HC Deb 23 October 1973 vol 861 cc968-9
Q1. Miss Joan Hall

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement following the recent Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Brentford and Chiswick (Mr. Barnes) on 16th October.—[Vol. 861, c. 22–4]

Miss Hall

Following the Foreign Secretary's remarks last week about consultation with regard to the Middle East war, which does not appear to have finished, can the Prime Minister tell us what consultations he has had with the Commonwealth countries?

The Prime Minister

The problem of the Middle East was discussed by the Heads of Government in the conference in Ottawa, and in our communiqué we made it plain that we wanted to see a peaceful settlement in accordance with Resolution 242 of the Security Council which has now been reaffirmed by the Security Council's recent resolution. During the conflict we have as a Government kept in touch with other Commonwealth Governments in capitals and in New York.

Mr. Dormand

Is it not significant that the right hon. Gentleman's answer did not include any reference to Britain's membership of the EEC? Is it not a fact that the Commonwealth, regrettably, is disintegrating because of the right hon. Gentleman's insistence on membership of the EEC in preference to Commonwealth interests?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, not in the least. My reply did not include any reference to the EEC because the Question was about the Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference. In my speech the other day I said that, as a result of the recent conference in Ottawa, I believed that the Commonwealth as a whole was in a stronger position than before.

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