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Intelligence Headquarters (Germany)

Q4. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with Chancellor Kohl about the arrangements made by the German intelligence chief, for showing Ali Fallahian, Iranian intelligence chief, round the Wiesbaden intelligence headquarters unit of the Verfassungschutz; and if he will make a statement. [28014]

The Prime Minister: I have had no such discussions with Chancellor Kohl.

Mr. Dalyell: As three official documents of the German Government, brought to the attention of the

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British Government, confirm that Iranian-orchestrated terrorism has operated out of Germany for years, and against the background that I and Dr. Swire of the Lockerbie relatives have brought to the Government's attention before I asked this question, will the Prime Minister reconsider responsibility for Lockerbie in the light of what he now knows?

The Prime Minister: We have very carefully examined all the documentation that has been made available to us by the hon. Gentleman and others. The alleged involvement of others in the bombing has been exhaustively investigated; nothing that has been presented to the Government has been lightly laid aside without proper examination. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate has concluded, on the basis of all the evidence, that there is a case for the two accused Libyans to answer and there remains no evidential basis for bringing charges against the nationals of any other country.

The case is not closed. If there is further evidence, we will of course examine it, but the evidence needs to be founded, not unfounded speculation. Any evidence of that sort should be provided to the police or the Government and it will be fully and properly examined.

Engagements

Q5. Mr. Rendel: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14 May. [28015]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave some moments ago.

Mr. Rendel: Given that about 50 councils throughout the country are now left without a single Conservative representative, and given that probably, in those areas, on average, about 20 per cent. of the electorate still supports the Conservative party and votes for it, does the Prime Minister agree that the current electoral system is very unfair to those Conservative voters, and indeed to the Conservative party, in those areas, and that therefore it would be better to replace the electoral system with a fair vote system, which would ensure proper representation on each and every council for every significant group?

The Prime Minister: First, I apologise to the hon. Gentleman for calling him an hon. Friend. I promise the House that that was not a leak suggesting that the hon. Gentleman will cross the Floor, but merely an indication that we anticipate having his seat back at the next general election.

I do not remotely agree with the hon. Gentleman's proposals for a form of proportional voting. The only implication of a proportional voting system in this country would be that the decisions that should be made by a Government, and on which a Government should be answerable, would be made behind closed doors by Members like the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown), the leader of the Liberal party, and others, and not made by the Prime Minister and Government of the day, standing at the Dispatch Box.

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Q6. Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14 May. [28016]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave some moments ago.

Mr. Jenkin: As we await the return of the Family Law Bill to the Floor of the House, will my right hon. Friend consider a change of policy to allow for mediation and reconciliation between members of the shadow Cabinet, whose marriage of convenience appears to have been poisoned by the political gigolo from Hartlepool?

The Prime Minister: They will have ample time for mediation and conciliation--perhaps five years after the general election--in opposition.

Q7. Mr. Lewis: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14 May. [28017]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave some moments ago.

Mr. Lewis: Does the Prime Minister accept that refusal to act on guns before Lord Cullen reports smacks of vacillation? If the right hon. Gentleman has any doubts about yardsticks for tackling gun control, will he read the report of the Adjournment debate that I initiated on 3 May 1995? He will find that during that debate I made four sensible suggestions for the control of guns. That debate took place 12 months before Dunblane.

The Prime Minister: I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would have made sensible suggestions. As for vacillation, I remind the hon. Gentleman that the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw), the shadow Home Secretary, said the other day:


It would rather seem that the Opposition Front Bench shares the Government's view that there should be a proper examination of Lord Cullen's report before conclusions are reached. I am sorry that there seems to be a split between the Opposition Front Bench and the Opposition Benches below the Gangway.

Q8. Mrs. Gorman: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14 May. [28018]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave some moments ago.

Mrs. Gorman: Is my right hon. Friend aware that Marks and Spencer, that pillar of the British nation, has announced that if we were to be so foolish as to go for a single currency, it would have to spend at least £100 million on converting its tills, and that everyone in the high street would end up with bills running into billions? Does my right hon. Friend agree that we should bring these matters to the attention of the President of France, Mr. Chirac, when he meets him for discussions? I understand that the gentleman is quite keen on a

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single currency. Will my right hon. Friend ensure that he understands that underwear prices will increase in Marks in this country as well as in Paris, Lyon and all the other Marks stores in France?

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The Prime Minister: I think that my hon. Friend has brought matters effectively to the attention of many people. I am not certain whether they will directly reach President Chirac.

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Points of Order

3.31 pm

Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West): On a point of order, Madam Speaker. We all know that the Nolan recommendations are bedding down. However, on Question 2, the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Dr. Goodson-Wickes)--I have given the hon. Gentleman written notice that I wish to raise the matter--sought to persuade the national health service to buy more drugs under the selected or limited lists. In the declaration of interests, the hon. Gentleman declares a paid financial interest in a pharmaceutical company. I am not suggesting that he has done anything improper, because it is a matter of judgment whether that fact is announced during an oral question. When the hon. Gentleman tabled the question, he might well have provided a declaration of interest, but there is no mechanism through which to record that interest on the Order Paper. There is such a mechanism for making that information available when early-day motions are tabled.

Could we not ensure that if declarations are made by hon. Members, they are recorded on the Order Paper, so that when a Member declines to make a declaration when he tables a question, the House is informed?

Dr. Charles Goodson-Wickes (Wimbledon): Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. In accordance with the traditions of the House, I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice, even if it arrived after the event. You will know, Madam Speaker, that my question made no mention of the interests of pharmaceutical companies, whether actual or implied. My question related solely to the clinical freedom for doctors to prescribe in the best interests of their patients. I thus deeply resent the hon. Gentleman's allegation. If the recommendations of the Nolan committee mean that someone such as myself, as a physician, is unable to ask questions on health matters, in which I have a professional interest, I ask for your ruling, Madam Speaker, and your protection. The matter will have to be sorted out once and for all.

Madam Speaker: It is very much a matter for the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. There is an arrangement whereby Members can register with the letter R against their question when they wish to declare an interest. I suggest that the hon. Member seeks advice if he chooses to ask questions on pharmaceuticals in future.

Dr. Goodson-Wickes: I apologise, but I repeat that I did not ask a question about pharmaceutical companies.


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