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Mortgage Interest Payments

Part of Orders of the Day — Finance Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:45 pm on 15th July 1997.

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Photo of Mr Patrick Nicholls Mr Patrick Nicholls Conservative, Teignbridge 7:45 pm, 15th July 1997

I am sure that that is right.

The hon. Member for Workington, in his spontaneous contribution, was generous enough, as he so often is in these debates, to say that there might be an element of truth in the fact that, if a constituent telephones the shadow Chancellor to ask whether he intends to do something and he says that he does not and then changes his mind and does it, the constituent might feel that he had been misled. A more straightforward way of summarising what the hon. Gentleman said would be to say, "Yes, the man was completely misled."

It was part of the hon. Gentleman's argument that in some way everyone knew that taxes would go up. It is strange for the hon. Gentleman to be cynical, but he was saying, in a rather cynical way, "Well, it doesn't matter if my Government put taxes up. Everybody knew they would. If someone was daft enough to believe my right hon. Friend the then shadow Chancellor when he said that he would not put taxes up, well, he has got it coming to him." I do not find that a particularly attractive argument, even if the hon. Gentleman does.

The fact is that even the hon. Gentleman does not believe it. He is simply making the best of a bad job. The hon. Gentleman is very much a party loyalist. He is one of those who is always prepared to sing in concert with his Front Bench. He is a man who manages to take a lead. He is a man for whom the cry "Give him a job" makes him light up because he knows that one day, because of his loyalty to the party line, it might come to him.