HC Deb 06 March 1972 vol 832 cc1017-8
22. Mr. Milne

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the £7,500 paid by Her Majesty's Government to the European Movement during the country. wide discussions on Great Britain's entry into the European Economic Community was paid to the northern regional officer of the movement; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Rippon

None of Her Majesty's Government's annual grant is paid direct to any of the regional officers of the European Movement. The entire grant in aid is paid by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the London headquarters of the organisation.

Mr. Milne

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that that is a disappointing reply, because it fails to give those of us in the North East an opportunity of understanding the amount of pressure which was put on people throughout the country during the supposedly democratic debate on Britain's entry into the Common Market? Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that pumping money into public relations offices in the North East or anywhere else in the country is not the best way to further democracy in Britain?

Mr. Rippon

As I made quite clear in the House in an answer on 11th June last year, the grant is not available for publicity work directed at opinion in the United Kingdom. It is the same amount as was paid by the previous Government and it is paid on the same basis. I should add that I am answering a Written Question later today which will give more details about these matters.