HC Deb 12 November 1964 vol 701 cc1190-1
Q4. Mr. Channon

asked the Prime Minister if he will set up an inquiry into strikes during the election period; and what form the inquiry will take.

Q15. Mr. Crowder

asked the Prime Minister what steps he proposes to take to discover the facts concerning certain trade disputes during the General Election alleged to have been motivated for political purposes.

The Prime Minister

I have nothing yet to add to the Answer which I gave to similar Questions on Tuesday, 10th November.

Mr. Channon

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that that Answer on Tuesday was rather unsatisfactory? As he gave a very definite pledge that he would hold a searching inquiry with full powers to get at the facts, will the right hon. Gentleman at least promise that any report made by the Minister of Labour to him will be published and laid before the House?

The Prime Minister

I thought that it was a very good Answer which I gave on Tuesday. Obviously the hon. Gentleman did not think it was. At this stage, I have nothing further to add to what I said then.

Mr. Geoffrey Lloyd

Does the Prime Minister now realise that his political intervention in the Hardy Spicer incident in Birmingham was ill conceived, that it infuriated local trade union leaders and that he was saved only by the equally ill conceived intervention of Mr. Hill?

The Prime Minister

It is certainly true that my comment on that occasion led to somewhat unexpected and surprising results, one of which was to show, as I suggested on Tuesday, what was the real cause of the difficulties in that factory.

Lord Balniel

Will not the Prime Minister be a little more forthcoming on this matter because he undertook to hold a searching inquiry with full powers to get at the facts? What is the point of holding an inquiry to get at the facts unless the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to publish them for us to judge what they are?

The Prime Minister

I will certainly consider the question of what further should be said to the House on this matter, but what I said on the occasion of my statement was that the prime facie evidence on this would be to see whether there was a case for a further inquiry. I said, however, that one of the forms of inquiry which I had in mind was by the Ministry of Labour.