Falkland Islands (Member's Statements)

– in the House of Commons at 5:04 pm on 5th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Bill Walker Mr Bill Walker , North Tayside 5:04 pm, 5th June 1985

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will recall that I raised a point of order on 15 May, when I drew your attention to early-day motion 686 on a statement that the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) was alleged to have made during a visit to the Falkland Islands.

[That this House condemns the reported statement of the honourable Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley that the Falkland Islanders lacked guts and calls upon him to withdraw the statement; and further calls upon him to give up his campaign of rewriting the history of the events before, during and after the conflict which is designed to justify his attitude towards the sending of the Task Force to restore freedom, the rule of law and democracy to the islands after the unprovoked invasion by the Argentinians.]

There is a letter in the Daily Telegraph today from the lady in question, Mrs. Pat Luxton. Bearing in mind the fact that the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley was also reported as saying that he had evidence that sinking of the fishing boat Mhari L had been caused by a United States submarine, which has since been proved to be untrue, what procedure can be used to remove the uncertainty about the validity of those reports, since I have withdrawn my early-day motion?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

This matter was dealt with. Apologies were offered and accepted, and I cannot be concerned—

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I cannot be concerned with letters that appear in the press which may seek to reopen the matter. I shall allow the hon. Gentleman to comment, but then I must close the matter.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes , Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am worried by the fact that the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) sought to link those two matters. I confirm that the account by Patrick Watts and Mrs. Luxton has been altered by them in three separate ways. First, they accept that there was no breaking of glass. Secondly, they accept that the Secretary of State for Defence was not involved. They have even now given a different version of what I am supposed to have said. Yet I have maintained consistently exactly what I said, which is supported by the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross), who spoke to eye witnesses. I stand by what I said, notwithstanding what the lady said in her letter in the Daily Telegraph today.

As to the Mhari L, I made it clear that circumstantial evidence was given to me—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."] I made that quite clear. In the light of the inquiry, I am grateful for the opportunity of saying that the direct evidence shows that it was not a submarine. I fully accept that. I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman linked the two matters, and I am sure that he would wish to withdraw the implications of his doing so.

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Let us leave the matter there.