HC Deb 22 July 1976 vol 915 cc1999-2001
Q1. Mr. Adley

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

Q8. Mr. Tebbit

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

The Prime Minister (Mr. James Callaghan)

I have at present no plans to do so.

Mr. Adley

Now that the Salmon Report has been published, and in the light of the third point of Mrs. Ward-Jackson's addendum at page 118, will the Prime Minister seek to initiate a public inquiry into the relevance of her remarks regarding the activities of local government in the North-East?

The Prime Minister

I have not studied the report in detail although I have read the conclusions. I shall look up what is said in page 118. As regards an independent inquiry, I understand that this has been considered many times. The view is taken that, as criminal proceedings arising from the various ramifications of the Poulson affair have not been concluded, it would not be right to consider setting up any other sort of inquiry at this moment. However, later in the year we shall be able to consider the matter again.

Mr. William Hamilton

Wherever my right hon. Friend pays an official visit in the near future, will he take the opportunity of attacking the cruelty and stupidity of the parliamentary tactics adopted by the Leader of the Opposition which result in dragging sick Members to the House, including Members with debilitating illnesses and infections such as mumps, in addition to preventing Ministers— [Interruption]— from attending conferences of major international importance?

The Prime Minister

I think that there has been a revulsion against the tactics of bringing certain Members to the House earlier this week. Anyone who saw some of those who were brought here, as some of us did, would believe that there must be a much better way of conducting our affairs. I understand that there may be some improved arrangements next week, but it is not for me to comment on that at the moment. As regards infectious diseases, I hope that my hon. Friend was not close enough to anybody to catch any.

Mrs. Thatcher

Perhaps the best way of avoiding these things is not to have five guillotine measures in one day. Why could not the Prime Minister follow the example of the Opposition and refuse to bring in his most sick Members? We did not bring in all of ours.

The Prime Minister

That is not quite the information I had, or the impression that I think my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, Central (Mr. Hamilton) was conveying about certain sick Opposition Members. Perhaps the best remedy, if we cannot put our own affairs in order, is to have a large Labour majority at the next General Election.

Mr. Tebbit

As the hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Ryman) did not feel able to take part in our debates on the Education Bill, would not Blyth be a suitable place for the Prime Minister to make a speech explaining whether he believes in freedom of choice in schooling for all children or only for the children of the rich and powerful?

The Prime Minister

I have every intention of making a speech on a number of educational matters at an appropriate moment in the autumn. As regards the education of any children, that is the right of the parents and no one else.