Below is the text of Mr Major's comments during the Economic Policy debate, made on 31st October 1989 in the House of Commons.
Mr. Speaker I must announce to the House that I have selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister. In view of the number of right hon. and hon. Members who wish to participate, I propose to put a limit on speeches of 10 minutes between 7 and 9 o'clock.
Mr. Dick Douglas (Dunfermline, West) On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I hesitate to interrupt the flow of remarks, but when you impose that stricture, will you take cognisance of the fact that on recent occasions Front Bench spokesmen have consumed large proportions of the time allocated? Therefore, if Back Benchers are properly to be constrained by your ruling, Mr. Speaker, the same strictures should apply to Front Bench spokesmen.
Mr. Speaker As the House knows, I have no authority at the moment to limit the length of speeches made by Front Bench spokesmen. Nevertheless, I hope that what the hon. Gentleman has said will be borne in mind today.
Mr. John Smith (Monklands, East) I beg to move, That this House condemns the continuing confusion and disarray in the content and conduct of government economic policy; notes with deep concern the absence of full agreement on economic policy between the Prime Minister and the former Chancellor of the Exchequer; and deplores the continuing commitment to high interest rates which are causing such harm to industry and to the people of Britain. Since we last discussed economic policy in the House only a week ago, there have been some changes -
We should do the right hon. Gentleman the credit of accepting completely what he said. Although his letter was short, it contained a terse but electric message: no Chancellor can carry out his arduous duties without the full support of the Prime Minister. In the case of the right hon. Gentleman, that support was withheld because of a preference for a part-
The truth -
There are two crucial areas of economic policy in which the acute divisions of policy are all too sadly evident and destructive of the public interest. Those are the approach to the possible accession of Britain to the exchange rate mechanism of the EMS and domestic economic policy, particularly in relation to the management of the exchange rate. For some time, the official stance has been that the Government would join the ERM when the time was right.
The Deputy Prime Minister restated that in an important speech on Saturday night. He said: Thus the position that we took in Madrid -
The right hon. and learned Gentleman went on: That was the position in June. As the Prime Minister, Nigel Lawson and I have repeatedly stressed in the House of Commons, it remains the position now. It is of the highest importance that Her Majesty's Government is seen to remain committed to that position, clearly and in good faith. He added for emphasis: It is important -
I dare say that that speech in any normal situation would not have attracted as much notice as it did, as many observers would have believed it to be a perhaps enthusiastic, but certainly not inaccurate, statement of what Government policy was thought to be. The Deputy Prime Minister, however, must have felt some twinge that it might be more significant. He apparently consulted the new Foreign Secretary and the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, but he did not consult the Prime Minister; nor did he issue the speech through his Government office or even through the Conservative party news service. He issued it on plain, unheaded notepaper.
I hazard the guess that the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not consult the Prime Minister or use official or party channels because he did not wish there to be any impediment to the delivery of his message. His instincts were probably correct because, not long before he had spoken the words at 9pm on Saturday night, on Saturday afternoon the Prime Minister had recorded the interview on the Walden programme, which we saw on television on Sunday.
As we all know, that interview was an event of enormous political significance, a revelation of the Prime Minister's style and approach to the problems of government, as an example of which it could not be bettered. It will be as indispensable to historians as it is to those of us who view these matters in a more contemporary frame. But it is also acutely relevant to the Prime Minister's, and therefore the Government's approach to accession to the exchange rate mechanism.
At first the Prime Minister appeared to take the normal line: We shall join the European Monetary System on the conditions we laid down in Madrid. There was nothing fudged about them" -
That was not enough for the Prime Minister. On she went, throughout almost the entire second section of her interview, expanding conditions and extending time scales with gay abandon. Not only are exchange controls to be removed, but investment requirements on pension funds and insurance funds in all member states have to go. What is called -
It can all be summed up by saying that, if all the other member states have adopted Thatcherite policies and the Prime Minister has personally inspected them all, looked to see that all the economic fingernails are clean, we might, just might, consider joining the exchange rate mechanism.
I observe in passing that the Prime Minister has noticed that Thatcherism has not crossed the English channel -
Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North) The right hon. and learned Gentleman deservedly has a high reputation. Would he care to enhance that reputation by putting on one side the humour and tittle-
Mr. Smith The hon. Gentleman knows well that we have repeatedly set out the conditions -
Several Hon. Members rose -
Mr. Speaker Order. The right hon. and learned Member for Monklands, East (Mr. Smith) is clearly not giving way.
Mr. Smith We do not know, on the Government side, what the conditions are, or what time scales are in operation.
Mr. Robin Maxwell-
Mr. Smith I can understand why the Conservative party wants to -
Mr. Speaker Order. There is great pressure to speak in the debate. Hon. Members should allow the right hon. and learned Gentleman to get on with his speech.
Mr. Neil Hamilton (Tatton) rose -
Mr. Cranley Onslow (Woking) rose -
Mr. Smith The fundamental problem -
Mr. Speaker Order. The House knows the rules.
Several Hon. Members rose -
Mr. Speaker Order. I say to the Government Benches that if the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not give way, hon. Members who are attempting to intervene must resume their seats.
Mr. Speaker Order. There was no point of order. I was reinforcing a ruling.
Mr. Speaker Order. No point of order was raised with me. I rose to say, and I repeat, that if the right hon. and learned Member for Monklands, East does not give way, hon. Members who are standing must resume their seats.
Mr. Speaker Order. The hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-
Mr. Speaker Order. [HON. MEMBERS: "Name him."] I will hear what the hon. Gentleman has to say if it is a point order, but not if it is a point of argument.
Mr. Speaker Order.
Mr. Speaker Order. I get the drift of the point that the hon. Gentleman is making. It does not appear to be a matter of order for me. I suggest that we get on now.
Mr. Speaker Order. I ask the hon. Gentleman to sit down.
Mr. Speaker Order. For the final time, I ask the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-
Mr. Smith It is a great pity that the House is not currently being televised, so that the whole nation could observe the organised wrecking tactics used by the Conservative party against the Opposition. [Interruption].
Sir William Clark (Croydon, South) rose -
Mr. Speaker Order. I repeat to the House -
Mr. Smith The hon. Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) asked me about our conditions. Perhaps I may be allowed the opportunity which I have been trying to take for some time, of addressing that question, despite deliberate wrecking tactics from Conservative Members. The conditions applied by the Government will frustrate our efforts to join the exchange rate mechanism. The conditions that the Labour party attaches, apart from the important question of joining at the effective rate, are that there should be adequate swap arrangements between the central banks, that there must be a well-
That approach has not only been approved by the other countries in Europe, but was substantially approved by the resolution of the European Parliament last week, for which the Conservative MEPs voted. Those MEPs, of course, have a problem in the European Parliament: no other MEPs will have them as part of their group. They feel a little detached from the Conservative party on this side of the Channel. No wonder! Perhaps "semi-
In her interview, the Prime Minister's clear message was that she had no intention of joining the exchange rate mechanism. She said of the timing that there had to be major changes by our errant partners -
I submit that the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from that seminal interview is that there is no question of the Prime Minister agreeing to join the exchange rate mechanism before the next election. That position is hopelessly at odds with the view of the Deputy Prime Minister. Is it the Prime Minister's policy that the Government do not anticipate joining the exchange rate mechanism? Is that the view of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary or the new Chancellor of the Exchequer? The new Chancellor has an opportunity today to spell out his policy. If he does not, I fear that confusion will remain.
Let me remind the House of that crucial sentence in the speech of the Deputy Prime Minister: It is of the highest importance that Her Majesty's Government is seen to remain committed to that position clearly and in good faith. The Prime Minister's response may be clearer than the Deputy Prime Minister anticipated. However, does he believe that it can conceivably accord with the good faith that he believes to be of the highest importance and which is so important to our economy and our political strength? If it does not, can he accept what the former Chancellor could not -
When the Deputy Prime Minister refers to good faith, I believe that he has in mind good faith within the Government -
I referred earlier to divisions on domestic economic policy. To be fair, I believe that all members of the Government began with much the same position. In those early days, when monetarism was unchallenged within their ranks, the belief was firm that the exchange rate could be left to the market and that just controlling the money supply would keep inflation in check. Even the former Chancellor was in line then.
In a famous reply on 3 July 1980, when asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mr. Parry) what mechanism existed for medium or long-
On the basis of his experience, the former Chancellor began increasingly to realise the potential value of participating in the exchange rate mechanism. Clearly he moved a long way, but the Prime Minister has not. The lady did not turn. She believed and she still believes, as she has told the House, "You cannot buck the markets." That was her reason for demolishing the Chancellor's policy of shadowing the deutschmark. It was also the reason why she summoned Sir Alan Walters back from the United States to be her adviser earlier this year. She apprehended that two issues were coming to the forefront on which, if she did not strengthen her position, she might lose out. Those were the arguments over the exchange rate mechanism and the desirability of seeking to manage the exchange rate.
The Prime Minister also knew, as she told us eight times on Sunday, that the former Chancellor was "unassailable". I could hardly believe it when she said that again today during Prime Minister's Question Time. However, it was precisely because the Prime Minister assessed the Chancellor as unassailable that she set out to undermine him.
Only the truly innocent believe that Sir Alan Walters was just another adviser -
Mr. David Tredinnick (Bosworth) Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman give way?
Mr. Smith No; I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me.
If the new Chancellor seeks to develop a policy of which the Prime Minister does not approve, he will encounter the same problems as were encountered by the former Chancellor. The new Chancellor must make up his mind, and he should tell us today whether he follows the previous Chancellor's policy or whether he takes sides with the Prime Minister and believes that the markets cannot be bucked.
While the new Chancellor carries out his duties, I urge him to be careful about the Prime Minister's praises. If she calls him brilliant, he should be wary. If he hears the words, "brilliant, brilliant", especially if the call is uttered shrilly, he should be worried. If he is ever described as unassailable, he should start to tidy his desk.
There are echoes of the Westland affair in all this. Once again, there is a serious dispute over a European policy question. The right hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) wanted a European solution to the Westland affair. The Prime Minister did not. The right hon. Member for Henley was undermined by the leaking of a Law Officers' letter -
In the Westland affair, the Prime Minister lost two Ministers. In the present crisis, she has lost thus far only one, albeit the most senior Minister in her Government. The Deputy Prime Minister, who lost his old job in the reshuffle earlier this year, should take especial care. So should the new Chancellor.
The new Chancellor's crucial training for his new post was not so much the two years that he spent as Chief Secretary to the Treasury; rather, it was his three months as Foreign Secretary. After he had negotiated an agreed communiqué with the representatives of the other 48 Commonwealth countries at Kuala Lumpur, his efforts were completely overturned by the Prime Minister's lengthy denunciation of the views of those very countries.
As we approach the Council of Europe meeting to be held in Strasbourg in December, the new Chancellor should be especially vigilant; otherwise he might have been Kuala Lumpured in October only to be Strasbourged in December.
As the new Chancellor faces the task of steering British economic policy over the next year or so, I beg him to abandon the foolish notion that a balance of payments deficit now running at an annual rate approaching £20 billion does not matter provided that it can be financed. We know to our cost the price of such financing -
Sooner or later -
It is interesting that, whenever we urge the adoption of an industrial strategy for manufacturing industry, the Conservatives do not believe that that is a policy. That says far more about them than it does about us. Right across the political spectrum, people are deeply worried about the future of our industry. Those who work in it, manage it, and advise it are all deeply worried. The only people who do not seem to worry about the crisis in manufacturing industry -
We will urge this alternative again and again until the message gets home -
Mr. Tim Smith (Beaconsfield) Last week the right hon. and learned Gentleman told us that he supported an industrial strategy. Will he be a little more specific? We are all concerned about the prospects. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman talking about tax incentives or greater public spending? What policies does he have in mind?
Mr. John Smith I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman was present during our debate last Tuesday -
Let me spell out, as I did last Tuesday, the three crucial elements of that industrial strategy -
Several Hon. Members rose -
Mr. Smith Conservative Members should allow me to speak. Given what happened earlier, I have been reasonably generous in giving way at all to some Conservative Members.
As the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Smith) will come to realise, perhaps before his colleagues on the Government Front Bench do, that is the essential precondition of any successful economic policy for this country. The Opposition have also urged the abandonment of the one-
In addition, the new Chancellor should take the opportunity today to rule out tax cuts in the next Budget. He should use the Autumn Statement, again as the Opposition recommended only last Tuesday, to initiate regionally targeted public investment to strengthen education and training, and research and development, and to stimulate regional economies.
That is not only an alternative policy -
When we look at the massive trade deficit and how it has gone throughout the whole of this decade, despite North sea oil revenues, which the Conservative party had and which they frittered away, we see an adequate commentary on the effectiveness of the Government's policy. Let it not be forgotten that other countries of the EC, which, in the Prime Minister's warped view of our continent, are so badly trailing behind, have superior economies and are much better fashioned societies than ours.
The purposes of economic policy are to be centred on four objectives -
Because of the conduct and content of Government policies, I fear that our economy has been gravely weakened and the social cohesion of our society put at risk. This country desperately needs a change in the style of Government and in the economic policies that have been pursued -
This confused and divided Government cannot provide the leadership which Britain needs for the 1990s. They cannot do so, because they cannot change while the Prime Minister remains at their head. As the Financial Times editorial observed on Saturday As she has become pre-
The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. John Major) I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: 'congratulates Her Majesty's Government on the determination with which it has pursued policies to bear down on inflation and improve the supply side of the economy; welcomes the sustained growth of output, productivity, investment, employment and living standards which the United Kingdom has enjoyed as a result; and endorses the Government's resolve to continue with the policies which are in the long-
The right hon. and learned Member for Monklands, East (Mr. Smith) made his usual forceful speech -
There is no difficulty at all about a diagnosis of the economic problem that we face at present. As a result of over two years of exceptional growth on a scale which no one expected, least of all the Opposition, we have seen the re-
Let me be quite clear about the main priority before us. It is progressively to reduce inflation and bring the economy back to the path of steady growth. There is no doubt about that. I know that inflation is not high by the standards of the 1970s, and it is still as low today as in the best month we ever saw during the period of the last Labour Government. I know, too, that some people argue that a little inflation is no bad thing, that one can live with it, that it induces a feeling of well-
I do not share that view because inflation has two particularly destructive effects. First, it damages the economy -
Ms. Clare Short (Birmingham, Ladywood) Given that inflation is destructive in all the ways that the right hon. Gentleman has described, why have the Government allowed it to rise?
Mr. Major The hon. Lady would have done far better to address that problem to her right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Monklands, East. She should also be aware that, if we were to see the implementation of the policies that her right hon. and learned Friend has in mind, inflation would be back in the stratosphere. I shall turn to that particular question in a moment.
Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-
Mr. Major But the social effect of inflation is even more pernicious, as we saw during the period of office of the last Labour Government. It bears most heavily on those least able to protect themselves. In the last five years of the 1970s, with high inflation and low interest rates, pensioners saw the value of their life's savings halved and their retirement security diminished. Indeed, many pensioners today may be on social security benefits, not because they failed to save and prepare for a secure retirement -
The Opposition have learnt nothing since then -
Mr. Tony Banks rose -
Mr. Stuart Bell (Middlesbrough) rose -
Mr. Major rose -
HON. MEMBERS Give way.
Mr. Speaker Order.
Mr. Major Labour would devalue the currency as each and every previous Labour Government have done -
Mr. Speaker Order. I must say to the House again -
Mr. Major I understand that the Opposition do not like being reminded about how their policies destroyed people's security, but they deserve to be reminded because they are peddling the same policies again. The policies that they operate would not stop inflation. They would unleash hyper-
There is no conviction whatsoever in the Opposition's concern about inflation. Their conviction is against the very policies that would curb inflation and bring it down. That is their concern.
We need to be quite clear about the need to bring inflation down and I have no doubt whatsoever that we are right to use all the practical levers at our disposal to do so.
Mr. Bell I should like the Chancellor to concentrate for a moment on the Government's present policies. The OECD review stated that the Government have been raising interest rates to bear down on inflation and to stabilise the exchange rate. Is that still the policy of Her Majesty's Government?
Mr. Major If the hon. Gentleman will wait a moment I shall turn specifically to that point. Indeed, I have already begun to do so.
In my judgment, we are absolutely right to use all the practical levers at our disposal to bear down on inflation. One of these -
Public expenditure -
No one should doubt that my right hon. Friend the Member for Blaby had a tight fiscal policy, and no one should doubt that I intend to keep it equally tight.
The key lever on inflation is monetary policy -
I understand very well that present levels of interest rates make things very difficult for some home owners, particularly young people who have large mortgages in relation to their incomes, but there are others who should also concern us. We also have to be concerned about those young people who could not afford to buy in the first place, because of the pace of rising prices -
Interest rates have other important effects, however -
Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton) The right hon. Gentleman talks about the housing problem. Is he aware that the Government have been responsible for cutting council housing? They have encouraged the idea that people should buy their own homes and now they have implemented a policy of high mortgage rates, which means that the very people whom they encouraged to buy are suffering under their policies. How can the right hon. Gentleman explain why the Government should be so cruel to the people whom they encouraged to buy homes and why they are also leaving people without any houses at all?
Mr. Major The hon. Gentleman should bear in mind that under this Government this country has seen its greatest ever growth in home ownership -
Not surprisingly, exchange markets were unsettled last Thursday, but less so than many imagined and far less than the Leader of the Opposition predicted. On Friday he said, "today when the pound plummets" -
Mr. John Smith If the right hon. Gentleman believes that markets sustain the Government's policy, is he aware that a year ago today the pound was valued at DM 3.15, but today it is valued at DM 2.90? Is he also aware that interest rates were then 13 per cent., but today they are 15 per cent.? What kind of market verdict is that on the Government's economic policy?
Mr. Major Two years ago, markets were at almost precisely the same level as they are today, a point that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has overlooked. Markets can see that policy has not been changed and will not be changed, and no change in policy means just this. It means that I will set interest rates as high as is needed for as long as is needed to bring down inflation, and in this I will continue to be guided by a range of monetary indicators, including the exchange rate.
I will deal comprehensively with the Government's approach to economic and monetary union and the Delors report in the debate on Thursday, but I shall say something now about the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system.
Mr. Jack Straw (Blackburn) Has she seen this speech?
Mr. Major As a matter of fact, my right hon. Friend has not seen the speech.
HON. MEMBERS Oh.
Mr. Speaker Order.
Mr. Major I am sorry to disappoint the Opposition on that point.
The exchange rate mechanism, as its name implies, is no more than a contrivance, a means for promoting a greater stability of exchange rate between Community currencies and greater price stability. However, it is not a recipe for problem-
Although it is no panacea, experience in recent years suggests that the exchange rate mechanism has helped participants both to bring about greater stability in exchange rates and to reduce inflation. I am in no doubt that in the right circumstances it would help us, too. But the circumstances have to be right if it is to be in our interest to join. The exchange rate mechanism will face new tests as exchange controls are abolished throughout the Community, and as the single financial market develops. In these circumstances, it would be very risky both for the United Kingdom and the present participants to introduce sterling -
Following the Madrid summit, the Government reaffirmed their commitment to join the ERM and specified precisely the conditions under which we will do so. The question is not whether we should join, but when. I repeat the conditions now for the avoidance of doubt. We will join the exchange rate mechanism when the level of United Kingdom inflation is significantly lower, when there is capital liberalisation in the Community, and real progress has been made towards completion of the single market, freedom of financial services and strengthened competition policy. That was the position that was set out at the Madrid summit and it remains the position today. There should be no doubt: when these conditions are met we will join -
Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-
Mr. Major As the hon. Gentleman will have understood from what I have just said, that is not wholly within our hands, for much of the action needs to be taken by other people, rather than us, so how speedily that will be done is in other people's hands as well as ours.
Without those conditions being met, entry into the exchange rate mechanism would be neither in our interest nor in that of Europe. With them, membership of the exchange rate mechanism will bring benefits to this country as it has, in my judgment, to its present members. That is a further reason why economic policy must be addressed to bringing inflation down -
Bringing inflation down is an important task, but it will be neither easy nor speedy. Inevitably, anti-
In recent months, much has been made of the rapid growth of our trade deficit, not least by the right hon. and learned Member for Monklands, East. It has grown.
Mr. Robert Sheldon (Ashton-
Mr. Major The right hon. Gentleman may reflect on what I have just said. I have said that when the conditions are right we shall enter into the scheme. That is self-
In recent months, the right hon. and learned Member for Monklands, East has made much of the rapid growth of our trade deficit. It has grown, and by far more than is comfortable. It cannot continue at present levels and it will not, as we have always said. In due course, it will come down as demand growth slows.
But the Opposition paint far too black a picture of the trade deficit. What they have never been prepared to admit is that much of it reflects investment and not consumption. Over the past two years, investment has grown by 23 per cent. -
I suppose that it was a little optimistic to expect the right hon. and learned Member for Monklands, East to acknowledge the facts on investment. Business investment is a higher proportion of gross domestic product than ever before, but as far as the Opposition are concerned, that does not count. Why not?
In their view, it does not count because investment is not investment unless it is paid for by the taxpayer, because training is not training unless it is publicly financed by the taxpayer, and because the supply side of the economy cannot possibly be right unless it is managed from the centre. It would be a tragedy for industry if that form of thinking ever returned to the government of this country.
Over the last decade, under our economic policies, the underlying strength of the economy has improved and British industry is in fundamentally good shape. Our approach is working. In the past two years profitability has been higher than at any time since the 1960s. There is a record rate of new business start-
Mr. Graham Allen (Nottingham, North) As the new Chancellor of the Exchequer has put forward such a convincing view of how rosy the economy is, will he tell the House why in such circumstances his predecessor resigned?
Mr. Major I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman could do a good deal better than that. I suspect that my right hon. Friend the Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) will be able to speak for himself on that matter.
None of those improvements is accidental. Each and every one of them is a direct result of the policies that we have pursued over recent years. It may be that we shall face a difficult year ahead, but if that is to be so, industry is far better motivated and equipped to handle it than at any time in the 1970s.
Only the Opposition refuse to recognise the changes that have occurred in the past 10 years. Their persistent denigration of the economy bears no relation to reality. Business men, both here and abroad, are well aware of the improvements that have taken place. They know that this country's economy is strong. That is why they are investing in this country at record levels. Work forces know this too. That is why workers, more involved than ever before in the success of their companies, have increased their productivity faster than in any other major industrial nation -
I believe that people recognise that we must deal with the short-
We must never go back to the policies which nearly destroyed our economy in the 1970s and led to the inflation rate of a banana republic under the Labour Government. The Labour party is well aware of that. That is why it has invented Mr. Mandelson and his public relations gloss and disinvented Socialism. Socialism is rarely mentioned from the Opposition Front Bench except to deny that it exists. The Labour party knows what poison it is for most of the people in this country. Occasionally, even -
Mr. David Shaw (Dover) Listen, Kinnock!
Mr. Major If the Leader of the Opposition is back with us, I shall continue.
Occasionally, even BBC interviewers ask what Labour would do. The Leader of the Opposition tells them with delicious frankness that he has not a clue. But the Labour party's policies, however it tries to hide them, seep out one by one. The Labour party is in favour of credit controls -
Mr. Speaker Order. I do not need to remind the House of the pressure that there is to participate in the debate. I ask the House to give the Chancellor of the Exchequer a fair hearing for the rest of his speech.
Mr. Major The right hon. and learned Member for Monklands, East said a few minutes ago that he wished television were here in the Chamber. I wish that the public could see the behaviour of Opposition Members. They cannot bear the fact that over the past few years the levels of prosperity in this country have risen by an unprecedented amount and the people are well aware that that is the case. They know very well that the policies of the Opposition would take us back precisely to where we were in the 1960s. A Labour Government would spend more, borrow more and, yet again, they would devalue, as each and every successive Labour Government have done. The policies that they espouse are the failed policies of the 1960s. The electorate rejected them before and it will do so again. I invite my right hon. and hon. Friends to reject the motion and to support the amendment.