West Germany

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th May 1989.

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Photo of Mr Roy Hughes Mr Roy Hughes , Newport East 12:00 am, 9th May 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement upon his recent discussions with his West German counterpart.

Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement upon his recent discussions with his West German counterpart.

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr

I had discussions with Dr. Scholz on matters of mutual interest at the Western European Union and the nuclear planning group meetings last month. I have not yet had an opportunity to meet Dr. Stoltenberg who replaced Dr. Scholz as Federal Minister of Defence on 21 April.

Photo of Mr Roy Hughes Mr Roy Hughes , Newport East

Will the Secretary of State try to realise that Germans will be killed in their thousands if weapons at present based on their soil are ever used, so that when they take part in East-West relations they welcome the opportunity to negotiate with the Soviet Union cuts in conventional and short-term nuclear forces to achieve levels below present NATO levels?

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr

I well understand the sensitivities of people living in Germany to such matters, but it is a sad fact of geography that if any war were to break out it would he the British, Americans and Germans in the central front area who would be in danger. Nuclear deterrence exists to prevent war. It has been successful and only an irresponsible Government would abandon it.

Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

The Secretary of State has persistently reminded the Opposition this afternoon that they should live in the real world. Is not the real world the fact that the West Germans are responding to public opinion in West Germany which is opposed to the modernisation of nuclear weapons? Is it not a fact that 71 per cent. of people in Britain are also opposed to the modernisation of nuclear weapons, and 61 per cent. of those are Tory voters? Why do not this internationally isolated Government live in the real world and follow what real people are feeling in the real world?

Photo of Mr George Younger Mr George Younger , Ayr

I had hoped that I would be able to welcome the hon. Lady to the real world, but unfortunately I cannot, because the views that she has expressed are out of step with every Government of NATO, without exception, including the German Government.