HC Deb 15 November 1976 vol 919 cc924-5
41. Mr. Gow

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will list his official engagements for 15th November 1976.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Privy Council Office (Mr. William Price)

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster left over the weekend for the United States of America, where he has engagements with members of the Administration.

Mr. Gow

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I received this afternoon an undated letter from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster saying that the junior Minister who would be answering Questions would not be conversant with his, the right hon. Gentleman's, engagements and would not be able to answer supplementary questions? Despite that, will the hon. Gentleman tell us what the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is doing in Washington, and whether he is trying to negotiate terms for the IMF loan? If the right hon. Gentleman is not doing that, does not the hon. Gentleman owe the House an explanation of what the Chancellor is doing in Washington?

Mr. Price

My right hon. Friend is not negotiating in Washington. He is having discussions with a number of members of the American Administration, and I shall convey the hon. Gentleman's good wishes to him in that task.

Mr. Rathbone

Will the hon. Gentleman convey to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, when he returns from whatever his mission may be, that his right hon. and hon. colleagues on the Government Front Bench deceived the House in leading the country to think that the rate of inflation was coming down, when in fact the figures up to September will be 57.9 per cent. for the United Kingdom, as against the OECD figure of 25.8 per cent.?

Mr. Price

The hon. Gentleman should be a little less selective with his figures.