HC Deb 08 November 1966 vol 735 cc1148-50
Q6. Mr. Marten

asked the Prime Minister what proposals the Government now have for further nationalisation.

The Prime Minister

So far as this Session is concerned, I would refer the hon. Member to the Gracious Speech made at the Opening of Parliament on 21st April. So far as this Parliament is concerned, I would refer the hon. Member to the manifesto on which my hon. and right hon. Friends and myself were elected to this House in the spring.

Mr. Marten

Is the Prime Minister aware that the particular publication, the Labour Party manifesto, is a very discredited document on this side of the House? In the light of the resolution moved by the miners at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, and carried, that something should be done about nationalisation of oil and natural gas, will the Prime Minister give as an assurance that he will do no such stupid thing?

The Prime Minister

As I have said, so far as this Session is concerned, we shall carry through the programme announced in the Gracious Speech this Session. So far as this Parliament is concerned, we shall carry out the programme and all the programme in this document, of which I will send the hon. Member a copy.

Mr. Atkinson

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the publication of the Plowden Report relative to the aircraft industry brings into much urgent light the whole question of public ownership of that industry? Would he like to reflect on the Answer he has given?

The Prime Minister

That was, in fact, published before the last election and before the manifesto was issued.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Is it not a fact that any future nationalisation could take place through the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation, bearing in mind that nationalisation is now a dirty word?

The Prime Minister

This was very fully discussed on Second Reading of the I.R.C. Bill, and I think even those hon. Members who have the most backwoods ideas were satisfied by the statement of my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Grimond

Are we to take it from the Prime Minister's earlier reply that the Labour Party manifesto is still in all respects the policy of Her Majesty's Government?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, certainly, and I shall be very glad to send a copy to the right hon. Gentleman as well so that he may study it.

Mr. Woodburn

When my right hon. Friend is considering this question, will he look at all the things which the party opposite have nationalised and see whether all the conditions were not far too extravagant when they took them over under their Government?

The Prime Minister

I am not sure that there is a lot to learn either on the question of nationalisation or denationalisation from the record of hon. Members opposite.

Sir T. Beamish

So far as the long-term thinking of the party opposite is concerned, is not the answer to this question to be found in Highgate Cemetery?

The Prime Minister

I thought that I had answered that question before the hon. and gallant Gentleman put it, and I had answered it at Brighton.

Mr. Shinwell

Has it occurred to my right hon. Friend that, if by any mischance we decided to go into the Common Market, we should have to ask for the consent of Bonn, Brussels and General de Gaulle before we could nationalise?

The Prime Minister

While always recognising the very deep study which my right hon. Friend has given to these problems, on this particular issue the advice he has given the House is not correct. There is nothing in the Treaty of Rome to bar or ban nationalisation.

Mr. Robert Cooke

Has the Prime Minister seen that recently in America his Minister of Transport committed the Government to the nationalisation of car parks?

The Prime Minister

I have seen a lot of accounts of discussions of my right hon. Friend in America, and some of them were extremely inaccurate and twisted versions of what she said. My right hon. Friend is certainly very concerned, as her predecessors have been, about the creation of more publicly-owned car parks.

Dr. Gray

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that the taking of privately-owned water undertakings into public ownership is urgent? As an example of this, the Blofield and Flegg Rural District Council installed bathrooms and lavatories—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Chair must hear about this rural district council.

Dr. Gray

As an example of this, the Blofield and Flegg Rural District Council installed bathrooms and lavatories in council houses at the village of Clippsby which are without piped water after a year?

The Prime Minister

Unfortunately, in the noise with which the House greeted this important pronouncement, I missed the name of the particular rural district council. If my hon. Friend will give me details, I will certainly look into it. On the question of water generally, whether for the general use of the public or the more specialised use which my hon. Friend described, I have nothing either to add to or subtract from the manifesto to which I referred.

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