Engagements

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th March 2001.

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Photo of Mr Tom King Mr Tom King Chair, Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament 12:00 am, 28th March 2001

Does the Prime Minister appreciate that, in the face of the worst crisis in my constituency and the south-west generally in my time as a Member of Parliament—the regional development agency has just assessed that, this year, it will cost the south-west £1 billion, with the cost to be borne by businesses of all sorts—and with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food virtually at breaking point and other Departments desperately trying to provide information, the role of an MP becomes absolutely critical? Therefore, I would find it inconceivable if my constituents were suddenly to be unrepresented at the time of the greatest crisis that they have faced. This is a national emergency.

Has the Prime Minister noticed the contribution that Brigadier Birtwhistle has made, and is he aware that there is a regional brigade commander in every region of this country? In the face of this national crisis, with the Prime Minister having recognised at last the contribution that the Army can make, can I encourage him to give it full responsibility in the regions?