HC Deb 10 July 1962 vol 662 cc1148-9
32. Mr. Nabarro

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his study of the report of his departmental inquiry concerning resale price maintenance is now fully completed; when he intends to publish his findings; in what form they will be published; and if he will make a statement on proposed legislative changes or otherwise.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Sir Keith Joseph)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer which my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary gave on 26th June to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling).

Mr. Nabarro

In view of the extremely controversial character of any decision to change the law in regard to resale price maintenance covering a range of goods extending from motor cars to pharmaceuticals and thousands of others, would my hon. Friend consider making a statement on the findings of the President of the Board of Trade in this matter before we rise for the Summer Recess? If not, will he give an undertaking that no decision will be reached during the Recess and until this House has had ample opportunity of fully debating this controversial and very important matter?

Sir K. Joseph

I am glad that my hon. Friend recognises the need to study the subject most carefully. I know that my right hon. Friend is anxious to complete his study as soon as possible, but I cannot commit him to making any statement before the House rises. I will draw my hon. Friend's comments to his attention.

Sir C. Osborne

Is there a division of opinion among the experts who studied this problem and who have made a report to the President of the Board of Trade, and is that why the will not publish it? Or are there other things which he does not want us to see in the report and which make him unwilling to let the House see it?

Sir K. Joseph

No. It is a long-established practice of the House that official reports are not published.

Sir P. Agnew

Could my hon. Friend be a Bale clearer and give a little more information in answer to the original supplementary question of my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro)? Could he give the House an assurance that in the event of 'his right hon. Friend not being able to make a statement before Parliament rises for the Summer Recess, any statement implying any decision or change of policy will be deferred until the House returns in the normal course of events in the autumn?

Sir K. Joseph

I have undertaken to pass that on to my right hon. Friend, but I do not think that I can commit him to that undertaking. In my previous answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) I said "official reports" when I meant "reports by officials".