HC Deb 13 March 1980 vol 980 cc1550-2
Q3. Mr. John Townend

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for 13 March.

The Prime Minister

This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet. In addition to my duties in this House I shall be having further meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. Later today I shall be leaving for a visit to Yorkshire and Humberside.

Mr. Townend

In view of the statements in today's press to the effect that France is taking a tougher line on the British contribution to the EEC budget, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend is aware that the public are becoming heartily sick of the French attitude to Britain, especially the continuing illegal discrimination against British lamb and Scotch whisky? Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that she will have the overwhelming support of both sides of the House, in addition to that of the public, in any retaliatory action that she deems necessary?

The Prime Minister

I have seen the reports to which my hon. Friend referred. Bearing in mind that France has always been resolute in defending her interests, she really cannot complain if we are equally resolute in defending our interests.

Mr. Dobson

Will the Prime Minister find time today to reconsider the vindictive action that she is taking against the British athletes who are working in the public sector, bearing in mind that the Olympic movement is the possession of the whole world, and that a boycott of the Moscow Games will do more damage to the Olympic movement and to young athletes throughout the world than it will to the entrenched geriatrics in the Kremlin?

The Prime Minister

The Olympic movement is one which should be founded and is founded, upon peace between different nations. The USSR has hardly observed that necessity for peace. For that reason we are advising athletes not to participate in the Moscow Olympic Games. Many other countries are taking the same action. With respect to the hon. Gentleman, it would not make sense to advise athletes not to go and then to give special leave to civil servants, over and above their annual leave, so that they could go. For that reason we shall not give special leave either to them or to Service pensonnel.

Mr. Rathbone

Will my right hon. Friend's meetings with other Ministers include one involving the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Defence in order to assure herself, and, perhaps thereafter, to reassure the House, that there is sufficient co-operation between those two important Departments with regard to civil defence?

The Prime Minister

I am very much aware that a number of hon. Members think that it is time to spend more money on civil defence and to have stronger civil defence forces. But as my hon. Friend knows, we must choose between priorities, and at the moment I can hold out no immediate hope. However, my right hon. Friends the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Defence and myself do meet from time to time to discuss the matter.

Mr. John Home Robertson

Following press reports that the Prime Minister has referred the AGR nuclear power station projects at Heysham and Torness in my constituency to the Think Tank, will she assure the House unequivocally that she does not intend to pull a fast one by siting cheap, dangerous and nasty PWR Harrisburg-type stations on those sites?

The Prime Minister

We are proposing to look at the capital programme in the light of the latest forecasts, and we must look at the capital programme because of the latest forecasts for the electricity industry. We shall look at the PWR, as we shall look at any other nuclear reactor, on the basis of safety. However, the programme is under reconsideration, and we are looking at the future of the two AGRs.

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