I welcome the statements yesterday and this morning by S.N.P. members that they now intend to seek the downfall of the Government. Their decision is all the more welcome in light of the measures announced in the Queen's Speech yesterday which demonstrate that the Socialist Government has spurned all suggestions made to it from within and without Parliament to adopt a policy of national recovery which would command the general support of the nation and have, instead, decided to press ahead with measures which are irrelevant to the economic crisis and represent pure Socialist dogma.
Recent votes in Parliament on key issues demonstrate what could be achieved if all the minority parties including the 11 Scottish Nationalists would join with the 276 Conservative members to defeat Socialist policies. In the crucial vote on the Lords Amendment Number 12 to the Industry Bill, the Government's majority was 6 but there were 2 Nationalists, 5 Liberals and 4 Ulster members absent. During the debates on Lords Amendments to the Community Land Bill, the Government's majority was reduced to 5 despite some Nationalists being absent but when, after 1 a.m. in the all night sitting, the Nationalists departed, the majorities increased to double figures. [end p1]
Taking the Session as a whole, the Nationalist voting record was about 60 per cent of the possible figure, and in the battle against Socialism the Conservatives had to cope with a confusing situation when 7 Nationalists voted with the Government on the Second Reading of the Petroleum Bill but a larger number voted against the Government on Third Reading. Similarly, we were confused by the Nationalists voting against the Government on the Clydebank (The Scottish Clay Cross) issue in Committee and then voting with the Government on the floor of the House.
However the Nationalist statements yesterday make it clear that these anomalies and inconsistencies can be put in the past and that the Nationalists will now deploy their limited strength wholeheartedly, enthusiastically and unanimously against the Government irrespective of the hour of debate.
The failure of Mr. Wilson and his colleagues to follow the example set by the trade union members of the AEUW in rejecting the advice of the extreme Left Wing makes it vital that the Government should be defeated and replaced with a Government which will bring forward policies in the national interest. If the Nationalist example is followed by the other minority parties, like the Liberals and Ulstermen, and if determination is followed through in the voting lobbies, I am convinced that the days of Mr. Wilson's Government will be numbered. For the nation's sake, such a result is vital in view of the destructive dogmatism demonstrated in the measures announced yesterday.
While I welcome wholeheartedly the new sentiments expressed by the Nationalists in their determination to defeat the Socialist Government, I deplore and reject the objective which they announced at the same time to bring about the break-up of the United Kingdom. Conservatives are committed to maintaining the unity of Britain and we will fight as enthusiastically for this as for the defeat of Socialism.