HC Deb 12 April 1962 vol 657 cc1496-7
Q2. Mr. Grey

asked the Prime Minister when he next proposes to make an official visit to the North-East.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

I find it difficult to know what the hon. Member means by an official visit other than to use a phrase which will allow him to get his Question accepted by the Table.

Mr. Grey

Is the Prime Minister aware that we have got as much out of that reply as he got from his visit to Stockton? Will he tell the House whether he intends to visit Middlesbrough, West to use his high position as a gimmick to try to win that by-election, as he tried to do at Stockton?

The Prime Minister

I had hoped that the hon. Gentleman was more experienced and could do better than that.

Mr. Shinwell

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept an invitation from me to make a visit to the North-East, whether official or unofficial, and, while he is there, will he visit the town of Peterlee and hear what the residents there have to say about the failure of his colleague the President of the Board of Trade to do anything for this new town?

The Prime Minister

I had the pleasure of going there when I was Minister of Housing. If we can fit in a joint visit, let us see what we can do.

Mr. Gaitskell

Will the Prime Minister tell us whether he is going to visit Derby in the next few days?

The Prime Minister

I will go to the Derby with the right hon. Gentleman at any time he likes.

Mr. Milne

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a visit of the description requested would be extremely valuable to the people in the industries in the North-East because they feel that they are being neglected by the other Ministers? Visits during by-elections are no substitute for visits in order to get real information on what the problems of the North-East really are.

The Prime Minister

I do not accept that, because I do not think it is fair to my colleagues. But, as a matter of fact, I have been to the North-East Coast several times in the last few years on visits for the sort of purpose which the hon. Gentleman has in mind.

Mr. Ross

In view of all these demands for the right hon. Gentleman's presence at various places, will he take it from me that there is no need for him to visit West Lothian in Scotland?

The Prime Minister

I am very gratified by the courtesy of the hon. Gentleman.