§ The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Edward Short)
With permission, Mr. Speaker, I will make a short Business Statement. I apologise for not giving prior notice.
Following representations to postpone tonight's debate on EEC documents R/1746/73 and R/2268/74 on value added tax, I have agreed to do so, particularly as I have now been informed that the issues involved will not be brought before the Council of Ministers for decision until the autumn.
§ Mr. Peyton
We raised the matter with the right hon. Gentleman when he announced the business for this week, and I am grateful to him for his consideration and reaction.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
In view of the last few words of the statement, is my right hon. Friend aware that we would rather that the interests of the House predominated and that the business of the 1021 House should not be altered simply because it suits the EEC or falls in with its plans?
§ Mr. Spearing
Although there may be other documents, is it not a fact that what my right hon. Friend has told us would have been known to the Government last Thursday? Can my right hon. Friend confirm that these documents would open the way to further harmonisation of value added tax, which is not, I believe, the policy of the Government or of the Labour Party?