USSR (Ministerial Visit)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd March 1988.

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Photo of Mr David Mellor Mr David Mellor , Putney 12:00 am, 2nd March 1988

I am glad to welcome the hon. Gentleman's return, but he might have marked it more appropriately than by acting as a voice and echo of what the Soviet Government officials said to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State while he was in Moscow. The hon. Gentleman should appreciate that the Soviets have their position on these matters. They would like to see a denuclearised Europe, which would further entrench the massive and overwhelming power of their conventional weapons. It should not be the business of any British parliamentarian, from whatever side of the House he comes, to associate himself with those ideas.

The other thing that Opposition Members should recognise is that the Soviet Union respects strength. It was the strength of purpose of the NATO Alliance that led to the INF deal and that will lead to further deals, whereas the weakness of Opposition Members would simply allow the Soviets to roll over by default.