Engagements

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th June 1989.

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Photo of Mrs Teresa Gorman Mrs Teresa Gorman , Billericay 12:00 am, 15th June 1989

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 15 June.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.

Photo of Mrs Teresa Gorman Mrs Teresa Gorman , Billericay

Will my right hon. Friend find time in her busy day to remind people of the importance of today's Euro-elections? Will she note the growing support by people in Northern Ireland for the Conservative party? Today they will have a chance to vote for Dr. Laurence Kennedy, our first-ever Conservative Euro-candidate in Ulster? Will she include him in her greetings to our candidates?

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I have already sent the message of greeting and support which my hon. Friend seeks to our Euro-candidates. I agree that it is a very important election and a very important day and I hope that people will turn out in strength and vote. I note what my hon. Friend says about matters in Northern Ireland. I know her strong views about parties there, and I note what she says.

Photo of Mr Neil Kinnock Mr Neil Kinnock Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Why cannot the Prime Minister simply answer yes to the question, "Is the Chancellor going to retain his job after the forthcoming reshuffle?"

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I answer on precisely what the Chancellor said on Wednesday of last week in the economic debate. The Chancellor set out the Government's position clearly and in some detail. he said: Our overriding —I repeat "overriding"— objective is to bring inflation back down. We shall not be diverted from that course.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I repeat what I said last week. If the right hon. Gentleman would like a little longer lecture I will read out the entire speech.

Photo of Peter Tapsell Peter Tapsell , Linsey East

While the Leader of the Opposition regards all this as a joke, is it not about time that we all began to take the sterling situation rather seriously and that the Leader of the Opposition ceased to try twice a week to talk sterling down?

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. The Leader of the Opposition is normally trying to help the speculators and talks sterling down in the most unBritish way.

Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo , Bristol South

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 15 June.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I refer the hon. Lady to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo , Bristol South

Will the Prime Minister confirm that her policy of keeping interest rates as high as necessary for as long as necessary means that she will be prepared to tolerate a further increase in mortgage interest rates?

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I repeat what the Chancellor said in his most excellent speech in the economic debate giving his policy very fully. He set out the Government's position and said: Our overriding —I repeat "overriding"— objective is to bring inflation back down. The Chancellor said: the policies that have successfully brought inflation down in the past … will do so again."—[Official Report, 7 June 1989; Vol. 154, c. 264.] We have had an extremely successful economic policy.

Photo of Mrs Elizabeth Peacock Mrs Elizabeth Peacock , Batley and Spen

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 15 June.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

Photo of Mrs Elizabeth Peacock Mrs Elizabeth Peacock , Batley and Spen

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the Government's main priority is to reduce inflation? Will she also condemn members of the Opposition, including the Leader of the Opposition, for continually trying to talk the pound down?

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Yes, I confirm once again that that is the Government's overriding priority, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor said in the economic debate. We shall not be deflected from that course of action. I agree that the Opposition try to talk down the pound, which is a great tragedy.

Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Bethnal Green and Stepney

Apart from the obvious and damaging effect that high interest rates have on the competitiveness of British industry, is it not a fact that the main effect of high interest rates, far from reducing aggregate demand, is simply to redistribute demand away from hard-pressed first-time mortgagors and other borrowers to people who are savers and creditors? If that is so, is this not an extremely unfair and ineffective way to reduce demand and counter inflation?

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

The right hon. Gentleman is aware that inflation is a monetary phenomenon, and short-term interest rates are the main instrument for dealing with it.

Photo of Mr Patrick McNair-Wilson Mr Patrick McNair-Wilson , New Forest

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 15 June.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave some moments ago.

Photo of Mr Patrick McNair-Wilson Mr Patrick McNair-Wilson , New Forest

Does my right hon. Friend agree that those both inside and outside Parliament who continually delight in rubbishing the achievements of this country fail to grasp the inherent strength of the British economy? Do we not now have a record level of new job creation in Europe, enjoy a record high standard of living, and have a record repayment of the debts piled up by the Labour party when it last had muddled control of our economy?

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Yes, I agree with my hon. Friend. We have a record high standard of living and a record high standard of social services.

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

No, the Labour party has the record on inflation this century, with a rate of 27 per cent. As well as the record high standards of living and of social services, we have record repayment of debt, and record standards of investment in manufacturing industry and of business investment. I could go on with record after record of good things for the British people—an excellent record.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells , Pontypridd

How do the Government intend to clean up our rivers and beaches if they refuse to give the National Rivers Authority the powers to prosecute the regional water companies after they have been privatised?

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

Both our rivers and our beaches are being cleaned up, contrary to what happened during the time of the Labour Government. The directive from Europe came out in 1975, and it asked Governments to identify beaches that did not come up to standard. By 1979, the Labour Government had not identified one. It was left to us to identify them all. We have done so. Two thirds have already been dealt with and the other one third will soon be dealt with. As to rivers, 95 per cent. are classified, on European standards, as good or fair, which is the best record in the Community.