HC Deb 03 July 1972 vol 840 cc22-3
21. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will protest to the Soviet Government about the meeting in Liverpool between a delegation from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and members of the Irish Republican Army; and with what result.

Mr. Anthony Royle

No, Sir: my hon. Friend is presumably basing himself on Press reports which I am unable to confirm.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

I apologise for the Irishness of the tenses in the Question as it emerged, re-drafted, from the Table, Mr. Speaker. May I ask my hon. Friend whether he is, perhaps, basing himself on the entire artificiality of any distinction between the State and the party in the USSR? Is he saying that there was no meeting in Liverpool between representatives of the party in the USSR and of the IRA?

Mr. Royle

No. I am sorry if I did not make myself plain to my hon. Friend. I am aware that Press reports suggested that such a meeting took place. I am not able to confirm them, but if my hon. Friend has any further information which would be of value to me or to the Government, I shall be most grateful if he will let me have it.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

I ask the hon. Gentleman to accept that no one could doubt the wide separation between the present Government of this country and the party.