HC Deb 26 April 1971 vol 816 cc20-1
20. Mr. Moyle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will place a copy of Lord Denning's report on the banana trade in the Library of the House for the confidential information of members.

22. Mr. Darling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken on the report made to him by Lord Denning about the banana dispute between Jamaica and United Fruit.

Mr. Kershaw

The two parties, which I am glad to say have now reached agreement, wish the report to remain confidential. I respect their wishes and, therefore, do not propose to place copies in the Library. We have, of course, been in close touch with the Governments of Jamaica and the Windward Islands about the report.

Mr. Moyle

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it is a little late to take that line in view of the fact that the Govern-men have been releasing little tit-bits of information about the report tactically at opportune moments over the past few weeks? Would he not agree that this country should be taking action to protect our banana supplies from Jamaica and the Windward Islands, irrespective of what the United Fruit Company believes, in the event of our joining the E.E.C.?

Mr. Kershaw

My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has already dealt with that matter. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that we have made proposals in Brussels to safeguard the banana trade.

Mr. Hattersley

The Under-Secretary has failed to deal substantially with the first part of my hon. Friend's question, the fact that information from the report has been placed in newspapers, according to the best evidence because of Government action on this matter. Since this is happening too often—I do not know whether the Prime Minister was informed about this incident—would he consider the possibility of publishing the report rather than leaking parts of it to newspapers?

Mr. Kershaw

I am not responsible for what appears in the newspapers.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Not much! What about Vehicle and General?