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Sterling (Exchange Rates)

Volume 892: debated on Monday 12 May 1975

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I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration; namely,

"the accelerating fall in the value of the pound in foreign exchange markets and the urgent need for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take emergency measures to restore national and international confidence in the currency."
I do not think it necessary to argue that this matter is either specific or important. Both those propositions are self-evident. I submit that it is also a matter which should be debated urgently, and for four reasons. Last Thursday the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House that he did not want to see any further depreciation in sterling. As we all know, there has been a further substantial depreciation since then. I believe that that fact alone warrants an urgent debate.

Secondly, the Prime Minister, in addressing the country yesterday, gave an impression of great complacency in this matter. That the Head of the Government does not consider this matter to be urgent is again, I submit, a matter for urgent debate. Thirdly, the country will be bewildered that at this time the House of Commons does not address itself to a matter of this importance.

Finally, it is of the greatest importance not just for our country but for the world to see that the Government have stopped fiddling while the currency burns.

I have listened to the hon. Member's submission. I do not think it would be right for me to say exactly what I think of it, but the answer is "No".