HC Deb 20 June 1974 vol 875 cc682-3
Mr. Maurice Macmillan (by Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken over the death by shooting of Mr. Michael Howe in Cyprus, and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Miss Joan Lester)

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of this Question.

The British High Commissioner at Nicosia called on the President of the Republic of Cyprus on the morning following this most distressing incident and expressed our grave concern. President Makarios expressed his deep personal sorrow and assured him that he would institute a full inquiry and would take immediate steps to avoid any recurrence.

I would like to take this opportunity of expressing our very deep sympathy with Mr. Howe's family and our best wishes for the full recovery of those who were injured in the incident.

Mr. Macmillan

I thank the hon. Lady for her statement. I am sure that the whole House shares her expression of sympathy to Mr. Howe's family and of good wishes for those injured. I thank her for getting the British High Commissioner so rapidly into consultation with the President. I am sure that the House will be reassured to know that President Makarios himself is taking a personal interest and, I understand, may well make a personal statement.

I hope that the Foreign Office will continue to keep in consultation with the Government of Cyprus, particularly in view of the large number of tourists who visit Cyprus, so that we can reassure our constituents that this type of incident is not likely to recur. We understand the problems in Cyprus, but I am sure the hon. Lady will agree that we need reassurance about police methods and police discipline within the island.

Miss Lestor

I assure the right hon. Gentleman that as soon as we have further information I will see that he and the House are fully informed. We are keeping the question of the general security situation in Cyprus under review. At this stage, we see no reason to discourage intending visitors from going to Cyprus but they should be aware of the security situation and they should be careful. I understand that members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces and families stationed in Cyprus have also been advised at the moment to exercise due caution in the light of the security situation.