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Prime Minister (Engagements)

Volume 984: debated on Thursday 8 May 1980

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Q3.

asked the Prime Minister what are her official engagements for 8 May.

I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson).

In yesterday's debate, did not two former Conservative Ministers express serious concern at the Chancellor's policies? What further changes in policy will the right hon. Gentleman recommend to the Prime Minister to avoid rising unemployment and the rising number of young people on the dole?

My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made his policy perfectly clear. He is sticking to that policy and so are the Government. We believe that we are on course as far as the monetary targets are concerned.

What action will the Government take to protect Libyan nationals living in London and to assuage the fears on both sides of the House that so-called Libyan diplomats have been engaged in intimidation, arson, kidnapping and even murder?

When it comes to law-breaking, we have made our position clear. As the House will be aware, three Libyans stand charged with murder. We shall ensure that our law is respected by all those who remain here.

Will the right hon. Gentleman talk to the Prime Minister when she returns from Belgrade and encourage her to reflect on the problems currently confronting the Lancashire textile industry? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, with the closure of one subsidiary of the Carrington-Vyella group in my constituency the other day, only 65,000 jobs remain of the 326,000 jobs that existed in the Lancashire textile industry a few years ago? What is the size of the Lancashire textile industry which the Government are prepared to accept as irreducible?

As a Member with a constituency close to the area to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, I understand fully the problems and anxieties that he expresses. I shall refer them to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade.

May I ask my right hon. Friend once again to reflect upon the conduct of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, especially—

Order. That does not come within the Prime Minister's area of responsibility.

Later

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I realise that normally the conduct of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is not the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Deputy Leader of the Government. However, in this case I wish to call his attention to the fact that some of the—

Order. The hon. Gentleman is about to ask the question that he was going to ask earlier. It is out of order for an hon. Member to ask the Prime Minister to take responsibility for others for whom the Prime Minister is not normally responsible. I have previously ruled that it is wrong to ask the Prime Minister or the acting Prime Minister, to take responsibility for what the Opposition or their spokesmen do. It is out of order to pursue the point.

If the hon. Gentleman had to be named for that, there are some people who would never be here.