Major answered Blair unequivocally, stating his agreement with Kenneth Clarke that the Government is "not hostile in its attittude to a single currency".
Blair asked Major to state that the Government was not hostile to the single currency. This he did - clearly showing Mr Rifkind's recent words on the subject to have been a gaffe.
THEMES OF THE DAY
NHS bureaucracy (Eddie O'Hara, Lab, Knowsley South; Michael Stephen, C, Shoreham)
Reduction of the National Debt (John Marshall, C, Hendon South)
The Prince's Trust (Charles Goodson-Wickes, C, Wimbledon)
Camelot's expansion overseas (William McKelvey, Lab, Paisley South)
The possibility of trial for the Lockerbie bombing suspects (Tam
Dalyell, Lab, Linlithgow; Sir Teddy Taylor, C, Southend East)
Blair asked Major to repeat the Chancellor's recent reassertion that the Government was not hostile to the single currency, and that the option to join remained open. Major replied, "of course I agree with my Rt Hon Friend". In that case, would Major disown Conservative Central Office "who have been briefing that, in effect, he has closed the option on joining...?" "No one has been briefing to that effect", said Major. He concluded that the Government was far more united than the Labour frontbench.
GOOD DAY... ...BAD DAY
Sir Teddy Taylor
Dalyell had given prior notice of a question on the Lockerbie bombing, and the Speaker allowed Taylor an eloquent supplementary.
appeared surprised when he was called by the Speaker, and asked a ponderous 81-worder on the worthy work of the Prince's Trust.
THE QUIP OF THE DAY
Iain Duncan-Smith (C, Chingford): "Does my Rt Hon Friend not have sympathy for the victims of the cultural revolution? In Islington [Blair's home borough] for example, it is estimated that up to 50 per cent of the children there are now educated outside the borough."
THE UNANSWERED QUESTION
Harry Barnes (Lab, North East Derbyshire) asked the Prime Minister about the as-yet unpublished electoral register on the number of people who had registered to vote: "are they as bad as they were last year?" Major replied that the Conservative Party had done its best to improve the figures.
THE CREEP OF THE DAY
Stephen presented Major with a tasty old chestnut: "Does my Rt Hon Friend agree that efficient professional administration is vital to the success of the NHS? Does he recall that when we decided to modernise the system . . . the Labour Party were against it?"Reuse content