The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1993Prime Minister (1990-1997)

PMQT Written Answers – 26 October 1993

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 26th October 1993.



Overseas Journeys

Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Prime Minister what has been the total cost to public funds of his journeys abroad since 9 April 1992.

The Prime Minister : The cost to public funds of my journeys abroad since 9 April 1992 is estimated to be £1,979,000.


Yasser Arafat

Mr. Parry : To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to meet Mr. Yasser Arafat; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I hope to see Mr Arafat in London before the end of the year.


Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Mr. Dunn : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Cyprus.

The Prime Minister : With my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, I attended the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Cyprus from 21 to 25 October. The final communique of the meeting and accompanying documents have been placed in the Library of the House.

The emphasis of the meeting was on the practical and constructive work of the Commonwealth. Agreement was reached on a range of important subjects. The “Limassol Statement on the Uruguay Round” expressed the Commonwealth’s strong collective commitment to a comprehensive, equitable and balanced conclusion of the round by 15 December 1993. Commonwealth Heads decided to send a mission of Ministers from Barbados, Canada, Ghana, Malaysia and Mauritius to call on the GATT Director General in Geneva, the European Commission in Brussels and selected capitals to press for urgent progress in the trade talks. Nothing will do more to promote growth and jobs for developed and developing countries alike. The meeting called for additional measures to reduce the debt burden of developing countries to sustainable levels and, in particular, for the full implementation of the Trinidad terms. These discussions confirmed me in the view that the neediest countries, with a trace record of economic reform, should be offered early and sufficient reduction on their whole stock of official debt. We will continue to press for this.

I secured strong support for my proposal that Commonwealth countries should strengthen their co-operation in combating the international menace of financial crime. There was agreement to work towards implementation of the 40 recommendations of the financial action task force set up in 1989 at G7 initiative. The United Kingdom is the current chairman. This means that Commonwealth countries will seek to adopt best international practice in this area. Law and Finance Ministers are following up in detail. This will also help Commonwealth work on drug abuse and proceeds of illicit trafficking. I encouraged all Commonwealth Governments not yet party to the relevant 1988 United Nations convention to do so as soon as possible and put in place enforcement mechanisms.

We agreed that the Commonwealth observer mission to South Africa was making an important contribution towards helping to stem the violence and should remain there until after the election next year. We also agreed that a Commonwealth group should observe the elections as part of a wider international presence to build confidence in the electoral process. We looked forward to welcoming South Africa back into the Commonwealth at the earliest possible opportunity after democratic elections, if South Africa decides to reapply for membership. In lifting all economic sanctions still in place, we endorsed the appeals by President de Klerk and Dr. Nelson Mandela for foreign investment in, and increased trade with, South Africa to help overcome the social and economic legacy of apartheid.

The 1991 Harare declaration on good governance has proved its worth. Since 1991, five out of the nine Commonwealth members without democratic government then have held multi-party elections. The Commonwealth has sent observer missions to each of these countries and has provided technical assistance to help the process. Much work on fundamental political values remains to be done. We recognised that in this field the Commonwealth has its particular vocation. We mandated the Secretary-General to give it a high priority. In this context, the meeting considered Cameroon’s application for Commonwealth membership. It agreed to welcome Cameroon to membership at our next meeting in 1995, on the condition that current efforts to establish a democratic system, consistent with the Harare Commonwealth declaration, were by then completed.

The meeting discussed a wide range of international political matters, including Bosnia and the Cyprus problem, and agreed that the Commonwealth action group on Cyprus should continue to monitor developments.

Commonwealth Heads accepted with pleasure the Canadian invitation extended to all governments to participate in the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, British Columbia during 18 to 28 August 1994.

Commonwealth Heads also accepted with pleasure New Zealand’s invitation to them to hold the next meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1995.


Lockerbie Bombing

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will obtain for the library of No. 10 Downing street a copy of the book, the details of which have been supplied to him, relating to the loss of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 19 October 1993]: No. A copy is already available in the Treasury library.


Mr. Patrick Doyle

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister if he will publish a list of all meetings held and correspondence exchanged in the past 10 years between his Office and Mr. Patrick Doyle, now of AST Training; what was the nature of such meetings or correspondence; what plans he has to meet Mr. Patrick Doyle; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 22 October 1993] : I am unaware of any such contacts and have no plans to meet Mr. Doyle.