HC Deb 18 March 1965 vol 708 cc1473-4
Q5. Mr. Stratton Mills

asked the Prime' Minister if the public speech of the Minister of Power on the steel industry in Westminster on 16th February, 1965, represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

Q12. Mr. van Straubenzee

asked the Prime Minister if the public speech on the steel industry by the Minister of Power at Westminster on 16th February, 1965, represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Stratton Mills

Would centralised selling by a nationalised industry increase exports?

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend dealt in his speech with the relative failure of the steel industry in the matter of exports over those years. The indictment which he presented on that occasion was justified, and this was very fully debated in the House when the House last debated steel. All I would say is that our success in exports has not been dependent so much on methods of selling but on the capacity of the industry and the extent to which it has been willing to introduce new and more competitive methods of production.

Mr. Mendelson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the speech made by the Minister of Power has the support of hon. Members on this side of the House elected on a programme of the public ownership of the steel industry? Is he aware that the speech was encouraging, particularly to all of those in constituencies where there are steel- works and where hon. Members on this side of the House were returned with largely increased majorities, fighting on this policy of public ownership? Will my right hon. Friend continue to stand fast on this policy which we on this side support?

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend has put the situation extremely well. I very much agree with the statement of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power, for exactly those reasons and others as well.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

If the right hon. Gentleman agrees with his hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson), might it not be for the convenience of the House to know when he will introduce the steel Bill?

The Prime Minister

I am glad to see the right hon. Gentleman responding so quickly to the Evening Standard. In order to put the right hon. Gentleman out of his misery, perhaps he would like to know that the Government intend to table a White Paper in the near future setting out the main provisions of the Bill which we shall ask Parliament to pass into law this Session.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Rowland.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Can my right hon. Friend explain to the House—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I have called the next Question.