Oral Answers to Questions — Ministerial Broadcasts

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st March 1977.

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Photo of Mr Michael Grylls Mr Michael Grylls , Surrey North West 12:00 am, 31st March 1977

asked the Prime Minister when he next itnends to make a ministerial broadcast.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Madden) on 7th December.

Photo of Mr Michael Grylls Mr Michael Grylls , Surrey North West

Will the Prime Minister accept that he should make another broadcast, because there is a lot of doubt in people's minds about the present farcical situation over the entente cordiale between the Liberal and Socialist Parties? For example, what is the Joint Executive Committee? Is it a secret talking shop? Does it have executive powers? Will its minutes be published? What has it decided about the petrol tax? People want to know. Will he tell the country?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

After my two broadcast last week, which met with a generally favourable reception, I should of course be very happy to take up further invitations. However, having watched the two Budget broadcasts—the excellent one by the Chancellor and the feeble reply given last night—I am content to leave it to a judgment between the two teams. As for the other matters that the hon. Gentleman has raised, I think that he has overlooked my Answer on this matter on Tuesday.

Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Newham South

If my right hon. Friend makes a ministerial broadcast in the near future, will he explain to the British public why the White Paper of the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath) and every successive official Government publication concerning the terms of the Common Market have contained no mention of the claimed obligation to direct elections, yet we have a Bill on the subject? Will he explain this to the British public, who have been duped once already on the Common Market?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I do not think that there is any question of duping the British public on this matter. The commitment was quite clear. It is written into the Treaty. It has been well understood by everyone except my hon. Friend, who chose to ignore it in the course of his anti-Market campaign last year.

Photo of Mr Robert McCrindle Mr Robert McCrindle , Brentwood and Ongar

If the right hon. Gentleman broadcasts on the Lib-Lab pact, will he contradict the suggestion of the Leader of the Liberal Party that one of its benefits is that we shall not be having the nationalisation of the banks and the insurance companies? Will he confirm that that proposal was not in the Labour Party manifesto and that, therefore, we should not have had it anyway during the present Parliament?

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Prime Minister, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I think that the hon. Member has overlooked the reply that I gave on this matter on Tuesday.