European Economic Community

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1967.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

No, Sir. There have been several White Papers and other publications, and the matter has been extensively debated.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

Does not the President of the Board of Trade recall that his immediate predecessor in office calculated that entry into the Common Market would cost Britain £600 million a year in a deficit on the balance of payments, which figure has now risen since devaluation? Is it not scandalous that his Department should not publish a White Paper either confirming or denying this figure?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I have read the speeches and articles of my immediate predecessor with close attention. It was he himself who said on 26th July— There is no intention at present to publish a White Paper on this subject."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th July, 1967; Vol. 750, c. 156.]

Photo of Mrs Renée Short Mrs Renée Short , Wolverhampton North East

As my right hon. Friend said in yesterday's debate that import controls were not to be introduced because their introduction might prejudice our application to go into the Common Market, and as the imposition of import controls is a line which many of us think should be followed, does not he think that in the interests of our economy we should now withdraw the application and forget all about this nonsense?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

No. I take a totally contrary view. There are very many strong arguments against import controls, apart from the one I quoted.

Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what are likely to be the effects on our trade with Australia if the gloomy predictions made by the High Commissioner of Australia are likely to prove correct?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

Like many hon. Members in all parties, I think that the predictions made by the High Commissioner were somewhat alarmist in character. As to predictions about the future pattern of trade, one cannot make these with total accuracy for some years ahead. The position is that the facts which are known have been exhaustively published and discussed. What there is not agreement about are judgments and opinions as to the likely consequences.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Although I have no personal feeling against my right hon. Friend, may I ask him whether the contents of a new White Paper would clear up the mystery of why his predecessor was dismissed from his post and why my right hon. Friend now occupies the position?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I know that my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) has taken an entirely objective view of all these matters. As to any explanation of Government changes, that is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.