HC Deb 14 July 1953 vol 517 cc1880-2
18. Mr. H. Wilson

asked the President of the Board of Trade what approaches he has received from the Government of Ceylon for the export of a helicopter from this country; and what restrictions apply to such exports from Britain to Ceylon.

The Secretary for Overseas Trade (Mr. H. R. Mackeson)

My right hon. Friend has had no approach from the Ceylon Government. Before a helicopter could be exported anywhere, an export licence would be required.

Mr. Wilson

Because of the importance to Ceylon of fighting plant diseases, will the hon. Gentleman ensure that his Department gives all possible help to the Government of Ceylon in view of the most regrettable decision of the American Government to refuse an export licence for a helicopter for this purpose?

Mr. Mackeson

While I deprecate Bevanite or Communist attacks on the United States, I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that Her Majesty's Government will do everything they can to support the Ceylonese in this matter.

Mr. Wilson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, despite his rather ill-tempered comments, the attacks on the United States for the refusal of this licence will have the support of hon. Members in all parts of the House? Is he also aware that most of the attacks which have been made on United States trade policy on this side of the House have been echoed after an interval by his right hon. Friends.

Mr. Mackeson

Yes, but I think the supplementary, which is quite obvious, might have been put in a written Question if the right hon. Gentleman had the guts to do so.

Hon. Members


Mr. Wilson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it would not have been possible to have asked the Government to take responsibility for the attitude of the United States Government, and that the only way in which this matter could be raised was to ask the hon. Gentleman what the Government were prepared to do about aiding Ceylon in this matter?

Mr. Mackeson

I do not agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I have always treated him with the greatest courtesy—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—and I think he is simply following up the most unfortunate speech which he made in the country recently.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his forthright utterances, in true Tory style, will ensure his promotion to the Cabinet?

Captain Duncan

May I ask my hon. Friend whether, if he does issue a licence for the export of a helicopter to Ceylon for spraying purposes, he will not restrict the use to which the spraying apparatus can be put?

Mr. Mackeson

Yes, of course. Any approach made by the Ceylonese Government, who are members of the Commonwealth and very great friends of this country, will be received with the greatest sympathy by Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Ellis Smith

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, am I correct in interpreting the Standing Orders that for one hon. Member to make a reflection on another is out of order? That is my first question. My second question is this: Is it in order for the word "guts" to be used in the manner in which it was used, and may I have your ruling on those two points?

Mr. Speaker

I deprecate all language of an inflammatory or exacerbating character, and always must do so, in this House. As to the word "guts," I have known it used in many innocent connotations. As to reflections by one hon. Member on another, I am afraid that is inseparable from the conduct of our debates, and it is in order as long as no false or hidden motive is imputed in the reflection.