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Soviet Union (Visit)

Volume 114: debated on Monday 6 April 1987

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asked the Prime Minister what facilities were provided by Her Majesty's Government and the British embassy in Moscow to the British press and media party who travelled with her on her aircraft on her recent visit to the Soviet Union; what payment those journalists were expected to make; what facilities were provided to those British journalists who were excluded from the party travelling with her; what criteria were used in determining which members of the press and other media should accompany her on her aircraft; and if she will make a statement.

The facilities provided for the media covering my visit to the Soviet Union were similar to those made for earlier official tours. All journalists, British and foreign, had equal access to briefing, telephone and telex facilities which were laid on by the Soviet authorities at the instigation of the British embassy in Moscow. Arrangements were similarly made for road and air travel inside the Soviet Union for all journalists who sought visas and accreditation with the Soviet Government through No. 10 Press Office. Limitations on seats restricted the number of media seats available on my plane to 24. In addition to the two still photographers selected by the Newspaper Publishers Association to provide a pool picture service to the press generally, seats were allocated to the first 22 members of the Parliamentary Lobby to apply for them. All journalists were responsible for their own transport, hotel, telephone and other communications and incidental costs.