HC Deb 29 January 1996 vol 270 cc630-1
4. Mr. MacShane

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what new proposals he is making to enhance the co-ordination of the presentation of Government policy; and if he will make a statement. [9982]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service (Mr. David Willetts)

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his interest and can assure him we are constantly seeking to enhance the co-ordination of the presentation of Government policy. We seek every opportunity to explain how only this Government's policies can ensure economic success combined with constitutional stability.

Mr. MacShane

I am grateful to the intellectual wing of the Department for that reply. Can the Minister explain why, in presenting Government policy at the weekend, the Deputy Prime Minister launched an election campaign—that is, he launched his campaign to succeed the right hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Major) by proving that he is as big a right-wing villain as anyone else in the Cabinet? How do the Minister and his colleagues justify the immense expenditure of taxpayers' money on what is now nothing more than a Tory party Ministry of lies? Would they not be better off returning to Tory central office where their gutter politics will be more appreciated?

Mr. Willetts

I think that we are getting our message across rather well, as the events of the past 10 days have shown.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth

Will my hon. Friend take an early opportunity to publish a paper about the Government's approach to hypocrisy in public life so that Labour Members may benefit from an accelerated learning curve?

Mr. Willetts

It would certainly be a long paper as it would cover Opposition policies on crime, education, the economy and housing. I look forward to such a publication.

Mr. Beith

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that a number of Conservative policies on law and order that were presented at Conservative party conferences have been quietly dropped? I refer, for example, to compulsory identity cards or the Home Secretary's very expensive plan to ensure that all prisoners serve their entire sentences without remission. Does that not illustrate that many of these law and order policies are political gimmicks with no practical crime-cutting benefit? Has he become the villain's friend?

Mr. Willetts

The Government have published a consultation document on the identity card scheme and responses to it are being considered now. As to the remarks of my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary at the party conference, he has a fine record of implementing the measures that he announces at party conferences.