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Prime Minister (Engagements)

Volume 895: debated on Thursday 17 July 1975

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asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 17th July.


asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 17th July 1975.


asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 17th July.

I have been asked to reply.

As the House knows, my right hon. Friend is attending the EEC Heads of Government meeting in Brussels today.

If the Prime Minister's evasive double-talk at the Brussels Summit is as damaging to Europe as his contribution over the past 17 months to rising unemployment, inflation and the national disaster at home, would not it be better if in future all the Prime Minister's official engagements were confined to a lush pasture where he could be put out to grass?

I do not really feel called upon to answer that question. I just wonder—not only today but for some time past—exactly what the hon. Gentleman has brought to our deliberations in the House. He has certainly not brought good parliamentary manners. However, I still have hopes that he will learn them.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that an urgent step towards the full democratisation of the European Parliament would result from direct elections? Is the Prime Minister making the British Government's position clear in Brussels?

Yes, certainly. I take it that my hon. Friend is referring to Mr. Tindemans' report, which has not yet been produced. The Council may well discuss its approach to the report. We have not committed ourselves in any way to anything on which Mr. Tindemans may report. We shall study the report with great care.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the Prime Minister should seek an early meeting with the BBC in view of the corporation's astonishing admission yesterday that it has recently transmitted raw Communist propaganda to listeners in Portugal?

I am dealing with a Question about the Prime Minister's engagements today. The supplementary question that the hon. Gentleman has raised has no relation to my right hon. Friend's engagements.

When my right hon. Friend is in Brussels, is he proposing to discuss with his fellow Ministers a problem which I understand is plaguing all Common Market countries, namely, unemployment among young people, and, in particular, school leavers? Will my right hon. Friend discuss this matter in order to see whether there is some way in which we can all employ young people in community service projects instead of leaving them unemployed and rotting away?

As I understand it, discussion of the general position in the Community takes place at these summit meetings. No doubt unemployment is the sort of issue which could arise in such a discussion.

The report to which my hon. Friend the Member for Chertsey and Walton (Mr. Pattie) referred, concerning the BBC, appeared today, and the Question is about the Prime Minister's engagements today. Will the right hon. Gentleman give consideration to the substance of what my hon. Friend asked, and see whether the Government, or members of it, will meet the BBC to discuss this important matter?

I understand, Mr. Speaker, that this is something in the nature of a point of order—[Interruption.] There is a rule that there must be ministerial responsibility for the substance of parliamentary answers. This question is an innovation. I think that this is the second or third time that it has appeared. I will not go outside the limit of the Question, which is about the Prime Minister's engagements today. I have no doubt that my right hon. Friend will be pleased to answer the question about the BBC when he returns.