HC Deb 14 December 1976 vol 922 cc1183-5
Q3. Mr. Newens

asked the Prime Minister if he will seek to pay an official visit to Kingston, Jamaica.

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to do so.

Mr. Newens

Will the Prime Minister none the less take this opportunity to make it clear that no British agents whatsoever have been involved in covert intelligence operations designed to influence the outcome of the Jamaican general elections? [Interruption.] Does the Prime Minister not agree that covert intervention by the CIA or any other intelligence organisation, as has been rumoured, is something which we would utterly condemn?

The Prime Minister

I do not know why the Opposition find that so amusing. I do not think they would relish it if they thought that foreign agents were in this country—[Interruption.] As I was saying, I do not think they would like it if foreign agents were in this country trying to influence the results of our elections. Although we do not comment generally on security matters of this sort, I would regard it as very improper if foreign agents were attempting to influence the outcome of the Jamaican elections. Such a practice certainly would not have my approval.

Mr. Grimond

As the Prime Minister is not going to Jamaica, will he consider coming to Orkney and Shetland instead? It may cost just as much, even though it is not so far, but as we are the possessors of the most valuable asset in the hands of Britain, namely, oil, is it not time that the Prime Minister came to see us?

The Prime Minister

I would welcome a return visit to the Orkneys, where I have not been since I visited the right hon. Member there a few years ago. On that occasion, he sent me home with two live lobsters. I welcome that hospitality, together with the special malt whisky which I believe is brewed there. However, I think we should leave it for a while, and then he and I will establish contact.

Mr. Hooley

Does the Prime Minister agree that reports that there have been attempts to destabilise the political situation in Jamaica, following the techniques that were used in Chile, are disturbing? Does he further agree that this matter might be discussed with other Heads of Commonwealth countries when he next meets them?

The Prime Minister

If there is any desire on their part to do so, I shall discuss the matter. Other than that, I have nothing to add to what I have already said.

Mr. Wigley

As the Prime Minister is not going to Jamaica, will he use the time to study the opinion poll in the Western Mail last week, which showed that 33 per cent. of people in Wales were satisfied with the proposals for the Welsh Assembly, but 35 per cent. thought that that Assembly should have additional powers? Will the Prime Minister give a commitment that if there is a referendum on devolution there will be a question that will enable people to say whether they want more powers for the Assembly?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member is jumping too far ahead. I did study the poll in the Western Mail. We shall be making further statements on referenda. In my constituency, there is a considerable degree of satisfaction that the Government have moved in this direction.

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