President of the European Parliament

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1 May 1974.

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Photo of Mr John Hunt Mr John Hunt , Bromley Ravensbourne 12:00, 1 May 1974

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why he refused to receive a courtesy call from the President of the European Parliament in Luxembourg on 1st April.

Mr. James Callaghan:

As I said in answer to a question on 3rd April, I should have liked to have made the acquaintance of a number of people in Luxembourg but, as they seemed to understand, time did not permit.—[Vol. 871, c. 1261.]

Photo of Mr John Hunt Mr John Hunt , Bromley Ravensbourne

Whom does the right hon. Gentleman think he is kidding? Does not this studied insult to a loyal and staunch friend of this country epitomise the ham-fisted and arrogant way in which the Foreign Secretary has been treating our partners in Europe ever since he took office?

Mr. Callaghan:

There were a number of requests from people that we should meet them and a number of people whom I wished to see. Dr. Berkhouwer was one of them, but only one of them, and he is the only one who has complained. When he comes to London, or if I go to Brussels or if I see him in Luxembourg, I shall be delighted to see him and I have no doubt that we shall find ourselves the best of friends.

Photo of Mr George Cunningham Mr George Cunningham , Islington South and Finsbury

Will the Foreign Secretary overcome his natural politeness to the President of the European Parliament and tell him, when he sees him, that he should keep his nose out of domestic British affairs instead of referring to the possibilities of referenda in respect of the independence of part of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Callaghan:

If Dr. Berkhouwer or anyone else wishes to make comments on this matter I shall not object. It all adds to the sum of total information that we collect and the views that we hear on these matters.

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Cheltenham

Will the Foreign Secretary in future show the same good manners on the Continent as he shows from the Treasury Bench in this House?

Mr. Callaghan:

I think that the hon. Gentleman is misled by the Press. Unless he believes that the contents of the speech I made as contained in the White Paper—[Interruption.]—the hon. Gentleman was not there—no more and no less represented bad manners, all I can say is that that was all I said.