, and recklessness rather than reasonableness has been the hallmark of their conduct.

A seventeenth century statesman observed that when it is not necessary to change it is necessary not to change. That may seem dull and uninspiring doctrine to modern progressive minds but at least one would think that it is better than that false syllogism to which I referred before Christmas as animating the conduct of the present Government—"something must be done; this is something, therefore let us do it."

This country is particularly ill-suited to this feverish approach of the so-called 100 days. In any country Nemesis would be bound to overtake such an approach sooner or later; but circumstances make it certain that in this country fate overtakes any Government which transgresses more quickly and more completely than anywhere else. The reason lies in the particular characteristics of this country.

We are more dependent on world conditions and world confidence than any other country. We have no great land mass economy like the United States or Soviet Union that can insulate us against the shifts and shocks of changing world conditions and opinions. We are a country depending for our well-being on our exports and, in particular, on the invisible element in our exports—banking, insurance, merchanting, services and so on, all of which depend in a particular degree on confidence.

It is certain that, whatever else one can nationalise, one cannot nationalise confidence. But one can bruise it and break it very easily. That being so, any Government of this country, with our razoredged economy, must tread their path with prudence and sensitivity. It is not a matter of choice or of party preference; it is something imposed by economic fact and inescapable circumstances.

As we know, Nemesis has hastened after this Government with sure foot and accelerating speed. In the great days of Lord Chatham's Administration, it was said that a man had to get up very early in the morning if he was not to miss news of the latest great victory. Under this Administration a man has to get up very early in the morning if he is not to miss news of the most recent misfortune.

The prime causes of these misfortunes are clear. There are three. First, the 15 per cent. surcharge and, in particular, the method of its imposition with its apparent indifference to international obligations. Secondly, the stress that was laid on Britain's difficulties in justifying the surcharge and its manner of imposition. Thirdly, the interim Budget.

We can, of course, agree to differ about individual provisions in the Budget—whether we think them to be good or bad—but the inescapable fact is that, in the objective eyes of overseas observers, that Budget was judged irrelevant to the real and immediate needs of the country; and by creating uncertainty about the tax position the Chancellor and his colleagues eroded confidence at the very moment when it was vital to the well-being of the economy that it should be promoted and sustained.

Of course, the surcharge and the reasons given in justification of it and the stress on Britain's difficulties reacted upon each other and reinforced each other. To justify the surcharge it was necessary to stress the difficulties. To stress the difficulties eroded confidence and created the very situation that the surcharge was intended to avert.

Photo of Mr Robert Maxwell Mr Robert Maxwell , Buckingham

Where, amongst these misfortunes, does the right hon. and learned Gentleman place the open invitation by his right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) to businessmen of this country, when he joined Kleinwort Benson Ltd., to start a run on sterling? How does the right hon. and learned Gentleman justify the fact that, of the £900 million sterling sold short, £600 million was due to the actions of British businessmen at the invitation of the right hon. Member for Barnet?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I am certain that my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) gave no such invitation as this broad paraphrase put forward by the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Maxwell). No doubt if the hon. Gentleman had addressed his question to my right hon. Friend, my right hon. Friend would have been able to have told him in the first place precisely what he did say and do and, secondly, precisely where the hon. Gentleman was wrong.

I want for a moment to turn to the reference in the Amendment to the remedial measures on which we are asked to rely. First of all, I suppose that it covers those remedial measures which have already been taken, and these, as I have sought to show and as the House well knows, have aggravated rather than ameliorated the situation. Secondly, there are remedial measures in the context of the immediate legislation going on. One finds little of value in that. This week's business, apart from today, is hardly of a nature to make any epoch-making change in the economy of the country. For example, there is a Superannuation (Amendment) Bill in store and while can readily understand the interest of right hon. Gentlemen opposite in the subject of superannuation, having regard to their likely early retirement, it is not a major matter.

It is apparent that we have to look to the future to see what these remedial measures are. I make this one reference to what the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister said about the aircraft industry. What he said and the figures he gave will, I am sure, be closely studied by my right hon. and hon. Friends who are especially charged with the surveillance of these matters on behalf of the Opposition. No doubt they will call the right hon. Gentleman to account in debate and will apply these tests of operational necessity, the saving of the taxpayers' money and the well-being of the aircraft industry—all of them proper tests.

I will say only this now. It is a well-known fact that the civil part of the aircraft industry depends in large measure on the military part and that the aircraft industry as a whole is the spearhead of a much wider technological development. Therefore, there is a great deal at stake. First it must be proved that the money will be saved and then, if that be proved, it must be shown that it is not too great a price to pay in terms of British industry, British exports, British jobs, British prestige and Britain's future.

For the future, two main so-called remedial measures are already held out for the attraction of the country. They are land and steel, the Gog and Magog of the Socialist theology. About land I agree that there is a problem. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh".] I said so in the last Parliament, when hon. Members opposite were not here. I will go further and say that I do not think that the Conservative land policy was as good as it could be. Unfortunately, that does not mean that Labour policy will not be as bad as it can be. Though there is a problem here and though there is no doubt some action which could profitably be taken, I am very much afraid that here again the Government will apply their false syllogism of "Something must be done; this is something, let us do it."

If in order to solve the problem of betterment the Government put forward land policies which have the effect of distorting the market in land, drying up the provision of land, frustrating good development and expropriating property, it will be a classic case of imposing a great and certain detriment in pursuit of a small and hypothetical gain, a classic case of burning down the house to get roast pig.

When these land measures are produced I will certainly, if I am fortunate enough to catch the eye of Mr. Speaker, then have some contribution to make—[Interruption.]—and I do not think that my background of experience and knowledge on this subject will make me less fitted to contribute than the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Maxwell) who is new to the House and who is such a persistent sedentary interrupter. No doubt he will learn in time.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

Surely steel, which has served the interests of this country and in general our great engineering industries for so long and so well is above all something to which Lord Falkland's dictum as to change should apply in present circumstances. For any Government to press on in present circumstances with their measures for the nationalisation of steel is to combine risk and irrelevance in a degree which is explicable only on the old basis that those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad. This is a clear case of back to the old devotion to dogma for dogma's sake, and this is very disappointing. In spite of all the efforts at education and modernisation, the fact is clear that Clause 4 is still the No. 9 of the Labour Party, still the universal prescription for all economic ills which, in spite of every experience to the contrary and every demonstration of its non-therapeutic and even dangerous qualities, Socialists insist on using indiscriminately, even to the point of industrial death.

Right hon. Gentlemen forming the present Administration are an amiable and cultured body of gentlemen, with Oxford degrees, diplomas from the London School of Economics—and I am sure that the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) is one of them—but this is only a surface veneer when it comes to the nationalisation of the steel industry. Scratch a Socialist Minister—and, thanks to the Ministers of the Crown Bill, there is ample scope for such an exercise—and there will be found a good aboriginal, flat earth fundamentalist. All over the world eager technocrats and dedicated industrialists are pressing forward on the confident assumption that the world is round and that it moves, but somehow the Treasury Bench remains obstinately deaf to the good news. Ministers are still applying the flat earth policies of early Socialism. The new Socialism is the old shibboleths writ large and Socialist Ministers are the contemporary Bourbons who have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

If these are the remedial measures—and these are all we have been told exist under that head—they will be applied with detriment to the country and hazard to the Government. The only way in which they can afford a remedy is the indirect way of expediting a change of Government. That brings a great opportunity to my right hon. and hon. Friends and, like most opportunities, it carries a high responsibility, that of perfecting and presenting our policies so as to meet the needs of the country. If the policies of the Government do not change course—and we are assured by the Prime Minister that they will not—then they will attract and invite early shipwreck of their fortunes. We on this side will see to it that on the same strong sea which overtakes their inexpert navigation we are ready to launch a new Conservative Government well able to carry the cargo of the nation's interest.

7.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

I beg my colleagues who entered the House for the first time at the last election not to pay too much attention to the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith). We older Members are accustomed to the empty and meaningless rhetoric of which he happens to be a master. While he was speaking, I wondered what he was driving at. What was his purpose? He made a reference to the virtues of the Conservative Party which made me wonder whether he had any thought of being included in the short list for the leadership of that party. If that was his idea, he will be singularly unsuccessful. His opponents are too weighty for him.

Apart from a few mixed metaphors—very mixed indeed—[An HON. MEMBER: "Which were mixed?"] They were so mixed that I failed to understand them. The right hon. and learned Gentleman referred to Napoleon and the Elder Pitt and the Younger Pitt and made references to history which did not appear to me, with my limited knowledge of history, to be wholly accurate. What can one expect?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

I must ask for the indulgence of the House. After all, interruptions will disturb the thread of my discourse. At least, I have something to say.

The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East will forgive me if, in the customary method adopted in this House, I do not follow him. I am not likely to follow him in any fashion. I prefer to make acquaintance with the Leader of the Opposition.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Recently I have been reading in the newspapers—the reputable Tory newspapers—that the battle is about to commence and that the Tories are in an aggressive mood. I gather from the speeches which they have made and which have been reported in the Press that some of them are in a bloodthirsty frame of mind. For example, the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath)—I did not intend to refer to him, but he happens to be on the Opposition Front Bench—made a speech yesterday, I think—a sort of by-election speech. I saw it in one of the newspapers this morning. He referred to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and warned him that he was on the horns of a dilemma. He was between the Scylla of acceptance of the Tory policy and the Charybdis of danger from the Left. Referring to my right hon. Friend, he said, "One of these days, if he is not careful, he will be torn to pieces by the Left". I happen to be one of the Left. Let me assure the right hon. Gentleman that he is barking up the wrong tree. There is no danger from the Left, and I will tell the right hon. Gentleman why.

Those of us in the Labour Party who are alleged to hold Left-wing views have to choose—and please forgive the language—between an effete, decadent, rapidly deteriorating Tory Party with a policy which is not worth twopenny worth of gin, and a Labour Government with, true enough, a majority much smaller than I anticipated, but nevertheless a majority, which is more than the Opposition have. I am resolved that we should remain here as long as we possibly can and carry out our policy, irrespective of what the Opposition might think about it. Therefore, the right hon. Member for Bexley need not worry about danger from the Left. This is a united party, which is more than can be said for the Opposition.

As I have said, we are told that the battle is about to commence. The Leader of the Opposition knows that I regard him as a very genial and affable person. Occasionally, when he was Foreign Secretary, in a moment of understanding—I hope that I will not be accused of momentary aberration at the time—I thought that he was doing an excellent job on behalf of our country in foreign affairs. I congratulate him. But that is as far as I am prepared to go.

The right hon. Gentleman started this afternoon, the battle having commenced, by firing off a pistol with blank cartridges. But that is not the end of the story. At the end of the day along will come the big gun—I see him there, "Big Bertha"—the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer. I feel in a mood of interrogation and therefore I want to ask a few questions.

I have long experience of this House. I have always believed that the most fascinating part of it is the facilities provided for asking questions—not that one always gets satisfactory answers—and the cut and thrust of debate. I do not care for set speeches. I believe in listening to the other fellow and then arguing the matter out with him. That is what this House is for. That is the essence of democracy.

The Leader of the Opposition moved the Motion of no confidence in the Government. I ask myself why. What was the reason? Was it merely fun and games? Was it merely that the Opposition wanted to enjoy themselves? "After all, the country is not in a mess", says the right hon. Gentleman, "so we can have a bit of pleasure." Was that the reason? Or did the right hon. Gentleman seriously intend that the Government should vacate office and that the Opposition should come over to this side of the House?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Mr. Edward Heath (Bexley) indicated assent.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

The right hon. Gentleman nods his head in assent.

Therefore, I ask one or two questions, and the first is this: if the Tories, by some electoral misfortune, took office, what would they do? Would they reimpose the prescription charges? It is a fair question. The electors are waiting to hear. Would they decide to withdraw the arrangement for the implementation of an increase in old old age pensions? If hon. Members opposite want to come back to this side of the House, that is the sort of question they will be asked. The electors want an answer. Perhaps we can get it at the end of the debate from "Big Bertha", the big gun who is on the short list for the leadership.

Would the Opposition decide to remove at once, expeditiously, even with ill-conceived haste—a term used this afternoon by the Leader of the Opposition—the import surcharge, irrespective of the effect on the balance of payments, to carry out Tory policy? The fact is that they would continue to pursue Tory policy such as we have experienced it for the past 12 or 13 years. In my judgment, that would be fatal to the interests of the country.

I hope that the right hon. Member for Bexley is not now leaving us, because I want to put this to him. I am glad to see that he has resumed his seat beside his right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling). The right hon. Member for Bexley may have heard that during his speech this afternoon the Leader of the Opposition spoke about the absence of a crisis when the Tory Party were in office. Nobody knows more about crises than the right hon. Member for Bexley, who spent 2½ years in fruitless negotiations in the endeavour to enter the Common Market—and why?

From this side of the House—I remember it so well, sitting on the benches opposite—speeches were made in denigration of our country. The country was practically finished in an economic sense, no longer a country with power. That was the reason advanced for entering the Common Market.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

It was said by the then Prime Minister. It was said often by the right hon. Member for Bexley when he occupied the Front Bench on this side of the House.

What was the purpose of entering the Common Market if we were strong and powerful economically? The reasons that were advanced were that we could no longer rely on ourselves and that we had to integrate with other countries to raise our economic prestige. I could have gone into the Library today, looked at HANSARD and picked out a large number of quotations which would condemn the right hon. Member for Bexley but which, at the same time, would have the effect of defeating the purpose of his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I always listen to the right hon. Gentleman with the greatest interest. He both informs and entertains the House. At the moment, however, he is being less than fair and beneath his usual standard. Throughout the whole of those negotiations and the debates in the House, there was no occasion when I denigrated my country. Secondly, the right hon. Gentleman has never been able to grasp the purpose which those of us had who were engaged in the negotiations, which was the political purpose of creating a greater unity in Europe, with which would be associated—[HON. MEMBERS: "The right hon. Gentleman always played it down."] Hon. Members can refer to my first speech about the subject as Lord Privy Seal at the Foreign Office and they will find it clearly set out.

It was a unity with which would be associated very large parts of the Commonwealth in Africa and Asia. In addition, the economic purpose was to give this country a market of 300 million people with the other European countries to sustain the technology which is necessary today. What the right hon. Gentleman does not recognise is the disadvantage at which this country is, technologically speaking, as long as we do not have that large market.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

The right hon. Gentleman has made matters worse. He has now stated that one of the purposes, if not the primary purpose, was to create political union with the Six. That was denied from his own Front Bench at the time. I remember taking part in the debate.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

May I help the right hon. Gentleman? I said that the purpose was to create a political unity. If the right hon. Gentleman looks at the statement which I made to the Western European Union on 18th April, 1962, in London, he will find the whole blueprint for that set out clearly. It was published at the time as a White Paper.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Obviously, it is no use Arguing with the right hon. Gentleman when he is in this mood, when, for some reason or other, he is afraid to admit—

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Of course he is; that is obvious. He is afraid to admit what was the purpose behind the attempt to join the Six at the time. Moreover, what about the references to the Commonwealth? The Commonwealth, we were told, was finished. Trade with the Commonwealth was declining. The Commonwealth was no longer important. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] All this was associated with the belief, amounting almost to a conviction, on the Tory side that we had to associate ourselves with other countries to boost our trade or even to retain the volume of trade that remained with us.

That was a crisis. We talked in terms of crisis. If hon. Members opposite read the speeches that were made at the time, they will find in them the implication that there was crisis. Of course there was. The right hon. Member for Bexley knows it. I recall to the right hon. Gentleman what my late leader, Mr. Hugh Gaitskell, said on this matter. When he was asked what would be the consequences of entering the Common Market or remaining outside, he said that if we went in there would, perhaps, be no disaster and if we remained outside there would be no disaster; it would have no deleterious effects upon the country's economy. He was dealing in this House with the arguments advanced about the gradual decline of the country in the economic sphere.

I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), the Leader of the Liberal Party, is not present, but perhaps some of his hon. Friends will convey my remarks to him. After listening to the major part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, I could not understand why members of his party proposed to abstain from voting tonight. There was only one objection to the policy now operating which has been introduced by my colleagues on the Front Bench, and that was a reference to steel.

In the course of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, he referred to the need for operating the system of private profit. It never occurred to him, apparently, that there are nationalised industries which produce what in some circles is called profit and what we describe as a surplus. Take, for example, the electricity undertakings, with a profit last year of over £70 million. Take some of the nationalised airlines, making a considerable surplus. Take the Gas Council and even the Coal Board, which sometimes makes a profit. At any rate, it is doing something which is essential in producing what is necessary to meet the country's needs in fuel and power and in a variety of other ways. That is what is done by the nationalised industries. Why object to that? The assumption that a surplus can be created only by private enterprise is simply nonsense.

Moreover, it struck me that the right hon. Gentleman, and, presumably, members of his party, are a bit more doctrinaire than they think and say we are. They are doctrinaire because they advance no reason why we should not make steel a nationalised concern.

Photo of Mr George Mackie Mr George Mackie , Caithness and Sutherland

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us how many of the nationalised industries provide their own capital for expansion and what proportion of our exports they provide?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

The provision of capital applies not only to nationalised industry, but also to private industry. Private industry has to raise money. It creates new issues and goes into the market and raises new money. I do not want to be offensive and refer to subsidies to agriculture.

The fact is that this industry is regarded as indispensable. I remember the discussions in this House when I was piloting schemes for the nationalisation of coal and electricity. The argument adduced by the Opposition was that this was doctrinaire Socialist policy, and the assumption was that if the Tories came in they would immediately decide to denationalise those industries. They did so for steel, but not for coal, electricity, gas, or the Bank of England. The fact is that there is nothing doctrinaire about the concept of bringing under national control an industry which is regarded as indispensable to the economy of the country, and if it is under national control, it must be nationally owned.

I cannot understand why the Liberal Party has decided to abstain from voting. The Leader of the Liberal Party condemned the Leader of the Opposition, the Tory Party, and the late Tory Government, in terms which were more condemnatory than have ever been used on this side of the House. In those circumstances, I cannot understand the reason for their abstention, but of course they decide these matters for themselves.

I do not want to pretend that everything in the garden is lovely. Of course it is not. In spite of the senseless interruptions from the benches opposite, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in a remarkable speech, proved this afternoon that what had been decided on and achieved in what I will call 100 days, if the right hon. Gentleman prefers it, instead of three months, has been to the advantage of this country, and that without it we would have been in the throes of disaster.

The right hon. Member for Barnet, the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, knows only too well that in 1965, in 1966, and perhaps in 1967, we cannot afford a prolonged period of stagnation without effective capital investment, and without the effective organisation of our resources. I give him credit for having that knowledge, but in the Conservative Party what chance has he of putting those concepts into practical application? The answer is none at all.

If the Opposition are going to try to make trouble in this House by bickering, by having fun and games, by enjoying themselves, and by having a little pleasure now and again merely for purposes of their own, their behaviour may be regarded as extremely and utterly disgraceful. If, on the other hand, they are prepared to get up and say that they will make every effort, perhaps in the next month or two, to gather their forces, and perhaps enlist the services of the Liberal Party, to condemn this Government, we shall understand the position. In fact, we may welcome the opportunity, because I am satisfied that if we go to the country again, the country, knowing the facts which have been paraded this afternoon, and particularly the facts about the aircraft industry, will return us to power.

I deplore the fact that aircraft workers may be disemployed as a result of some adjustment of aircraft production, but I remind the House that during the past 10 years 150,000 miners were disemployed, yet there was hardly a whimper of protest from the Tories. When we were complaining about the closure of pits and the social consequences of such closures, there was no protest from the benches opposite. It must be remembered, too, that in the last few years more than 100,000 railway men have become redundant.

Photo of Mr Daniel Jones Mr Daniel Jones , Burnley

And 150,000 textile workers, too.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

My hon. Friend speaks with authority about the textile industry. I deplore the possibility of aircraft workers being disemployed, but let us face the facts. We do not want military aircraft merely for the sake of providing people with work. If we need military aircraft, we want them for the defence of the country, or at any rate for the security of the country. We do not want them merely to provide work.

How often have we heard Members from Belfast demanding that more aircraft and more naval vessels be built? I have often wondered why. Is it because we need them? The answer is not at all, or not necessarily so, but merely to provide work. There are other ways of providing work for the workers of this country. We need more skilled workers. We may require effective mobility. We may require the adjustment of skilled labour in the country. All these things may be regarded as necessary, but do not let us pretend that we can improve the country's economy and provide economic security merely by constructing more military aircraft or more naval vessels. That is not the way to deal with the situation.

I am sorry that the Leader of the Opposition has left the Chamber. I do not object to that. Perhaps my views will be conveyed to him. His speech this afternoon was full of contradictions. At one point he said that things were bad and we were in a crisis. At another point he said that in spite of the Labour Government things were improving. It was an inane, inept, insipid, incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial speech. That is not the sort of thing that we expect from a Leader of the Opposition. What is more, I could say the same thing about some of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite on the Front Bench. For example, the egregious right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) described my right hon. Friend in the most offensive terms. It is really quite remarkable. Some of us are expected to sit quietly by and be calm. After what they have done, they tell us to be calm. It is impossible to remain calm when we consider what they have done. When we are attacked, and when attempts are made to humiliate us, we strike back. I do not regard this place as a garden party on a Sunday afternoon where the dear vicar takes the chair. It is a place for argument, discussion, and controversy. I mean, of course, with the right people. If the Tories want a fight, they will get all they want.

7.28 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ian Lloyd Mr Ian Lloyd , Portsmouth Langstone

I regret that I cannot accept the invitation of the right hon. Member for Eastington (Mr. Shinwell) to engage in a debate on the Common Market. Tradition forbids that, much as I would enjoy it.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to Big Berthas. Unfortunately, I have only a damp squib. I am not, like him, a coruscating Catherine-wheel, self-igniting. I have to light this myself, and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will not deny me the privilege of doing so.

I expect that I am not the first Member in this House to confess on rising to address it for the first time to being somewhat overwhelmed by the sense of occasion and privilege. It does not help me to know that to the House this is a relatively minor matter, and that its generosity and indulgence on these occasions is virtually inexhaustible, for the longer one stands on the top board the higher seems the dive, and I have already stood there for so long that my friends have been sending up sandwiches and coffee.

I have the honour to represent the electors of Portsmouth, Langstone, a young constituency which has been represented in this House with a devotion which I cannot hope to emulate by Geoffrey Stevens. The energy and sense of duty which he brought to that task became apparent to me when, for nearly three years, I had the privilege of nursing his constituency. The House will remember especially his long and devoted service to the Finance Committee and will, I am sure, wish him godspeed and a well earned rest from public office.

I hope that the House will allow me a moment to express the particular sense of pride which the people of Portsmouth felt on Saturday. The occasion symbolised the almost proprietary feeling which the Royal Navy had about its greatest First Lord—and, of course, Portsmouth has always had a somewhat proprietary feeling about the Royal Navy. The magnificent bearing and precision of those young sailors expressed most fittingly Portsmouth's sense of privilege and loss. In the signal sent to all ships of the Royal Navy on 28th January there was the phrase: he forced every sea and land to be the highway of his daring. This is a tribute with which the people of Portsmouth would particularly wish to be associated, and a perpetual challenge to the youth of Britain and, indeed, the whole free world.

One cannot become a Member of this House without incurring a particular debt of explanation. This is especially true of someone like myself, born in, although no longer a citizen of, what is now sadly a country owing no formal allegiance to Her Majesty. I left South Africa before this occurred, partly because I felt the loyalties of blood and language, and, indeed, the loyalties of my childhood, to be stronger than those of a brash and somewhat discordant nationalism. I am conscious, in saying this, of a certain inconsistency with my belief that the claims of nationalism are largely spurious and invariably dangerous.

But it was not the only reason. I left partly, also, because of a profound despair at the political creeds which had begun to poison the mainstream of what, in my youth at least, had always seemed a pattern of race relations in which the partnership of hope and common sense could usually outwit that of cynicism and prejudice. I left not least because I had a feeling then, and I still feel, that the political dialogue in this House has an importance in Western affairs that many commentators have misjudged. I was conceited enough to think then—and I have had no reason to abandon my conceit—that in this place we were getting some of our answers profoundly wrong.

I hope that the House will not altogether forget, as its preoccupation becomes ever more domestic to this island, the three-and-a-half million people whom fate has disfranchised on the Continent of Africa. We should remember that they are not necessarily endowed with exceptional wisdom, and that the circumstances of a multi-racial society impose special difficulties which those not born into one cannot begin to understand. They require an altogether new dimension of human charity.

It was Burke who once said that the whole class of the severe and restrictive virtues are at a market almost too high for humanity. We are always relearning the truth of those words. In saying this I have said something which I have long wanted to say in a place where I have long wanted to say it. It has always seemed to me unfortunate that as the Empire grew into a Commonwealth the Mother of Parliaments did not see fit to develop some appropriate constitutional device which would enable the voice of the Commonwealth to be heard in this House. However right the devolution of responsibility and power may have been, the influence of Westminster will continue to be felt not only in the Commonwealth but in all those parts of the world where the great freedoms which are cherished and entrenched in this island influence the affairs of men, for winds of change originating in this House can easily develop in less matured and ordered continents into monsoons of misery.

Lest the House concludes that I am merely the latest example of the truth of Pliny's dictum on Africa, cast by a freak chance of the electoral process on the shores of Westminster, I hasten to point out that the first of my forebears sat here in the Parliament of Mary as long ago as 1553 and that 11 others followed almost without a break under 11 reigns, and in the Long Parliament. I had hoped to find some inspiration today from their Parliamentary records, but I was not encouraged to discover that my immediate predecessor in this House sat here for six years under Disraeli without saying a word.

I was, however, given some political encouragement by discovering that in 1693 another of my predecessors procured, in the words of that age, "a most glorious act" by denationalising the mines. I would not be so rash as to suggest that this illustrious precedent presents me with a legitimate target for my own ambitions, but I would not be sitting on this side of the House if I did not believe, despite Professor Galbraith, that the scope of the public sector has greatly outstripped the administrative capacity of public men, and now imposes on us something more than the vast tax burden which it creates.

There cannot be many of us who, after the last election, did not have an uneasy feeling that the predominant political mood in Britain was that of "a plague on both your houses." This phrase perhaps does not do justice to the Liberal Party, but perhaps I can enlarge it appropriately by saying, "a plague on both your houses and the potting shed." Naturally, the inhabitants of the potting shed think otherwise, and attribute their spasmodic electoral success to the desire of a second option. Though I believe their analysis to be superficial, I do not wish to introduce an inappropriately partisan note to my speech. I merely suggest that the electorate is dissatisfied with the quality of political choice which this represents and with the character of the governmental process which is described by the present dialogue within this House and that between this House and the Executive.

It is emphatically not in the interests of Parliament that vast numbers of electors, whether articulate or not, should share the feeling that the momentum of Government proceeds in an orbit predetermined by the hostility of most established institutions to change, the random spread of technology and the heavy chains of political inertia. I am convinced that the electorate expected much less from the "100 days" than hon. Members opposite, and that the wish of hon. Members on this side of the House to display the gap between promise and performance, however serious it may be, arouses the concern mainly of the politically committed. The public expected such a gap and they discount our promises and counter-promises with a severity born of long disillusion.

They are discontented, for example, with our inability to think about any issue which we cannot analyse in terms of those obsolete political categories, "Left" and "Right", as if all human problems are still structured predominantly in terms of envy or malice. There is discontent, too, with the tendency to associate both the desire to adopt modern and radical solutions and a general concern for the public interest, exclusively with a particular political party. The statistical distribution of the willingness and capacity to change is surely as much a function of age, education and experience as of political philosophy and allegiance. Is it not time that the conduct of political affairs gave more explicit recognition to the validity of this political judgment?

Despite Mr. Dean Acheson's scepticism, I have never doubted the rôle of Britain or this House in the post-Churchill era. It is to re-establish confidence in democratic institutions in the scientific age and to buttress political judgment with scientific objectivity, wherever this is possible. First, we must reconsider the place, purpose and method of Parliamentary Government in the context of the information explosion, the revolution in communications and the massive enlargement of our capacity to simulate and explore complexity made possible by the computer.

During the last few centuries the number of radical changes in Parliamentary Government have been few. The pace of change in human affairs has been slow. The rarity of new ideas has reflected the rarity of the highest orders of human insight and genius. But, from time to time, Parliament has responded to the pressures from new philosophies, new wealth or new levels of education and, in transforming itself, has achieved an increase in the level and amount of involvement in the affairs of Government.

Before these great moves forward take place there is generally a feeling of disillusion and discontent. Cocooned in the comforts of Westminster, such as they are, we tend to underrate the cynicism of Press and public. At such times the electors do not vote for parties or platforms. They vote to keep open the option for democracy, and to keep alive the hope of re-establishing the reality of Government by consent on a viable basis. It is my profound belief that such a vote was cast at the last election, that this explains the electorate's reluctance to entrust any of us with a large majority, and that the Mother of Parliaments, having lost her greatest servant, now faces one of her greatest challenges.

We need all our national genius for political pragmatism if we are to reconcile the true spirit of democracy with the uncompromising impatience of science and of a world desperate for its products. Our greatest task is to demolish the constraints which ignorance and inertia impose on scientific advance more effectively than they are demolished in authoritarian societies which scoff at the importance which we attach to the individual. The superiority of the alliance between true science and freedom over that between scientism and collectivism must be endlessly demonstrated, especially in this House.

When the Danes were raiding the coasts of Wessex centuries ago, in ships which gave them a decided advantage in battle, another great philosopher king, Alfred the Great, countered this threat by ordering long ships which were shaped, in the words of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, "neither in the Frisian manner nor in the Danish, but as it seemed to him that they might be most useful". This, I think, suggests the best guide to the vital task of reshaping our Parliamentary institutions.

It would seem that our problems are primarily economic, that our criteria of judgment are economic, and that the dismal scientists have come into their own. Adam Smith and the old Adam seem, in some men's careers, to have become virtually indistinguishable. As I see it, we face two major problems in attempting to sit in judgment on the 100 days. The first is to be certain that the statistics we all employ accurately describe the whole situation. The second is to demonstrate convincingly the direct and precise relationship of cause and effect between the political decisions of Government and the economic consequences of those decisions alone. I never cease to be amazed at the dogmatism of statements made about these questions. Both Richard Stone at Cambridge and Oskar Morgernstern at Princetown have described the inherent crudeness and unreliability of even the most refined modem economic statistics. These do not describe a situation so much as what is, as a matter of convenience and tradition, statistically visible. What is invisible is generally as large and even more dangerous than the submerged nine-tenths of the iceberg. It is largely for this reason that it is almost impossible to distinguish satisfactorily, as a basis for policy making, the influence on our final economic position in the second half of last year, first, of our basic visible and invisible trading position; secondly, of the short-term capital movements resulting mainly from the acceleration or delay of trade payments; thirdly, of short-term capital movements generated by political confidence factors which have been discussed so much this afternoon, and fourthly of short-term movements of reserves as a result of special arrangements with the central banks and the I.M.F.

The figures simply do not and cannot tell the complete story. It can, of course, be argued that an experienced captain does not need an anemometer to tell him when his ship is in a gale and that it is sufficient to know whether it is force 4 or force 8. But throughout this crisis there was a tendency to ignore the fact that Britain had completely rebuilt her massive overseas investment position since the war and this was the one factor which changed significantly, if not sufficiently, between each of the post-war balance of payments crises.

It is this basic improvement—and no mere act of political will—which might conceivably have justified an attempt to drive the ship forward through the storm confident that her frames had been sufficiently strengthened to endure it without reducing speed. But if we ourselves persistently understate our true economic strength and superimpose upon this a violent campaign of national self-criticism, not entirely confined to the General Election, then, however justified and overdue some of this may be, we must not be surprised if our banking and trading partners take fright. This is not, of course, inconsistent with a perfectly justifiable view that our national wealth could have been greater—it always could—our crises could have been fewer—they always could—and less severe, and the last avoided completely.

As the House is sensitive, I am sure, about using such old-fashioned similes, I shall revert to its favourite simile, the motor car, to illustrate the argument about stop-go economics. Four times at least since the war we have smelt burning rubber and brakes and reduced speed. Four times we have reported the fault, and four times we have put the car back on the road with the same brakes, an overheating clutch and poor wiring—which one might translate as restrictive practices, inadequate social communication and obsolete technical and commercial designs. This state of affairs is the responsibility of everyone who built and serviced the economic car, and that, in this context, as some hon. and right hon. Members have recently observed, does mean everyone.

If I may seem to hon. Members on my side of the House to be offering the Government a perfect escape from responsibility, it is because I think that we should be concerning ourselves with two aspects of a much more fundamental disagreement. The first is a disagreement about the limits of legislative and executive competence. The second is a disagreement about the criteria by which we should now begin to judge our national economic performance. The first is possibly the more important because it relates closely to the expectations surrounding the word "planning".

If we believe our economic instruments to be both relevant to the type and sensitive to the degree of control which we wish to exercise, then we are entitled to be optimistic about planning, whether of investment or income. For "planning" must only mean the application of the best judgment to the most timely, relevant and complete information which can be obtained. Neither the experience of the last 100 days, nor of the last hundred months in France, nor of the "guide-posts'" era in the United States, convinces me that our desire for better economic control, particularly of cyclical fluctuations of the type experienced by all advanced economies, is matched by the quality and relevance of the information we require to exercise this control. We have certainly improved, but we have a long way to go. The limits of human competence in the economic field are still more severely circumscribed, in my view, than hon. Members opposite are prepared to concede. The challenge to ingenuity is immense and the computer has merely exposed, like a flash of lightning in the Himalayas, the size of the unconquered peaks.

Is this, then, a counsel of despair? I think not. It is a counsel of caution, a belief that there is nothing quite so dangerous in the twentieth century as to allow our administrative ambitions to outreach our statistical and analytical grasp. The complexity of human motivation, the unpredictability of technology and the stupidity of régimes which put prestige before profit are a constant temptation to Governments to exceed their effective powers. It must be resisted.

What, then, are the new criteria which we can use? Can they be developed rapidly? Will they come to fruition in the life of this Parliament? That would be a remarkably optimistic assumption. Would they enable a Government of any party to do significantly better than the present Government? I suggest that the electorate's judgment of the meaning of significance is different from that held in this House. I believe the answer to be "Yes".

I will not weary the House by expanding my thoughts on this theme, but I must suggest a few examples of what I mean. Both parties have, until very recently, been acutely sensitive to the index of unemployment. This, I submit, is now a crude and irrelevant criterion, as useful as using a canary to test the level of radiation in a Polaris submarine. Keynes taught us all how to solve the full employment problem. We must now develop much more refined concepts. The first that I suggest is an index of mis-employment, to give some idea of the proportion of labour in various age groups and skills which is employed in industries with a technologically limited life; which is employed on obsolete or output-restricted machines; which is hoarded, for whatever reasons; which is awaiting retraining or being prevented from being retrained. This is a much more difficult thing to measure and much more relevant to our present problems.

Many, though not all, symptoms of economic malaise are the result of another factor which we do not yet measure effectively. When we talk about growth and compare it to national economic performance, we are really discussing two things. The first is the mobility of resources, and the second is the effectiveness with which mobile resources are redeployed. As a great trading nation, our pattern of resource utilisation must follow closely the pattern of world demand. We can influence this only to the extent that the pattern of national demand in this country and the pattern of economic and social changes in this country assume a shape which the rest of the world will seek to emulate. This requires a high and continuing rate of resource mobility, of labour re-employment, of capital re-investment, and the acid test, as always, is profitability. We get nowhere at all by covering the profit indicators with a red cloth or distorting the vital cybernetic mechanisms which underlie the free enterprise system. Hostility to profits is as pointless as hostility to the mercury in a thermometer.

The third basic condition of success for which we have as yet no successful index is a high rate of absorption and dispersion of technical and scientific ideas. To some extent, this comes back again to profits, for what we are trying to measure is, firstly, the rate at which resources are moving into undertakings of high technical merit—and this usually means a high risk. Secondly, we have as yet no successful index of the rate at which new technology spreads outwards from the pioneers to the followers. Over 15 years ago the width of this gap in British industry between the progressive few and the rest was stressed by almost every one of the productivity teams which visited the United States. This gap is still too wide and the devices which assist its elimination, such as the Centre for Inter-firm Comparison of the British Institute of Management, receive little support. We need several such centres and we need to extend the range of comparison both to the United States and to Western Europe.

If we develop such criteria of information on a national scale, then, and only then, can we contemplate the construction of what, to use the modern terminology, is called a critical path network for the allocation of our national economic resources, something which will mean much more than wishful tinkering. At present we dress guesswork up in the trappings of economics and make the mistake of believing that the result is inherently more rational and therefore more desirable than the uninhibited play of the free market. No one believes that the free market can order the entire allocation of resources in a modern economy but it is the utmost folly to hamper its operation in those spheres where nothing better can be put in its place.

I have suggested some of the instruments which I believe we must develop to provide Governments in a supersonic age with the equivalent of the Machmeter. I am not easily convinced, from the record of virtually every advanced economy, that the fact that we do not go through the economic sound barrier without creating a violent shaking of the balance of payments relates solely to the fact of whichever party happens to be in power. It is related primarily to the quality of the economic instruments by which all parties attempt to fly the plane. We need misemployment meters, resource mobility meters and technology dispersion meters, and if we do not know what these are, we must try to create them. We must have a careful regard for their inherent error factors, for the equivalent of variation and deviation in the national economic compass.

If we are to have such instruments, may I plead that there should be, here in this Palace of Westminster, a national economic chartroom in which Members of this House may familiarise themselves with the data and information which at present reaches us only after a prolonged regurgitation in Whitehall. We need less instant Government and more real-time Government. An ounce of implementation in Westminster will be worth 10 lb. of exhortation, whether measured by the weight of HANSARD or that of Royal Commission Reports, from Westminster.

This, then, is the challenge facing us—to come to terms with a new age. We shall not do so by pursuing narrow party advantage. If we do we may still sit on here, we may still fight and win elections, but we shall have become a living historical monument, more colourful and expensive than the Beefeaters but less useful, and we shall eventually all be pensioned off by some new technological Cromwell entrenched with his computers behind the barricades of power.

I am grateful to the House for its courtesy and patience, and I hope that I have not trespassed on convention by casting the net of my discussion too wide and taking rather too long to do it.

7.56 p.m.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

It falls to me to congratulate the hon. Member for Portsmouth, Langstone (Mr. Ian Lloyd) on a quite remarkable maiden speech. It had almost all the qualities which we expect of a maiden speech, except one. He was non-controversial, he was certainly humorous and eloquent, but brevity was not exactly the hallmark of it. Nevertheless, I think I express the wishes of the whole House when I say that we look forward to hearing him very often in the future—so long as I am not waiting to speak after him.

I am sorry that the Leader of the Opposition is not in his place, because until he spoke I did not know what the motives were for tabling the Motion. It was a case of the Tory Party leading with its chin. I want to try to assess what the motives were. At least, I tried to do so before the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition spoke. Of course, one expected them to seek to cash in on the Leyton by-election result. This is perfectly understandable and perfectly legitimate. We have no complaint on that score. It is all part of the party game. It certainly was a setback for the Labour Party. No one denies that. It will be corrected at the next election, if the lessons have been learned. I want to take this opportunity of putting on record my view of that result. I believe that the first lesson which we on this side and the Opposition have to learn from the Leyton result is that we must not take the electorate for granted. We should not insult them by using them for purely party political convenience.

This by-election was little more than a crude attempt at ballot rigging and I do not defend that—not in Leyton or Nuneaton or Altrincham and Sale or East Grinstead, Salisbury or anywhere else. The post-election Honours List was nothing and is nothing more than party political jobbery and the electors, understandably and rightly, objected to that kind of insult being hurled at them by the political parties. I hope that they will do it more often. I hope that they will do it at Altrincham and Sale on Thursday. There we have the spectacle of a senior Tory Minister of the last Administration, rejected in October, being given a safe seat which even he cannot lose. One of the pleasing aspects from our point of view on this side of the House of the last election was the fall of Ministers—Mr. Barber, now the candidate for Altrincham and Sale, Mr. Rippon, Mr. Bevins and Mr. Maurice Macmillan, and a very near thing for others.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hampstead (Mr. Brooke) made Hampstead a marginal seat. The right hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Thorneycroft) had a near shave, too. Since then, these defeated ex-Ministers have been trailing round the country like political itinerant whores, trying to sell their wares to whoever will buy them. They have all now got clients—all except Mr. Bevins, and he has been too busy revealing the inner secrets of the Tory Party in the Sunday Express,, though it never struck me that he was one of the inner magic circle of the Tory Party.

If I may come to today's debate, the situation is intriguing, for never can a party moving a Motion like this have been so vulnerable to complete devastation and never can a party have been so terrified of the prospect of the Motion being carried. The one thing that they do not want is to win the vote tonight. If they had thought for a single minute that they would win, they would never have put the Motion down in the first place.

The prospect of an early election petrifies them, and the reasons are there for all to see. In the first place, they do not want to admit—indeed the Leader of the Opposition went so far as to deny—that there was a crisis. Certainly they do not want to accept the responsibility for the sorry mess which was left and for the unpopular measures which would have to be carried out, even supposing there were a change of Government tomorrow. We on this side of the House do not deny that the measures which have had to be carried out were not in our election manifesto. How could they have been, when we did not know all the facts of the situation, which had been carefully kept from us and from the country?

Certain of these measures have been unpopular. In some instances they have been unjust. They have certainly been harsh. Few, if any, of the leaders of the Tory Party now deny that there was a very serious situation which had to be dealt with. Some of them are on record as saying so. The right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath), speaking to Conservative women at Sutton on 26th January, said: I am not saying that some of the steps taken were not necessary. I should like to ask him, through the right hon. Member for Monmouth, who is on the Front Bench, which steps were necessary in their view and which steps were not necessary? And why were the steps necessary—which in their estimate were necessary—if there were no crisis?

On 26th October the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) used these oft-quoted words: It is true that the Labour Party have inherited our problems. These are the problems which, according to the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon, did not exist. They were, he said, created by us. But his right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet said that we had inherited their problems and that we had also inherited their solutions. The only difference, according to the speech which he made on that occasion, between the right hon. Member for Barnet and the Labour Government was that he would probably have waited another month or two before taking action.

The Guardian put it very succinctly in its leading article of 29th January, when it said: The real starting point and cause of Tuesday's censure debate in the Commons will be the Treasury's forecast of October 26 that the overall balance of payments' deficit for 1964 would be between £700 millions and £800 millions. … The Conservatives may contend (in the motion they have put forward for debate on Tuesday) that the steps the Government took to meet this problem were hasty and ill-considered, but they cannot blame the Government for the problem itself. The problem was there. It was recognised to be there by everybody who took an interest in these things. The only difference between us is in which steps should be taken to deal with it, when they should be taken and how they should be taken.

No action was taken by the right hon. Member for Barnet in the critical months of June to October last year solely and wholly because of party political and electoral considerations. When midsummer came, when June came, it was clear that an election had to take place within the next four months and therefore, for four months at least, no matter how desperate the economic situation, no action could be taken or would be taken by the Government.

The Sunday Times said in its editorial of 4th October: Sir Alec Douglas-Home should not accuse other people of irresponsibility in raising this issue. They were referring to the issue of the economic situation, which my right hon. Friend, now the Prime Minister, raised during the election. Referring to the present Leader of the Opposition, the Sunday Times said: He chose the election time knowing perfectly well the economic risks that were involved. … The situation that now exists is therefore of his own making. The newspaper went on to refer to the "exceptionally large deficit" of 1964, to which my right hon. Friend referred this afternoon.

The City editor of the Daily Mail on 28th September, 1964, said, Our trading deficit is described even officially as massive and is larger than at any time since the war. He discussed the possible Tory post-election measures. We have heard singularly little about what the Conservatives would have done if they had won the election. The Daily Mail City editor suggested that there would have been postponements in the investment programmes of the nationalised industries. A rise of Bank Rate would surprise no one", said the Daily Mail.Mr. Maudling would almost certainly try a mixture of import controls and import incentives —which is precisely what we have done and precisely what the right hon. Member for Barnet said we would do. Yet the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, as reported in the Financial Times of 1st October, 1964, said: I do not see evidence of overheating in the economy". That was a few days before the election.

It seems to me that any Government which had inherited a situation of that kind would have had to take action. There is no question about that. Action was inevitable. Both parties made it clear in their manifestoes. Certainly we did. We said that our programme depended on a steady annual average growth of 4 per cent. The White Paper which the previous Government issued on Public Expenditure in 1963–64 and 1967–68, Cmnd. 2235, spelled it out in paragraph 38: This rate of growth, if maintained between now and 1967–68, should be enough to support public ependiture on the general scale foreseen in this White Paper; and implied by the Government's policies". It said, But if these policies seemed likely to make a larger claim on resources than is here envisaged, or if the prospects for economic growth substantially worsened, it would clearly be necessary for the Government to review their policies accordingly. Everything depended on this steady 4 per cent. rate of growth per year.

The Labour Party's manifesto had these words to offer to the electorate: We offer no easy solution to our national problems. Time and effort will be required before they can be mastered. Judged by the Conservative's record over the 13 years in which they had power, they were never likely to achieve anything like the growth which was necessary to fulfil the promises which were made in that White Paper. They have boasted that their programme had been carefully costed, but it is one thing to cost a programme and quite another thing to pay the bill. When we came to power, we found a programme which was costed but no national economic resources to meet the bill.

We must ask the Conservatives this question. Facing the problems of their own creation, which parts of this programme in the White Paper, which was issued before the election, would they now be cutting? Would it be defence? The white Paper showed a prospective increase here of £265 million in the four years 1963–64 to 1967–68. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister indicated this afternoon that the TSR2 alone is likely to cost £750 million. An article in the Observer in November, 1963, indicated that by the time we got 50 TSR2s into squadron service the figure would be more likely to be £1,000 million, which is more than three times the total increase in defence expenditure over the whole field which the Conservative Government envisaged in the next four years up to 1967–68.

The Tory Party has been pressing this Government ever since they came to power to go full steam ahead with the TSR2, the Concord and every other aircraft which has been mentioned. The Tories have been complaining, not about acting too hastily, but about dillying and dallying and not making decisions. The right hon. Member for Monmouth yesterday asked whether the Prime Minister would now make a statement. Then the right hon. Gentleman rose and said he did not want it. The Tories must make up their minds whether they want decisions now or whether they want careful consideration before the decisions are taken.

I do not think that the Conservatives, had they got power in October of last year, could have cut defence expenditure. This is not the field in which they seek economies. They seek economies in other fields. We can pour out £1,000 million on TSR2. We can pour out millions of pounds to Ferrantis. We can pour out millions of pounds on all kinds of projects and write them off without a blink of the eyelids. But the Tories will not cut the defence budget.

I want to make this personal comment about the TSR2 and the aircraft industry. I do not believe that we can continue pouring out hundreds of millions of £s of public money year by year by year, and much of it going astray, simply to keep men in jobs on the "phoney" argument that, if we did not do this, the technicians, the skilled scienists and such people who are currently employed in the industry would thereby be unemployed and would leave the country. I do not believe that diagnosis. Robert Hellier in the article in the Observer in November, 1963, to which I have referred, said this, referring to the estimate for the TSR2: £1,000 million cannot really be justified as outdoor relief for the aircraft industry. He is right. The Conservatives would not have cut back on defence.

Education, however, has often been a target for retrenchment by successive Tory Governments over the last 12 or 13 years. Would they have gone back on their commitment to Robbins on university education? The signs are that they would. We have had the Newsom Report on the deplorable condition of our secondary modern schools. We could not cut back there. We have had the devastating report on school building, which was held back deliberately until after the election. Could we cut back there? Clearly not.

Would the Tories have cut back on the social services? I think that they would. There were signs in their election manifesto that this was how they were thinking. They have been asked this question this afternoon. We have never yet had an answer. Would they now go back on the abolition of prescription charges? Would they now say that the National Insurance propositions which we have put forward would be forgotten? Certainly there was no machinery left; there was no evidence of any planning for any increases for the old people, the unemployed, the sick, the widows. We come back to the proposition in the Motion. What were "the hasty and ill-considered actions"?

Photo of Mr Emlyn Hooson Mr Emlyn Hooson , Montgomeryshire

On a point of order. This is a debate on a censure Motion moved by the Conservative Party. I see five Conservative Members here at 8.15 p.m. I ask for a count.

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

At the present moment a count is not allowed.

Photo of Mr Emlyn Hooson Mr Emlyn Hooson , Montgomeryshire

Further to that point of order. Is there a quorum in the House at the moment?

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

That does not arise between 7.30 and 8.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

I appreciate the hon. and learned Gentleman's motives in asking that question. I am only sorry that it is not in order, because the hon. and learned Gentleman is right. My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) talked about the "wonderful Opposition". It is the Opposition's Motion of censure. They could not form a football team at the moment! This is the Opposition which the Leader of the Opposition said was healthily aggressive. If we have nothing more to fear than this, we should last the full five years. Then we shall see some results.

Meanwhile, we have had to engage in these short-term measures. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite describe them as "hasty and ill-considered". They say that there has been lack of consultation, for instance on the surcharge. They say that we have broken treaties. I remind them of what the right hon. Member for Barnet said about international obligations and treaties. I recollected his saying this, so I looked up his remarks. In February, 1963, when we were debating the Common Market negotiations, the right hon. Gentleman made these remarks about international treaties and obligations: We are not over-scrupulous about international obligations…I am often told that we are the mugs and that everyone else cheats in these matters. This is just not true."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1963; Vol. 671, c. 1247.] These were the remarks of the right hon. Member for Barnet about international obligations. Yet the Tories have the affrontery to tell us that, facing the desperate situation we faced, we should have gone to every member of E.F.T.A. and to all our European partners and asked them for permission and engaged in a series of negotiations. This is like asking the fire brigade when it is called out to deal with a fire to consult other fire brigades to see whether perhaps they should not deal with it. When the fire is started, the important point is to get the damn thing out and then talk about it later, and that is the situation with which we have been faced. We had to take quick action. We had to offend some people. We are very sorry about it, but in the long term they will benefit as well as we shall. These are short-term desperate measures to deal with a desperate situation.

The Conservatives jacked the Bank Rate up to 7 per cent. in a situation which was less serious than the situation is now, and I want to say something about the effect of this on the building societies. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition made some play this afternoon of the hardship that results as a direct consequence of putting up the Bank Rate to people who are buying their own houses. I have seen a letter which has gone out from the Abbey National Building Society to a mortgagor explaining to to him why his interest rate has to go up. In the covering letter the Society says that this has to be done in view of the impending increased taxation of building societies.

I shall be tabling a Question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer but I hope that he will deal with this point tonight because I think that it is important. If the building societies are distorting the truth to the disadvantage of the Government and leaving the mortgagors to believe that there is impending increased taxation to be imposed upon them, the Government should make it abundantly clear that this is not true. On the contrary, if I recollect aright, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said exactly the opposite—that the result of the corporation tax to be imposed in April would benefit the building societies. I hope that my right hon. Friend will put that point right.

As for the Bank Rate, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made it quite clear in a speech in Swansea as long ago as last January that the rate might well have to be increased and that in the short term we might have to increase it because this was the only instrument that would be available to us if we took over in a situation of crisis. The speech is on record for anyone to read.

The Motion before us is the most arrogant, the most impertinent, and most dishonest Motion that has come before the House for a very long time. The Opposition know that it will be defeated, and they very much hope that it will.

8.23 p.m.

Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor

I should like to join the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) in congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, Langstone (Mr. Ian Lloyd) on his maiden speech. As all of us can recollect, it is something of an ordeal to make a maiden speech, but my hon. Friend expressed himself with fluency and confidence and in a manner which many of us older Members envied. That was due perhaps to the inborn feeling handed down to him by his many ancestors, to whom he referred, who sat in the House in bygone days. I should like to pay my tribute to him and to say that we look forward to hearing similar contributions from him on future occasions in the House.

I think that I have listened to all the speeches in the debate and I wonder sometimes whether hon. and right hon. Members opposite are now beginning to regret that they laid quite so much emphasis on the famous 100 days. When a slogan miscues it is always very embarrassing, and when a large-scale advertisement with a good deal of detail in it miscues it is more embarrassing still. The plain fact remains that there is absolutely nothing left of the Government's manifesto. It is all in shreds.

The Prime Minister made great play with the increased pensions and other benefits which are to come into operation next month, but during the election we were told that we could have increased benefits without increased taxation. [An HON. MEMBER: "No, we were not."] Certainly in two or three broadcasts that was made absolutely clear, but we now have had 6d. on the Income Tax and 6d. on the petrol tax, and other taxes as well. This is not what the electorate were led to expect. Moreover, by the end of March or April when the increased benefits come in they will have been offset by increased prices.

Rather oblique and somewhat confusing promises were made about lower mortgage rates on house purchase. If I may venture to give advice in retrospect to the Government, they would have done much better to have taken as adviser Mr. Gulbenkian at 5 per cent. than their present advisers at 6¾ per cent. Tremendous emphasis was also laid during the election on ending the stop-go policy—a policy which it was said was entirely due to the machinations and incompetence of Tory administration and which was never to happen again.

The strange thing is that the Prime Minister told us quite clearly today that throughout last year we were getting increasingly worried about the economic situation. The writing on the wall was there to see, but if during the election campaign the writing was so clear that the right hon. Gentleman was absolutely certain about the sort of situation which he might have to face if he won the election, then had I been him I would have been more modest in the promises that I made.

At the beginning of the campaign there was the great speech in Edinburgh when, referring to the high Bank Rate, the right hon. Gentleman said: We have the bitter experience of … 7 per cent. Bank Rate, higher mortgage payments, higher purchase restrictions … and in November the present Chancellor of the Exchequer said that On our first week-end, when the present Prime Minister formed his Administration, we determined that we would not tread that path again. The right hon. Gentleman was referring to the Bank Rate imposed in 1961.

The truth of the matter is that the Chancellor of the Exchequer failed to realise that the Chancellor of the day, whoever he may be and to whatever party he may belong, is the bank manager of the sterling area, and as such he has to behave in exactly the same way as any other bank manager behaves. There are two golden rules for bank managers which they must never break. The first is that they must not panic, and the second is that they must be polite to their clients. The Chancellor of the Exchequer broke both these golden rules.

Whether the panic was synthetic or genuine I do not know, but the point is academic because, once one creates the impression of panic, as the Chancellor did, the clients naturally queue up to withdraw their deposits while there is still something left in the kitty. One cannot be offensive, in one breath, to quite a number of one's clients both here and overseas and, in the next breath, ask them to underpin one's reserves, particularly when one has, as the Chancellor had, just introduced a high cost Budget which is quite irrelevant to the problem which one has inherited. In trying to restore confidence, as the right hon. Gentleman said he was trying to do, the one thing one must not do is to create uncertainty, yet that is precisely what he did in his Budget statement.

The Chancellor is in a very difficult position. He has announced the capital gains tax and the corporation tax. He cannot announce any details because to do so would anticipate the Budget statement in April. So he is on two hooks and cannot get off them. As a result, no one knows what to do. No trustee knows what to do with trustee investments. No one in charge of the investment of pensions funds knows how to do it. No one knows whether gilt-edged securities redeemed at par are or are not to be subject to the capital gains tax. No one in agriculture knows whether one ought, between now and April, to try to rewrite the Domesday Book, if that were possible, and have a valuation of every single agricultural holding lest at some subsequent date, it might have to be sold. No one knows anything about how the capital gains tax or the corporation tax is to operate. All we know is that football pool and betting winnings will be exempt. That is all, and it is a strange commentary on the measure of priorities offered by a Socialist Government.

A word now about the surcharge. It seems to me that the Government have had the worst of both possible worlds at the same time in this matter. They have created the maximum amount of ill feeling and offence, with the minimum result. If the surcharge was to be kept on for any length of time, then we of all countries in the world would be about the most vulnerable to retaliation. In fact, there are signs of retaliation coming now. If, on the other hand, the surcharge is to be taken off fairly soon, it cannot have done the trick. I do not suppose that it has bitten at all.

As regards exports, listening to some of the things said by the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and his hon. and right hon. Friends recently, one gets the impression that they have suddenly discovered a new problem. They alone have revealed that exports are a great problem and that Britain cannot live without them. They are like the newly independent countries which always think that all history prior to the date of independence is buried in the Neolithic age. In fact, there is no new problem here at all. The Government have discovered some of the problems in boosting exports, and they find that it is not as simple as appears at first sight.

No Government of this country now or at any time can afford to discriminate in exports on political grounds. To do so is fatal. I am not talking about the strategic list. We all know about that and accept it. But apart from the strategic list, I am absolutely convinced that we should not discriminate on political grounds as to whether we export to one country or another. We must export to any markets wherever they are.

Just before Christmas, the President of the Board of Trade went off to China and, on his return, if I recollect aright, he made the usual statement at London Airport, saying, in effect, that he had gone out to try to open up new markets, that there was a considerable untapped market for British exports in China, and that he thought we ought to be a little more energetic in trying to sell there. I entirely agree. In my view, we ought to export more to Communist China, and we ought to export, and probably could export, more to Iron Curtain countries. I am entirely in favour of that.

I find it rather difficult to understand, nevertheless, how one can say, on grounds of political philosophy or whatever the right phrase is, that the Government of Communist China are more democratic, more liberal-minded, more bubbling over with the milk of human kindness towards fellow creatures of other nations and of different colours, including the Indians, than are the Governments of Portugal, Spain or South Africa. On grounds of political philosophy, I find it very difficult to distinguish between the advantages of exporting to China and the advantages of doing away with markets which we had in our pocket in the other countries I have mentioned.

Photo of Mr Emlyn Hooson Mr Emlyn Hooson , Montgomeryshire

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. It is now five minutes past the dinner hour and I see that there are still only five Conservative Members in the Chamber on this violent motion of censure. I now ask for a count.

Notice taken that 40 Members were not present;

House counted, and, 40 Members being present

8.36 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

In view of the remarks just made by the hon. Member for Windsor (Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe), which I know he means very sincerely, will he explain how it came about that it was the Conservative Party when in Government which voted for the United Nations Resolution about an embargo, which is what we are now carrying out?

Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor

I did not know that there was any United Nations Resolution about an embargo on exports to Spain or Portugal in respect of which we have lost orders, though there was a Resolution, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, couched in very general form about an embargo on arms to South Africa. The then Government's position was put absolutely clearly in an explanation of vote by the United Kingdom representative in the Security Council at the time. Everybody interested, including, I suspect, the right hon. Gentleman, knew the Resolution to have a much wider content.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

Might I clear this up? The Government of the day committed Britain to an embargo on arms to South Africa. We are carrying that out. We are not doing anything else. I wonder what the hon. Gentleman is grumbling about.

Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor

The Resolution did not talk about an embargo on all arms to South Africa. It talked about an embargo on arms which could be used for what might be described as internal security purposes. It was nothing to do with the Buccaneers or any of the other contracts which in the early days of the life of the present Government were very much in question.

I repeat for the benefit of the right hon. Gentleman what I was saying, that, purely on grounds of political philosophy, I can see no difference between opening up new markets in China and all the discrimination on political grounds against markets which were in our pocket in Spain and Portugal and, in certain respects, in South Africa. That policy makes no sense.

I read the other day that a new British Embassy is to be built in Madrid, and it will be circular in shape. That seems to be very appropriate. I have no doubt that it will shortly receive, if it has not done so already, a circular from the Foreign Secretary which will be sent to all missions emphasising the need to boost our exports and asking them to do their utmost to increase our exports to the countries in which they are situated. I dare say that in various countries the staff of the embassies will be reinforced by persons from the Board of Trade who may well have joined the new Diplomatic Service. But when this document reaches the embassy in Madrid, it will not apply to Spain because apparently that embassy is not allowed to boost British exports to Spain.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

That is not true.

Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor

The right hon. Gentleman bawls out that it is not true, but we have already lost an order for £11 million from Spain.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

We are not talking of armaments. We are talking of trade.

Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor

Are not arms trade? Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that, while our embassies in general are to be asked to step up British exports, the staff of the embassy in Madrid are to sit back with their arms folded while those with naval construction contracts to place are no longer in London but in Washington, Paris or Bonn, which are getting orders which were virtually in our pockets at one time? If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that that is the wisest way to boost British exports, I profoundly disagree with him.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

In that case, why not send arms to Russia or China?

Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor

Spain is not in any case on the strategic list.

Photo of Mr Ioan Evans Mr Ioan Evans , Birmingham, Yardley

Is the hon. Member for Windsor (Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe) making a case that the Government should sell arms to all countries?

Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor

I am simply saying, on the basis of boosting British exports, that one cannot discriminate between one country and another, except on the strategic list. I am simply claiming that naval orders which we could have got from Spain are not on the strategic list. They are being taken instead, therefore, by the Americans, the French and to some extent by the Germans, all of whom are our N.A.T.O. allies.

In the Labour manifesto and a great many speeches made by the right hon. Member the First Secretary of State and others in the election campaign, there was a lot which bore no relation in terms of defence to what is going on now. I seem to remember the right hon. Gentleman and others waxing very eloquent upon the subject of saving defence costs.

Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor

The right hon. Gentleman did not want to save defence costs.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I never said that.

Photo of Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe , Windsor

The right hon. Gentleman never suggested that there could be savings on nuclear forces and in making the conventional forces more efficient. He must have been the odd man out, therefore. We were told that our conventional forces could be stepped up and our weapons made more efficient. We were also told that the Labour Government would get rid of a lot of oversea bases which were costing a lot of money and which were quite unnecessary.

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman was the odd man out in that as well. Some very funny things have happened since. The Deputy-Secretary of State for Defence has been to the Far East and, quite properly, has underwritten and reaffirmed the guarantee of the defence of Malaysia. What is more, the Prime Minister has retained part at least of the V-bomber force for use east of Suez. That was not said in the election speeches.

In the light of the reaffirmed pledge of the defence of Malaysia, what is happening to the bases that hon. Members opposite talked about? Where are these bases that were to be done away with? Are they, indeed, to be done away with? Is Hong Kong included? I think not, for it is in a special category. Is Singapore to be included? I would be very surprised if it were because, without it, we could not supply Malaysia. Is it to be the Aden base? If so, the Government would be doing away with the only staging post or port where ships and aircraft can be refuelled and troops acclimatised. In other words, none of the bases along the Far East route which the Labour Party said during the pre-election period that it would get rid of is to go, for the Government have found that they cannot get rid of any of them. At least we can congratulate them on having come some way back into some kind of sense before the end of the 100 days.

The order of priorities of the famous 100 days was all wrong. The Government were obsessed with doing something. They acted first, talked afterwards and thought last. I hope that before the next 100 days are up—if they survive the next 100 days—the process will be reversed and they will sit down quietly and first think out some of the problems, then talk about them and finally decide on a course of action. If they do that, they might get some way out of the mess and restore some of the confidence in the country which they have lost.

8.46 p.m.

Photo of Mr Harold Lever Mr Harold Lever , Manchester Cheetham

The hon. Member for Windsor (Sir C.Mott-Radclyffe)has made a speech not untypical of the thinness of argument in support of this Motion of censure. Like his predecessors in title on the other side of the House, he made great play with the fact that the Government introduced a 7 per cent. Bank Rate, as though that were a unique attribute of the Government. It seems that if within a matter almost of hours of taking office the Government are compelled by financial pressure to impose a 7 per cent. Bank Rate, that is evidence of serious financial and political misdemeanour, while when on two previous occasions, after six years and 10 years, respectively, of comfortably wielding power, a Tory Chancellor introduced a 7 per cent. Bank Rate, that was mere financial prudence dictated by the unfortunate financial rhythms which were imposed regretfully on a sagacious Conservative Administration.

As to the suggestion that businessmen cannot live with uncertainty and have all been thrown into extreme panic by the mere suggestion that the Chancellor of the Exchequer may impose a corporation tax and a capital gains tax, we on this side of the House are put in difficulty when, like myself, we have zealously defended the City's position as a national asset and when we have stressed the necessity of encouraging the lively private enterprise therein contained. If businessmen in the City are thrown into such a state of maidenly dither by the mere threat of an alteration in tax rates that they cannot get on with their business, some of their more severe critics on this side of the House are more justified than I had s apposed.

I want in the few minutes at my disposal—and I shall be very brief—to say that the Leader of the Opposition has adopted a fundamentally wrong approach in inviting us to show a lack of confidence in the Government by seeking to survey the measures which the Government have taken to see whether we can discover some imperfection or fault, whether in their timing or execution. The real question to ask some three months after the Government have taken office is whether they are addressing themselves to the major problems of the country in the kind of way that enlightened opinion demanded when it gave a significant vote against the last Government. I have concluded that on all major issues they have replaced drift and lack of confidence and lack of intelligence and zeal with a determination to tackle the country's real problems.

For example, almost within hours of coming to power they faced the problem of pressure on sterling and imposed a 7 per cent. Bank Rate. What is worth considering in the context of a Motion of censure is not whether they might have produced this Bank Rate change an hour or two earlier, or ended it a week or two sooner than might be the case, but whether with a 7 per cent. Bank Rate they are tackling the consequential problems which were so helplessly evaded by previous Tory Administrations in these circumstances, namely, how to protect the £ with a high Bank Rate temporarily without throttling back all the efforts to increase production. This was a problem which the Tories never faced. This is a problem which we are facing.

For example, the Tories, in imposing a 7 per cent. Bank Rate, wished to solve but did nothing about solving the problem of the impact of high Bank Rate on financing exports. The Government, in a relatively short time, have got down to tackling that problem. Instead of the impotent non possumus of the Tory Party, we have formulated measures so that a high Bank Rate shall not have a throttling effect on exports. I am sure that in a relatively short time we shall see in various ways the impact of a 7 per cent. Bank Rate on our economy, but in the sensitive and important capital expenditure of both private industry and public industry we will see the Government taking measures to shield those industries and capital expenditure from the kind of stop-go consequences which flowed while the Tories were in power.

Much has been made of the fact that in the relatively short time of three months the Government have not produced a comprehensive solution to the complex problem of preventing the consequences which happened earlier of a 7 per cent. Bank Rate on people's homes and the rates of interest which they have to pay in financing them. The Tories were faced with this problem and I am sure that they sincerely wished to solve it, but they were never able to begin to attempt such a solution. It can be confidently stated that the Government will produce a solution for that problem, too, in the not too distant future. At any rate, they are not throwing up their hands helplessly and ignoring the problem and saying that nothing can be done about it.

If I had time, I could go comprehensively through the major problems which are facing the Government. What is important is not whether the Protection from Eviction Bill has a detailed imperfection of drafting or timing in it, but that the Government are tackling one of the great domestic problems of the country, and that they are doing so in a manner which repudiates the callous anachronism which permits the homes of millions of our fellow citizens to be at the unrestricted whim and say-so of private landlords.

What matters about the Land Commission is not whether we will immediately and everywhere produce a solution to the land problem, but instead of helplessly saying that nothing can be done, as the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said, the Government are attempting to solve a problem on which enlightened opinion is united, namely, rocketing land prices. The Government, with all energy and zeal, are seeking to find a solution. There is no doubt that some solution, even if it is not perfect, will be found.

The same is true of old-age pensions. It is not of fundamental importance whether old-age pensions could be increased a few weeks later or earlier. What matters is that by increasing the old-age pensions the Government have recognised that economic advance and social justice must march hand-in-hand. That is the kind of consideration which concerns me.

I could go through the list of things which the Government have done, including the First Secretary of State's achievement on an incomes policy. The Government have invaded an area where drift had appertained in the past, and they have invaded it with energy and a great deal of success. What matters is not that a perfect incomes policy should be achieved overnight but that the Government are actively taking steps to achieve the best possible incomes and wages policy open to them and are preparing the ground for such a policy.

Not only am I unable to disagree with the Opposition's Motion of no confidence in the Government; I feel that in all these areas their behaviour stands in inspired contrast with that of their predecessors in tackling the country's problems.

In considering the alternative Government, perhaps I may be permitted to say a word of profound regret from this side of the House that the man with the most constructive and progressive mind in the Tory Party has found it impossible to remain on the Opposition Front Bench and to offer himself for further service to the country. It is a sad reflection on the Conservative Party that at the age of 62 one of its wisest, most experienced and statesmanlike men who is much respected in the House and who has a vast record of public service in many Departments should find himself compelled to leave politics because he sees no future on the Opposition Front Bench and no hope, presumably, of his talents being satisfactorily used by it.

The Government have done badly at two by-elections. There were very special circumstances and there were very trying immediate—[Interruption.] There were special circumstances. They have been much commented upon and analysed, but I see no reasons why the Government's record of achievement will not impressively sink home as time goes on and as their efforts are successful and understood by the people.

It is interesting to me that abroad the Government's reputation is already rocketing. The £ sterling is stronger than when the Conservatives were in office. What I find difficult to understand is how an economy which, we were told, was at the apotheosis of its steadiness when handed over to us a few weeks ago should, merely on the basis of timing and execution alleged against us by the Tory Party, so soon be in such a parlous condition. It has not been documented in their argument.

The Government should continue, as they are now doing, tackling every major problem unafraid of the fact that the Conservative Party did not feel able to achieve any success in these problems which so oppressed the economy. In housing, the Land Commission, taxation and social services, the Government in a very short time have a record of which they are rightly proud.

The Tory Party prefer passive inaction to energy and successful achievement by the Government. I urge the Government to continue and I am sure that when they have their record of achievement fully before and understood by the country, they will receive a further renewal of the country's and the people's confidence.

8.58 p.m.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

The debate has included two maiden speeches. One of them, by my hon. Friend the Member for the Langstone Division of Portsmouth (Mr. Ian Lloyd), which I had the pleasure of hearing, was, I think everyone would agree, particularly thoughtful and interesting. The passages which my hon. Friend gave us about the reasons why he came to this country and his analysis of many of our political problems were such as to lead us all to look forward to hearing from him again soon and often. The other maiden speech, which, I regret, I did not hear, was from the hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams), but I gather from those who listened to him that his speech also was persuasive and of excellent quality.

In an episode which occurred when I was not present but of which I have a report, I understand that the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Maxwell), in an interruption, said something about me and my activities which I must take seriously, even coming from the hon. Member. If the report which I have received of what the hon. Member said bears any relation to his words, it has no truth whatever and I trust that when he has reflected upon it he will either withdraw or apologise, or both.

Photo of Mr Robert Maxwell Mr Robert Maxwell , Buckingham

I will not withdraw. It is a fact that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a most irresponsible way, attacked sterling and the actions of the Government in defending it. His friends in the City will all testify to the fact that his actions have encouraged British businessmen in buying sterling forward in such quantities as to do us incalculable harm.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

I must look at the record. I understood the hon. Gentleman said that I was inviting people to sell sterling short. If he said that, it is wholly untrue, and unworthy even of him. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."]

In the course of his speech the Prime Minister made a statement about the aircraft industry. It was a very important statement, and I am sure that it is one which will need full debate on a suitable occasion. The implications for the aircraft industry as a whole, and for some of the units in the industry, are clearly very serious indeed, and we on this side of the House will want to study them, as I am sure the whole House will, and debate them on a suitable occasion.

Certainly several matters are obscure, and I think need clarification. To give only one example, a comparison was made between the cost of the TSR2 and the American TFX, but we are not clear whether the comparison was with the Mark I or the Mark II aircraft. Nor is it clear how such an accurate assessment can be given of the saving claimed by the Government in buying American when the cost of the American equipment must itself be so highly uncertain. That is the sort of point which I think needs further probing, and which we shall certainly wish to do on a suitable occasion in a full debate.

I turn now to the subject of this Motion of censure which invites the House to declare that we have no confidence whatever in the ability of the present Government to manage the affairs of this country. This invitation has already been gleefully accepted by the voters of Leyton and Nuneaton, whatever may be said by the hon. Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever) about special factors. Whether the special factor in both cases was merely the choice of an unsuitable candidate, I do not know. What the other special factors are, I cannot imagine. The verdict of those electors on the first 100 days was, however, crystal clear, and was wholly condemnatory. We therefore ask the House this evening to vote in condemnation of this Government, and to show its lack of confidence in this Government. For the benefit of the Leader of the Liberal Party, I say that we have no hesitation at all in doing all we possibly can to bring about the defeat of this Government at the earliest possible moment.

Hon. Members:

Sit down.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

Seldom can any Government have achieved such a complete loss of confidence in themselves both at home and abroad in such a short period, and the reasons are clear. It has been a tale of confusion and folly, discord and chaos, and we now have a Government of abuse and excuse. Everything that goes wrong is someone else's fault—the wicked building societies, who, I think, are doing a pretty good amount to encourage housing in this country; the traders, who I thought were co-operating in the Government's incomes policy; the bankers, who have just done the most important thing to increase the export finances of this country; and the gnomes of Zurich, whom we always hear about, who I think played a not inconsiderable part in helping to support sterling in the latter part of last year.

It is always someone else who makes the mistakes, never the party opposite, never the Government. But of course their major and favourite alibi is the one of the Tory legacy, the one the Prime Minister paraded again this afternoon with an unusual list of bogus statistics, even more bogus than usual. But what the party opposite has not noticed is that steadily, in the last few weeks, its own figures have been blowing its excuse to smithereens.

The Government say that they came into power at a time when production was stagnating, and when the balance of payments was deteriorating. In fact, the figures in the Government's own publications now show that when they came into power production was at record levels and rapidly climbing, and that our exports were doing the same. In November, 1964, production was 7 points up on a year before. In 1964 the output of the construction industries rose by 12 per cent.; steel, both in terms of output and exports, reached record levels, and the motor industry boomed both in the home market and in exports. These are the facts of what was happening to the economy in 1964.

On more than one occasion the Chancellor of the Exchequer said how grieved he was to have to tell the House that we had had only a 2 per cent. growth rate in 1964. He is very sorry about this. I can bring him a message of good cheer. If he examines his own figures he will find that the rate of growth in industry between November, 1963, and November, 1964—the latest 12 months period for which figures are available—was between 5 per cent. and 6 per cent. I do not know what that means in terms of national output, but it is far nearer 4 per cent. than the 2 per cent. which he has talked about.

When I asked him what was the increase in national output up to November, 1964, he said that the figures were not then available. In that case I am not quite clear where his figure of 2 per cent. comes from. The fact is that in the last 12 months of the Conservative Government we saw a rate of increase of between 5 per cent. and 6 per cent. per annum in industrial production. If the party opposite have abandoned the 4 per cent. growth rate target, we have not—and we have achieved it. I state the facts; the Chancellor does not.

Hon. Members opposite say that we have twisted the figures. I turn to the First Secretary. I want to put a serious point to him. He accused us of cooking the books, which I take to be an accusation that false figures were deliberately produced—because cooking the books means nothing else. He has made the accusation that false figures about the economy were deliberately produced. In this House I cannot use the word "lie", because it is unparliamentary. That does not stop him from using it outside about me, fairly often. I say that there is not one word of truth in this, and that the right hon. Gentleman ought to know it.

Let the right hon. Gentleman tell me what figures that we produced were deliberately false. Were the figures of the balance of trade wrong? Were the figures of the balance of payments wrong? Were the figures relating to gold reserves wrong? What were these false figures?

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

There were quite a number. For a start, the right hon. Gentleman might deal with the Post Office.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

The right hon. Gentleman is suggesting that figures which were known to be false were deliberately published by the Post Office.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

Mr. Brown indicated assent.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

This is a serious matter. The accusation of cooking the books can refer to nothing else than the publication of figures known to be false by the people publishing them. I cannot imagine a more serious charge. If the right hon. Gentleman produces this charge in by election campaigns and will neither justify it nor withdraw it, he must expect to be treated with the contempt that he deserves.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I repeat, the Post Office. The Government published figures that they knew to be false, having cut out figures they knew should be there. Now that I have justified it, can the right hon. Gentleman show that I am wrong?

Hon. Members:

Answer.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

If the right hon. Gentleman says that figures were published by the Post Office which were known to be false at the time—that is what he did say—then we must have this out. But so far as the Treasury is concerned—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."]—and I suspect that he was talking about the Treasury, because it is the Treasury that publishes the nation's accounts—no figure was ever emended, no figure was ever delayed. In the middle of the election we published the balance of payments figures for the second quarter of the year without emendation, without delay. It is a disgraceful accusation.

I turn to the other argument put forward by the party opposite about the balance of payments, about the £800 million. I have said that this figure is an exaggeration. I repeat it again tonight. But it is nothing like as big an exaggeration as the Prime Minister's figure this afternoon. He took the third quarter and multiplied it by four. Talk about spreading alarm and despondency abroad. The figure of £1,100 million coming this afternoon from the Prime Minister was not exactly helpful. On statistical grounds one knows perfectly well that of the so-called gap, more than half will be shown clearly to be either overseas investments or the repayments of old debts and that three-quarters of the deficit for the year had been handled, and handled effectively, without damage to the confidence in sterling before this Government took over.

Look at the Prime Minister's famous speech on 23rd November to which my right hon. Friend referred earlier. He said quite clearly that the resources available were perfectly adequate at that time to cover the trade gap. He said himself, quite clearly, that the crisis of confidence it sterling was something that arose subsequently, a few days before 23rd November when he made this speech. I was interested in the Prime Minister's statistics. This afternoon he produced some figures about the visible balance of payments, the visible balance of trade. He produced them up to the third quarter of last year, but the fourth quarter he did not mention. In fact it was so much better, that is why he did not mention it. I remember the Chancellor of the Exchequer making a speech in December, I think during the Third Reading of the Finance Bill, asking where were the exports I was talking about, where was the great increase in exports. He could not see it, but it was happening at that very moment. Despite delays at the docks, British exporters were piling up the highest export total ever achieved. The number of orders in order books in the engineering industry rose sharply in November at home, and even more so abroad. The fact is that the figures for December show that the balance on current account was virtually level; that the deficit on current account in December had, in effect, been eliminated. None of this has anything whatever to do with the Government.

I am sure that if the Prime Minister were present—[HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"]—he would agree that the surcharge had no significant effect whatever on December trade figures; and that, after all, is what has been said by the Board of Trade. As to exports, the only effect of Government policy on exports by December had been the result of the 7 per cent. Bank Rate with the cost load on export finance of the effect of the surcharge and the inevitable effect of the retaliation which businessmen have experienced from many countries which were so shaken by the way in which this surcharge was imposed.

We had quite clearly from the Government's own recently published statistics the fact that in the fourth quarter of last year—as we always said it would—without any influence from them production was at record levels and rising exports were precisely the same. This is the fact of their inheritance. As to the sterling crisis, as the Prime Minister's speech in November showed clearly, the cause was the complete and sudden collapse of confidence at home and abroad in the ability of this Government to govern once people had seen what they were doing and how they were doing it. I do not think that it was so much a matter of their doing things which were wrong as the way in which they did them. They had not the faintest idea what they were doing and they seldom had any idea of the consequences of their actions.

To turn to the way in which the surcharge was handled, the Prime Minister said this afternoon, "We understand well the feelings of our trading partners." Good heavens, if anything could be more the contrary of established truth than that, I should like to hear it. The one thing the Government have not understood is the feeling of our trading partners. If only they had given them more warning in advance. If only they could have avoided giving the impression that the Americans were informed before our friends in E.F.T.A. These are the things which matter in Europe. We all of us see many people in Europe, and those of us who have talked to them know that what really annoyed them and what sunk into people's minds in E.F.T.A., in particular, was the way in which this was handled, the lack of consultation, the suggestion that any objection was mere spitefulness. This, together with the extraordinary blunder of the Concord, picking out this one Anglo-French project and highlighting this so-called prestige project, this extraordinary blundering in international relations, is the first charge against the Government—the real damage which they have done to our international position and our international trade.

I turn to Bank Rate. Here again they clearly have no idea what they are doing. They started off by saying that they would not increase Bank Rate. Incidentally, they blamed me for not having done it earlier, but that is another story. And then, finally, they were forced into it in a panic measure, in a form in which it had no effect, because it pushed money out instead of drawing it in. What did the Chancellor think the Bank Rate was supposed to do? On 24th November he said that the rise in Bank Rate … is a reinforcement of our earlier measures to check the pressure of demand."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Tuesday, 24th November, 1964; Vol. 702, c. 1103.] And yet the very day before the same Chancellor said: I hope it will not work through the domestic economy for reasons that will be obvious to the House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Monday, 23rd November; Vol. 702, c. 916.] If the reasons are obvious, the logic is not. But, of course, the effect of Bank Rate and the general move in interest rates has been very serious for house purchasers. As Mr. Three Per Cent. himself is answering the debate, I want to know where we stand on this, because I think that there is no doubt that the impression given to many people in this country was that a Labour Government would do something about reducing the cost of housing loans. Of course, the effect of their policy has been to drive up the cost of housing to unprecedented levels. It is no good the Chancellor blaming the building societies. On 19th January he made a statement in which he said that for the time being he was going to leave the interest rates charged on the quota of loans which the local authorities draw unchanged, but he did not say that, at the same time, on the generality of Public Works Loan Board rates the Government intended to raise the rate from 6⅛ per cent. to 6⅞ per cent. or 7 per cent. And when the Government put up the cost of money to local authorities to 7 per cent., the local authorities have to charge well over 7 per cent. to house purchasers. Why, then, should the building societies be blamed for charging higher rates?

It is another example of muddle and misunderstanding and self-contradiction. The right hon. Gentleman should know that building societies have to charge to borrowers what they have to pay to draw in the funds which they need. They are not wicked capitalist organisations giving lush dividends to top-hatted shareholders. They are mutual organisations. They are institutions which help house-ownership by borrowing money and lending it again. They cannot lend money unless they can borrow it. If Government actions put up the general structure of interest rates in the way they have done, then of course building society rates will go up, too.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Then why did the Chancellor of the Exchequer—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—why did the right hon. Gentleman, who occupied Government office for so long out of the last 13 years, indicate to the building societies in August that he did not wish them to put up their interest rates and that he would prefer that these rates should remain down? If that were the case, why did not those economic considerations apply then?

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

It is one thing to discuss with building societies their interest rates policy, but it is their policy, and it is quite another thing to blame them for doing what they have to do.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

As the right hon. Gentleman raised the question of the structure of interest rates, may I ask whether the same considerations did not then apply and why was it suggested that building societies should keep their interest rates down in August—unless it was because of the approach of a General Election?

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

It is always perfectly reasonable for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss interest rates policy with any people who have a big influence on the money market of this country. What is unreasonable is for the Government to blame the building societies for doing something made necessary by the Government's own policy.

I turn to the new corporation tax and the capital gains tax. This is a matter on which I think the First Secretary was rather cross with me for issuing a statement. I issued a statement when I failed to get any informaton from the Chancellor of the Exchequer about certain features of those two taxes because the impact upon British industry of the corporation tax, in particular, and of the capital gains tax could be very serious.

There is no doubt that it is quite impossible to take one feature of the American tax system and to graft it on to the British system, the rest of which is entirely different from the American system. In trying to do this the Chancellor has created doubts and worries in the minds, particularly, of international companies operating from this country, who bring large resources into this country in foreign exchange and whose whole position might be revolutionised by a tax change of this kind. There is no doubt that there has been a definite effect upon investment. I know about the 10 per cent. figure taken in November, but let hon. Members look at the bank figures and let them talk to people who are investing. There is no doubt that there has been an effect upon the level of investment and, possibly more important, an effect on people investing from abroad in this country at a time when we particularly wanted that investment.

I said on 15th December: A very serious situation has been created by the Government's refusal to give more information about the corporation tax and the capital gains tax. The grave uncertainty is bound to have damaging effects on markets and on the strength of sterling. That was a statement of fact, however much the First Secretary of State may dislike it, and I have yet to believe that it is approved constitutional doctrine that the Opposition should sit in approving silence when the Government make a hash of the economy and then refuse to put it right.

These are the charges which we bring against the Government. We say that the sterling crisis of November, the resulting damage to this country's position in the world and the damage to our economy arose from the follies of the Government. This is shown by the Prime Minister's speech on 23rd November. They arose from those follies and from nothing else. The situation occurred for one reason—because they lost their nerve and because they were determined to make everything look as black as possible to suit their own party interests. This is the fundamental ground on which we censure the Government and declare our total lack of confidence in them.

9.25 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I would say, on the whole not a bad speech. Only two people were upset by it—the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath) and, I suspect, the chairman of Kleinwort Benson, because if the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) figures in the City as he figured here tonight, heaven knows what will happen to that company's investments.

In the course of the debate there have been two maiden speeches, one from the hon. Member for Portsmouth, Langstone (Mr. Ian Lloyd), which I heard, and one from my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams), part of which I heard. May I join the right hon. Gentleman in saying very sincerely to both hon. Members that they made a very distinguished debut—I am bound to say a good deal more distinguished than the one I made—and we all look forward very much to hearing them both again.

As we come to the end of the debate, anybody summing it up is bound to have one problem: that is, trying to identify the purpose of the Motion. Clearly, it has nothing to do with the state of the nation or with the future of the nation. Neither the terms of the Motion nor the speech of the Leader of the Opposition had anything to do with either. To judge from the terms of the Motion and from the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, there might never have been any problems facing this country. I agree on this point with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party. [Laughter.] There is nothing wrong in the whole country knowing that the idea of anybody agreeing with the Liberals is derisory in the view of the Conservative Party. On this limited point I do agree with them. That is, that the only connection between the Motion and the Leader of the Opposition's speech today was the old familiar party dogfight. I know from my contacts in the country—but the party opposite does not know—that there is nothing that the people in the country are so fed up with as the old sterile party dogfight.

Sometimes the House can act extraordinarily out of touch with the feeling of its constituents. So it did early this afternoon, and so obviously a part of it is determined to do tonight. It is not for me to join in that kind of battle, because there are much more worth-while things to discuss and, so far as I am allowed to discuss them, I shall do so.

Just before I turn to the more worthwhile things in which people outside and a few people inside are interested, perhaps I can do something to sweeten the atmosphere by establishing a little inescapable background which, though I describe it as inescapable, seems somehow to have fallen out of the memory of the right hon. Member for Barnet. If it be true that this Government have hurried over their decisions in the last 13 weeks, this is because of the time the Tory Party wasted in the last 13 years.

Secondly, if it be true that we have considered our decisions less fully than hon. and right hon. Members opposite think we should have done, the answer is the size, the nature and the urgency of the problems which they bequeathed to us. If it be true that the country was unprepared for the nature of the changes we had to ask it to make, the reason is the long and deliberate deception practised by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. They created the problems, they fashioned the mood, they evaded all the decisions, they debilitated the morale of the administrative machine. Our responsibility is limited to trying to deal with the consequential mess which they left behind them.

In my present mood of sweetness, let me say that since then their untiring efforts have been devoted to making it all the more difficult to clear up the mess and to inspiring and stimulating all the opposition they could possibly achieve. They had a noble and patriotic record before the election and they had the same one afterwards, and it has been the full run of Tory tradition for centuries.

But having said a word about them, I must be fair and must not forget the Liberal Party before I turn to other matters. In this general atmosphere of sweetness and light, let me say to the Liberal Party that I believe that the terms of their Amendment on the Order Paper and of their Leader's speech today must be described as a work of art.

Broadly speaking, as I understand it, they are against sin. They disapprove of sinners and they are in favour of all good works. Speaking as an Anglican, I must say that theologically that is a very good posture but in human and practical terms it must be regarded on the whole as a trifle idealistic. It is not surprising, therefore, that they have decided to contract out of the issue at the end of the day. I want to say to them that life has to go on. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] It may be a very good question for the hon. Member who asked "why", but someone has to fight. Someone has to fight for improvements and for development even though it means getting one's hands dirty. The result of the Liberal decision to abstain from voting tonight is that they leave it to Labour to go on alone as far as the radical Left of this country is concerned.

After that non-controversial start, I come to the issues which we had to tackle all at once and all together when we came into office. I reiterate, as my right hon. Friend made clear earlier today, that it was no desire of ours that these questions should have to be tackled all at the same time, all in one package. But the fact remains that every difficult, complex and harsh decision had been postponed by right hon. Gentlemen opposite before the election, and no incoming Government, even their Administration if they had come back again, would have been able to avoid answering the problems. No incoming Government would have had any choice except to make difficult and unhappy decisions for the most part.

First, we dealt with the import-export gap, which the former Chancellor did not seem to think was there, and we operated against it on two fronts, as right hon. Members opposite would have had to do. One was on imports, which is where one can save most quickly. Right hon. Members opposite left behind a choice of remedies. They know exactly what they did. They left an enormous pile of paper on quantitative restrictions worked out to the last detail, and the right hon. Member for Barnet was in favour of this. Also, they left something on tariff surcharges. We had to decide, because those are for practical purposes, short of devaluation, the only two alternatives. One or the other would have been chosen by right hon. Members opposite had they been returned.

We chose the surcharge because, of the two, it is the least permanent, it requires the least bureaucracy, it is the easiest to amend and to reduce, and it involves the least interference with the pattern of trade. It may well be that some hon. and right hon. Members opposite would have preferred the other, but what it is not open to them to say is that, if they had come back, they would not have chosen one or the other.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

Second, we went to work to get exports up. If one wants to maintain only a very temporary interference with imports, the answer for this trading nation is that exports must be stimulated. Since the beginning, by the rebate, by the announcements made last week, we have gone on giving as much assistance to exporters and to exports as our position under the G.A.T.T. and the Stockholm Convention will allow us to do.

All of this has been done immediately, and, of course, the doing of it, in order to make our position a bit better quickly, hurts those who sell to us. But the situation had to be put right. We could not repeat that deficit this year and next year. What the nation needed was some help from the men who made the mess to explain why the remedies had to be taken.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

Sir C. Osborne rose

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

Next, we decided, as the right hon. Gentleman said today that we should, that the country ought to accept that the urgent industrial requirement was to become more competitive. This, I accept, is an absolute, urgent requirement, particularly as we must not remain, or seem to remain, protective in any sense.

What have we done to get more competition? We went straight away to get a prices and incomes policy. I am not very clear—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—hon. Gentlemen opposite carry their undergraduateness into old age; it never leaves them—whether right hon. Gentlemen opposite regard this as basic or not to becoming competitive, I do. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) thinks it is not. The right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) thinks it is. The right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) both thinks it is and thinks it is not. But what does the Leader of the Opposition think? Is it?

We are very much nearer actually establishing a policy than hon. Members opposite have ever been. The Trades Union Congress has already accepted it. I expect and hope next week to be able to tell the House that the manufacturers, the employers, have also accepted it. That will mean that the only sneerers and jeerers sit on the other side of the House?

Photo of Mr John Rodgers Mr John Rodgers , Sevenoaks

Sir J. Rodgers rose

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

We have also tried to break the spiral of price and wage advances in the interim. We have had a great deal of help. We have had help from businessmen, from people like Mr. Kearton of Courtaulds, from distributors, from paying Conservatives like Mr. Sieff. The only people who have obstructed us have been right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. [Interruption.] Does the Opposition Chief Whip want to know who? It was the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, who told all businessmen that they should refuse to bring their prices down.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

Thirdly, we decided that the Government should re-examine the commitments that we had been left on defence spending by the previous Administration. We set out to examine a situation where unless something was done we should not only be the only major nation in the world whose defence budget was rising but should have a defence budget which was absolutely rocketing, and with much of it being spent on weapons systems that never seemed to come into operation. We have, therefore, gone ahead to examine the problem.

I shall not repeat what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said earlier, but I say to this House and to the country that if we are to get competitive, if we are to pay our way in the world, then we must stop wasting the money that we are wasting, we must stop misusing resources that are being misused and we must pay much more attention to effectiveness. [Interruption.] When the bucolic gentlemen opposite stop jeering they may remember that we are now doing what they did not do.

One hon. Member who was paying more serious attention than the Front Bench opposite asked about the C130 and whether it could be powered with the British Tyne engine. We hope so. We are examining that proposal now, but it is not possible to say whether it is practicable. We certainly aim to have this done if it is possible.

Photo of Mr Stanley McMaster Mr Stanley McMaster , Belfast East

Mr. Stanley R. McMaster (Belfast, East) rose

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I will come to Short Bros. and Harland in a moment.

The fourth thing that we have set out to do is to redeploy resources and manpower. That is why we set out, as a matter of urgency, to provide measures to enable men and women to move more easily. One of the problems of our society is that if we have under-use of resources in the North-East and over-use in the South-East we are not able to get people to move because we have not made it possible for them to do so. [Interruption.] Folk outside are concerned about this, although hon. Members opposite may not be.

That is why we are now pressing on with placing before the House proposals for severance pay and for wage-related unemployment benefits. That is why we have gone on quickly with arrangements for the effective regional planning of the use of our resources. That is why we are now having a national review of the resources that would be freed by any changes in the defence spending programme—in particular, in the case of the aircraft industry.

It is not our purpose to leave people without jobs nor to leave factories underused. It is our purpose to see—unlike the party opposite—that they are used for things that will enable this country to pay its way and to expand the economy.

I have been asked about Short Bros. and Harland. [Interruption.] Perhaps hon. Members opposite will let the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. McMaster) hear me. We recognise that the abandonment of the HS681 will present that firm, which is largely publicly owned, with a particularly difficult problem, since it had been counting on getting a substantial share of the work. We are urgently considering what other work can be fed in to replace this. Shorts occupy a special place in the economy of Northern Ireland, and it is important that the fullest use should be made of the company's resources. We therefore propose to appoint consultants—[Interruption.] Hon. Members for Northern Ireland would no doubt like to report how their colleagues are reacting. If they do not, I will tell the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland myself. We therefore propose to appoint consultants to carry out a comprehensive review of the company's potential and to advise on making the best use of its labour force and its other assets. The consultants' review will be primarily concerned with the scope for redeploying Short's resources. It is not, of course, intended to prejudge the company's place in the aircraft industry which the Plowden Committee will be considering.

Photo of Mr Stanley McMaster Mr Stanley McMaster , Belfast East

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that. Is he aware that the factory and the equipment at Short Bros. and Harland are suitable only for aircraft work? Can he give any undertaking that the design staff will be employed there?

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

That is the purpose of asking the consultants to come in. I know the company well, as the hon. Gentleman knows, and I know the management well. I do not think he will find that this is badly received over there. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The hon. Gentleman can go and find out. I am making a carefully considered statement and I think that he will find that Short Bros. and Harland, and Belfast, are looked after by this Government far better than by the last.

Fifthly in this programme is the drive for industrial modernisation and for a switch of effort. The Leader of the Liberal Party asked me this afternoon about the rate of growth. We have not abandoned the 4 per cent. growth rate. The fact is that when we came into power there was no 4 per cent. rate of growth. I shall be meeting the National Economic Development Council tomorrow morning when we shall be discussing the targets which we ought now to adopt.

What I propose to suggest is that we should aim for a 25 per cent. growth in our national product by 1970. That would mean a very substantial rise in the rate of growth. We have to reach it as quickly as we can. It will mean starting as we are from a figure well below 4 per cent. We have to reach 4 per cent. and surpass it between now and 1970.

The Economic Development Councils, the industrial advisers now working in the Department of Economic Affairs, all of whom with one exception are Conservatives and all of whom are managing directors or the equivalent of large companies have, unlike the sneerers opposite, come to help the nation—and some of our largest enterprises have been willing to pay their salaries so that they could work for the nation—a very good lesson for those opposite. The technological development with which we are pushing on and the attack on restrictive practices are all aimed at this. May I draw the attention of the House to paragraph 10 of the White Paper on Prices and Incomes?

Never before in this country have we achieved this, and it is a tremendous indictment of right hon. and hon. Members opposite that they are not willing to say a word of tribute even to their own friends, let alone ours. The White Paper states: We"— that is, the Trades Union Congress, the F.B.I., the B.E.C. and the Association of British Manufacturers and the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, without a single dissentient—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Sir J. Rodgers) is quite wrong. Will you listen? May I read it: We"— that is—[Interruption.] No, you are quite wrong. Will you listen? We, therefore undertake, on behalf of our members: to encourage and lead a sustained attack on the obstacles to efficiency, whether on the part of management or of workers, and to strive for the adoption of more rigorous standards of performance at all levels by both sides of industry"— something which hon. Members opposite could never achieve and which they are doing their best to sabotage. We are trying to put the economy on its feet. We have also made a beginning on an attack on the social evils which hon. Members opposite also left behind them.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I do not—[Interruption.]

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I speak with some diffidence in the presence of right hon. Members who have been here longer than I have. We have had debates on Motions of censure before. I should think it most unlikely that they were conducted in silence, but I think that the House should be mindful of its reputation.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I do not give way because I have only two minutes left. When the Leader of the Opposition was asked to intervene this afternoon, he would not do so. He just sat there.

All that I can say at the end of this debate is this. This is the way that we have tackled—[Interruption.]—the right hon. Member for Bexley is such a shouter in here, such a little man outside, so much smaller than he looks—this is the way that we have tackled the situation. The present position of our nation, as shown by every City page today, is far better than it was when we came to power—ask the City editors, ask Douglas Dillon, ask the European banks. All that hon. Members opposite can do is bellow, sneer and shout while we do the job.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 289, Noes 306.

Division No. 51.]AYES[10.0 p.m.
Agnew, Commander Sir PeterElliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)Emery, PeterLitchfield, Capt. John
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Errington, Sir EricLloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)
Amery, Rt. Hn. JulianFarr, JohnLloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Anstruther-Gray, Rt. Hn. Sir W.Fell, AnthonyLloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)
Astor, JohnFisher, NigelLongbottom, Charles
Atkins, HumphreyFletcher-Cooke, Charles (Darwen)Longden, Gilbert
Awdry, DanielFletcher-Cooke, Sir John (S'pton)Loveys, Walter H.
Baker, W. H. K.Forrest, GeorgeLucas, Sir Jocelyn
Balniel, LordFoster, Sir JohnLucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Barlow, Sir JohnFraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)McAdden, Sir Stephen
Batsford, BrianFraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonGalbraith, Hn. T. G. D.Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain
Bell, RonaldGammans, LadyMcMaster, Stanley
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Gardner, EdwardMcNair-Wilson, Patrick
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)Gibson-Watt, DavidMaginnis, John E.
Berkeley, HumphryGiles, Rear-Admiral MorganMaitland, Sir John
Berry, Hn. AnthonyGilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)Marlowe, Anthony
Biffen, JohnGilmour, Sir John (East Fife)Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Biggs-Davison, JohnGlover, Sir DouglasMarten, Neil
Bingham, R. M.Glyn, Sir RichardMathew, Robert
Birch, Rt. Hn. NigelGodber, Rt. Hn. J. B.Maude, Angus
Black, Sir CyrilGoodhew, VictorMaudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Blaker, PeterGower, RaymondMawby, Ray
Bossom, Hn CliveGrant, AnthonyMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Box, DonaldGrant-Ferris, R.Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. J.Gresham-Cooke, R.Meyer, Sir Anthony
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir EdwardGrieve, PercyMills, Peter (Torrington)
Braine, BernardGriffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Brewis, JohnGriffiths, Peter (Smethwick)Miscampbell, Norman
Brinton, Sir TattonGurden, HaroldMitchell, David
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir WalterHall, John (Wycombe)Monro, Hector
Brooke, Rt. Hn. HenryHall-Davis, A. G. F.More, Jasper
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)Morgan, W. G.
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Bryan, PaulHarris, Reader (Heston)Murton, Oscar
Buchanan-Smith, AlickHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Neave, Airey
Buck, AntonyHarvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Maccles'd)Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Bullus, Sir EricHarvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)Nicholson, Sir Godfrey
Burden, F. A.Harvie Anderson, MissNoble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Butcher, Sir HerbertHastings, StephenNugent, Rt. Hn. Sir Richard
Buxton, R. C.Hawkins, PaulOnslow, Cranley
Campbell, GordonHay, JohnOrr, Capt. L. P. S.
Carlisle, MarkHeald, Rt. Hn. Sir LionelOrr-Ewing, Sir Ian
Carr, Rt. Hn. RobertHeath, Rt. Hn. EdwardOsborn, John (Hallam)
Cary, Sir RobertHendry, ForbesOsborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Channon, H. P. G.Higgins, Terence L.Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Chataway, ChristopherHiley JosephPage, R. Graham (Crosby)
Chichester-Clark, R.Hill J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)Hirst, GeoffreyPeel, John
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnPercival, Ian
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)Hogg, Rt. Hn. QuintinPeyton John
Cole, NormanHopkins, AlanPickthorn, Rt. Hn. Sir Kenneth
Cooke, RobertHordern, PeterPike Miss Mervyn
Cooper, A. E.Hornby, RichardPitt, Dame Edith
Cooper-Key, Sir NeillHornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame P.Pounder, Rafton
Cordle, JohnHoward, Hn. G. R. (St. Ives)Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Corfield, F. V.Howe, Geoffrey (Bebington)Price, David (Eastleigh)
Costain, A. P.Hunt, John (Bromley)Prior, J. M. L.
Courtney, Cdr. AnthonyHutchison, Michael ClarkPym, Francis
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)Iremonger, T. L.Quennell, Miss J. M.
Crawley, AidanIrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir OliverJenkin Patrick (Woodford)Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Crowder, F. P.Jennings, J. C.Redmayne, Rt. Hn. Sir Martin
Cunningham, Sir KnoxJones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Rees-Davies, W. R.
Curran, CharlesJones Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Currie, G. B. H.Jopling, MichaelRidley, Hn. Nicholas
Dalkeith, Earl ofJoseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithRidsdale, Julian
Dance, JamesKerby, Capt. HenryRoberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Davies, Dr. Wyndham (Perry Barr)Kerr, Sir Hamilton (Cambridge)Robson Brown, Sir William
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryKershaw, AnthonyRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Dean, PaulKilfedder, James A.Roots, William
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.Kimball, MarcusRussell, Sir Ronald
Digby, Simon WingfieldKing, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)St. John-Stevas, Norman
Dodds-Parker, DouglasKitson, TimothySandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Doughty, CharlesLagden, GodfreyScott-Hopkins, James
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir AlecLambton, ViscountSharples, Richard
Drayson, G. B.Lancaster, Col. C. G.Shepherd, William
Eden, Sir JohnLangford-Holt, Sir John
Sinclair, Sir GeorgeThatcher, Mrs. MargaretWebster, David
Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)Wells, John (Maidstone)
Smyth, Rt. Hn. Brig. Sir JohnThomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Conway)Whitelaw, William
Soames, Rt. Hn. ChristopherThompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)Williams, Sir Rolf Dudley (Exeter)
Spearman, Sir AlexanderThorneycroft, Rt. Hn. PeterWills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Speir, Sir RupertTiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Stainton, KeithTurton, Rt. Hn. R. H.Wise, A. R.
Stanley, Hn. RichardTweedsmuir, LadyWolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Stodart, J. A.van Straubenzee, W. R.Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir MalcolmVaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnWoodhouse, Hon. Christopher
Studholme, Sir HenryVickers, Dame JoanWoodnutt, Mark
Summers, Sir SpencerWalder, David (High Peak)Wylie, N. R.
Talbot, John E.Walker, Peter (Worcester)Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir DerekYounger, Hn. George
Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)Wall, Patrick
Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)Walters, DennisTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Teeling, Sir WilliamWard, Dame IreneMr. McLaren and Mr. MacArthur
Temple, John M.Weatherill, Bernard
NOES
Abse, LeoDriberg, TomHughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Albu, AustenDuffy, A. E. P.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Dunn, James A.Hunter, Adam (Dunfermline)
Alldritt, W. H.Dunnett, JackHunter, A. E. (Feltham)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Edelman, MauriceHynd, H. (Accrington)
Armstrong, ErnestEdwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)Hynd, John (Attercliffe)
Atkinson, NormanEdwards, Robert (Bilston)Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Bacon, Miss AliceEnglish, MichaelIrving, Sydney (Dartford)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Ennals, DavidJackson, Colin
Barnett, JoelEnsor, DavidJanner, Sir Barnett
Baxter, WilliamEvans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Beaney, AlanEvans, Ioan (Birmingham, Yardley)Jeger, George (Goole)
Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.Fernyhough, E.Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.)
Bence, CyrilFinch, Harold (Bedwellty)Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodFitch, Alan (Wigan)Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Fletcher, Sir Eric (Islington, E.)Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Binns, JohnFletcher, Ted (Darlington)Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Bishop, E. S.Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Blackburn, F.Floud, BernardJones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Blenkinsop, ArthurFoley, MauriceJones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Boardman, H.Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Boston, T. G.Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)Kelley, Richard
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurFord, BenKenyon, Clifford
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics S. W.)Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)
Boyden, JamesFreeson, ReginaldKerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)
Bradley, TomGalpern, Sir MyerLawson, George
Bray, Dr. JeremyGarrett, W. E.Leadbitter, Ted
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Garrow, A.Ledger, Ron
Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)George, Lady Megan LloydLee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)
Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Provan)Ginsburg, DavidLee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & Fbury)Gourlay, HarryLever, Harold (Cheetham)
Buchan, Norman (Renfrewshire, W.)Gregory, ArnoldLever, L. M. (Ardwick)
Buchanan, RichardGrey, CharlesLewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)Lipton, Marcus
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. JamesGriffiths, Will (M'chester, Exchange)Lomas, Kenneth
Carmichael, NeilGunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.Loughlin, Charles
Carter-Jones, LewisHale, LeslieMabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Castle, Rt. Hn. BarbaraHamilton, James (Bothwell)McBride, Neil
Chapman, DonaldHamilton, William (West Fife)McCann, J.
Coleman DonaldHamling, William (Woolwich, W.)MacColl, James
Conlan, BernardHannan, WilliamMacDermot, Niall
Corbet, Mrs. FredaHarper, JosephMcGuire, Michael
Cousins, FrankHarrison, Walter (Wakefield)McInnes, James
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Hart, Mrs. JudithMcKay, Mrs. Margaret
Crawshaw, RichardHattersley, RoyMackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)
Cronin, JohnHayman, F. H.Mackie, John (Enfield, E.)
Crosland, AnthonyHazell, BertMcLeavy, Frank
Crossman, Rt. Hn. R. H. S.Healey, Rt. Hn. DenisMacMillan, Malcolm
Cullen, Mrs. AliceHeffer, Eric S.MacPherson, Malcolm
Dalyell, TamHenderson, Rt. Hn. ArthurMahon, Peter (Preston, S.)
Darling, GeorgeHerbison, Rt. Hn. MargaretMahon, Simon (Bootle)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Hill, J. (Midlothian)Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Davies, Harold (Leek)Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Davies, Ifor (Gower)Holman, PercyManuel, Archie
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Horner, JohnMapp, Charles
de Freitas, Sir GeoffreyHoughton, Rt. Hn. DouglasMarsh, Richard
Delargy, HughHowarth, Harry (Wellingborough)Mason, Roy
Dell, EdmundHowarth, Robert L. (Bolton, E.)Maxwell, Robert
Diamond, JohnHowell, Denis (Small Heath)Mayhew, Christopher
Dodds, NormanHowie, W.Mellish, Robert
Doig, PeterHoy, JamesMendelson, J. J.
Donnelly, DesmondHughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Millan, Bruce
Miller, Dr. M. S.Randall, HarryTaverne, Dick
Milne, Edward (Blyth)Rankin, JohnTaylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Molloy, WilliamRedhead, EdwardThomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Monslow, WalterRees, MerlynThomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Reynolds, G. W.Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Morris, Charles (Openshaw)Rhodes, GeoffreyThornton, Ernest
Morris, John (Aberavon)Richard, IvorTinn, James
Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick (SheffieldPk)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)Tomney, Frank
Murray, AlbertRoberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)Tuck, Raphael
Neal, HaroldRobertson, John (Paisley)Urwin, T. W.
Newens, StanRobinson, Rt. Hn. K. (St.Pancras,N.)Varley, Eric G.
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)Rodgers, William (Stockton)Wainwright, Edwin
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn.Philip (Derby, S.)Rose, Paul B.Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Norwood, ChristopherRoss, Rt. Hn. WilliamWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
Oakes, GordonRowland, ChristopherWallace, George
Ogden, EricSheldon, RobertWarbey, William
O'Malley, BrianShinwell, Rt. Hn. E.Watkins, Tudor
Oram, Albert E. (E. Ham, S.)Shore, Peter (Stepney)Weitzman, David
Orbach, MauriceShort, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Orme, StanleySilkin, John (Deptford)White, Mrs. Eirene
Oswald, ThomasSilkin, S. C. (Camberwell, Dulwich)Whitlock, William
Owen, WillSilverman, Julius (Aston)Wigg, Rt. Hn. George
Padley, WalterSilverman, Sydney (Nelson)Wilkins, W. A.
Page, Derek (King's Lynn)Skeffington, ArthurWilley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Paget, R. T.Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Palmer, ArthurSlater, Joseph (Sedgefield)Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Pannell, Rt. Hn. CharlesSmall, WilliamWilliams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Pargiter, G. A.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Park, Trevor (Derbyshire, S. E.)Snow, JulianWillis, George (Edinburgh, E.)
Parkin, B. T.Solomons, HenryWilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Pavitt, LaurenceSoskice, Rt. Hn. Sir FrankWilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)Spriggs, LeslieWinterbottom, R. E.
Peart, Rt. Hn. FredSteele, ThomasWoodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Pentland, NormanStonehouse, JohnWoof, Robert
Perry, Ernest G.Stones, WilliamWyatt, Woodrow
Popplewell, ErnestStrauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Prentice, R. E.Summerskill, Dr. ShirleyZilliacus, K.
Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)Swain, Thomas
Probert, ArthurSwingler, StephenTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Pursey, Cmdr. HarrySymonds, J. B.Mr. Short and Mr. George Rogers.

Question put, That the proposed words be there added:—

The House divided: Ayes 306, Noes 289.

Division No. 52.]AYES[10.14 p.m.
Abse, LeoCarmichael, NeilEnsor, David
Albu, AustenCarter-Jones, LewisEvans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Castle, Rt. Hn. BarbaraEvans, Ioan (Birmingham, Yardley)
Alldritt, W. H.Chapman, DonaldFernyhough, E.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Coleman, DonaldFinch, Harold (Bedwellty)
Armstrong, ErnestConlan, BernardFitch, Alan (Wigan)
Atkinson, NormanCorbet, Mrs. FredaFletcher, Sir Eric (Islington, E.)
Bacon, Miss AliceCousins, FrankFletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)
Barnett, JoelCrawshaw, RichardFloud, Bernard
Baxter, WilliamCronin, JohnFoley, Maurice
Beaney, AlanCrosland, AnthonyFoot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)
Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.Crossman, Rt. Hn. R. H. S.Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)
Bence, CyrilCullen, Mrs. AliceFord, Ben
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodDalyell, TamFraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)Darling, GeorgeFreeson, Reginald
Binns, JohnDavies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Galpern, Sir Myer
Bishop, E. S.Davies, Harold (Leek)Garrett, W. E.
Blackburn, F.Davies, Ifor (Gower)Garrow, A.
Blenkinsop, ArthurDavies, S. O. (Merthyr)George, Lady Megan Lloyd
Boardman, H.de Freitas, Sir GeoffreyGinsburg, David
Boston, T. G.Delargy, HughGourlay, Harry
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurDell, EdmundGregory, Arnold
Bowden Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics S. W.)Diamond, JohnGrey, Charles
Boyden, JamesDodds, NormanGriffiths, David (Rother Valley)
Bradley, TomDoig, PeterGriffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)
Bray, Dr. JeremyDonnelly, DesmondGriffiths, Will (M'chester, Exchange)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Driberg, TomGunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.
Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)Duffy, A. E. P.Hale, Leslie
Brown, Hugh D. (Glasgow, Provan)Dunn, James A.Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & Fbury)Dunnett, JackHamilton, William (West Fife)
Buchan, Norman (Renfrewshire, W.)Edelman, MauriceHamling, William (Woolwich, W.)
Buchanan, RichardEdwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)Hannan, William
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Edwards, Robert (Bilston)Harper, Joseph
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)English, MichaelHarrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. JamesEnnals, DavidHart, Mrs. Judith
Hattersley, RoyMacPherson, MalcolmRoss, Rt. Hn. William
Hayman, F. H.Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)Rowland, Christopher
Hazell, BertMahon, Simon (Bootle)Sheldon, Robert
Healey, Rt. Hn. DenisMallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Heffer, Eric S.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)Shore, Peter (Stepney)
Henderson, Rt. Hn. ArthurManuel, ArchieShort, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)
Herbison, Rt. Hn. MargaretMapp, CharlesSilkin, John (Deptford)
Hill, J. (Midlothian)Marsh, RichardSilkin, S. C. (Camberwell, Dulwich)
Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K' town)Mason, RoySilverman Julius (Aston)
Holman, PercyMaxwell, RobertSilverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Horner, JohnMayhew, ChristopherSkeffington, Arthur
Houghton, Rt. Hn. DouglasMellish, RobertSlater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)Mendelson, J. J.Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Howarth, Robert L. (Bolton, E.)Millan, BruceSmall, William
Howell, Denis (Small Heath)Miller, Dr. M. S.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Howie, W.Milne, Edward (Blyth)Snow, Julian
Hoy, JamesMolloy, WilliamSolomons, Henry
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Monslow, WalterSoskice, Rt. Hn. Sir Frank
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Spriggs, Leslie
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Morris, Charles (Openshaw)Steele, Thomas
Hunter, Adam (Dunfermline)Morris, John (Aberavon)Stonehouse John
Hunter, A. E. (Feltham)Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick (SheffieldPk)Stones, William
Hynd, H. (Accrington)Murray, AlbertStrauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Hynd, John (Attercliffe)Neal, HaroldSummerskill, Dr. Shirley
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)Newens, StanSwain, Thomas
Irving, Sydney (Dartford)Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)Swingler, Stephen
Jackson, ColinNoel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)Symonds, J. B.
Janner, Sir BarnettNorwood, ChristopherTaverne, Dick
Jay, Rt. Hn. DouglasOakes, GordonTaylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Jeger, George (Goole)Ogden, EricThomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)O'Malley, BrianThomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)Oram, Albert E. (E. Ham S.)Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)Orbach, MauriceThornton, Ernest
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Orme, StanleyTinn, James
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)Oswald, ThomasTomney, Frank
Jones, Dan (Burnley)Owen, WillTuck, Raphael
Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham,S.)Padley, WalterUrwin, T. W.
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Page, Derek (King's Lynn)Varley, Eric G.
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)Paget, R. T.Wainwright, Edwin
Kelley, RichardPalmer, ArthurWalden, Brian (All Saints)
Kenyon, CliffordPannell, Rt. Hn. CharlesWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)Pargiter, G. A.Wallace, George
Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)Park, Trevor (Derbyshire, S. E.)Warbey, William
Lawson, GeorgeParkin, B. T.Watkins, Tudor
Leadbitter, TedPavitt, LaurenceWeitzman, David
Ledger, RonPearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)Peart, Rt. Hn. FredWhite, Mrs. Eirene
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)Pentland, NormanWhitlock, William
Lever, Harold (Cheetham)Perry, Ernest G.Wigg, Rt. Hn. George
Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)Popplewell, ErnestWilkins, W. A.
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)Prentice, R. E.Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Lipton, MarcusProbert, ArthurWilliams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Lomas, KennethPursey, Cmdr. HarryWilliams Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Loughlin CharlesRandall, HarryWilliams, W. T. (Warrington)
Mabon, Dr. J. DicksonRankin, JohnWillis, George (Edinburgh, E.)
McBride, NeilRedhead, EdwardWilson, Rt. Hn. Harlod (Huyton)
McCann, J.Rees, MerlynWilson, William (Coventry, S.)
MacColl, JamesReynolds, G. W.Winterbottom, R. E.
MacDermot, NiallRhodes, GeoffreyWoodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
McGuire, MichaelRichard, IvorWoof, Robert
McInnes, JamesRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Wyatt, Woodrow
McKay, Mrs. MargaretRoberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)Robertson, John (Paisley)Zilliacus, K.
Mackie, John (Enfield, E.)Robinson, Rt. Hn. K. (St. Pancras, N.)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
McLeavy, FrankRodgers, William (Stockton)Mr. Short and Mr. George Rogers.
MacMillan, MalcolmRose, Paul B.
NOES
Agnew, Commander Sir PeterBell, RonaldBoyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Braine, Bernard
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)Brewis, John
Allason, James (Hemel, Hempstead)Berkeley, HumphryBrinton, Sir Tatton
Amery, Rt. Hn. JulianBerry, Hn. AnthonyBromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter
Anstruther-Gray, Rt. Hn. Sir W.Biffen, JohnBrooke, Rt. Hn. Henry
Astor, JohnBiggs-Davison, JohnBrown, Sir Edward (Bath)
Atkins, HumphreyBingham, R. M.Bruce-Gardyne, J.
Awdry, DanielBirch, Rt. Hn. NigelBryan, Paul
Baker, W. H. K.Black, Sir CyrilBuchanan-Smith, Alick
Balniel, LordBlaker, PeterBuck, Antony
Barlow, Sir JohnBossom, Hn. CliveBullus, Sir Eric
Batsford, BrianBox, DonaldBurden, F. A.
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonBoyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. J.Butcher, Sir Herbert
Buxton, R. C.Heath, Rt. Hn. EdwardPearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Campbell, GordonHendry, ForbesPeel, John
Carlisle, MarkHiggins, Terence L.Percival, Ian
Carr, Rt. Hn. RobertHiley, JosephPeyton, John
Cary, Sir RobertHill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)Pickthorn, Rt. Hn. Sir Kenneth
Channon, H. P. G.Hirst, GeoffreyPike, Miss Mervyn
Chataway, ChristopherHobson, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnPitt, Dame Edith
Chichester-Clark, R.Hogg, Rt. Hn. QuintinPounder, Rafton
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)Hopkins, AlanPowell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)Hordern, PeterPrice, David (Eastleigh)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)Hornby, RichardPrior, J. M. L.
Cole, NormanHornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame P.Pym, Francis
Cooke, RobertHoward, Hn. G. R. (St. Ives)Quennell, Miss J. M.
Cooper, A. E.Howe, Geoffrey (Bebington)Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Cooper-Key, Sir NeillHunt, John (Bromley)Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Cordle, JohnHutchison, Michael ClarkRedmayne, Rt. Hn. Sir Martin
Corfield, F. V.Iremonger, T. L.Rees-Davies, W. R.
Costain, A. P.Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Courtney, Cdr. AnthonyJenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)Jennings, J. C.Ridsdale, Julian
Crawley, AidanJones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir OliverJones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)Robson Brown, Sir William
Crowder, F. P.Jopling, MichaelRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Cunningham, Sir KnoxJoseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithRoots, William
Curran, CharlesKerby, Capt. HenryRussell, Sir Ronald
Currie, G. B. H.Kerr, Sir Hamilton (Cambridge)St. John-Stevas, Norman
Dalkeith, Earl ofKershaw, AnthonySandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Dance, JamesKilfedder, James A.Scott-Hopkins, James
Davies, Dr. Wyndham (Perry Barr)Kimball, MarcusSharples, Richard
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryKing-Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Shepherd, William
Dean, PaulKitson, TimothySinclair, Sir George
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.Lagden, GodfreySmith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Digby, Simon WingfieldLambton, ViscountSmyth, Rt. Hn. Brig. Sir John
Dodds-Parker, DouglasLancaster, Col. C. G.Soames, Rt. Hn. Christopher
Doughty, CharlesLangford-Holt, Sir JohnSpearman, Sir Alexander
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir AlecLegge-Bourke, Sir HarrySpeir, Sir Rupert
Drayson G. B.Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Stainton, Keith
Eden, Sir JohnLitchfield, Capt. JohnStanley, Hn. Richard
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)Stodart, J. A.
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Emery, PeterLloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)Studholme, Sir Henry
Errington, Sir EricLongbottom, CharlesSummers, Sir Spencer
Farr, JohnLongden, GilbertTalbot, John E.
Fell, AnthonyLoveys, Walter H.Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Fisher, NigelLucas, Sir JocelynTaylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles (Darwen)Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughTaylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Fletcher-Cooke, Sir John (S'pton)McAdden, Sir StephenTeeling, Sir William
Forrest, GeorgeMacIean, Sir FitzroyTemple, John M.
Foster, Sir JohnMacIeod, Rt. Hn. IainThatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)McMaster, StanleyThomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)McNair-Wilson, PatrickThomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Conway)
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. D.Maginnis, John E.Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Gammans, LadyMaitland, Sir JohnThorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter
Gardner, EdwardMarlowe, AnthonyTiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Gibson-Watt, DavidMarples, Rt. Hn. ErnestTurton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Giles, Rear-Admiral MorganMarten, NeilTweedsmuir, Lady
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)Mathew, Robertvan Straubenzee, W. R.
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)Maude, AngusVaughan-Morgan Rt. Hn. Sir John
Glover, Sir DouglasMaudling, Rt. Hn. ReginaldVickers, Dame Joan
Glyn, Sir RichardMawby, RayWalder, David (High Peak)
Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Walker, Peter (Worcester)
Goodhew, VictorMaydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Gower, RaymondMeyer, Sir AnthonyWall, Patrick
Grant, AnthonyMills, Peter (Torrington)Walters, Dennis
Grant-Ferris, R.Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)Ward, Dame Irene
Gresham-Cooke, R.Miscampbell, NormanWeatherill, Bernard
Grieve, PercyMitchell, DavidWebster, David
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)Monro, HectorWells, John (Maidstone)
Griffiths, Peter (Smethwick)More, JasperWhitelaw, William
Gurden, HaroldMorgan, W. G.Williams, Sir Rolf Dudley (Exeter)
Hall, John (Wycombe)Mott-Radclyffe, Sir CharlesWills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Hall-Davis, A. G. F.Murton, OscarWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)Neave, AireyWise, A. R.
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)Nicholls, Sir HarmarWolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Harris, Reader (Heston)Nicholson, Sir GodfreyWood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Noble, Rt. Hn. MichaelWoodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Maccles'd)Nugent, Rt. Hn. RichardWoodnutt, Mark
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)Onslow, CranleyWylie, N. R.
Harvie Anderson, MissOrr, Capt. L. P. S.Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Hastings, StephenOrr-Ewing, Sir IanYounger, Hn. George
Hawkins, PaulOsborn, John (Hallam)
Hay, JohnOsborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir LionelPage, John (Harrow, W.)Mr. McLaren and Mr. McArthur.
Page, R. Graham (Crosby)

Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.

Resolved,That this House deplores the irresponsibility of the former administration leading to the serious situation which confronted Her Majesty's Government, and pledges its support for remedial measures to strengthen the country's economy and security and provide rising standards for the British people.