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1992 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Edinburgh

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Edinburgh, held on 12th December 1992.


QUESTION (Michael Brunson, ITN):

Good morning, Prime Minister. We understand you have got some revised proposals overnight. Will that be enough to clinch it today?

PRIME MINISTER:

We are still in the middle of a negotiation. I have got some proposals that I think meet many of the concerns that people had. I have a series of meetings early this morning with colleagues. We will recommence at 10 o'clock and see. I am making no predictions yet.

QUESTION (Michael Brunson, ITN):

How much pressure do you feel under this deadline threat, the July 1st deadline threat from the other delegations?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don't really understand that there is any such threat. The timing of the Maastricht Treaty is a matter for the British Parliament, is now and will remain a matter for the British Parliament and for no-one else.

QUESTION (Michael Brunson, ITN):

But they are putting some pressure on you, aren't they?

PRIME MINISTER:

It is a matter for the British Parliament and it is a side issue.

QUESTION (Graham Leach, BBC TV):

Are the issues here still interlocked, Prime Minister, as you go into your second day?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, they are interlocked. We have made some progress on a whole series of fronts but I think all of them will either come together or not later on today. There is still a great deal of work to be done.

QUESTION (Graham Leach, BBC TV):

So in your view it really is all or nothing today?

PRIME MINISTER:

"All or nothing" puts it in very extreme terms but I think if we are able to reach agreement on the really big issues then other things will fall into place. Some progress has been made but I still must emphasise that there is a long way to go; there are some very difficult hurdles to overcome. Over Becher's Brook once - we have got to go round again!

QUESTION (Michael Brunson, ITN):

You talked about political will yesterday as being the key. Do you detect that political will?

PRIME MINISTER:

Everyone would like to reach an agreement, yes, but of course every single Head of Government here has to go back and sell to his own parliament the agreement he reaches so there are very difficult decisions that will have to be made by everyone sitting round that table but I think there are some areas where we are making progress. There is a general will to have a growth initiative. I think everyone is concerned to re-stimulate confidence in the European economy - that is making progress. We have made substantial progress on matters like subsidiarity, as you will see when the outcome of the summit is revealed, but there are many other issues still to be determined.

QUESTION:

Are you making any progress on the budget rebate for Britain?

PRIME MINISTER:

There is no progress to be made on that because there is no question but that the budget rebate will remain in its present form.

QUESTION:

It does seem that many of the other member nations are putting pressure on Britain especially on that issue, doesn't it?

PRIME MINISTER:

Everyone puts pressure on Britain on many issues and we put pressure on other people - that is the nature of negotiations - but the fact of the matter is the British rebate is there, the British rebate is going to stay, there is no room for negotiation and no doubt about the outcome.

QUESTION:

The Danish Prime Minister says he is almost sure he has got a deal. Are you almost sure?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am glad he is so confident. I think we still have some way to go but I am seeing colleagues this morning and we will see what the outcome is. It is not just a question of getting a deal here, that is but half of the equation. We need a deal here that is going to run in Denmark and be satisfactory for the Danish people when they have a referendum. That is the matter that is foremost in my mind, not just a deal around the table amongst Heads of Government. A deal around the table amongst Heads of Government that will enable the Danes to win the referendum, that is what we really want.

QUESTION (Michael Brunson, ITN):

Did the Rubik's cube come into play?

PRIME MINISTER:

It is twisting around!