HC Deb 06 February 1973 vol 850 cc219-20
Q1. Mr. Lipton

asked the Prime Minister on how many occasions since 1971 he has made ministerial broadcasts in BBC radio programmes.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

I have made three ministerial broadcasts which were carried on both television and radio.

Mr. Lipton

Does the Prime Minister recall his broadcast of 18th June 1971 in which he derided any idea of a compulsory wage freeze? How does he reconcile that with his speech last Sunday in which he said: We must not make a god of the free market and private enterprise"? Will all this tacking and yawing get him anywhere?

The Prime Minister

I have told the House on many occasions why it was that having failed to get a voluntary agreement it was necessary at that time for the Government to introduce a statutory policy.

Mr. Rost

Are not three honest broadcasts from the Prime Minister better value than the dozen or so to which the public were subjected by the Leader of the Opposition?

The Prime Minister

It is true to say that up to the time of devaluation by the previous administration the then Prime Minister made nine ministerial broadcasts, but after that, until the end of his administration, he made only one.

Mr. Ewing

Will the Prime Minister consider making one further ministerial broadcast to explain to the nation how he can be elected on one policy, completely abandon that policy and not feel it to be necessary to return to the nation to ask for a fresh mandate?

The Prime Minister

The employers, the unions and the country know that we wish to have a voluntary policy if it can possibly be obtained. The offer has been made to employers and unions, and when they are prepared to discuss it again we shall take part with them.