HC Deb 09 May 1968 vol 764 cc620-1
Q8. Sir Knox Cunningham

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech made by the Lord President of the Council at Birmingham about devaluation on 28th January represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister

While sympathising with the hon. and learned Member, who has so far deferred this Question four times in the hope of an oral answer, I would draw his attention to the fact that, in the interval since he first tabled it, I have answered six Questions and three supplementaries, including one from the hon. and learned Member, on this speech of my right hon. Friend. If the hon. and learned Member would care to study these answers, may I refer him to the OFFICIAL REPORT for 30th January, 20th February, 5th March, 7th March, and 12th March.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Will the Prime Minister now say whether devaluation, the January measures or the Budget was the most giant of the three "giant strides towards Socialism"—and what does the deputy Leader think about it?

The Prime Minister

I think that I answered that supplementary question earlier. I cannot now remember whether it was on 30th January, 20th February, 5th, 7th or 12th March, but I shall look it up and inform the hon. and learned Gentleman. I am, however, delighted that the hon. and learned Gentleman is so obsessed with my right hon. Friend's speeches that he obviously lives with them beside his bed. He must be getting a lot of instruction from them.

Sir C. Osborne

May I ask the Prime Minister a question on this which has not been asked before? Will he give an assurance to the House and the country that there is not likely to be another devaluation this year?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir—and the whole House will join in that. The extent to which we can make an active success of the opportunities available to us as a result of devaluation will depend upon more than one factor. Many exporters are now getting orders on a very big scale, even if some are showing disappointing results and there is not the progress in import replacement that we should all like. But our success in turning these things into a really massive surplus will depend on the full co-operation of this House and both sides of industry on a whole range of measures, some of which are unpopular and, because of that, can be misused politically by those who do not agree with them.