HC Deb 11 July 1962 vol 662 cc1340-1
36. Mr. Brockway

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will introduce legislation to amend the South Africa Act with the object of withdrawing the economic privileges allowed to South Africa; and if he will notify the Government of the Republic of South Africa of the intentions of Her Majesty's Government in this respect.

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Edward Heath)

No, Sir.

Mr. Brockway

In view of the introduction of the Sabotage Act by the Republic, which is about the crowning of the Nazi system in that territory, why should we give Imperial preferences, subsidise sugar and enter into a defence agreement with a country which is now obvious to the world as a Nazi Power?

Mr. Heath

It was only a short time ago that we had long and detailed discussion about the South Africa Act. I fully recognise the hon. Gentleman's point about the introduction of the Sabotage Act, but we cannot at this stage change an Act that we so recently passed.

Mr. Mayhew

Does an employer who chains his employee enjoy the benefits of Imperial preference?

Mr. Heath

The hon. Gentleman himself took part in the discussion we had about that when we thrashed out the whole question of the political policy of South Africa, and its relationship to the Act we then passed, which included trade matters.

Mr. Tiley

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that those whom many of us represent do not wish South Africa to stop buying our textiles; that because South Africa is buying our textiles the whole of my city is fully employed, including 30,000 coloured immigrants?

Miss Lee

Does the Lord Privy Seal's reply in regard to the debate we had in this House mean that nothing but a change in the vote of the House will change his attitude on South African preference? If so, does it not mean that we shall have to wait for a General Election and a change of Government?

Mr. Heath

What I was meaning was that we devoted a great deal of time to the South Africa Act, which has so recently been passed. Hon. Members on all sides took part in those debates, in which we examined very thoroughly the relationship between the political policy of South Africa and any economic and other arrangements we made. We came to a decision and it is much too early to consider changing it.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Have not the developments that have taken place since the South African Act was passed, including the passing of the Sabotage Act, made a new case for reconsideration of the South Africa Act, greatly reinforcing the arguments we advanced from this side?

Mr. Heath

In those debates, I expressed Her Majesty's Government's view about South African racial policy. That was an aspect of those debates, but we reached a decision on the South Africa Measure in those circumstances.

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