HC Deb 08 February 1966 vol 724 cc208-9
Q10. Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Prime Minister which Ministerial colleagues and officials will be accompanying him in Moscow.

The Prime Minister

On present plans I will be accompanied by my right hon. Friends the Minister of Technology and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Lord Chalfont, the Secretary of the Cabinet and other appropriate advisers.

Mr. Griffiths

Is the Prime Minister again taking with him his personal television adviser, and is the Minister of Technology going to give this adviser some technical assistance?

The Prime Minister

I do not in fact have a personal television adviser. [An HON. MEMBER: "You need one."] I probably do need one, but I prefer to get along as best I can relying on our policy and the other things we have to say, instead of relying on adventitious aids, large sums of money, grooming and image to cover up the fact that another party has no image.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it customary for Ministers to announce the names of officials who accompany them when they go abroad? Has that ever been done before?

The Prime Minister

It has, of course, been known before, but I think that it is perfectly appropriate to say, as I said, "The Secretary of the Cabinet and other appropriate advisers".

Mr. Stratton Mills

Would it not be advisable for the Prime Minister to take with him the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance?

The Prime Minister

No, I do not think so. While the hon. Gentleman is reviving this hoary joke, which hon. Members opposite put round last summer just because the Government wanted to do anything to get peace in Vietnam, I would simply say that we shall be debating Vietnam and other parts of South-East Asia later today and, if I catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, I may have something to say on that subject.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In view of the recent Russian successes in technology, resulting in an advance towards landing man on the moon, is it not possible that our Minister of Technology could learn a lot from a Communist society?

The Prime Minister

On previous occasions when I went to the Soviet Union I had the chance of talking with their technological Ministers and seeing something of what they were doing. They have invited my right hon. Friend for a visit and it was thought convenient that these two visits should be at the same time. I shall, however, on this occasion not have the great advantage that a predecessor of mine had of having a book written about his visit by my hon. Friend.