HC Deb 28 June 1973 vol 858 cc1721-4
2. Mr. Ashton

asked the Prime Minister whether he will place a copy of his public speech at Shotover, Oxfordshire, on 2nd June on the trade unions in the Library.

11. Mr. Wyn Roberts

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech on nationalisation delivered at Shotover, Oxfordshire on 2nd June.

The Prime Minister

I did so on 6th June, Sir.

Mr. Ashton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in that speech he did not speak only of trade unions but also said that the people of this country were fed up with the nationalisation proposals trotted out by the penny-farthing machine of Transport House and that they were more and more fed up with the left-wing doctrines of the Labour Party? In view of what happened yesterday at Manchester Exchange, will he either call a General Election or sit there today and eat humble pie?

The Prime Minister

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving so much publicity to my quotation. All he needs is to go on and quote the remarks of hon. Members on his own side about how much they dislike these proposals as well, including the repudiation by the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Roberts

Will my right hon. Friend enlighten me as to how these nationalisation plans will encourage the prospects for investment and growth in this country which are so desperately needed in view of the rapid growth of our competitor countries, particularly in the Common Market?

The Prime Minister

In no way whatever. The only effect that they could have—I do not know whether they will, but they could—is to damage those prospects.

Mr. Harold Wilson

Since the right hon. Gentleman has shown himself capable of reading 26 words, will he now read 70,000? Does he not recognise the primary importance, as we have set it out in dealing with the problems for industry, for workers and for the consumer, of the inordinate power both of domestic and of multinational companies? Is he aware that, having condemned the unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism, his condemnation was rejected by a card vote of 29 million to 5 million at the shareholders' meeting? What will he do about it?

The Prime Minister

The right hon. Gentleman is a little confused. Concerning his 70,000 words, perhaps he will tell the House whether he supports them, objects to them, throws them out, or abstains.

Mr. Wilson

I have made quite clear—and I did so again this morning—that this document, in my view, fully faces up to the problems that the right hon. Gentleman recognises, makes speeches about, and refuses to do anything about.

The Prime Minister

One of the main purposes of the talks with the CBI and the TUC is to deal with exactly these problems, and we are getting action on them.

Mr. Tapsell

Will my right hon. Friend draw to the attention of the CBI and the TUC the fact that yesterday Reuter's Commodity Index, which reflects the price movements in the 17 major international commodities, went through 1,000 for the first time, reflecting an increase in these international commodities, of 80 per cent. over the past 12 months, which is some measure of the inflationary crisis which still faces this country?

The Prime Minister

That is undoubtedly true. There has been an immense increase in the costs of basic raw materials and foodstuffs. As we have to import such a vast proportion of our raw materials for our industry and a good 50 per cent. of our foodstuffs, this is bound to affect the price levels. The right hon. Gentleman, the Leader of the Opposition, flatly refuses to recognise these facts of life about world prices, which makes his criticism so ineffective.

Mr. Harold Wilson

I think that there are HANSARDS available for the last Queen's Speech; it was since then that they have become unavailable. Will the right hon. Gentleman look at HANSARD for the Queen's Speech, when I drew to his attention the fact that the Economist commodity index was 40 per cent. over the previous year? I told him what it meant in terms of anti-inflation policy, which he refuses to carry out. The right hon. Gentleman made light of this point at the time, but as he is now aware of world prices, why did he ignore them in June 1970?

The Prime Minister

The figures which my hon. Friend the Member for Horn-castle (Mr. Tapsell) has just given are for the past 12 months when the rises have been taking place.