HC Deb 02 March 1972 vol 832 cc735-6
Q2. Mr. Onslow

asked the Prime Minister how many times he has invited Mr. Victor Feather, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, to meet him since June, 1970, to discuss matters for which he is responsible.

The Prime Minister

Six, Sir, apart from meetings of the National Economic Development Council and on informal occasions.

Mr. Onslow

Would my right hon. Friend confirm that at those meetings Mr. Feather has shown himself to have a much clearer understanding than the Opposition of both the rights and the duties of trade unions in a democratic society?

The Prime Minister

I have always found the meetings to be of value. We have covered a wide range of subjects. We have not always agreed, but at least the exchange of views has been fruitful.

Mr. Ashley

Since the Prime Minister seems well aware of the problems of surtax payers and stockbrokers, will he invite to No. 10 some rank and file trade union representatives other than Mr. Feather so that he may acquaint himself with the problems of people who are generally overlooked and neglected by the present Government?

The Prime Minister

I completely refute the remarks at the end of the hon. Gentleman's question and his earlier imputations. On the point about rank and file trade unionists coming to No. 10, a number of deputations have come to see me on various occasions and they included shop stewards and others who are not leaders of the T.U.C. This is absolutely right.