HC Deb 19 July 1977 vol 935 cc1372-3
Q1. Mr. Corbett

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 19th July.

The Prime Minister (Mr. James Callaghan)

This morning I had a telephone conversation with Chancellor Schmidt of Germany, in the course of which he was good enough to give me an account of his recent discussions with President Carter. I am also holding meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, in addition to my duties in this House.

Mr. Corbett

As we are nearing the end of Animal Welfare Year—[Interruption.] I am amazed that hon. Members find this funny.

Mr. Speaker

Order. What they find funny is that this is a question of which there is no notice.

Mr. Corbett

As we are nearing the end of Animal Welfare Year, will my right hon. Friend today give special consideration to the economic and welfare case for the ending of the export of live animals for slaughter? Will he find time today to discuss with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food a review of the trade since it was resumed in 1975 and respond to growing public concern over the continuation of this vile trade?

The Prime Minister

I am aware that the transport of animals, whether internally or externally, causes stress even if the animals are properly fed and watered en route. Therefore, the most stringent regulations need to be applied. I understand that a directive has been agreed, or is about to be agreed, by the Council of Ministers that will regulate the conditions under which animals are transported in this way. I hope that my hon. Friend will keep up his pressure to ensure that the regulations are properly observed.

Mr. Amery

Will the Prime Minister find time today to make it clear that we do not intend to sabotage an internal settlement in Rhodesia between Mr. Smith and national groups that might work with him? Will he repudiate the repeated Press smears that the Government are prepared to endorse only a settlement that includes the pro-Soviet Patriotic Front and its Marxists backers?

The Prime Minister

If I am to avoid uttering smears in answers, it might be as well to avoid uttering them in putting the questions. To characterise the Patriotic Front in that way when it is a body which clearly represents a large group of African opinion is not likely to enhance a settlement. As for the future, it has always been the policy of Her Majesty's Government that it is not our task to pick and choose the African leaders who will lead that country in due course. It is our task to ensure, in so far as we have the influence, that one man, one vote will prevail unless and until Mr. Smith operates that policy. Whether he holds a General Election will be seen to be largely irrelevant in those circumstances.

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