§ Q2 Mr. Fell
asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he will give an assurance that no final decision on the British nuclear deterrent will be taken in his talks with the President of the United States of America;
(2) whether he will give an assurance that, in his forthcoming talks with the President of the United States of America, he will make no final commitment involving Great Britain in the manning of mixed-crew ships of an Atlantic nuclear force.
§ Mr. Fell
I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman will try to realise that he is no longer the Leader of the Opposition, that he is, in fact, the Prime Minister, however long we may have to suffer him, and that as such, when he goes to America, he bears a tremendous responsibility for any decisions he might make affecting the future defence of these islands. May I further—
§ Mr. Fell
With respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I asked the Prime Minister whether he was aware that he is no longer Leader of the Opposition but is, in fact, the Prime Minister. After all, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, two of my Questions are being taken together, and I was about to ask a short further supplementary question.
Does the Prime Minister wish, on his return from America, to avoid the following plagiarism of what Sir Winston Churchill once said of Sir Stafford Cripps, "There, but for the grace of God, went the Devil"?
§ The Prime Minister
I suppose that the hon. Gentleman thought that he was either funny or clever, but that view may not be shared generally. In reply to that part of his speech which I was able to disentangle as being interrogatory, 1 am aware that I am no longer Leader of the Opposition, and I think that it is fairly generally understood. I am aware, also, that no Prime Minister of any party entering into important negotiations of this kind would feel free in advance to say everything he may wish to say in the negotiations.
Since the hon. Gentleman and all of us had the experience for a very long time past that we could hardly get any straight answers about what had happened in negotiations when we asked for them when the negotiations had been completed, I am sure he will agree with the line I took on Monday in this matter.
Order. I would point out to the House that long supplementary questions and answers deprive other hon. Members of Oral Answers to Questions which they have had on the Order Paper for a long time.