20 DECEMBER 1963, Page 11

Airport Conferences

The idea that a Minister has something signifi- cant to say because he has returned by air from abroad persists. Hence these absurd TV confer- ences at London Airport. Until fairly recently the City of London used to offer formal hospitality, in gratitude for their safe return from the perils of overseas travel, to members of the Royal Family. Fortunately the visits became so numerous that the lunches became fewer. But the tradition that abroad is a bloody place dies hard. It is too much to hope that as a New Year resolution Ministers and TV com- mentators might agree to abandon these dreary sessions. At least then the coverage might be improved. Travel, after all, is becoming more difficult inside Britain by road and rail than it is by air abroad.

ANNOUNCER: And for the latest developments over to Kings Cross where Robin Goodfellow is waiting to talk to the Minister.

ROBIN GOODFELI.OW : Good evening. Here at Kings Cross the Minister for Medium Education has just returned from Ponders End where he has been speaking to the North Middlesex Chry- santhemum Society. Mr. Smith, what was the object of your visit?

MINISTER: I think I can say we had a most useful discussion which clarified many matters. I am confident that it resulted in a fuller understand- ing of the other point of view.

ROBIN: But how can you reconcile that with the fact that eighty-four back-benchers have signed a motion opposing—and in very strong terms; you'll agree. Mr. Smith, if you've read it—any United Nations interference in anything?

MINISTER: I think I can say . . .

ROBIN: I'm afraid that's ail we have time for. Thank you Mr. Smith. Well, clearly the battle for power goes on, and the crisis is unresolved. We won't hear the answers until next week's two- day Motion of Censure on the Government. Speakers for the Government will include the Minister of Housing, the Minister of Local Government, the Minister for Welsh Affairs and Sir. Keith Joseph. This is Robin Goodfellow returning you from Kings Cross to the studio.