Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd May 1966.

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Photo of Captain Walter Elliot Captain Walter Elliot , Carshalton 12:00 am, 3rd May 1966

I thought that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Wilkins) was rather unfair to my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne). As I understand my hon. Friend's speech, he did not say that this situation was something new. I have heard him many times over the years speaking in much the same vein. Whatever the Chancellor said this afternoon, no one can accuse my hon. Friend of not having issued a stern warning.

It was interesting to note that he quoted the stern warning of Sir Stafford Cripps, given 20 years ago. I wonder if, from that stern warning to that of my hon. Friends, the people have paid the slightest attention. It is one of the troubles of the Socialist Government today. It is one of the troubles of the National Plan. Stern warnings have been issued, a National Plan has been issued, but there is not the slightest incentive or encouragement for anyone to put it into operation. I believe that the last Budget and today's Budget have continued that policy.

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bristol, South accused at least four Tory Chancellors of not having courage. I reject that. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) instituted in his Budget what was known as the pay pause. At least he had the courage to impose a pay pause in that area of employment over which he had direct control. The country reaped the benefit of that in stable prices for over two years afterwards. He got precious little support from the Socialist Party at that time.