Housing

Part of Orders of the Day — Supply – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st June 1978.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Freeson Mr Reginald Freeson , Brent East 12:00 am, 21st June 1978

We have all waited with great interest in this debate—a debate called by the Opposition—for the revelation of what the Opposition wish to put to the country. But all we have had is a rather empty speech from the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine), one of the worst speeches I have heard on housing. It did no more than garble the statistics and reiterate, in a generalised form, the subject of a statutory right for the purchase of council houses by tenants.

Beyond that, we have had nothing from the Tory Opposition in this debate. The hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi), for a period of six or seven minutes, uttered constant cries of "me too-ism". He went through a whole series of the policy proposals which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment had listed in his speech and said "Me, too". He constantly said "We agree", "We agree", "We agree". He uttered not one dissident note on our proposals. He put one or two queries on their detail, but as for the general policy propositions we had advanced he did not put forward one note of disagreement.

What we have had in this debate, in essence, is garbled statistics, secondly, a reiteration of the argument about the indiscriminate sale of council houses, and, thirdly, a series of "Me, too" statements. We were told that we must await the revelation of a magnificent policy that will be the best the country has ever seen—but we know nothing about it. We have heard nothing about it except a series of "me too-isms". To call a debate on such an issue and not to reveal what is to be presented to the country with great drama and such positive pride is, to say the least, a little disappointing.