HC Deb 30 April 1969 vol 782 cc1431-2
9. Mr. Marten

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will now make a statement on the report of the Edwards Committee.

15. Mr. Fortescue

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he intends to publish the report of the Edwards Committee.

19. Mr. Robert Howarth

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the Government's policy for civil aviation following upon publication of the report of the Edwards Committee.

Mr. Crosland

The report will be published this Friday, 2nd May. I shall urgently consider the Committee's recommendations, and I hope that all interested parties which wish to put their views to me will do so as soon as reasonably possible after publication.

Mr. Marten

Can the Minister take the unusual step of leaking to the House today what will appear in the Press tomorrow, the day before publication?

Mr. Crosland

Leaks never emerge from the Board of Trade.

Mr. Fortescue

Could the President assure the House that in this matter he will not find himself suffering from what might be called the Hunt syndrome—that is, publishing a report and half an hour later refuting all its recommendations before the House of Commons?

Mr. Crosland

My trouble is that I have never been clear exactly what a syndrome is, so that I cannot say whether I am suffering from one. At least, my intention is clear. I do not intend to publish the Government's conclusions on the report at the same time as the report is published. I hope during the summer to publish a White Paper which might form the basis of Parliamentary debate, but I do not want to do even that until there has been plenty of time for public debate on the subject and for all views to be heard.

Mr. Robert Howarth

Would my right hon. Friend confirm that the statement he has made means he will welcome the views not only of the air corporations but also of independent operators in the aviation business and of tour operators who are greatly concerned in this?

Mr. Crosland

Certainly. I shall very much welcome views from all interested parties in all sections of the industry.

Mr. Onslow

While the House will welcome the Minister's attitude in that he is not taking precipitate action in this matter, will he take note that if there are recommendations which would involve legislation it would be to advantage if the legislation could come without delay?

Mr. Crosland

I think that is right, but it is early to say at the moment whether this will be so, for it depends on what the recommendations are and what sort of views we take of them, but certainly if there has to be legislation, while I think it is unlikely that we should get it through this Session, I quite agree that it should be as early as possible in the next.

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