HC Deb 11 November 1982 vol 31 cc661-2
12. Mr. Clinton Davis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement concerning the vote cast by the United Kingdom's representative on the International Monetary Fund in connection with the application by South Africa for credit authority to £622 million.

Mr. Ridley

There is no provision within IMF's articles for declaring a member ineligible to use the fund's resources unless it fails to fulfil any of its obligations under the articles. South Africa is not in this position. Accordingly the United Kingdom supported the application on its technical merits.

Mr. Davis

Is that not a thoroughly disgraceful answer? Does the Chancellor accept that apartheid is not a political doctrine in the civilised sense of the term, but an obscenity that reduces the possibility of South Africa surviving and that it is therefore a material consideration for the IMF? Why do the Government not stop aiding and abetting the oppressive and obscene regime of apartheid?

Mr. Ridley

The fund is effectively prevented under its guidelines from setting specific political conditions. I should have thought the Labour Party would be extremely grateful for that fact and stop knocking it.

Mr. Ian Lloyd

Should not the Labour Party recall the munificence of General Smuts? Is it not the case that when this country was in its hour of great peril he made a gold loan equal to £3,200 million at ½ per cent. interest?

Mr. Ridley

I hardly think that I can claim Treasury responsibility for answering that question.