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Orders of the Day — Iran (Temporary Powers) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:35 pm on 12th May 1980.

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Photo of Hon. Douglas Hurd Hon. Douglas Hurd , Oxon Mid 6:35 pm, 12th May 1980

I cannot confirm that because it is not so. I hope that hon. Members will permit me to continue with my speech before asking me to give way again.

We have been working on how to translate this agreement into national measures. We have received representations from many hon. Members in different parts of the House on specific points and, also, representations from British firms. We have spent a lot of time—this may be what the hon. Gentleman refers to, although the report he has seen is wrong—working on details with our European partners and other Governments, particularly the Government of Japan. An important point has to be made. Some letters I have received chide us for not acting alone and at once to support the United States. There has been quite a volume of correspondence to this effect. In our view, it is right, in principle, to act, whenever we can, in concert with our partners, and it is also, in this case, a matter of plain common sense. We do not intend either to lag behind or to jump ahead of our other main competitors. We do not intend to take measures that have the effect of delivering trade into the hands of our competitors.

The legal position is different in different countries. That will not come as a bombshell of surprise. Nor will those who study the matter be surprised to know that Continental Governments tend to have wider powers under existing legislation and tend to operate more by statutory instrument or decree than this country does. We are trying to iron out these differences in order to reach, in practice, a similar result. It is not enough to concert in advance what measures should be taken. We have to concert throughout on how they are applied. Machinery exists among the Nine. We are in close touch with the Japanese, the Australians, and the Canadians and others. We intend to use this machinery to the full at every stage.