HC Deb 25 May 1972 vol 837 cc1620-1
Q2. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister which Minister he proposes will be in attendance on Her Majesty the Queen on official visits to countries in membership of the European Economic Community.

The Prime Minister

As for any State visit abroad, my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary would normally be in attendance: but if he is prevented from accompanying the Queen he would recommend that another Minister should take his place.

Mr. Hamilton

Why does not the Prime Minister go himself? Does he not think it would have been more dignified and honest if he had chosen to make the official speeches in France that Her Majesty was compelled to make like a clockwork doll in order to satisfy the Prime Minister's excessive EEC obsessions?

The Prime Minister

On state occasions Her Majesty makes the speeches herself and she does so on the advice of her Ministers.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Can my right hon. Friend arrange for the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) to be in attendance on Her Majesty, since if he saw how dedicated she is to her work and how popular she is abroad he would be converted from a rabid republican to a raging royalist?

The Prime Minister

It might have that effect on the hon. Gentleman but I also must consider the position of Her Majesty.

Mr. Shore

I am not in any way criticising Her Majesty during her recent state visit, which we all recognised was on the advice of the Prime Minister. But does not the Prime Minister think that such visits are premature, particularly in the context of the proposal for European entry, in view of the votes we had in the House last night? Would it not be better to keep Her Majesty away from the inevitable involvement and controversies which must continue as long as the matter is before Parliament and the country?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I think it was generally agreed that the visit was well timed, and I believe the reception Her Majesty had in France bore that out.

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