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Official Visits

Volume 976: debated on Wednesday 16 January 1980

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29.

asked the Lord Privy Seal when he expects to make a statement concerning his recent official visits to Governments of various member States of the EEC.

My round of visits is not complete. I have so far visited Rome, The Hague, Luxembourg and Brussels. I shall be visiting West Germany tomorrow and the remaining Community countries next week.

I have at present no plans to make a statement to the House. I can, however, say now that I am not discouraged by my discussions so far.

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that yesterday when he was at the EEC Council his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, in answer to a question from me, changed her objective of £1,000 million to "vastly increased receipts"? Can he tell the House what that figure is?

The hon. Gentleman's premise is wrong and I therefore cannot answer the question. After Dublin, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made it clear that it was the Government's policy to seek a genuine compromise with our partners and she added that we had little room for manoeuvre. At a time when the Government are pursuing negotiations, it is quite impossible to give figures or disclose our exact negotiating position.