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1993 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Copenhagen

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Copenhagen on Tuesday 22nd June 1993.


QUESTION:

Good morning, Prime Minister! Could I ask you about the disagreement with Herr. Kohl about the partial lifting of the arms embargo? There is a possibility now of a disarray on this issue, isn't there?

PRIME MINISTER:

We have had a discussion about how to deal with the problem of Bosnia for some time we have thought right the way through the right way is to continue negotiations. I want to stop the killing, not add to the killing. I don't believe that lifting the arms embargo and flooding more arms into the area would do anything other than stop any chance of a negotiated settlement, add to the fighting, add to the killing, add to the length of the war and open the prospect of it widening. That is not a policy I favour.

QUESTION:

Prime Minister, are the allegations that the Tory Party received £7 million from the Saudi Government before the last election true?

PRIME MINISTER:

I have been Prime Minister for two-and-a-half years. In my period, that certainly is not true, neither before [indistinct]. I read a lot of absurd allegations; they will be debated in the House of Commons today.

QUESTION:

Are you still supporting Mr. Mates?

PRIME MINISTER:

I set out my position about that some time ago; it hasn't changed.

QUESTION:

Today you are still supporting him?

PRIME MINISTER:

It hasn't changed.

QUESTION:

So Mr. Mates stays?

PRIME MINISTER:

I've just answered the question. I set out the position some time ago; it hasn't changed; it won't change if you ask the same question three times.

QUESTION:

Mr. Major, on Europe, are you hopeful that the British position on getting growth back into the economy will be fully reflected in the communique today?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think the requirement for growth is needed right way across the European Community. Everybody agrees with that. I don't think there is any dispute about it. The question is which are the right ways to get growth back. What was perfectly clear both by the presentation by the Commission yesterday and in the comments of many member states is that our particular costs - labour costs, on-costs, a whole range of costs - are rendering us uncompetitive compared to the United States and to Japan and that is a very great disadvantage for us in the future.

If we become uncompetitive, we'll lose markets; if we lose markets, we'll lose jobs and one of the problems you can see in Europe over recent years is that over a twenty-year period since the beginning of the 1970s, year-on-year one has begun to see a rising level of unemployment right the way across western Europe. That isn't something we can ignore. We have to examine it, look at the details of it, decide what is the true cause of it and then either address that cause or accept that that underlying rise in unemployment will go on. I am not prepared to accept that so I think we have to address the cause.

QUESTION:

Any more news on Mr. Heseltine?

PRIME MINISTER:

I spoke to his family this morning. He had a good night, a comfortable night, and he will be seeing doctors this morning so I think that is quite encouraging and I am very pleased.