Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister (Speech)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1968.

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Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South 12:00 am, 3rd December 1968

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech at the Guildhall on 11th November about the country's economic situation.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I did so, Sir, on 12th November. The hon. Gentleman will know I so informed the House in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Bothwell (Mr. James Hamilton) the following day.—[Vol. 773, c. 110.]

Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that he paid a well-deserved tribute to the way in which shipping, insurance and banking had regularly contributed positively to our balance of payments. In recognition of that contribution, would he agree that the time has come to relieve them of Selective Employment Tax?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I certainly paid that tribute. Indeed, their contribution to our invisible earnings has increased considerably, particularly in the last year, for reasons which hon. Members will understand, and particularly as a consequence of devaluation. However, I would not have felt that S.E.T. was inhibiting them from making what is now a record contribution——

Photo of Mr Charles Pannell Mr Charles Pannell , Leeds West

On a point of order. I wish to point out, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells) has been standing at the Bar of the House for the last ten minutes munching apples. Now he has entered the Chamber and is making an exhibition of himself. I do not know whether you have noticed this, Mr. Speaker. I would be obliged if you would do something about it.

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

I will deal with that point of order it the end of Questions.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Before that point of order. I was saying that I was not aware that S.E.T. was preventing this record achievement of invisible earnings. It is worth pointing out that, as a proportion of our trade earnings, as a proportion of visible exports, invisibles are now less than they were some years ago.

Photo of Mr Alf Morris Mr Alf Morris , Manchester Wythenshawe

Further to the point of order raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell), may 1 remind you, Mr. Speaker, if you intend to deal with his point of order at the end of Question Time, that the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells) will have finished his apple?

Later——

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

If I did not deal with the point of order when it was raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) it was because Mr. Speaker is probably more aware than any hon. Member how keen hon. Members are to get Questions on the Order Paper, and how anxious they are to get them answered. This is why the Chair is always putting on pressure at Question Time to enable as many hon. Gentlemen as possible, who have taken great pains to work out Questions, to have the opportunity to put them.

On the issue itself, I understand that two centuries ago Parliament was a place where hon. Members brought in oranges, to eat. That custom has disappeared during the years. I do not think that its disappearance has in any way taken from the dignity of the House and, indeed, may have added to it. I have no power to interfere with an hon. Gentleman's masticatory habits, but I would impress on the House that the dignity of the House of Commons, which every hon. Member prizes, is in the hands of every hon. Member. Mr. John Hynd—on a point of order.

Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Bosworth

On a point of order——

Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Bosworth

On a point of order——

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

Order. The mere repeating of "On a point of order" does not entitle the hon. Member for Bosworth (Mr. Wyatt) to take precedence over the hon. Gentleman whom I had called. Mr. John Hynd.

Photo of Mr John Hynd Mr John Hynd , Sheffield, Attercliffe

Referring to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, can you enlighten the House whether it is equally in order for an hon. Member to indulge in liquid refreshment in the Chambers.

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

This shows the danger of any departure from the decorum of the House, which most hon. Members are anxious to preserve.

Photo of Mr Woodrow Wyatt Mr Woodrow Wyatt , Bosworth

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I remind you that in 1945 or 1946 an hon. Member on this side was eating an orange and was ordered by your predecessor to desist from the practice? Is that not a useful precedent which, with respect, you might consider following today?

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

It is one that I must certainly look at.

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield

Further to the point of order, Mr. Speaker. You may not remember, but on that occasion it was the present Lord Boothby, then Mr. Boothby, who sat here, and objected to pips going down his neck.

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

After the interlude, back to the business of the day.