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Ministerial Visit

Volume 205: debated on Monday 9 March 1992

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he next expects to pay an official visit to Lancashire.

I have no plans to visit Lancashire in the near future.

I have no doubt that during the general election campaign the chairman of the Tory party will be spreading himself about a little bit, even though he has a tiny majority in Bath. Is he aware that I shall be following him in Lancashire? I shall be telling the Lancashire electors about the fact that the Tory party is financing its election campaign with money from Hong Kong, with £2 million from a Greek fascist and £440,000 from Asil Nadir—money which he stole from his company—and will the chairman of the Tory party—

Order. The hon. Gentleman should bear the sub judice rule in mind. Some of those cases are before the courts at the moment.

That money has not been declared in the company accounts of Polly Peck. Will the chairman of the Tory party send that money back to its rightful owners, bearing in mind the fact that the Labour party has agreed to send back Maxwell's money, if it is found to have had any connection with the Mirror group pension fund? That decision was passed unanimously and if it is good enough for us it should be good enough for the Tories.

I do not think that the Labour party could possibly repay the debt that it owes to the late Captain Maxwell. I hope that the hon. Gentleman and I manage to spend a little time in Lancashire together, and that he will come to Bath. He will find that in both Bath and Lancashire the electorate has as little faith in Labour's policies as he has.

Can my right hon. Friend spare a moment from Lancashire to come to Maidstone, where he will be able to share our pleasure—

My right hon. Friend will be aware, when he next visits Lancashire, that the news that the Liberal council has had to give up office in Maidstone has travelled the length and breadth of the land—


To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he next intends to visit the Duchy.

I have no plans to visit the Duchy in the near future, nor Maidstone, nor Basildon.

Would the Chancellor reconsider that decision because, when he next goes to the Duchy of Lancaster he may go to confession and admit to the untruths that are being told by his party in party-political broadcasts? He could admit that the 7 million days that allegedly were lost in one year under a Labour Government were lost under this Government, in less than three days because of unemployment. As a penance, will he restore the £500,000 that he stole from the shareholders of Polly Peck—

Order. [SEVERAL HON. MEMBERS: "On a point of order, Mr. Speaker."] Leave it to me, please. This case is sub judice. Will the hon. Gentleman please not use the word "stolen"?

If there is a court case, I shall refrain from commenting further, but would the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster urge the Tory party to refrain from wallowing in sleaze, which he calls scholarly?

One realises from studying the affairs surrounding the Maxwell Group that the Opposition know everything that there is to know about sleaze. The confessional is a matter of secrecy, but what is not secret is that, when they were really working at it, the previous Labour Government ensured that far more than 7 million days a year were lost through strikes.