HC Deb 15 January 1980 vol 976 cc1424-6
Q1. Mr. Marks

asked the Prime Minister when she will next meet Prime Ministers of North Atlantic Treaty Oragnisation countries.

The Prime Minister (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

I frequently see my colleagues, but there are no plans at present for a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at summit level.

Mr. Marks

Yesterday the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said that the North Atlantic Council would be meeting today but that only certain countries would be represented. Will the Prime Minister assure the House that this is not a self-appointed group, and that all member countries of NATO, including those nearer to the Afghanistan conflict, have the opportunity to take part?

The Prime Minister

As far as I am aware, they are all there and have the opportunity to take part. They are very important discussions but I cannot be absolutely precise on that question.

Mr. Stokes

In view of the recent Soviet aggression in Afghanistan will my right hon. Friend consider whether this country should adopt further measures of rearmament, in spite of present economic difficulties?

The Prime Minister

I think that we are doing as much as we possibly can at the moment. We have undertaken to increase our expenditure by 3 per cent. over the outturn for this year. We must also give attention to the improvement of our economic position so that we may be able the better to defend our country in the future.

Mr. O'Neill

Would the Prime Minister care to explain to the workers of the Glynwed group in Falkirk, who have been told that they are to be made redundant this year, how a firm which makes a substantial contribution to the Tory Partyfunds at election times is now having—

Mr. Speaker

Order. We shall not come to open questions until we reach question Q5. The present question relates to NATO.

Mr. Garel-Jones

Will my right hon. Friend, in discussing with our NATO allies the future of the NATO Alliance, ensure that every encouragement is given to the Spanish Government, who have made clear that it is their intention to play a full part in the defence of the West? If an application to join NATO is made by that Government, what will be the attitude of the British Government? Will my right hon. Friend give us some indication?

The Prime Minister

Most of us would welcome it if Spain were to join NATO, because once again it would strengthen the defences of the free world. We are particularly anxious to have join us those countries which hitherto have had quite strong communist parties.

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