Italy

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th May 1994.

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Photo of Mrs Angela Knight Mrs Angela Knight , Erewash 12:00 am, 4th May 1994

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement of his policy on relations with the new Government in Italy.

Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory , Wells

The new Italian Government are not yet in place. When they are, we shall look forward to working closely with our new Italian colleagues.

Photo of Mrs Angela Knight Mrs Angela Knight , Erewash

Does my hon. Friend consider that the new Italian Government are likely to share the attitude of our Government in their approach to the European Union, especially our opposition to the creation of a socialist super-state?

Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory , Wells

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.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

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?

Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory , Wells

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.

Photo of Mr Jacques Arnold Mr Jacques Arnold , Gravesham

Have not the Italian people given a clear message in their recent elections as to what they think about Euro-elitists and Euro-centralisers?

Photo of David Heathcoat-Amory David Heathcoat-Amory , Wells

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.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

I called Sir Thomas Arnold, but Mr. Jacques Arnold thought that I had called him. I now call Sir Thomas Arnold.

Hon. Members:

Hear, hear.