Economic Measures

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1966.

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Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley 12:00 am, 20th July 1966

The long statement which the Prime Minister has just made, so far-reaching in its scope and affecting every man, woman and family in the country, recognises, albeit belatedly, the gravity of the present situation, which is all the more serious because of the delay in announcing the measures which the Government have now decided to take, measures which, on the first hearing of this statement, contain nothing new in type but a combination of all those measures which the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues have so repeatedly condemned in the past and, when others have put them forward, they have so repeatedly maligned.

Is the Prime Minister aware that Her Majesty's Opposition have always pledged support for measures which they believed to be properly designed to protect the £? That remains our position, but it does not exempt us from the duty of exposing the weakness, the vacillation and the incompetence which have brought the country to its present position.

Does the Prime Minister recognise that it is fundamentally a crisis of confidence in himself and his Administration? It is now no longer the words of the Government which matter, but their actions; and this is particularly true of the concluding part of the Prime Minister's statement. We shall judge this statement, when we have had time to examine it, on the extent to which these measures deal with the long-term position, as well as the immediate problem, the extent to which the balance—