Biography Chronology Home Search Speeches/Statements

1991 - Mr Major’s Doorstep Statement

Below is the text of Mr Major’s doorstep statement held on 6th October 1991.


PRIME MINISTER:

When President Bush announced his proposals a week or so ago, I said that if Gorbachev responded in like fashion then it could well be a turning point in the peace process. We have now had a response from President Gorbachev. At first sight it does seem to be a very comprehensive response, and that is very welcome. If it is what it seems to be, then there may be a unique opportunity to see a dramatic de-escalation in nuclear weapons. I welcome that very much, and we would want very carefully to study the proposals that have been laid out before us. I think there are several points to make about this. Firstly, what has happened today is an absolute vindication of NATO strategy over recent years. Had the West not held to that strategy, I very much doubt that we would have seen the remarkable events of recent weeks. And secondly, although these announcements are very welcome indeed, I believe we do have to bear in mind that the Soviet Union still remains a very large military and nuclear power, and we would want to look very carefully to see how these matters develop.

QUESTION:

Does this mean that you would consider making further cuts in Britain's arsenal, and in particular reconsider Trident?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I don't believe that would be an appropriate response. We have made reductions in our own nuclear weapons over recent weeks, and we have announced those. The Trident is the essential minimum defence that we need in this country, and we must maintain Trident. The Soviet Union, despite these very welcome reductions, are still an immense nuclear power and immense military power, and we need that essential minimum deterrent that Trident provides, and we will keep it.

QUESTION:

And the question of nuclear testing?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, we will study very carefully all the proposals in the Soviet Union plans. I think at this stage it is wise to examine them carefully before we respond.

QUESTION:

There is an opinion poll in today's Sunday Times which suggests that voters believe the Tories will privatise the National Health Service. What's your response?

PRIME MINISTER:

There's no question of privatising the Health Service. I have made that clear repeatedly, and that is well known by everyone in politics, and I am very surprised that this canard continues to be repeated week after week and month after month. There will be no privatisation of the National Health Service. Not now or in the future. I hope that is now entirely clear to everyone.