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Tariff Conference, Torquay

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 22 March 1951

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44.

asked the President of the Board of Trade when the Torquay Conference will end; and when the results of the conference will be published.

As was stated in a Press notice issued by the Secretariat of the conference at Torquay on 15th March, arrangements have been made for the completion of the bilateral and of the multilateral stages of the negotiations so as to bring the conference to a close on 21st April. The results of the conference are to remain secret until 9th May, and on 12th May the full text of the Torquay concessions will be made public by the Secretariat at Geneva. I shall, of course, arrange for the results of the conference to be made available to the House at the earliest possible moment.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House an undertaking not to sell out the Empire any further, as appears to have been done over sugar?

The hon. Gentleman is quite inaccurate in that allegation. There have been statements in this House about it, and I cannot accept the suggestion he makes. I gave an assurance about the attitude of this country towards the Imperial Preference question before the conference began, and I think that when the conference ends the House will not be dissatisfied with the way in which I have kept that assurance.