HC Deb 10 December 1974 vol 883 cc237-9
Q6. Mr. Churchill

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to Brussels.

Q8. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to Brussels.

Mr. Edward Short

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to do so.

Mr. Churchill

Will the Leader of the House ask the Prime Minister to explain to the British people how, despite the fact that by 1980 Britain as a nation will be self-sufficient in energy terms, none the less Britain's share of the EEC's gross national product will have declined relative to that of our partners to a level of 14 per cent. under a Labour Government?

Mr. Edward Short

It is much too early to estimate that yet.

Mrs. Renée Short

Will my right hon. Friend draw the Prime Minister's atten- tion to the growing concern among large sections of the British public about the increasing number of forays by people from Brussels, obviously at a considerable cost in money terms and other resources, seeking to brainwash the British public on the need to remain in the Common Market? Will my right hon. Friend make representations on this matter?

Mr. Edward Short

I am sure that the British public, after having endured the British Press for so long, are much too mature to be brainwashed by anybody in Brussels.

Mr. Heath

As the Leader of the House frankly said that it is much too early yet to calculate the percentage of United Kingdom GNP in 1980 compared with that of other Community members, may we be told on what basis all the negotiations in relation to the contribution to the European budget in 1980 are being carried out?

Mr. Edward Short

The right hon. Gentleman knows quite well the terms on which we are renegotiating. We have spelt them out time and again, and indeed my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spelt them out on Saturday. Does not the Leader of the Opposition agree that it is a pity that he did not insist on those terms when he had responsibility for these matters?

Mr. Madden

Will the British Government be raising with our NATO allies the serious charges made today about the waste of money and manpower within NATO arising from duplication of weapons and equipment?

Mr. Edward Short

I imagine that that matter will not be raised today at the meeting in Paris.

Mr. Blaker

Regarding the answer that the right hon. Gentleman has just given to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, may I ask whether he is aware that the Foreign Secretary gave the figure of 14 per cent. earlier this year? Is he now repudiating that estimate?

Mr. Edward Short

I also recall something said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech about extrapolating trends from a hardly known past through a partly known present to an unknown future. That is what is happening in this instance.