HC Deb 29 April 1975 vol 891 cc226-8
Q1. Mr. Adley

asked the Prime Minister if he will now make a ministerial broadcast.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Edward Short)

As the House will know, my right hon. Friend is attending the Commonwealth Heads Of Government meeting in Jamaica until 7th May and in his absence I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) on 20th March.

Mr. Adley

As the Prime Minister is consistently misleading people by saying that the people will decide by the referendum, will the Leader of the House encourage his right hon. Friend when he returns from Jamaica to make a broadcast explaining to the nation that if the majority vote "No" the issue will come back to Parliament and that Parliament will make the ultimate decision? In that broadcast, will the Prime Minister also advise the nation whether in his opinion the prospects of the neo-Marxists in his Government would be promoted or diminished by a "No" vote?

Mr. Short

In debates recently the Prime Minister and I have made clear that the issue is one for Parliament in the end. We have said that the Government will he bound by the result. If the result is "No" the Government will lay before Parliament, after negotiation with the Community, the necessary legislation to withdraw, but the decision will be for Parliament.

Mr. Tomlinson

Will my right hon. Friend tell his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister when he returns from the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference in Jamaica that it is Opposition Members who are seeking to deny the voice of the British people and are seeking to ignore it once it has been heard? Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the view of hon. Members on this side is that whatever the result of the referendum it should be honoured by the House?

Mr. Short

The referendum is an arrangement to allow every elector in Britain the right to have his say on this decision, which is the most important constitutional decision which the country will take for a long time to come. I have had prepared a list of the adjectives used by Conservative Members in the debate on the Referendum Bill. Perhaps the Shadow Leader of the House would be interested to read some of the adjectives which he used about giving the people of Britain the right to vote on this issue.

Mr. Crawford

Will the Leader of the House ask the Prime Minister when he makes a ministerial broadcast to make clear his views on the Scottish Development Agency? Does he agree with the Scottish Council of the Labour Party that the SDA should have no economic and industrial powers, or does he agree with the Scottish TUC that it should have industrial and economic powers?

Mr. Short

The hon. Gentleman will have seen the Bill which has been published and he will see what economic and industrial powers are contained in it. The great regret about the Bill is that the Conservative Party has prevented it from going to the Scottish Grand Committee. so that there will be a delay in putting this necessary legislation on the statute book.