§ Q5. Mr. Ian Gilmour
asked the Prime Minister what is his policy on the giving of official interviews to national newspapers.
§ Mr. Gilmour
Useful as these meetings are, is the Prime Minister aware that there was considerable feeling in the 1523 House—on both sides, I think—at the fact that the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs should have thought it more important to brief industrial correspondents than to come to the House to answer the Questions which had been tabled to him? Will the right hon. Gentleman therefore do his best in future to ensure that Ministers get their priorities right?
§ The Prime Minister
I had rather misread the Question. I thought that the hon. Gentleman wanted to know what was my policy about the giving of official interviews. I would have given him a wider Answer if I had realised that he was asking what the policy was about the giving of interviews to national newspapers. The hon. Gentleman has now raised a wider issue. My right hon. Friend explained on that occasion that, having a number of junior Ministers, he thought that they should be given a chance; and they acquitted themselves very well. If the hon. Gentleman really wants to raise this sort of point, it would be better that he did it directly and not in this elliptic fashion so that it is so difficult to see what he is trying to ask.