§ Q2. Mr. Bidwell
asked the Prime Minister whether she has any plans to re-visit the Falkland Islands.
§ Mr. Bidwell
Has the right hon. Lady seen the recent Gallup poll in The Daily Telegraph, which shows that two thirds of those questioned were extremely sceptical about the costly "Fortress Falklands" policy? Why did the Government turn down Lord Shackleton's proposal to distribute absentee owners' land to the islanders if they still believe in a property-owning democracy?
§ The Prime Minister
The policy of putting large defence garrisons in the Falkland Islands has been forced upon us by Argentina. At present there is no alternative if we are properly to defend the rights of the Falkland Islanders to remain British under British sovereignty and administration. It has always been the view of the vast majority of hon. Members that the Falkland Islanders' wishes should be paramount.
We, and I think most of the Falkland Islanders, do not think that it is right for Governments to purchase all of the land in the Falkland Islands. There are alternative ways in which it should be possible to achieve sales of land to some of the Falkland Islanders who wish to purchase it from some of the companies.