HC Deb 17 July 1980 vol 988 c1746
13. Dr. Mawhinney

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will place on the agenda of the next European Economic Community Agriculture Ministers' meeting the sale of subsidised European Economic Community surplus foodstuffs to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Mr. Peter Walker

As a result of continued United Kingdom pressure, the Community's restrictions on subsidised exports to Russia have been tightened. We continue to be totally opposed to such sales, and we shall continue to make our views clear.

Dr. Mawhinney

As the Government, the Conservative Benches and the country are all against the supply of excess EEC foodstuffs at reduced prices to Russia, will my right hon. Friend make clear to the other EEC Agriculture Ministers that the Government will no longer co-operate with them until the supply of cheap foodstuffs is stopped?

Mr. Walker

No, Sir. I am sure that the correct method is the one that we have used—already with substantial success—of reductions in the volume of trade. That is the method which is legal.

Mr. McNamara

If the right hon. Gentleman is against subsidised exports, how will he stop them—not reduce them?

Mr. Walker

That is our objective.

Mr. Cormack

Does my right hon. Friend accept that it is unacceptable that the Russians should be sold cheap butter so that they can make more guns? Will he adopt the most belligerent stance possible and tell all his colleagues in the Council of Ministers that there will be no co-operation from Britain unless the Community stops sending subsidised foodstuffs to Russia?

Mr. Walker

Yes, Sir. We have made substantial progress in that sphere. We now have some allies in the Council of Ministers, and we shall continue our campaign.