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1996 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Interview

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep interview held on 28th August 1996.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked about the value of Polaris].

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t have any doubt that we need Trident. Over the 28 years of Polaris, it has played a very important part in keeping peace. It is a deterrent. And it has deterred. And as a result of that we’ve been far more secure than otherwise we would have been. Now Polaris has become outdated, we have updated it with Trident. We have the four subs. I am confident we need four, and I think that will maintain the peace for us in the future. So I think for the sake of peace and security and stability it is an excellent investment.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked about the formal ending of the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana].

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I am very sad of course at the ending of the marriage. It’s very sad both for Princess Diana and for Prince Charles and their children. I think everyone is very sad at the ending of the marriage. It has ended. I think people think that was the right thing to happen. But I see no prospect of any remarriage at this stage.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if there would be difficult constitutional issues arising].

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I think it’s a purely hypothetical question. There is no proposition of Prince Charles marrying again at the moment. Maybe at some stage in the future. But that may be some years ahead.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked about the hijacking].

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I think we have to look at the circumstances. The prosecuting authorities will have to decide whether there is a prosecution to be mounted. If there is, the prosecution will be mounted in this country, and I expect that would be the first thing that would happen. Thereafter, other matters would be looked at.

QUESTION:

[Indistinct, but Mr Major was asked about the Dunblane Inquiry led by Lord Cullen].

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I share those concerns. It is because we share those concerns that we asked Lord Cullen to report and to advise us after having taken a lot of evidence from the police and many other people as to how we should deal with the problem. We will look very carefully at Lord Cullen’s report, and we have made it clear in the past if Lord Cullen’s report requires legislation we have provisionally reserved a legislative slot in the next Parliamentary session beginning in November. But I think we must wait and see what Lord Cullen says. We asked him to report. We will look at his report very seriously indeed.

I think we’d better look at his report first. I don’t want to anticipate what he will say or what he will not say. It’s such a complex issue that we have invited him to report. He has done so. He’s taken evidence from all sorts of people. I think he is a man who carries very great respect in Scotland. I think his report will carry very great support in Scotland. We will look at it. But I don’t want to anticipate what Lord Cullen will say. When he has reported, we will look at it speedily. If having looked at it it then requires legislation, we have reserved a legislative spot. But I can’t go further than that at the moment.

QUESTION:

[Indistinct, but Mr Major was asked about prison policy].

PRIME MINISTER:

Well of course the Labour party have their own axe to grind. I don’t think it was handled very satisfactorily. An apology has been made by the Director General of the Prison Service to the Home Secretary. And it was clear that the Home Secretary should have been given information that was not given to him. When he was given that information he acted upon that information. I think that’s what people would expect the Home Secretary to do. He has now seen the Director General and made clear what is going to happen in the future. That is the end of the matter.