Engagements

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd January 1991.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Anthony Beaumont-Dark Mr Anthony Beaumont-Dark , Birmingham, Selly Oak 12:00 am, 22nd January 1991

To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 22 January.

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

This morning, I 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 Mr Anthony Beaumont-Dark Mr Anthony Beaumont-Dark , Birmingham, Selly Oak

Does my right hon. Friend agree that we can all share an understanding of the appalling strain to which the families of service men and women serving in the Gulf are subject at this time? I refer in particular to the family of Flight-Lieutenant Peters in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight). We have all seen the outrageous photograph of Flight-Lieutenant Peters, which has been used so cruelly. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence made reference to the inspirational courage of the men doing the fighting. Does my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister agree that the steadfast courage of their families at home, who have to wait for the warriors to return, is also deserving of all our support?

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend, whose views will be shared throughout the House. The families of those serving in our forces, and most especially of those who have been captured, are suffering a special agony at this time. We send them all our sympathy and we appreciate the courage that they, too, are showing.

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

I associate myself with the Prime Minister's remarks. Does he agree that the relatives of airmen missing in the Gulf conflict have enough to put up with without having to contend with a prying press? Does he share my view that uninvited intrusions into the lives of very anxious people cannot serve any public interest whatsoever? Will he take this opportunity to appeal to editors to desist from any invasions of privacy?

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. It is standard practice not to disclose the names of those killed without the consent of their families, and I hope and expect that convention to be observed throughout the conflict. I share the right hon. Gentleman's view that people are entitled to privacy at a time of grief and I hope that their privacy will be respected by everyone.

Photo of Mr Patrick Thompson Mr Patrick Thompson , Norwich North

To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 22 January.

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

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

Photo of Mr Patrick Thompson Mr Patrick Thompson , Norwich North

Does my right hon. Friend agree that those industrial nations that are not committing forces to the Gulf can assist by making increased financial contributions to those bearing the expense of upholding the United Nations rule of authority?

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

Yes, I agree with my hon. Friend. Some of the countries concerned have constitutional restrictions against committing forces and some are already contributing substantial funds. However, as the costs mount, I hope that we may look to them to contribute further to the communal costs.

Photo of Rt Hon David Trimble Rt Hon David Trimble , Upper Bann

To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 22 January.

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer that I gave some moments ago.

Photo of Rt Hon David Trimble Rt Hon David Trimble , Upper Bann

Is the Prime Minister aware that many of us admire the way in which he and his Government have handled the middle east crisis? In particular, we like the vigour of the Government's response, their clarity of purpose and their refusal to allow themselves to chase after the mirages of diplomatic and political initiatives. Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that we see a sad contrast in the Government's response to Irish republican terrorism, which claimed yet another innocent victim in Ulster yesterday? The Government have allowed themselves to be mired down in political action that has inhibited the response that should be made. Will the right hon. Gentleman bring to Ulster the same clarity and vigour with which he has pursued the Gulf crisis?

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his initial remarks. We have the same opposition to terrorism in northern Ireland as we have to terrorism in the Gulf, and we shall continue to keep that view firmly in mind.

Photo of Mr Roger Moate Mr Roger Moate , Faversham

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, while our attention is rightly focused upon the allied forces in the Gulf today, it would also be right at this time to pay tribute to the late King Olav of Norway who, in times of war and peace, did so much to cement the strong links of friendship between Norway and the United Kingdom?

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

Yes. I am grateful to my hon. Friend. King Olav was enormously popular in this country and there is a real affection in the hearts of many people here who came to know him. I am sure that the House would wish to join me in sending our sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen on the death of her cousin, and on the death of a very good friend to this country.