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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Prime Minister's Questions
Tony Blair and John Prescott at PMQs
The prime minister and his deputy regard Mr Howard's Euro-vision with derision


  • Chris Bryant (Rondda, Labour) was concerned about investment in the primary healthcare in his constituency.
    The prime minister listed the improvements in the NHS and the economy across the country.

  • Michael Howard (Folkestone & Hythe, Conservative) joined with the prime minister in his expression of sympathies and commitment to restoring order to Iraq. He went on to draw attention to a memo sent to Labour members about communicating new policies effectively. He demanded to know when the PM had decided to hold a referendum on the EU constitution and what his position would be if the referendum returned a 'no' vote.
    The prime minister assured him his party was united in improving consultation with the public and delivery of services. Mr Blair said he had made a statement about his plans for a referendum and the EU constitution on Monday.

  • Jackie Lawrence (Preseli Pembrokeshire, Labour) welcomed the PM's decision to hold a referendum but was concerned the EU constitution would represent the interests of Wales, after the findings of the Richards' Commission.
    The prime minister assured Ms Lawrence the constitution had been established to represent the best interests of the whole of the UK.

  • Charles Kennedy (Ross Skye & Inverness West, Liberal Democrat) shared the PM's condolences over recent deaths in Iraq and focused his questions on the country, wondering if more troops were to be sent to Basra and how the command structure would work after the 30 June handover of power. He asked if there would be another UN resolution.
    The prime minister said there were no plans to increase the number of British troops in Iraq and every effort was being made to ensure a smooth handover. He said there may well be a further UN resolution and other discussions were taking place among the controlling authorities in Iraq.

  • Clive Soley (Ealing, Acton & Shepherd's Bush, Labour) asked about the media's hounding of the Beckham's and suggested editors of the tabloids should be invited to the House to be interrogated over their private and public lives.
    The prime minister thought it unlikely but accepted that there was little in the public interest over som invasions of privacy.

  • Hugo Swire (Devon East, Conservative) wanted to know which side of the new security screen in the Commons the members of Sinn Fein should sit on, in the light of the first report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC).
    The prime minister expressed his support for the IMC and the recommendations it made would be implemented.

  • Malcolm Savidge (Aberdeen North, Labour) welcomed the release of Mordechai Vanunu in Israel and wondered if it would be possible to establish a nuclear free zone in the Middle East.
    The prime minister appreciated a nuclear free Middle East was a general ambition, but before that could happen the security of Israel had to be assured, through a continued focus on the peace process.

  • David Amess (Southend West, Conservative) called for clemency for his constituent imprisoned in Egypt and asked for representations to President Mubarak over a possible miscarriage of justice.
    The prime minister said he wanted to wait until he had seen a transcript of the trial, but said the foreign secretary was happy to see Mr Ames over the matter. He called for symapthy over Egypt's concern to preserve its security against terrorist threats.

  • Martin Linton (Battersea, Labour) was concerned about Israel's continued encroachment on Palestinian lands and the threat that represented to the Middle East peace process.
    The prime minister maintained the importance of a two state solution in the Middle East and the need for Israel to feel secure there.

  • Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, Plaid Cymru) questioned the number of MEPs representing countries including Latvia and Malta which were smaller in size and population to Wales.
    The prime minister was unsure that the solution to improved circumstances was more MEPs, but that Wales was part of the UK as well and as such was adequately represented.

  • Tony Lloyd (Manchester Central, Labour) suggested recent revelations about the unclaimed assets of various clearing banks gave more strength to arguments for a windfall tax, especially in the light of shortfalls in certain pension schemes.
    The prime minister said efforts were being made to restore assets to their owners, or redistribute them more effectively. He said the question of pensions wa sa separate issue that was being addressed.

  • Alan Beith (Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Liberal Democrat) was concerned about the economic effects of removing an RAF base from his constituency.
    The prime minister recognised the concern, but said there were figures that indicated savings. He said he was happy to look into the matter.

  • Vera Baird (Redcar, Labour) praised the new incentive scheme to persuade young people to stay on at school. She sought assurances that it would work.
    The prime minister assured her it would work, as indicated in pilot schemes, and was supported by overall improvements in education.

    Bill Cash (Stone, Conservative) wanted to know if the new EU Constitution would cause existing treaties to be revoked.
    The prime minister said the Constitution was itself a new treaty, which referred to existing arrangements. He suggested the Conservatives wanted to revoke all treaties with Europe and not replace them with anything else.

    You can watch prime minister's questions returns on Wednesday 21 April. and throughout that night.

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    27 Jan 04  |  BBC Parliament
    At-a-glance: The Budget
    17 Mar 04  |  Politics
    Scotland: First Minister's Questions
    01 Apr 04  |  BBC Parliament
    Wales: First Minister's Questions
    31 Mar 04  |  BBC Parliament
    House of Commons Business
    30 Mar 04  |  BBC Parliament
    House of Lords Business
    31 Mar 04  |  BBC Parliament


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