HC Deb 05 August 1965 vol 717 cc1875-6
Q4. Mr. Kershaw

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements are to be made for Ministers to be available during the Summer Recess to deal with financial and economic matters.

The Prime Minister

The normal arrangements, Sir.

Mr. Kershaw

That reply fills my heart with foreboding. Does the Prime Minister realise that, rightly or wrongly there is an impression that there is a divergence of policy between the Department of Economic Affairs and the Treasury, one wishing to press the accelerator and the other the brake? As this involves the question of confidence, will the Prime Minister now give the House an assurance that he is at last prepared to face economic realities?

The Prime Minister

With regard to the rumour to which the hon. Gentleman has referred about the views of my two right hon. Friends, I am not aware that this is a feeling outside the jaundiced minds of one or two hon. Members opposite. But, since the hon. Gentleman was kind enough to use the words "rightly or wrongly", I would say that if that view is held, it is held wrongly. So far as economic realities are concerned, I should have thought that the manner in which we have laid before the House successive necessary programmes, including some very unpopular and, for us, unpleasant decisions in the field of cuts in Government expenditure, starting with defence and the more recent ones, would have been proof of our willingness to face realities.

Mr. William Hamilton

Will my right hon. Friend state what steps he and the Government are taking to deal with the treacherous rumours which emanated from the City yesterday? Will he give an assurance that he will conduct an investigation into the source of those rumours?

The Prime Minister

I would not use the word "treacherous" but I think that there were some highly neurotic rumours flying about yesterday about a meeting between the Governor of the Bank of England and myself, which certainly did not take place, and an extraordinary suggestion, amounting almost to a libel or the Governor of the Bank of England, that he was in favour of devaluation, when it is perfectly well known that he is as determined to maintain the value of the £ as anybody.