HC Deb 13 June 1972 vol 838 cc1255-7
Q4. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination between the Ministers concerned in relation to the arrangements being made on the Government's behalf to celebrate British entry into the European Economic Community next year; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. Parallel committees under the chairmanship of Lord Goodman and Lord Mancroft are preparing, in consultation with the Ministers concerned, an extensive and varied programme of events to celebrate our entry. These will include performances of music and drama, art exhibitions and other events catering for a wide range of tates, both in London and elsewhere in the country.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

As these activities concern the whole country, can my right hon. Friend assure the House that London will not have a monopoly of these desirable activities and that the regions will participate as well? Can he assure me that the arrangements will cater not only for the highbrow—[Interruption.]—but also for non-intellectuals like myself and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition? [Interruption.]

The Prime Minister

The two committees are preparing arrangements for Scotland and Wales and for the provinces, as well as for London, so the celebrations will be widespread. They include a wide variety of events, including sporting events and football matches for the Leader of the Opposition—[Interruption.] Many people will have been interested to note that a party which when it was in power liked to boast about what it was doing for the arts is now prepared to show, by its display just now, that it is really a philistine party.

Mr. Faulds

About bloody time—[Interruption.] It is about bloody time—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member must put his questions in parliamentary terms.

Mr. Faulds

I was tempted from the straight and narrow, Mr. Speaker.

Regardless of the lunatic baying from both sides of the House from which we have just suffered, would the Prime Minister accept that some of us consider it absolutely ideal to celebrate our entry into Europe in musical and artistic terms? Some of us are very disturbed by the animal sounds of disapproval from both sides of the House.

The Prime Minister

I am grateful to the hon. Member for his support, because I believe that his views represent the feelings of a very large number of people in this country. I should have thought that as a nation we should have been proud to be able to put our artistic achievements on show in London and the provinces, and to be able to offer hospitality to so many distinguished musicians and others who are coming for that purpose.

Mr. Hugh Fraser

Would my right hon. Friend consider that this festival should coincide with the Feast of the Holy Innocents, which falls in January and which in Europe is considered to be All Fools Day? Furthermore, will he arrange for the Minister of Food to be dressed as a Beefeater?

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend may have rather more influence in adjusting the dates of feasts than I have.