Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1987 Jun 25 Th
Margaret Thatcher

HC S: [Debate on the Address]

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: House of Commons Speech
Venue: House of Commons
Source: Hansard HC [119/52-62]
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: 1529-1608.
Importance ranking: Key
Word count: 5943
Themes: Union of UK nations, Defence (general), Defence (arms control), Economy (general discussions), Education, Employment, Industry, General Elections, Monetary policy, Privatized & state industries, Trade, Housing, Local government, Community charge ("poll tax"), Social security & welfare, Trade union law reform
[column 52]

3.29 pm

The Prime Minister (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

It is my first and pleasant duty to join Neil Kinnockthe Leader of the Opposition in congratulating my hon. Friends the Members for Davyhulme (Mr. Churchill) and for Sherwood (Mr. Stewart) on the most excellent, witty and stylistic way in which they proposed and seconded the motion on the Loyal Address and the great eloquence and research that they both brought to their task.

My hon. Friend the Member for Davyhulme knows well the problems of bringing modern technological industries into the older industrial areas. He was instrumental in trying to get an urban development corporation for Trafford Park, some of which falls in his constituency, because he wants to bring to that area—[An Hon. Member: “Trafford Park is outside his constituency.” ] Very well—some of which falls close to his constituency. My hon. Friend wants to bring to that area some of the good work that has already been apparent in the urban development corporation in Docklands and on Merseyside.

My hon. Friend also dealt with Britain's role in the world and the need for strong defence, and for us to be a reliable ally in NATO, which is vital to our defence policy. Less well known is his work for health in the community, because he is—

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

Will the right hon. Lady give way?

The Prime Minister

I would like to get on a little.

Mr. Heffer

rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I do not think that the Prime Minister is giving way.

The Prime Minister

May I at least finish congratulating my hon. Friends and get on to some of the political content of my speech?

Less well known is my hon. Friend's work for health in the community. He happens to be a pilot and has voluntarily, frequently at very short notice, put himself on duty to fetch pharmaceuticals urgently needed for hospitals and orders for spare-part surgery. We thank him for that work, which is much less well known than it should be.

My hon. Friend follows his family's great tradition in serving this House. I pay tribute to his work today and to all that he has done for us on his own account.

I also congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Sherwood on his excellent and witty speech, and on his tremendous victory two weeks ago. We remember the firm stand that he took against intimidation and on the right to go to work during the coal strike, and this won him the support of local miners and of the overwhelming majority of people in the country. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. It is very unseemly for hon. Members to shout. If the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Wareing) remains silent, he may have a chance later to speak at greater length. He should not intervene from a sedentary position.

The Prime Minister

I listened carefully to what the right hon. Member for Islwyn (Mr. Kinnock) said. He seemed long on words but short on content and I began to understand why he lost the general election in such a decisive way. He seemed to address many of his remarks [column 53]to some of the shibboleths of the 1930s. Those have no appeal whatsoever to the population of our country, which is becoming home-owning, share-owning, and savings-owning and having an independence it would never otherwise have got. Those class shibboleths have no relevance to our modern society. People know full well that they have a higher standard of living than they have ever had before, stemming from a Government who, in a partnership with the people, have brought about economic strength and a standard of health care and social security that we have never had before.

Mr. Allan Roberts (Bootle)

rose

The Prime Minister

I will give way now that I am on the political part of my speech.

Mr. Roberts

Will the right hon. Lady explain why house prices are falling dramatically on Merseyside, while rising steeply in London, and why this is especially so in Sefton, the lowest rated metropolitan district in the country, with a 20-year record of Conservative control? Has it anything to do with unemployment?

The Prime Minister

I hope that one day Merseyside will welcome the private sector within Liverpool and thereby confirm the comments of Mr. Kilroy-Silk, who very perceptively said:

“In fact, the Militants and their ilk in Liverpool are the biggest deterrents to job creation on Merseyside that there have ever been.”

Mr. Heffer

The right hon. Lady will know that I happened to meet her at lunch time today at a certain reception. I asked her whether she would come to Liverpool and see for herself what the local authority in that area has done, to see the houses and sports centres that have been built and all the work that is necessary. I asked whether she would then perhaps change her mind about what local authorities under Labour control have been doing for the people in areas such as Liverpool.

The Prime Minister

I was not aware that we were able to refer to such matters in this debate. As the hon. Gentleman knows, I shall be visiting a number of inner city areas. However, I was referring to the comments made by Mr. Kilroy-Silk about what had brought Liverpool low.

Mr. Heffer

Mr. Kilroy-Silk is a past figure.

The Prime Minister

I hope that the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton, Mr. Heffer) will give me the chance to finish the quotation. Mr. Kilroy-Silk said:

“Dozens of times in the last few years I have tried fruitlessly to persuade companies that I knew were looking for sites for new plants to locate on Merseyside and in Knowsley, but each time the decision went against us, because of their perception of our Militancy.”

If we want more jobs on Merseyside, Labour-controlled local authorities will have to welcome private enterprise within their borders.

At the heart of the Gracious Speech is the section referring to the economy, and at the heart of Britain's economic strength are the continuing policies of sound financial management. They are designed to reduce inflation further, to keep firm control of public expenditure, and to increase enterprise and employment by incentives and training. It takes time to establish a reputation for prudent economic policies of the kind enjoyed by Germany and Switzerland, with all the benefits [column 54]that they bring, but Britain is now succeeding. Control of inflation through sound financial policies is and will remain our top priority.

It has been the habit in the past two terms of office and will be the same habit in the next for the Government to set the financial and legal framework. However, the wealth of a country is the effort of its people and the way in which they respond to that framework. They have responded and that has brought a very high standard of living. However, effort depends upon incentives. That is frequently forgotten by those who make easy election promises, but, as the result of the last election showed, people were not taken in by those promises in any way.

Mr. Dennis Canavan (Falkirk, West)

Will the Prime Minister give way?

The Prime Minister

The fundamental wisdom of the truths that I have enunciated was acknowledged then. Our policies have brought record living standards and better standards of health and social services. The news since the Dissolution has confirmed the sense and soundness of our policies.

Mr. Canavan

Give way.

The Prime Minister

No, I will not give way while I am referring to this section of the Gracious Speech.

The news since the Dissolution is good news, and of course Opposition Members do not want to hear such news. There have been good balance of payments figures. Inflation is at 4 per cent.—still too high, but far less than the 7 per cent. that the Labour party says that it would be happy to start with. There is continuing growth in industrial production and national income. There have been encouraging business surveys from the Confederation of British Industry and the chambers of commerce. There are lower mortgage rates and lower gas prices, and record British Telecom profits are helping to finance a record £2 billion investment programme. In addition, the OECD forecasts that Britain this year will have the fastest growth of all the major industrial countries. That is all of the good news since the election.

Mr. Canavan

rose

The Prime Minister

Yes, I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman, who comes from Scotland, which, after London and the south-east, has the second highest income per head of any part of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Canavan

A couple of minutes ago the Prime Minister mentioned her general election success, but her party in Scotland has been reduced to such a discredited rump that Scottish Tory Members of Parliament could not even form a football team and the Secretary of State for Scotland is like some discredited colonial governor-general who received no democratic mandate from the people whom he governs. Why is there no mention of that in the Queen's Speech? Why, in particular, is there no mention of proposals to do what the majority of people of Scotland want—the setting-up of a devolved Scottish Parliament with legislative and economic powers to help repair a lot of the damage that has been done by eight hard years of Thatcherism?

The Prime Minister

I seem to remember that the hon. Gentleman made a similar interruption in 1983. I seem to remember that I gave him a reply similar to the reply that I am going to give now. [column 55]

In three out of the last five Labour Governments Conservatives had more seats in England than Labour, and we had to endure it. What is the hon. Gentleman proposing—separatism? May I point out what Neil Kinnockthe Leader of the Opposition said in the House on the devolution Bill in 1977? He said:

“At this point I could pause for cheers from the SNP and Plaid Cymru … They know, and they must acknowledge, that their proposterous ideas of economic self-dependence, in any degree of economic separation and the consequences that go with it, would mean utter misery for the people of both Scotland and Wales.” —[Official Report, 15 November 1977; Vol. 939, c. 469.]

Now, let me tell the hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) that I have left the best good news until last. But before I come to that I should say that, in spite of our good news, we must be alert to the risks to the international economy, discussed at the Venice summit. The agreements reached there on the need for surplus and deficit countries to take action to correct their imbalances will need to be translated into action.

But the best news is the continuing fall in unemployment, confirmed by last month's figures, the largest monthly fall ever. Other than in Northern Ireland, unemployment has fallen in the last year throughout the country, fastest in Wales, the north-west, the west midlands and the north. Sustained economic growth is now creating enough jobs to reduce the number of people unemployed, even though the population of working age is increasing.

Nevertheless—

Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Liverpool, West Derby)

rose

The Prime Minister

No, I shall carry on a little longer, otherwise I shall be speaking for too long and I do not wish to do that.

Nevertheless, Government special schemes—

Mr. Wareing

rose

The Prime Minister

I am on the particular point that sustained economic growth is now creating enough jobs to reduce the number of people unemployed even though the population of working age is increasing. I give way on that particular point.

Mr. Wareing

I am very interested and pleased when there is any real reduction in unemployment, but can the Prime Minister tell the House when the unemployment figure will be down to what it was on 3 May 1979?

The Prime Minister

As the hon. Gentleman is aware, when we came into power in 1979 the hidden unemployment, the restrictive practices and the failure of the then Labour Government to deal with such things left us with a problem. Perhaps he will read the passage in Lord Donoughue 's book about that. He said:

“Labour's problem was that its general commitment to industrial investment and maintaining full employment, as well as its close ties with the trade unions, made it politically difficult to cut out the bad parts of British industry, even though it was essential for its long-term efficiency and survival.”

Unless we had done that there would have been far more unemployment than there is now and British industry is now efficient and doing very well. That is an interesting book and I may have time to quote rather more from it during what I have to say. [column 56]

Nevertheless, Government special schemes will continue to play a very important part. There will be guaranteed places—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Leader of the Opposition had a fair hearing; so should the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister

There will be guaranteed places on the youth training scheme, which is an excellent scheme, for school leavers under the age of 18 who do not go into employment or further education.

Legislation will be introduced to enable benefit to be withheld from young people who deliberately choose to remain unemployed, and quite rightly so.

Moreover, we believe that jobcentres should be transferred from the Manpower Services Commission to the Department of Employment so that they can work more closely with unemployment benefit offices to provide a more effective service of help. We shall consult the Manpower Services Commission accordingly.

Job opportunities are growing steadily—1,100,000 more since March 1983. Our task is to help to ensure that those who are seeking work have the right training to fill those opportunities and the help to start a business on their own if they so wish.

I refer now to something that I referred to in reply to the Leader of the Opposition. The spreading ownership of housing, shares, pensions and savings has been one of the great achievements of the past eight years. That is one reason—the bringing of independence and power to the people—why the right hon. Gentleman's party did so badly in the election. People do not want the songs and policies of collectivism. They want the capacity, ability and opportunity to own their own houses, shares, pensions and many other matters besides.

The Labour party favours what it now calls social ownership, which is nationalisation in sheep's clothing. The effect, would be to concentrate power in Whitehall and to deprive millions of ordinary people of their shareholding in industry. By contrast, we shall continue our programme of privatisation, thus freeing businesses to respond to the needs of the customer and increasing the opportunities for share ownership.

Now we have a new task. Just as we took power from trade union bosses and restored it to their members, so we must now extend to the people new freedoms and responsibilities in housing, education and local authority finance. These will be the subject of three major Bills that have been signalled in the Gracious Speech. It is our purpose to bring new opportunities into the inner cities in particular and to make town halls more accountable, for nowhere are the damaging effects of dependence and socialism seen more clearly than in some of our inner cities.

We shall abolish the domestic rates—a grossly unfair tax—and replace them with a community charge.

Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)

rose

The Prime Minister

Subject to proper protection for those in need, it is right that we should all pay something towards the cost of the local services from which we all benefit. The new unified business rate will protect businesses and jobs in inner cities from the councils which obstruct wealth and job creation by imposing very high rates.

Mr. Maxton

rose

Mr. John Home Robertson (East Lothian)

rose

[column 57]

The Prime Minister

As the House knows, in spite of those high rates, some Labour-controlled local authorities have plunged recklessly into debt. I take this opportunity to make it clear once again that the Government have never stood behind the debts of local authorities and will not do so now.

We have made great strides towards a property-owning democracy. Some 1,000,000 council houses have been sold since 1979, and two-thirds of our people now own their own homes.

Mr. Maxton

rose

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Members for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) and for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson) know that the Prime Minister is not giving way. They must not persist.

The Prime Minister

We will ensure that home ownership continues to spread by maintaining mortgage tax relief and the tenants' right to buy.

If one wishes to examine the Labour Government's attitude to housing and how they resisted any attempt to bring increased freedom to people to purchase their houses or to increase freedom in other ways, one has only to look at Lord Donoughue 's account of the Labour Government's years in power. On page 104 of his book he says:

“Labour's housing policy was dominated by dogma and the vested interests of a minority of activists whose power was based on the local authority building departments and who were out of touch with and apparently completely unconcerned with the wishes of British families.”

Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)

Will the right hon. Lady give way?

The Prime Minister

No. I have given way a great deal and I must get on.

Our new task must be to extend the benefits of greater choice and independence to those in rented accommodation. Rent controls have reduced the private sector to a mere 8 per cent. of the housing market, with the result that there is almost a municipal monopoly in rented housing. Too many tenants are confined to large monolithic and sometimes badly kept council estates. It is high time for town hall monopoly to be replaced by individual choice in renting. We shall therefore introduce major housing reforms in this Session.

First, we shall give council tenants—where they are dissatisfied with their landlords—the right to transfer to other approved landlords, such as tenant co-operatives and housing associations. Secondly, urban development corporations have been successful in restoring derelict industrial areas, and we believe that a similar approach could be adopted for housing in some places. We will therefore take powers to create housing action trusts—initially on a pilot basis—to take over and renovate areas of council housing in especially bad repair.

But wider choice in housing also requires a revival of the private rented sector. For new lettings—I repeat, new lettings—we will therefore bring forward a series of proposals to reduce rent controls which have so greatly restricted the supply of homes for rent. Half a million private sector properties now lie empty, and our proposals will help to bring those back on to the market.

Mr. Skinner

rose

The Prime Minister

In all these measures existing tenants will keep their present protection in respect of rents [column 58]and security of tenure, and we will strengthen the law against harassment. All these policies have been set out in the most detailed manifesto ever placed before the British people. That manifesto said what we would do, unlike the Labour party's manifesto, which tried to conceal what it would do.

A home should be a source of pride to the family living in it, regardless of whether it is owned or rented. Greater choice and independence will help to make it so. I again contrast our whole policy on housing—which has brought more ownership, opportunity and choice to people—with the policy of the Labour party. Lord Donoughue also said:

“The left wing of the Labour party began to mobilise hostility to what they saw as a threat to their local authority power bases. Although they themselves personally often enjoyed the pleasures and benefits of living in their own private Hampstead homes, they were dogmatically committed to denying those pleasures and benefits to council tenants.” We have given them to those tenants and will continue to do so.

Mr. Skinner

rose

The Prime Minister

No.

The reform of education is the third of the fundamental reforms to be introduced this Session. Although in many of our local authorities children are receiving an excellent education, in others there is widespread dissatisfaction. In too many schools education does not match either what the parents want or what the children need. In this first Session of the new Parliament we shall bring forward a major Bill which will introduce a national curriculum with clear attainment targets and tests during the period of compulsory schooling; which will prevent local education authorities from putting artificial limits on numbers, so making it possible for popular schools to take in more pupils; which will enable maintained schools to opt out of local authority control where parents and governing bodies so wish and to be funded directly from the Department of Education and Science. Neil KinnockThe right hon. Member for Islwyn knew that when he made his mischievous statement from the Dispatch Box. He knows that no fees will be payable to those schools that opt out.

The Bill will allow London boroughs to pull out of ILEA and to run their own education service, and it will give many head teachers and governing bodies within local authorities control over the budgets of their schools. Where some of the local authorities have started this they have met with great success and far better use of money.

Mr. Kinnock

When the Prime Minister says that there will be no fees, is she saying that there will be no requirement that can be enforced by a local education authority or any school in the maintained sector that makes the provision of music, art, field trips that are essential for the curriculum, sport or any other subject on the recognised curriculum dependent upon parental contribution or the payment of any fee?

The Prime Minister

Those schools will be on the same financial basis as local education authority schools. Their fees—[Hon. Members “Ah.” ] I mean their finances. There will be no fees—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order.

Hon. Members

Fees.

The Prime Minister

They will be on the same financial basis as the schools under local education authority [column 59]control. Their finances will come not from the local education authority but from the Department of Education and Science. There will be no fees payable by the parents. Neil KinnockThe right hon. Member for Islwyn is referring to cases that have come up from the ombudsman and are before the courts as to whether charges at schools in local education authorities are permissible for extras such as holidays overseas and music. That is a case which is now being dealt with. The schools that opt out will be on a similar basis to those of local education authorities, but their finances will come not from the local education authority but from the Department of Education and Science.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Fees.

The Prime Minister

It is no good the hon. Gentleman mouthing the word “fees” . There will be no fees payable.

Mr. Kinnock

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether she will ensure that the legislation required to permit schools to opt out will prohibit the charging of fees as a condition of entry? Can what she describes as “extras” be made subject to charges? I am familiar with the Hereford case and other cases in which the courts have held that it is illegal to charge for those subjects recognised to be part of the curriculum. Is the right hon. Lady proposing that that law should be changed so that schools can charge fees for what she loosely describes as “extras” ?

The Prime Minister

Those cases have gone to the ombudsman and are now going through the courts. My right hon. Friend Kenneth Bakerthe Secretary of State for Education and Science issued a statement about that yesterday and is consulting upon the result of those cases. The right hon. Gentleman will have masses of opportunities to discuss this matter when the Bill comes before the House. It will be a very considerable Bill.

Parents want schools that will provide their children with the knowledge, training and character—

Several Hon. Members

rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. Unless the Prime Minister gives way, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen must resume their seats.

Mr. Andrew Faulds (Warley, East)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker

I will hear it.

Mr. Faulds

I am grateful, Sir. It is the first point of order of the new Parliament, and it is a very good and genuine one. Will you ensure, Sir, that tomorrow, when Hansard is scrutinised, it contains an exact report of what the Prime Minister has actually said this afternoon?

Mr. Speaker

Hansard always does that.

The Prime Minister

I shall be grateful because it will make it clear that no fees will be payable for schools.

Dr. David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

rose

The Prime Minister

I shall give way to the right hon. Gentleman when I have finished this paragraph.

Parents want schools that will provide their children with the knowledge, training and character to fit them for today's world. They want them to be taught basic educational skills. [column 60]

We shall enlarge the right of parents to choose those schools that will best meet the needs of their children. The legislation sets out to achieve the most far-reaching reform of education since the Education Act 1944.

Dr. Owen

Will the Prime Minister state the selection procedures for those schools? Will they follow the same non-selective procedures that are applied by local authorities, or will headmasters of such schools be able to choose? That is the crucial question governing whether we return to selective education.

The Prime Minister

If a school opts out, it will do so in the character that it has within the local education authority system. When schools are especially popular, as several are now, they must choose. They do not choose on the basis of the 11-plus. In practice they have their own well-known methods of choice. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, voluntary maintained schools can make their own choices. Therefore, the system will not be different. If a governing body wishes a school to change its character, it will have to make a fresh application to the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

Mr. D. E. Thomas (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy)

rose

The Prime Minister

May I press on with my speech?

People's right to choice and independence must be safeguarded in other directions too.

Since 1979 we have transformed industrial relations by strengthening the rights of trade union members. In the coming Session we shall take that a stage further by ensuring that all members of trade union governing bodies are elected by secret postal ballot at least once every five years; by limiting further the abuse of the closed shop; by protecting individual members if they refuse to join a strike they disagree with; and by establishing a new trade union commissioner with the power to help individual trade union members to enforce their fundamental rights. I believe that these steps, like those before them, will be widely welcomed by members of trade unions throughout the country.

The Gracious Speech identifies 17 other Bills that will be brought before Parliament during the present Session. Overall, the Government's legislative programme is one of the most substantial and radical in recent years.

Mr. Maxton

rose

The Prime Minister

However, I shall not deal with all of those matters now because I wish to say a few words on defence.

The Gracious Speech sets out the Government's determination to keep Britain's defences strong and to work for reductions in the overall numbers of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Maxton

rose

The Prime Minister

We shall update our independent nuclear deterrent with Trident and ensure that our forces are equipped with the most modern conventional weapons.

Britain has taken a lead in shaping the West's position in negotiations on intermediate and shorter-range—

Mr. Maxton

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I suspect that the hon. Gentleman wishes to ask why the Prime Minister did not give way. I cannot help the hon. Gentleman.

[column 61]

Mr. Maxton

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As a Scottish Member, I have no idea whether any of the Bills to which the right hon. Lady has referred will cover Scotland. So far, except in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan), she has made no reference to any legislation for Scotland because she knows that she cannot introduce any legislation for Scotland because she has not got the——

Mr. Speaker

Order. If the hon. Gentleman and the House will give the Prime Minister an opportunity, she will, no doubt, deal with such matters.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

That is the issue on which, during my intervention, I was trying to ascertain from the Prime Minister whether the education legislation would apply in Scotland and Wales.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Prime Minister deals with such matters.

The Prime Minister

As the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Maxton) is aware, education in Scotland is rather different from education in England. There is reference in the Gracious Speech to a Bill to deal with education in Scotland. The hon. Gentleman is aware of that. If he is saying that, because there are more Labour Members in Scotland than there are Conservative Members, we cannot legislate there, I point out to him that in that case many previous Labour Governments had no right to legislate for England, and that much of their legislation would be absolutely not legal. That is absurd. We are the United Kingdom, and I hope that we shall remain a United Kingdom.

Mr. Maxton

rose——

Mr. Speaker

Order. It would be for the convenience of the House if the Prime Minister could now get on with her speech. That would leave plenty of time for Back-Bench right hon. and hon. Members to make their own contributions and to ask their own questions which will be answered later in the debate.

The Prime Minister

There must be many constituencies in Scotland that are glad that Labour's defence policy is not being carried through.

Mr. Maxton

rose——

The Prime Minister

Britain has taken a lead in shaping the West's position in the negotiations on intermediate and shorter-range nuclear missiles in Europe. [Interruption.] It is my belief that an agreement consistent with NATO's security can be reached by the end of this year.

Opposition Members have not learnt the simple lesson that a strong defence policy and a successful arms control policy are directly linked. [Interruption.] I realise that the hon. Gentleman would like me to carry on speaking and I am flattered. However, I should like to keep my speech as short as possible.

I recall the words of the former Prime Minister, Sir James Callaghan, speaking in this House last March on the deployment of——

Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarfon)

rose——

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Prime Minister is not giving way. The hon. Gentleman must resume his seat.

Mr. Wigley

She should give way.

[column 62]

The Prime Minister

I recall the words of the former Prime Minister, Sir James Callaghan, speaking in this House last March on the deployment of cruise and Pershing when he said:

“I have no doubt that our expressed determination to go ahead … brought him” —

Mr. Gorbachev—

“back to the negotiating table. That is a lesson for people to learn now.” —[Official Report, 9 March 1987; Vol. 112, c. 53.]

However, Sir James's voice and those of many others going back to Hugh Gaitskell are no longer heard in today's Labour party. The unilateralists and the surrender squads have taken over. The views which were once held only by extremists are now the official policy of the Opposition. However, the British people have rejected totally the Opposition's defence policy.

Today, at the beginning of our third term, Britain's voice is heard with respect in Europe, in the Soviet Union and in the United States because we have made Britain strong again and because we have put freedom first.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

Will the Prime Minister give way?

The Prime Minister

No. I am nearly at the end and I shall not give way again.

Indeed, trust in the people is at the heart of our policies. That is how we have, in the past eight years, transformed the climate for business, brought over-mighty trade unions within the rule of law and created a new confidence at home and abroad. That is why we were returned with such an excellent majority. The achievements of the past two terms of Conservative government show that that trust was well placed. Trust in the people will continue to be the foundation for the achievements for our third term.