HC Deb 24 January 1991 vol 184 c456
Q9. Mr. Conal Gregory

To ask the Prime Minister when he intends to make an official visit to York.

The Prime Minister

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer that I gave some moments ago.

Mr. Gregory

In the hope that my right hon. Friend will shortly—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The question actually deals with a visit to York. However, the hon. Member for York (Mr. Gregory) may continue with his supplementary question.

Mr. Gregory

In the hope that my right hon. Friend will shortly be able to visit the city of York, may I ask him to use this opportunity to praise employee share schemes, particularly those in denationalised companies such as British Telecom and British Rail Engineering? Will he give a warning to the people of York that in the unlikely event of there ever being a Labour Government, they would take away the right—[Interruption.] The Prime Minister: Certainly, I will be happy to carry a suitable message to York or elsewhere on the value and importance of employee share ownership. I think that that is rightly recognised. One of the clearest indications of the success of the privatisation programme and employee ownership is the disinclination among those once in favour of nationalisation to renationalise that which has been privatised.

Mr. Tony Banks

Will the Prime Minister tell the House what prospects he sees for an early reduction in interest rates—[HON. MEMBERS: "In York?"] Such a reduction will, of course, affect enterprises in York. Will he also tell the House whether it is true that he said that interest rates in York and elsewhere would come down when Chelsea won the league championship? Notwithstanding the excellent result at Tottenham Hotspur last night, is the Prime Minister aware that large numbers of points would have to be taken away from Liverpool and Arsenal if Chelsea were to win and that he would have to make it illegal for any team to beat Chelsea during the remainder of this season? If he takes that very original approach towards the reduction of interest rates in this country—and in York—he will have my wholehearted support.

The Prime Minister

I look forward to the hon. Member's appointment as spokesman for sport in the not-too-distant future. I can only say that much as I look forward to Chelsea winning the championship at some stage, I hope that I shall not have to wait quite that long for a reduction in interest rates.