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Volume 984: debated on Thursday 8 May 1980

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asked the Prime Minister when she expects to meet the Trades Union Congress.

I have been asked to reply.

I repeat the answer that I gave to the question in the name of the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson).

The question is when the right hon. Lady is going to meet the TUC and not about her engagements generally.

I apologise. My right hon. Friend meets representatives of the TUC at NEDC and on other occasions. Further meetings will be arranged as necessary.

When the right hon. Lady meets the TUC, will it not be true—in view of the savage legal attacks by the Government on trade union rights and the savage attack on the low-paid and the sick by legislation and the Budget—that the TUC will explain that the only way in which trade unionists can protect their rights is by expressing opposition to the savage attack on their standard of living and by supporting the day of action on 14 May? Does he accept that no judgment at the behest of the Pravda of the Tory Party, the Daily Express, will diminish the rights of trade unionists to support the action on 14 May?

To talk about Pravdas of the Tory party is absurd, as I believe that the hon. Gentleman on reflection will agree. The hon. Gentleman talks of savage attacks. I do not accept, and nor do a large number of trade unionists, that these are in any way savage attacks. From what I read recently that is also true of the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley), who has been leading for the Opposition on this matter.

Before my right hon. Friend considers meeting the TUC, will he study reports of the execution this morning of the former Education Minister of Iran, who was the first woman member of Parliament and first Minister in Iran to be executed by firing squad? In view of the outstanding courage of our security forces in defence of the lives of Iranian nationals here, does my right hon. Friend accept that the execution of that woman Minister can only prejudice friendly nations against Iran?

I am bound to express anxiety over what has happened, but it would be wrong for me to comment specifically on the action.