HC Deb 06 April 1982 vol 21 c823
Q2. Mr. Cryer

asked the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the progress of Her Majesty's Government's arrangements for the visit to the United Kingdom of President Reagan.

The Prime Minister

President Reagan is to be the guest of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. As was announced on 25 March, he is to be invited to address Members of both Houses of Parliament in the Royal Gallery. The programme is still under discussion and further details will be announced when it has been approved.

Mr. Cryer

Does the Prime Minister accept that her attempt to use the visit of President Reagan to chore up her failing position is widely regarded as an abuse of the House? Has she noted that even President Reagan has called for a peaceful solution to the Falkland Islands crisis, without bloodshed? Does she not accept that, as she is responsible in the final analysis for the conduct of her Government, she should consider an early resignation and allow someone else to meet President Reagan on his visit?

The Prime Minister

We shall welcome President Reagan as the President of our senior NATO ally, the most powerful defender of liberty in the West and throughout the world. I understand that President Reagan, like most of us, would wish a peaceful solution to the crisis in the Falkland Islands. We shall be happy if anyone is able to secure the withdrawal of the Argentinines from the Falkland Islands, the restoration of British sovereignty and the respecting of the wishes of the people to live under British sovereignty without a drop of blood being shed. If anyone can do that, we shall warmly welcome his cooperation. With regard to resignation—no. Now is the time for strength and resolution.

Sir John Biggs-Davison

Whole warmly welcoming what my right hon. Friend has said, the personal charge that she is taking over these affairs and all that President Reagan can do to help bring about restoration of British sovereignty in the Falkland Islands, may I ask whether she—and all of us—should not keep in mind in this difficult matter the prayer by Sir Francis Drake that she and many of us heard yesterday in Westminster Abbey?

The Prime Minister

I think that the prayer to which my hon. Friend must be referring is: There must be a beginning of any matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory. That is an apt quotation under the circumstances.

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