Orders of the Day — Labour Party (Election Pledges)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th July 1965.

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Photo of Mr Ioan Evans Mr Ioan Evans , Birmingham, Yardley 12:00 am, 29th July 1965

The hon. Gentleman is one of the very few who supports the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). One of the revelations of the recent exercise in which they have been involved has been that the other party is making progress as far as that attitude is concerned.

We must look at what action has been taken by the Government to influence international events. First, we had the establishment of a Minister responsible for disarmament. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman fails to understand that on this major issue concerning all of humanity this Government is taking a lead. While all Governments throughout the world have Ministers of Defence the Labour Government have set a new example by giving someone the task of looking at the problems involved in disarmament, and seeking ways and means to remove the threat of nuclear annihilation. A lead has been given to freeing the world from the heavy burden of armaments. Something like £50,000 million is being spent by the leading industrial nations of the world on military expenditure. We are putting our £2,000 million-odd into that and we must therefore make sure that we use the raw materials of this world, and the brains and capacity of our people to divert this expenditure to real world problems. We are playing an important part as a Government in the disarmament discussions which are taking place at present.

The appointment of a Minister to the United Nations was of special importance. It established that this Government was four-square behind the belief that the United Nations is a keystone to this country's foreign policy. The principles of the United Nations must prevail if peace is to be preserved. There is no shadow of doubt that the United Nations Organisation has had far more support from this Government than from the previous Tory Government. Not only have we played a part in the United Nations world peacekeeping operations, but in the present financial crisis which faced the United Nations it was Great Britain which made the proposal for an additional contribution to the U.N.O. to meet the financial problems. It was Great Britain which made the initial contribution.

The third contribution we have made is that of a Ministry of Overseas Development with a Minister in the Cabinet. Once we have resolved the problem of disarmament the one serious problem remaining, and it is going to be a great heartache and headache for mankind in the future, will be the problem of world poverty. This Government have created a Ministry to deal with this problem. We should consider what this Government have done in the last nine months. We have certainly made great progress in making a contribution to greater national understanding.

The Colonial Office and the Commonwealth Relations Office have a vitally important part to play in the transition and development of mankind, one wiping out the old Empire and the other creating new and stronger bonds between developing Commonwealth countries. The Commonwealth has a new sense of purpose with the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister at the Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference. The Commonwealth Prime Ministers took an initiative in the war in Vietnam. They want the Commonwealth to play a greater part, as it should since it represents a quarter of the world's population, in solving the world's problems.

Our greatness will not be measured by military might or by possession of the so-called independent nuclear deterrent on which the Conservative Party spent so much time in its last years of office in trying to convince the people. [An hon. Member: "And our money".] Yes, and our money. It spent so much of our resources and so much of its time in putting forward this fallacious argument.