§ Mr. Michael Foot
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter which should have urgent consideration, namely,the Letter of Intent sent by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund on 23rd November and made public on the evening of 30th November, and the immediate consequences of that Letter for the conduct of the British economy".When my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) raised this, or a kindred matter, on Thursday, he necessarily and quite properly relied upon the statements which had appeared in the Press at that time, well-authenticated statements as it now appears. However, when replying on that occasion, the Chancellor of the Exchequer referred my hon. Friend and the House to a statement which was to be published in HANSARD and the publication of the letter to which I have referred. Therefore, the House was not able to see the letter until it was published in HANSARD.
967 I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that this is the first occasion, under the rules of the House, on which it has been possible for a Member to raise the specific matter of the Letter of Intent as published. I draw to your attention also, Sir, that the letter was written on 23rd November, the day after our debate on economic affairs, so that it was not possible for the contents of the Letter of Intent to be discussed during that debate.
As I have said, this is the first occasion since publication of the letter when we have been able to bring the matter forward, and, moreover, as far as one can see, there would be no possibility in the immediate future of discussing the Letter of Intent unless we were able to raise a debate by invoking Standing Order No. 9.
Many of us, when we read the Letter of Intent, believed that it imposed intolerable shackles on the British economy. In our view, there can be no dispute about the paramount importance of the matter. Indeed, in all the circumstances, Mr. Speaker, I submit that this is preeminently a case for which the House decided that there should be provision for an emergency debate. I ask you, Sir, to consider the application on that basis.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter which he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the Letter of Intent sent by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer to the managing director of the International Monetary Fund on 23rd November and made public on the evening of 30th November, and the immediate consequences of that letter for the conduct of the British economy.I am satisfied that the matter raised by the hon. Gentleman is proper to be discussed under Standing Order No. 9. Does the hon. Gentleman have the leave of the House?
968 The leave of the House having been given—
§ Mr. Speaker
The Motion for the Adjournment of the House will now stand over until the commencement of public business tomorrow, when a debate on the matter will take place for three hours. This is as provided for under the terms of the revised Standing Order No. 9 as agreed to by the House on 14th November, 1967.
§ The Motion stood over under Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) until the commencement of public business Tomorrow.