MPs ask for Malaysia details

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DOWNING STREET is to be asked by the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs to reveal documents about the Malaysian aid-for-arms affair, writes Colin Brown. The committee decided yesterday to seek details of private contacts between ministries and the High Commission in Kuala Lumpur surrounding the deal 'entangling' arms and aid in March 1988.

The committee also decided to call Lord Howe, the former Foreign Secretary, who ordered the deal by Lord Younger, then defence secretary, to be undone. But Labour MPs delayed demands for Baroness Thatcher and Chris Patten, Governor of Hong Kong, to be called, pending the outcome of Lord Howe's evidence.

One Labour member of the committee said that the decision to call Baroness Thatcher had merely been put off 'because we are keen to preserve a consensus and go carefully on the evidence'.