East-West Relations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:06 pm on 28th January 1980.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian 8:06 pm, 28th January 1980

As a believer in short speeches and remembering that many hon. Members wish to speak, I shall confine myself to asking a few questions of the Minister.

First, however, I reiterate the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) and the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath), who referred to people in our constituencies who have butterflies in their stomachs and who have asked us over the weekend whether we are now sliding towards some kind of war or Armageddon. I do not think that we should discount the very real worries of a large number of people.

What reply will the Minister of State give to the right hon. Member for Sidcup and others who have dissented about the issue of maintaining contacts with the Soviet Union? Having heard the speech of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, I wonder whether the Prime Minister believes that we should cut contacts as a matter of long-term or short-term policy. If it is short-term, how short? If it is long-term, does not this mean sliding into another cold war?

On the question of the Olympic Games, many of us believe that these should go ahead in Moscow. What is the difference between the Government's attitude to the Olympic Games and the attitude of many Tory Members to the South African rugby tour? One cannot have one's cake and eat it too.

I should like to question the Minister about something that has caused a great deal of difficulty—the blocking of the Iranian accounts. I know better than to ask for confidential memoranda of the British and American Governments, but this has caused great difficulties for us in the Muslim world and among the Arabs—far further a field than the Iranian border itself. This is a problem that faces the West and not just the Americans.