Attacked Major for not allowing a
full Commons debate on preparations
for a single currency.
His responses to Blair were
unconvincing, but much of the
rest was sparkling.
Blair asked whether Major did not think there should be a Commons debate on European reports on a single currency before December, when the issue could be decided by ministers. Major replied that decisions would only be made at next month's Dublin summit, and there would be a debate in the House before then.
Blair then quoted from the Chancellor's letter, which suggested that ministers might make irrevocable decisions before the summit. He claimed there was to be no debate because Major was afraid what Clarke might say.
THEMES OF THE DAY
The reported IRA visit to the Houses of Parliament
(Elizabeth Peacock, Con, Batley and Spen)
Audit Commission report on youth crime (Paddy Ashdown)
Labour spending (Dame Angela Rumbold, Con, Mitcham and Morden)
House of Lords reform (Tony Banks, Lab, Newham NW)
Windfall Tax (David Lidington, Con, Aylesbury)
GOOD DAY... ...BAD DAY
David Heathcoat-Amory (Con, Wells) twisted the knife, contradicting Mr Major on whether the proposals for a single currency had been properly scrutinised.
(Lab, Dundee E) asked Major about
donations to the Conservatives, opening the door for Major to come back with a polished set of condemnations of Labour's so-called `secret funds'.
QUIP OF THE DAY
Banks - Asking why Major would not support Lords reform: `Could it be that the boy from Brixton has got the feeling to make himself into a nob after all? Does he really want to be remembered as the nob from Brixton?'
Peter Hain (Lab, Neath) - `How much will the Prime Minister's proposals to abolish capital gains tax and inheritance tax cost the average taxpayer?' Major replied that the move would stimulate employment.
CREEP OF THE DAY
Dame Jill Knight (Con, Birmingham Edgbaston) - On Labour's `abandonment' of spending pledges: `Didn't today's press indicate Labour's answer to the question "when is a pledge not a pledge? is `when it is a commitment"; will my Rt Hon Friend give this House the pledge that he will continue to speak clearly and without...' the rest was drowned by jeering.