HC Deb 15 November 1956 vol 560 cc1108-9
11. Mr. Holt

asked the President of the Board of Trade what formal communication he has now received regarding the agreement that has been reached by the six nations on the main principles involved in the formation of a European Customs Union; and if he will give an assurance that Her Majesty's Government will now join in these discussions to work out the details for a harmonious development of a larger European common market in which the United Kingdom will participate.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Peter Thorneycroft)

The answer to the first part of the Question is "None, Sir"; but the Report on which the six nations are basing their negotiations has been published. As regards the second part of the Question, I am not yet in a position to add to the Answer given on 23rd October by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson).

Mr. Holt

What arrangements or liaison does the President of the Board of Trade have with the members of the Customs Union for knowing what stage they have reached? At what stage in the negotiations do the Government feel it is appropriate for Her Majesty's Government to join in?

Mr. Thorneycroft

We and other European nations and the six nations are all engaged even now in technical consideration of these problems. I would rather not elaborate on the matter ahead of the debate which we all agree we should have in the fairly near future.

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