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Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, the noble Lord is perfectly correct. I do not have the answer to his question. I knew that they had a meeting but I did not know the result. I congratulate the noble Lord on being one step ahead of me.

Lord Dean of Beswick: My Lords, my noble friend made an important point as to whether one day a month is sufficient. With the way international sport is now structured, it has become something of a jungle. I hope that the Minister will listen with care to what my noble friend said. If there is any need to review the case, it should be referred to the new appointee, whoever it may be after today's announcement regarding the new Cabinet.

Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, the day-to-day management of the UKSC will fall to a chief executive, under Sir Ian's direction. We shall have a first-class government agency to represent us internationally. Sport will for the first time get the lion's share of sports council funding. The proposals represent a major push to revive young people's involvement in sport.

Lord Addington: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the new council should have up-to-date sports management skills? With the new restructuring and the idea of going for enhancing our reputation in key areas of sport, we need immediate experience. People who just know about business will not have the cultural background to enhance our position.

Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, Sir Ian really does have a super pedigree. He played cricket for Kent; he is a keen golfer; he is a member of the Lord's Taverners; and he is on the Committee of the MCC. You cannot do much better than that!

5 Jul 1995 : Column 1087

Fiftieth Anniversaries

2.50 p.m.

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What criteria they apply in deciding which fiftieth anniversaries to commemorate.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, in view of Britain's long and distinguished history, there are not just fiftieth anniversaries, but centenaries, bicentenaries and so on, to be celebrated. The decision whether to participate is the subjective decision of the department concerned, taking into account a very wide variety of factors such as the perceived historic importance of the event, its relevance to modern times, potential public interest and, of course, cost.

Lord Dubs: My Lords, listening to the Government's criteria for such celebrations, would the Minister agree that the fact that today is the fiftieth anniversary of the general election of 1945—

Noble Lords: Oh!

Lord Dubs: —and Labour's tremendous victory on that occasion that, party politics apart, she and the Government could be a little bit more generous and indicate that that is an event worth commemorating? Is she aware that today the Fabian Society, on behalf of the Labour Party, is having a whole day of events to commemorate the occasion and the election of a government which put full employment, housing, a national health service and social security among their main aims? Is not that an event of significance?

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I am really upset that the Fabian Society did not invite me to its full day of celebrations because I would most certainly agree with the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, that we should remember the day when the Labour Party was elected. I believe that the electorate should remember that that was a mistake that should never be repeated.

Lord Richard: My Lords, the Minister knows of course that today was polling day in 1945, which led to the election of one of the great reforming governments of this century. Noble Lords opposite may low at that, but history will bear me out rather than them. Is the Minister aware that we on this side of the House wish that the Government would now name an early polling day, which will lead to the election of another such government?

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, it is very unwise even to make such a suggestion because when we do have another polling day I can assure the noble Lord that we shall win again. I have no intention of going through my list of the disasters of the last Labour Government, but I shall certainly do so if pressed.

Lord Renton: My Lords, having been elected Member for Huntingdon 50 years ago today, where I remained MP until the people were so wise as to choose a future Prime Minister 34 years later, will my noble friend remind the Fabian Society that six years after the war we were on shorter food rations as a result of socialism than we were at the end of six years of war?

5 Jul 1995 : Column 1088

Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, no, never! That is not true!

Lord Renton: My Lords, it did happen. Will she also remind noble Lords opposite that, although there was a sellers' market during those six years, the economy was weakened by excessive control of industry and by nationalisation, against which we voted and which is coming to an end?

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I say to my noble friend Lord Renton that I have a very long list which includes the particular item that he mentioned. I congratulate my noble friend on having achieved that victory 50 years ago today. While I am doing that, perhaps I may also congratulate the noble Earl, Lord Longford, who, 50 years ago, became the first Baron Packenham. I very much wish that that was something we could also celebrate. I do not see him in his usual place, but I hope that those remarks will be passed on.

Lord Ewing of Kirkford: My Lords, while the Minister is being reminded by her noble friend Lord Renton of the measures which the Conservative Opposition of those days voted against, would it also be in order to remind Members opposite that they also voted, line by line, against the introduction of the National Health Service and that they still hold an unending grudge against a free health service for the people of this country?

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, the National Health Service came about as a result of a commission under the coalition led by Winston Churchill. I remind the noble Lord that we have been in charge of the National Health Service twice as long as his party and that the amount of money we are spending on it puts to shame the amount of money spent on the service by a Labour Government.

Lord Campbell of Croy: My Lords, moving to another approaching anniversary, will the Government consider commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the announcement of the Marshall Plan, which was an immense help to Western Europe's post-war reconstruction? Would it not be a salutary reminder, when some current rewriting of history is conveying a theory that the United States deliberately allowed British wealth and possessions to be lost or destroyed in World War II?

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, that is an excellent suggestion and I shall pass it on.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, having missed the opportunity to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1945 general election, will the Government start preparing in good time to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of the landslide of 1906 in which the Tories were swept from the Government Benches? Would they not consider that the most appropriate way of celebrating that occasion would be to go to the country and give the people an opportunity to repeat that event?

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I tell the noble Lord that we look to the future and not to the past.

5 Jul 1995 : Column 1089

Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that these celebrations should be kept for major world anniversaries like VE and VJ Day, the celebration of which was so brilliantly organised by the Leader of the House, the Lord Privy Seal, and should not be debased for party political events, however earth-shattering they may seem?

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, we do not believe that these kinds of celebrations should be used as a platform for any political purpose. No such complaint could possibly be made about the worldwide commemorations which are taking place this year.

Lord Mowbray and Stourton: My Lords, does my noble friend realise that that great magazine History Today has taken note of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1945 election by publishing two splendid photographs of a Captain Roy Jenkins and a Major Denis Healey in its extremely interesting article on that event?

Baroness Miller of Hendon: My Lords, I thank my noble friend very much for bringing that information to our attention.

EU: Costs and Benefits of Membership

2.58 p.m.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will commission a cost/benefit analysis of the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, as distinct from United Kingdom access to the European single market.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Henley): My Lords, the Government have no intention of carrying out such an analysis, which would be time-consuming, expensive and unnecessary. The Government consider the benefits of membership of the European Union to be self-evident.


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