HC Deb 02 December 1985 vol 88 c18
54. Mr. Knowles

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is satisfied that his Department is able to respond rapidly with relief aid to disasters.

Mr. Raison

Experience in Africa, Mexico, Colombia and elsewhere has shown that my Department, and in particular our disaster unit, is well able to respond rapidly and effectively.

Mr. Knowles

May we have an assurance that that also applies to the EC, because liaison is often necessary?

Mr. Raison

The EC does not have a disaster unit as such. On the other hand it has, with a good deal of prodding from ourselves, very much strengthened its ability to provide emergency relief over the past year.

Mr. Holt

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member for Ealing, Southall (Mr. Bidwell) was not present when his question was called and we went on to the next question. The Opposition spokesman was then allowed to refer to that question—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I know, and I should not have allowed it.