Malta

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1978.

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Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford 12:00 am, 22nd November 1978

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to visit Malta in the near future.

Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford

Is my hon. Friend aware that when the British Forces pull out of the island next March there will be a big formal ceremony of handing over to the civil authorities? In view of the valiant stand which the island made on our behalf during the war, would it not be diplomatic to have a member of the Royal Family there at the time of the ceremony? Many Heads of State have been to Malta, but never our Head of State. Does my hon. Friend realise that if a member of the Royal Family were to go it would cause great delight to the Prime Minister, the Government and the people of Malta?

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

Our respect for the people of Malta and the Maltese contribution during the war is as great as it has ever been. We look forward to having good and positive relationships with the Maltese people after the completion of the military withdrawal in March. I am sure that my hon. Friend's suggestion will be taken fully into account as one possible way of marking the significance of this new chapter.

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

Will the Minister indicate to the authorities in Malta that recent actions taken by them against British broadcasters and journalists are not conducive to having the best possible relationship between the two countries?

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth North

We are naturally sad that there have been these difficulties in our relationships with the Maltese Government. I am glad to report to the House, however, that after the Maltese Government had had talks with the BBC recently it was agreed that the corporation's journalists should return and, furthermore, that British Forces' broadcasting should go back on the air.