We do not yet know the attitudes and policies of the new Government, but I expect them to bring some fresh thinking to the issues facing the European Union. We hope to work closely with them to promote British interests, particularly in budgetary discipline, subsidiarity and the promotion of free markets and free trade. We also hope to agree on keeping the European Union outward looking and diverse, respecting the nation state and preventing the creation of a socialist super-state. There is a great deal of evidence that the new Italian Government and the constituent parties in the future coalition share many of our attitudes. We look forward to maintaining a close working relationship with the future Italian Government, as we did with the last.
Given that it is 50 years since the liberation of Italy from fascism, is it not a matter for concern that some of the people involved in the new Government have highly praised the notorious war criminal and mass murderer, Mussolini, and that the Speaker of the Italian Parliament has made similar remarks? Is it too much to ask the Conservative Government here to make it absolutely clear that we consider Mussolini a notorious mass murderer and that we hold in contempt all in Italy who consider him some sort of hero?
Signor Mussolini is not participating in the new Italian Government. If any supporters of his were to do so, we should naturally take that into account in our relations with them. It is for the Italians to decide who governs them. If the new Ministers are properly elected and appointed by the Italian people, we shall look forward to working with them.
The Italians have been through something of a democratic revolution in recent months. We respect their choice in electing the parties that they have elected. Judging by the programme on which those parties have been elected, we believe that there are fruitful areas for co-operation between the British Government and the future Italian Government.