HC Deb 10 July 1962 vol 662 cc1145-7
Q3. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech of the Secretary of State for the Home Department at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, on 30th June, about the Common Market, represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I have been asked to reply.

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Zilliacus

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Home Secretary on that occasion, speaking of the Labour Party's attitude to the Common Market, said: Some of them oppose the whole thing root and branch because they fear it would rule out their own perverted form of planning, because they fear it would hobble their hobbyhorse of nationalisation. Does not the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that this casts as much doubt on the Government's determination to ensure that the Labour Government would be free to use public economic ownership and planning in the interests of social progress in the Common Market as the remark of the Minister of Labour cast doubt on the Government's determination to stick by guarantees to the Commonwealth? In the circumstances, will the right hon. Gentleman represent to his alter ego, the Home Secretary, the desirability of making a personal statement on the same lines as that made by the Minister of Labour?

Mr. Butler

I see no reason to go back on the very intelligent observations I made at Blenheim. I remind the hon. Member that, writing in Tribune on 25th May this year, he said: If we went in we should be powerless to carry out real Socialist planning. What is prohibited is what the annual conference of the Parliamentary Party has laid down… In order to reassure him and his hon. Friends, I would rehearse what the Lord Privy Seal said in his broadcast—and this is true: The opportunities for continuing nationalisation and Socialist planning will remain.

Mr. Gaitskell

In view of the reflections indirectly cast by the Home Secretary upon the rest of his speech by the answer he has just given, can he say whether or not it is true that the chief criticism of the Labour Party in this matter was that it had shown what he described as a complete and utter lack of enthusiasm for this business? Can he assure us that all the members of the Government are showing the standard of enthusiasm which is necessary? Can be assure us that he himself is so enthusiastic? If he is, is it not a little silly to show so much enthusiasm and thereby weaken our bargaining position at Brussels?

Mr. Butler

If the House and the right hon. Gentleman wished to hear the moving paragraphs which preceded these observations about the Labour Party he would be assured of the importance I attach to entering into negotiations and bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion.

Sir G. Nicholson

Will my right hon. Friend ask the Home Secretary to explain how exactly one can hobble a hobby-horse?