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Ec Industry Ministers

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 18 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which meetings of the European Community's Industry Ministers he has not attended in the past year.

I have attended each of the Industry Council meetings during the past year, with the exception of the 28 May 1990 meeting, which was attended by Sir David Hannay, the United Kingdom permanent representative to the European Communities.

This question was directed at the previous Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. However, I venture to ask whether the new Secretary of State will give an undertaking not to treat those vital meetings in Europe with the contempt shown by his predecessor. Does the Minister share the views of his predecessor on Europe—that Germany is trying to take over the whole of Europe?

I can suppose only that the hon. Gentleman was not listening. I made the point that I attended all the Industry Council meetings, bar one, during the past year. For completeness of information, may I observe that I attended all five of the Research Council meetings, for which I am also responsible?

In his busy schedule, will my hon. and learned Friend have time to consider one of the latest of the Labour party's policy documents, "Looking to the Future", which I understand is in its first edition? It calls for high spending and interventionist policies. Does my hon. and learned Friend agree that those are the very policies that would pull our industry down and leave us looking completely naked whenever we met European Industry Ministers?

Anybody who has subjected the Labour party's policies to analysis knows that they would result in very much higher taxation, greatly increased public expenditure and a great escalation in the rate of inflation.

Order. It might be helpful to the whole House if hon. Members asked questions of the Secretary of State and his Ministers instead of asking them to agree with their views.