HC Deb 22 February 1978 vol 944 cc1422-3
5. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement on the negotiations with the Malaysian Government on Concorde over-flying rights of the Malacca Straits.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Frank Judd)

Further talks were held with the Malaysian Government in Kuala Lumpur from 25th to 27th January, and on 13th and 14th February, and will be continued in a fortnight. We have provided the Malaysians with further material on environmental matters and believe that we are close to meeting their concern.

Mr. Adley

Will the Minister accept that most people believe that the wrangle has to do either with money on behalf of the Malaysians or spite on their behalf that Singapore Airlines is gaining an advantage by flying Concorde? Is not the net result of this continuing damage to the future marketing prospects of the aeroplane?

Does not the Minister think that it is about time that Her Majesty's Government took some steps to bring this negotiation to a conclusion? Is he considering calling for the cessation of traffic rights between Malaysia and Britain in order to bring this about?

Mr. Judd

The intention of the Government is to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion. We believe that the prospects are good. I do not believe that, on reflection, the hon. Gentleman will consider that his remarks have helped us in that respect.

Mr. Watkinson

Can my hon. Friend say whether there has been any talk between Her Majesty's Government and the French Government on the question of Concorde and the recent Press reports that France is considering cancelling the whole project?

Mr. Judd

I have no information whatsoever which would support that thesis.

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