HC Deb 08 February 1966 vol 724 cc207-8
Q9. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Prime Minister what consultations he has had with other Commonwealth Prime Ministers regarding his proposal for a specific preference in awarding contracts to Great Britain from the Commonwealth; and what arrangements have been made for introducing such a scheme.

The Prime Minister

This matter was fully discussed at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meeting last July and, following their instructions, was further examined at the meeting of Commonwealth trade officials in December, and will be an important point for discussion at the conference of Commonwealth Trade Ministers which is now being arranged.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Can the Prime Minister tell us when the Commonwealth Trade Ministers' meeting is now to take place? Can he tell us, in view of the fact that he has still made no progress with this scheme, what other ideas he has for reversing the decline in progress in Commonwealth trade with this country in the last year?

The Prime Minister

I agree about the urgency of this matter. I have previously given the appalling figures, and will not repeat them, of the failure to meet the expanding Commonwealth's requirements over the past few years. The final date has not yet been settled, but we are in touch with other Commonwealth Trade Ministers and as soon as it is possible we will announce it to the House.