Ministerial Visits

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 1:39 pm on 18 February 1998.

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Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield 1:39, 18 February 1998

If he will visit the Lichfield constituency before 2000; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Tony Blair Tony Blair Prime Minister

I have no immediate plans to visit the hon. Gentleman's constituency.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Conservative, Lichfield

That is a shame; people will be disappointed. Lichfield is a beautiful city, with an 800-year-old cathedral. However, if the right hon. Gentleman does plan to visit Lichfield, perhaps he could meet some of Lichfield's business men, many of whom are worried about the Government's plans to force recognition of trade unions, which they feel are a return to the bad old days of the 1970s. Will he make a pledge, or at least give a sign of hope, that smaller businesses in Lichfield and elsewhere in the country—perhaps businesses employing fewer than 50 people—will be exempt from such plans?

Photo of Tony Blair Tony Blair Prime Minister

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the details of the policy are still under consideration, and they should be announced in the proper way, but I hear the point that he makes. However, I believe that it is important that we have legislation that allows our people the same freedoms that are enjoyed elsewhere in the western world.