HC Deb 02 April 1957 vol 568 cc226-7
33. Mr. Gower

asked the President of the Board of Trade what consultations he has held with the National Chamber of Trade in connection with proposals for British participation in European free trade; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

None, Sir, but if this body wishes to make representations on the matter, they will be considered.

Mr. Gower

In view of the fact that my right hon. and learned Friend has had consultations with the Federation of British Industries, the T.U.C. and other bodies, does not he think it would have been helpful had he consulted the National Chamber of Trade with its 500,000 members, who have a special knowledge of trade conditions in this country?

Mr. Walker-Smith

No, Sir. I do not think that the distributive trades have such an immediate interest in this matter as other bodies which my hon. Friend mentioned. I should remind my hon. Friend that no representations have been received either from the National Chamber of Trade or other important traders' organisations.