HC Deb 26 November 1930 vol 245 cc1286-7
46. Major NATHAN

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the announcement by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs that for the first time the British Labour party, through the Government, has placed on record and declares that in its opinion preferences within the Empire have been of mutual advantage to all parts of the Empire; whether this statement represents the policy of the Cabinet; and whether, in view of the decision to stabilise existing tariff agreements for a period of three years, it is still intended to remove all existing food duties before this Parliament ends?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Ramsay MacDonald)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, but I would remind the hon. and gallant Member that, as my right hon. Friend explained on the occasion in question, "preferences" need not necessarily be tariff preferences but that mutual advantage could be obtained by other means. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer to the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech on 14th April last, in which he said: It is our intention to do so"—i.e., remove existing food duties—"before this Parliament ends—four years hence."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th April, 1930, col. 2672, vol. 237.] There is, therefore, nothing inconsistent between that statement of intention and the Government's present position.


The right hon. Gentleman has purported to answer the first part of the question and the last. Would he mind answering the middle part, whether the statement of the Secretary of State for the Dominions represents the policy of the Cabinet?


That is included in the first and the last.