§ 14. Mr. Canavan
asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations he has made about the situation in Poland; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Humphrey Atkins
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave a few moments ago to my hon. Friend the Member for Bexleyheath (Mr. Townsend).
§ Mr. Canavan
I agree that we must organise the strongest possible international support in favour of free trade unionism and against the military dictatorship in Poland, but would it not be more effective if there were more consistency and less hypocrisy on the part of the British Government?
In view of the Prime Minister's fine words on Reagan's recent comedy show to the effect that the human spirit will not live in chains, why have the Prime Minister and Reagan tried to chain the trade union movements in their own countries and collaborated with each other to prop up military dictatorships in places such as El Salvador and Chile?
§ Mr. Atkins
The Government are being entirely consistent in their approach to Poland. We have condemned, and continued to condemn, the activities of the military regime there. We are concerting our efforts to discover the most appropriate and effective steps that we can take against it.
§ Mr. Kenneth Carlisle
Is my right hon. Friend aware that many jobs in the United Kingdom depend upon trade with the Eastern bloc? Does he agree that before we embark upon any trade sanctions against Poland or Russia we should be certain, first, that Western security demands them and, secondly, that they will be effective?
§ Mr. Atkins
That is why it is necessary that we should consult our allies about the most effective steps. We must also be sure that anything that we do does not damage us more than it damages the Russians.