Orders of the Day — Customs (Import Deposits) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th November 1969.

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Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees 12:00 am, 17th November 1969

I had better bring my remarks to a close. I assure the hon. Gentleman that I have taken note of the interesting point which he makes, but I believe that his conclusion is wrong. If he would like me to develop the matter further I would be happy to do so on another occasion.

In preparation for today's proceedings I carefully read the OFFICIAL REPORT of the debates a year ago and especially the speeches made by hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite. As my right hon. Friend the then Financial Secretary said, they were schizophrenic; they were against the Bill on principle but in two minds about the virtues of a deposit scheme as a method of import restriction. More reasonably, there were anxieties expressed on both sides concerning the Bill's administration. In practice, as I have said, the Measure has worked very smoothly. As my hon. and learned Friend said earlier, it has, among other things, required fewer staff than was originally estimated.

I do not complain about the anxieties of a year ago. They were natural. But I do complain that when they have been proved unfounded hon. Gentlemen opposite are too mealy-mouthed to admit it. The plain fact is that, for the most part, the speeches against the Bill—I exempt the hon. Member for Worthing and the hon. Member for Barkston Ash—have