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Prime Minister (Engagements)

Volume 979: debated on Thursday 28 February 1980

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asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 28 February.

This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall be having further meetings with ministerial colleagues and others.

Despite her busy schedule, will the Prime Minister find time to spare a few moments' thought for the forthcoming Moscow Olympics? Does she feel that Mr. Brezhnev's reported interest in declaring Afghanistan a neutral State will enable British athletes to travel to Moscow? Will not that get the Prime Minister off the ridiculous hook on which she has hung herself?

We are naturally very pleased if Soviet Russia is considering making Afghanistan into a neutral State. However, we shall require more than words as evidence of its good intentions. We shall require the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

Will my right hon. Friend find an opportunity today to congratulate those British Service men and policemen in Rhodesia who are having such success in ensuring a good turnout at the elections?

I shall gladly do so. Indeed, I shall congratulate all those concerned with administering the elections. I am happy to report that they seem to be going extremely well at the moment.

In view of President Carter's fine example in inviting the victorious American ice-hockey team to dinner in the White House, will the Prime Minister emulate that by asking Mr. Robin Cousins to have tea at No. 10 Downing Street?

I rather thought that he deserved more than that. Is the hon. Gentleman fishing for an invitation?

Will my right hon. Friend ask the Leader of the Opposition today to use his influence with the TUC in order to persuade it to reverse its outrageous decision to boycott the financing of State-financed secret ballots?

I do not know that I have very much influence over the Leader of the Opposition. I shall gladly join my hon. Friend in requesting the TUC to withdraw that advice. It seems that most people would wish to take advantage of postal ballots that are paid for by the Government. In that way the TUC can ascertain the views of its members in a truly democratic way.

As No. 10 Downing Street appears to have been turned into a temporary ashram for the maharishi of monetarism, did the Prime Minister and her fellow disciples ask Professor Friedman yesterday what he meant by his statement that she has the right ideas but that she is not putting them properly into practice? Can it be that he wishes her to move towards the perfect Friedmanite state that is found in the military dictatorship of Chile?

If I may say so, I believe that the hon. Gentleman can do greater justice to himself than that. We had a very interesting meeting, which I was able to attend only briefly. On the Conservative Benches, we have an open mind on these matters.