To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects Mr. Charles Powell, currently in post at Number 10 Downing street, to return to a post in his Department or as one of Her Majesty's ambassadors.
In due course, Sir.
Does the Foreign Secretary recollect that in paragraph 187 of its report the Select Committee on Defence on Westland, an all-party Committee, confirmed that from 7 January 1986 Mr. Charles Powell was in a position to keep the Prime Minister fully informed about the role of the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in relation to the selectively leaked Law Officer's letter? If Mr. Charles Powell was really so incompetent as not to have told the Prime Minister, whom he sees three or four times a day, about the role of the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, why is it that he was promoted in post and why did he keep his job—if, if, if?
I have nothing to add to the numerous statements and answers to questions from the hon. Gentleman given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, especially — in relation to Mr. Powell's promotion — the written answer on 5 November this year, at column 121. Mr. Powell has a justified reputation as a very able official.
Has it not been the mark of the moral bully down the ages that he publicly and gratuitously attacks a man knowing full well that his victim cannot answer back?
Will the Foreign Secretary consider appointing Mr. Charles Powell to a job in the Falkland Islands, where he could begin the process of developing a dialogue between Falkland islanders and the Argentine Government? Is the Foreign Secretary aware that the biggest impediment to that dialogue is the activities of Mr. Patrick Watts, a local journalist, whose manipulation—
Order. That is miles wide of this question.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the Foreign Secretary's economality with the truth on this, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.