HC Deb 27 July 1953 vol 518 cc873-4
20. Mr. Mitchison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why the United Kingdom delegate to the United Nations Economic and Social Council abstained from voting on a resolution urging the implementation of the principle of equal pay for equal work, which has been approved by this House during the present Parliament.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I assume that the hon. and learned Member is referring to the resolution on the subject of equal pay put forward in the Report of the Seventh Session of the Status of Women Commission for adoption by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

The resolution urges increased efforts towards wider implementation of the principle of equal remuneration in all countries. Her Majesty's Government have accepted the principle of equal pay in relation to their own employees and have already announced their intention to give effect to it as soon as the economic and financial situation of the country makes it possible to do so.

It was the view of the Government that as we are not yet in a position to implement this principle ourselves, it was more appropriate for us to abstain on this particular resolution. Our support for the principle, however, was made clear in the debate.

Mr. Mitchison

Was there anything in the terms of that resolution which called upon this country to abstain, when the resolution was passed without any opposition and with only three dissentients, of which this country was one? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that, in May, 1952, the House passed a resolution saying that there was no justification for any further delay in the implementation of this principle?

Mr. Lloyd

This country did not dissociate itself from or vote against this particular resolution. On the whole, a more straightforward way to take was the line which was taken, that of abstention.