HC Deb 10 March 1964 vol 691 cc249-50
Q6. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Prime Minister whether he will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to consider the operation of the nationalised industries, with particular reference to the railways and the coal-mining industry.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. Wyatt

Does not the Prime Minister remember that in the debate on the Address in this House in November, 1950, he said that the nationalisation of —[Interruption.]—hon. Members opposite ought to want to know what the Prime Minister said. Cannot he remember that on that occasion he said that the nationalisation of coal and the railways had been a great mistake? He went on to say: We should like to see 100 per cent. private enterprise."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th November, 1950; Vol. 480, c. 859.] As he believes very much in straight talking, will he tell us now whether he thinks that he was making a fool of himself on that occasion, or whether, if he wins the election, he proposes to introduce denationalisation by the back door?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member has succeeded in introducing me by the back door—[Interruption.]—in more ways than one. I think that hon. Members opposite were surprised to see me here. Now the hon. Member asks me about a speech I made in 1950. I should like notice of that. But today he asks me to set up new machinery for considering the operation of nationalised industries. Whatever I said in 1950, the industries have been nationalised, and the setting up of the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries was the right procedure to adopt.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when he was here before he made a famous speech saying that we could help to solve the problem of unemployment among the miners by bringing them down to London as domestic servants? Will he not be man enough to admit that nationalisation in Scotland has been a great success, and that it is going from strength to strength?

The Prime Minister

I never did approve of nationalisation, but when nationalisation was made the law I naturally respected the law. I do not recollect the speech to which the hon. Member refers, but I will read his book and see whether he has included it.