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1995 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview in Halifax

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview in Halifax on Friday 16th June 1995.


QUESTION:

Prime Minister, do you think this summit is sending the right message on Bosnia given that the Americans cannot back up their words with any cash?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think there is complete agreement about the need for there to be a very strong response, I think that is undoubtedly the case, it is why there have been a number of troop increases by Britain, by France, by others, over the last few weeks, so I think that is entirely right.

QUESTION:

Will Britain have to pay America’s share?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think last night around the table there was a complete understanding that the Americans have a technical problem in paying. The President would like to pay, he has a difficulty with Congress, he cannot at the moment commit himself to do so. All the other large contributors around the table made it perfectly clear that they would pay, either through a UN assessed system or voluntarily.

QUESTION:

Is this a rapid reaction force or is it a rapid withdrawal force?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, it is there, as we have said before, as a rapid reaction force. We have always made it perfectly clear that if at some stage in the future, which I very much hope will not be the case, it was necessary to withdraw then more troops would be needed. If there are more troops there then clearly that will help, but they are there in order to add a little more muscle to UNPROFOR and to enable General Janvier and Rupert Smith to carry out their responsibilities.

QUESTION:

What will happen now if the fighting escalates, you must be extremely concerned about that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, I am very concerned about it. The fighting has continued, there is a build-up. Quite how far that is going to go and how fast is not immediately apparent, certainly not in the reports I have had in the last hour. Of course I am worried about it, I am not surprised that this happened to coincide with the G7, it was always likely that it would, but we must wait and see how it develops.

QUESTION:

What would you say to your revolting backbenchers this morning?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t know that I would describe them in quite that fashion in the first place. I think the way in which to conduct government is to have to have steady policies, to stick to those policies, to set out what they are and to carry those policies through until fruition. The belief that suddenly some magic ingredient is going to change everything overnight is not the case, one has to set out a policy and stick to a policy. I have set it out and I will stick to it.