Oral Answers to Questions — Lord President of the Council (Visits)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st November 1976.

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Photo of Mr Robert Adley Mr Robert Adley , Christchurch and Lymington 12:00 am, 1st November 1976

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will list those countries which he intends to visit before the end of 1976.

Photo of Mr John Smith Mr John Smith , Lanarkshire North

My right hon. Friend hopes to represent the Labour Party at the Congress of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party.

Photo of Mr Robert Adley Mr Robert Adley , Christchurch and Lymington

Will the Minister tell the Lord President of the Council, when he is better, that some of us used to consider him a democrat, but that we have long since become disillusioned with him? Will he also tell his right hon. Friend not to go trouble-making in Spain, a country that is trying to find the road to democracy, while simultaneously coming to this House and acting as an apologist for an Indian dictatorship?

Photo of Mr John Smith Mr John Smith , Lanarkshire North

That supplementary question is below the standards we normally look for in this House. My right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council has always done a great deal to contribute to the furtherance of democracy.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

Does not my hon. Friend agree that it is right that the Lord President of the Council should attend the Congress of the Socialist Workers' Party in Spain, a country which has not known democracy and which still does not know it? Will not the visit itself be a great contribution towards the democratisation of an ex-Fascist régime? Does my hon. Friend also agree that my right hon. Friend has never at any time defended the present lack of democracy in India?

Photo of Mr John Smith Mr John Smith , Lanarkshire North

My right hon. Friend has been consistent in his defence of democracy all over the world, and I am sure that any country or any group of people have a great deal to learn from him. Furthermore, his presence at the Congress of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party is another demonstration of the internationalism of the Labour Party.